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Feeding Disorders Program

Contact number | 202-476-3032

The Feeding Disorders Program at Children’s National Hospital evaluates and treats children and adolescents who have a variety of feeding difficulties that impact their daily lives. Children seen by the program may include those who have:

  • Poor appetite/poor intake
  • Difficulty regulating their own intake
  • Failure to thrive/poor weight gain due to poor eating
  • Food selectivity
  • Unable to advance onto age-appropriate foods
  • Gagging on foods
  • Avoiding foods following a traumatic event
  • Unable to wean off their tube feedings
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • Medical or developmental issues that impact feeding

We do not see children or adolescents with suspected eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia – they are treated in the Children’s National Eating Disorders Program. We also do not see children with obesity as a primary concern, as they are treated in the Children’s National Obesity Program.    

Evaluating Your Child for a Feeding Disorder

The Feeding Disorders Program is comprised of a team of specialists from gastroenterology, nutrition and psychiatry, with consultants from occupational therapy and speech therapy.

To evaluate your child for a feeding disorder, your child will have an initial appointment will be conducted with our coordinators who are also nurse practitioners in gastroenterology and nutrition. The coordinator will assess your child’s feeding concern, take a comprehensive feeding, nutrition and medical history of your child, and review growth records, food records and medical tests. They will determine if your child needs to be seen by other members of the team and whether any further medical work-up needs to be done. A feeding will not be observed at the initial appointment.

If the coordinator recommends that your child return for a full evaluation with the entire team or any individuals on the team, it will include an observation of feeding and occur on a later date.  

Scheduling an Appointment

To request an appointment for a feeding disorders assessment, please call the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition scheduling line at 202-476-3032.

Preparing for Your Visit

On the day of your initial appointment, please bring with you:

  • A three (3)-day food record where you write down everything your child eats and drinks for three (3) days in a row
  • A copy of your child’s growth chart (can be obtained from your pediatrician)
  • Any pertinent medical records (blood tests, x-rays, endoscopic tests)
  • A referral for gastroenterology, if required by your insurance

Feeding Disorders Program Team

  • Laura McWade Paez

    Laura McWade Paez
    Coordinator, Feeding Disorders Program
    Nurse Practitioner

  • Children's National Hospital

    Megan Calvert
    Nurse Practitioner
    Specialist, Feeding Disorder Program

  • Lori Stern

    Lori Stern
    Nurse Practitioner
    Specialist, Feeding Disorder Program

  • Irene Chatoor

    Irene Chatoor
    Psychiatric Director, Feeding Disorders Program