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Feeding Program

There’s no place like CHOC Children’s Multidisciplinary Feeding Program. Started in 2003, the program is one of a handful of specialty feeding programs in the United States to offer comprehensive outpatient consultations as well as an intensive inpatient program that provides children and their caregivers with the confidence, skills and tools needed to make meal time a happy part of everyday life.

Children who undergo evaluation and treatment at CHOC for feeding problems and disorders have typically failed outpatient feeding therapy and have either a G-Tube (feeding tube) or are at risk for G-Tube placement. Patients can have a range of medical problems, as well as developmental problems, including cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, seizure disorders, genetic disorders, oral motor dysfunction, short-bowel syndrome, food allergies or were premature at birth. Children may also refuse to eat many foods or have difficult behaviors that make mealtimes a struggle. Learn more about the children we treat.

Girl Eating Hamburger, CHOC Feeding Program

Comprehensive Outpatient Feeding Evaluations

The Multidisciplinary Feeding Program offers two-hour comprehensive outpatient evaluations. During an evaluation, our team of experts evaluates the child’s current medical status, feeding skills and parent-child relationship around eating. At the end of the evaluation, the family is given specific recommendations to help the child progress in their feeding abilities, and some children may be recommended to attend our 19-day inpatient feeding program. Learn more about what to expect at an outpatient feeding evaluation.

Individualized Inpatient Care

At CHOC Children’s, we are dedicated to providing the very best patient- and family-centered care. The goal of our 19-day inpatient feeding program is to not only teach children how to eat, but to help them and their families enjoy the mealtime experience. As part of this effort, our team is dedicated to providing patients and families with a supportive, compassionate treatment experience. The parent and child work together throughout treatment and are provided gentle encouragement and therapeutic strategies that will forever change their mealtime routines. Our goal is to advance each child’s feeding skills while also improving the relationships within the family that can often become strained from past difficult mealtime experiences. Inpatient treatment includes structured mealtimes, intensive daily sessions with feeding therapists and a psychologist, supportive sessions with a social worker and child life specialists, ongoing medical and nutritional monitoring, and weekly family conferences with the child’s entire care team. Learn more about what to expect at the inpatient CHOC Children’s Multidisciplinary Feeding Program.


The Multidisciplinary Feeding Program at CHOC Children’s is intended to be a “first treatment” for feeding difficulties and is typically recommended after a child has received but not recovered through outpatient therapy. Children can be referred by a physician, feeding therapist or may be self-referred by a legal guardian. Referrals are accepted through email at feedingprogram@choc.org or by phone at (714)-509-4884. Learn more about the referral and eligibility process.

Pacer's Story

CHOC patient Pacer was only able to eat 5% of his nutrition by mouth and had been fed by a feeding tube for most of his life. A group of dedicated professionals led by Dr. Mitchell Katz, Medical Director of the CHOC Gastroenterology & Nutrition Program all worked together so one little boy could learn to eat. For the first time in 3 years, Pacer was able to eat with his family. Watch this video created by Pacer’s parents that describes their journey.

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UC Irvine

CHOC Children's is affiliated with the UC Irvine School of Medicine