Explore This Treatment Program

A toddler, her mother, and four smiling members of her treatment team sit around a table in an exam room.
Dr. Lauren Fiechtner and pediatric nutrition team with a patient

The Pediatric Nutrition Center of Excellence has two distinct clinical services for children with feeding difficulties and overweight and obesity: The Center for Feeding & Nutrition, and Raising Healthy Hearts.

Schedule a Virtual Visit

Our team provides patients with virtual visits using video-based programs over a secure Internet connection to the patient’s desktop computer, laptop or tablet. Virtual visits give our patients and families a direct video link with their pediatric gastroenterologist without having to travel for an appointment. Patients may discuss symptoms and clarify treatment plans from the comfort of their home or another private setting. To arrange a virtual visit, please call 617-726-8705.

Center for Feeding & Nutrition

The Pediatric Nutrition Center of Excellence has two distinct clinical services for children with feeding difficulties and overweight and obesity. 

The Center for Feeding & Nutrition offers multidisciplinary care for children with a variety of feeding difficulties. Families meet with a health-care team that includes a pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition doctor, speech-language pathologist with advanced training in feeding, dietitian, occupational therapist, feeding psychologist, and social worker. We tailor the members of the team to your child and family’s specific needs. The team meets all together with you and your child as we evaluate their feeding skills and then develop a family-centered treatment plan. We also can offer one-on-one feeding therapy on an as-needed basis.

Raising Healthy Hearts

Raising Healthy Hearts is a collaboration between Cardiology, Gastroenterology and Psychology dedicated to getting overweight children to a healthier weight. We use a multi-disciplinary approach and each child will see a clinician, dietitian and health coach. We also offer psychology support. Learn more about the Raising Healthy Hearts program.

Innovative Research

Our active research program focuses on preventing and treating childhood obesity in the community and improving care for patients with feeding difficulties. We also are examining early life diet and antibiotics and its effect on a child’s microbiome (the bacteria in the intestine).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we?

The Center for Feeding & Nutrition consists of:

  • Pediatric Gastroenterologist with specialized training in nutrition
  • Speech-Language Pathologists with advanced training in feeding & swallowing disorders
  • Pediatric Dietitians
  • Occupational Therapists with specialization in sensory processing difficulties
  • Feeding Psychologist
  • Social Worker

What happens at an appointment?

Based on your child’s needs, a few members of our team will meet all together with you and your child.

  • We ask questions about your child’s health and eating
  • We observe your child eat
  • We assess their diet and growth
  • We ensure proper medical evaluation is performed
  • We develop a treatment plan based on your child’s needs

Prior to each appointment, we will ask you to complete a questionnaire about your child’s health and eating and a food log.

Who are the children we serve?

  • Food refusal
  • Dependency on an enteral tube (NG, Gtube, G-J tube, Jtube) and IV nutrition
  • Restricted eating patterns
  • Difficulty with certain textures
  • Food allergies
  • Oral aversion
  • Poor weight gain
  • Down syndrome
  • GI dysmotility
  • Short gut syndrome
  • Premature infants
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Down syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Children with genetic, anatomical, or neurological disorders

Did you know?

  • 1 in 4 children struggle with feeding difficulties
  • 8 out of 10 children with developmental delay struggle with feeding difficulties
  • Research suggests that children with feeding difficulties are best served by a multidisciplinary team, but very few programs such as this program, exist in the country

Patient Resources

The Pediatric Nutrition Center has developed a variety of resources for children with feeding and nutrition disorders and their families. View the full resource list here.

Patient Stories

Ethan's story: Feeding therapy helps preschooler thrive after a rocky start - 3/10/2020, Mass General
Ethan Putnam, now 5, was born premature and received most of his food through a feeding tube. After a host of medical complications and feeding therapy, Ethan has successfully transitioned to eating half of his meals by mouth - and is on track to leave the feeding tube behind.

Grant's story: Toddler rebounds from dangerous feeding disorder - 5/10/2017, Mass General
Discovering why a child can’t or won’t eat often requires medical detective work. For Grant Baker, the puzzle was more complicated than usual. Diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called LADD syndrome that affects his hands, eyes, ears and mouth, Grant has learned to eat solid foods by mouth with the help of an artificial saliva spray.

Grey's story: Feeding team helps little guy develop a big appetite - 1/2/2019, Mass General
Grey Greenough, 2, has always been a little guy, but don’t be fooled – he has learned to have a big appetite, thanks to his dedicated family and the care he received from the Center for Pediatric Feeding and Nutrition at MGHfC.

Lucy’s story: A novel feeding approach helps baby and family thrive - 3/31/2020, Mass General
Lucy Beson developed oral aversion during her first week of life. She was vomiting 15-20 times a day for months. After a few months on a feeding tube and trying a new diet, Lucy is eating at the dinner table with her family, feeding-tube free.

Quinnlyn's story: Feeding team helps picky preemie become a flourishing foodie - 4/18/2019, Mass General
For the first few months of her life, Quinnlyn Fisher relied on a feeding tube. Gagging and vomiting, along with a host of health issues, made feeding a struggle for Quinnlyn, who was born premature at just under 28 weeks. With care and support from her family and care team at the Center for Feeding and Nutrition at MGHfC, Quinnlyn no longer gags or vomits, and relishes in foods full of flavor and color.


Meet the Team

Our Practitioners
Nine members of the Pediatric Nutrition Team pose in an office.
The Pediatric Nutrition Team

Pediatric Gastroenterologists

Lauren Fiechtner, MD, MPH, Director of Nutrition
Victoria Martin, MD, MPH 

Chief of Pediatric Surgery

Allan Goldstein, MD

Speech - Language Pathologists (Specialists in Feeding & Swallowing)

Rebecca Baars, MS,CCC-SLP
Martha Bargmann, MS, CCC-SLP
Cheryl Hersh, MA, CCC-SLP
Lara Hirner, MS, CCC-SLP
Sarah Sally, MS, CCC-SLP
Jessica Sorbo, MS, CCC-SLP

Dietitians

Meaghan Alexander, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC
Jill Israelite, RD, LDN, CNSC, CSP
Taylor Kingston, RD, LDN, CNSC

Occupational Therapist

Sharon P. Serinsky, MS, OTR/L

Feeding Psychologist

Sarah Shea, PhD

Social Worker

Judy Burrows, MSW, LICSW

Fellow

Meg Simione, PhD, CCC-SLP