How A Barium Swallow Study Helps Determine If Your Baby With Down Syndrome Is Aspirating While Eating

Due to the low muscle tone that is common in children diagnosed with Down Syndrome Noah was having difficulty drinking from a bottle, and we were concerned he was aspirating.  We brought him to Baylor Medical Center to have a barium swallow study preformed, which would essentially tell us if everything was going down the right pipe.

The results of the swallow study came back to show no aspiration, and everything was indeed going down the correct pipe (Thank God!) However it did reveal some incoordination with his suck and swallow which led us to begin weekly speech therapy.

Our Childrens Houst at Baylor

We are thankful for this place!

At Noah’s age (3 weeks old!), speech therapy is basically feeding therapy since many of the same muscles involved in talking are used while eating.

In addition to the weekly visits to the speech therapist, we were taught how to use a tool called a Z-Vibe, and given a series of simple, but very effective exercises known as The Beckman Oral Motor Program.  As a result of God connecting us with this great program, Noah’s ability to eat dramatically improved!  We are so thankful for all of the great therapists at Our Children’s House at Baylor!  (We also use them for Noah’s occupational, and physical therapy, and are just as happy with the progress we is making.) We seriously think we have the best pediatric therapists! 🙂

As you can see, Noah didn’t seem to mind the barium!

By the way be sure you check out our post on how to find the best bottle for your baby with Down syndrome.

Noah is having a barium swallow study in Dallas.

This kid is a real trooper!

Has your child ever had to have a barium swallow study preformed? How did it go?

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.


  1. We’re going in for Baker’s Barium Swallow tomorrow. He is 6 months, so a good bit older than Noah was at his. He tends to get choked while feeding, so prayerfully this will lead us to resolving that issue. I’m a little concerned about this procedure. Is there any feedback you can provide or details you can give to help me better prepare my son and myself for this procedure?

  2. It’s fascinating to learn that speech therapy can begin before oral language is necessarily present. I never would have considered that but it makes a lot of sense. I’m glad you were able to learn that all was well in addition to getting a headstart on something that could have presented itself later!

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