Feeding a Child With a Diagnosis of Down Syndrome

Feeding a Child With a Diagnosis of Down Syndrome

Hello! I’m Rachel — a pediatric speech-language pathologist of 14 years and mom of three. I’m here to share my experiences with feeding children with Down syndrome. My youngest has a diagnosis of Down syndrome, and she brings our family so much joy! When we learned of her diagnosis, I knew I wanted a high chair that would help her sit in the optimal alignment for feeding development and safety.

For kids with Down syndrome, eating can come with challenges. They can sometimes be at risk for feeding difficulties for various reasons — low muscle tone, cardiac and pulmonary conditions, and oral motor weakness. The Abiie® Beyond Junior® Y High Chair has far exceeded my expectations in supporting my daughter so that she can eat, thrive, and make social connections during mealtime.

Kid Playing Abiie Beyond Junior Y High Chair

Positioning:

As a speech-language pathologist, I was taught early on that positioning matters. Babies and toddlers need to sit in an upright position where their hips, knees, and ankles can be positioned at 90 degrees. Babies and toddlers also do well having their feet planted on a solid surface during mealtimes. Additionally, it is helpful to have them positioned at the table or with a tray where their food is easily accessible so that they can learn self-feeding and independence! As a mom and therapist, I have encountered my fair share of high chairs, and often, many do not offer everything that I feel a new eater needs — especially for children with Down syndrome. The Abiie® Beyond Junior® Y High Chair checks all my boxes: proper alignment, a footplate, and adjustability so that each child can properly access food on their tray or at the family table.

Kid sit on Abiie Beyond Junior Y High Chair

Ease of cleaning:

As a busy mom in and out of appointments and activities, I have found that the Abiie® Beyond Junior® Y High Chair is easy to clean. The tray cover and cushions are easily removable. In two years of using this highchair daily, I have never encountered a stain or issue with cleaning! I think the ease of cleaning encourages me to let my daughter explore mealtimes more fully— I embrace the mess because I know it doesn’t take much time to rinse off later! My daughter treats mealtimes as a full sensory experience, and that is SO good for her development — to touch, smell, feel, and taste her food without me worrying about a mess. That’s one of several reasons that this highchair can help someone with a diagnosis of Down syndrome to eat and enjoy meals.

Kid Enjoying Abiie Beyond Junior Y High Chair

A place at the table:

Now that my daughter is two, she is joining us for family meals right at the table. The Abiie® Beyond Junior® Y High Chair is truly growing with her. When she eats at the table with us, we take off the tray and push her chair right up to the table. She still has the supportive footplate, and the chair is adjusted so that she sits perfectly at the table to access food as well as be a part of our conversations. The Abiie® Beyond Junior® Y High Chair gives my daughter a place at the table to be a full member of our mealtime routine. She is safe, supported, happy, and included.

Kid Playing on Abiie Beyond Junior Y High Chair

I’m simply tickled pink with this chair. I’ve recommended it for years to families of children with Down syndrome, including families I work with, but seeing how well my own daughter with Down syndrome has done with the support from this chair has really cemented how important and worthwhile of an investment a good highchair is to help a child thrive.

These are some of the many reasons I am thrilled to share my experience here and on @happinessisdownsyndrome, where I, along with other amazing therapists, share therapy content with the Down syndrome community each week! If you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome, check out Happiness is Down Syndrome on Instagram, and be sure to enter the giveaway for your very own highchair generously donated by my friends at Abiie®!