Feeding Program

There’s no place like CHOC 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.

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, 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 Multidisciplinary Feeding Program.


The Multidisciplinary Feeding Program at CHOC 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

Before coming to CHOC, Pacer Lybbert had never eaten a Cheerio, a piece of toast or even spoonful of yogurt. He was almost 4 and had never enjoyed birthday cake, Halloween candy or a Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Since birth, Pacer had received almost all of his nutrition through a feeding tube.

His parents Quinn and Mekell had resigned themselves to the possibility that Pacer would need a feeding tube for life. Then, they met a little boy near their new home in Montana who had been successfully treated for a similar problem at the CHOC Multidisciplinary Feeding Program.

A Palatable Solution For Feeding Disorders

Technician monitoring patient and nutritionist session

The Multidisciplinary Feeding Program at CHOC, which receives referrals from throughout the country, has grown and recently moved its treatment space to the third floor of the CHOC North Tower. The expanded space includes two feeding therapy treatment rooms, plus a central area equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, where families and staff may remotely watch therapy sessions in real time.