Division of Responsibility: Childhood through Adolescence

Division of Responsibility: Childhood through Adolescence

One of my favorite Ellyn Satter quotes is “when parents do their jobs with feeding, children do their jobs with eating”. It is certainly apparent that infants and toddlers need their parents to play an active role in helping them to form happy relationships with food. But it’s important to remember that older children (even adolescents) still need their parental involvement.

Division of Responsibility: Toddler Feeding

Division of Responsibility: Toddler Feeding

The most predictable thing about toddler eating is that it is unpredictable. Variations in appetite will occur and while there will be days when your toddler only wants to lick, taste, or nibble, there will be other days when the volume of food consumed is unfathomable. Trust that your toddler knows how much to consume at each eating opportunity. 

Division of Responsibility: Infant Feeding

Division of Responsibility: Infant Feeding

Growing Independent Eaters embraces and utilizes the feeding principles developed by Ellyn Satter. We use them because these principles have been validated through research to improve mealtime experiences in the long-term. And that’s what we want for your child: a life-long, happy, trusting, healthy relationship with food. And that kind of long-term success starts by implementing some really important principles, starting in infancy.

Two Types of Pressured Eating – and Why We Should Avoid Them

Two Types of Pressured Eating – and Why We Should Avoid Them

When you reflect on your childhood, do you recall feeling pressured to eat a certain food or meal? For me, it was meatloaf. I instantly knew when I asked my mom what’s for dinner and she said meatloaf, that is was going to be a terrible night.

Questions to Ask a Potential Weaning Program

Questions to Ask a Potential Weaning Program

Regardless of where you are in the process of thinking about weaning, and what your personal family goals are, we thought it might be helpful to look at some of the questions that we think should be asked of every weaning program -- and share our answers.

Growth Expectations: When to Expect Weight Gain Post-Tube-Wean

Growth Expectations: When to Expect Weight Gain Post-Tube-Wean

Weight gain, or the lack thereof, is often the reason that children are put on feeding tubes. And though parents learn to accept a small bit of loss during the weaning process, often the question remains as to when they might see their child begin to gain again post-wean. So let’s see if we might understand what to expect by looking at how orally-eating children typically gain weight.

Should I Switch My Child to a Blended Diet before We Wean?

Should I Switch My Child to a Blended Diet before We Wean?

The do’s and don’ts of pre-weaning can be difficult to assess and navigate. In particular, many families wonder about their child’s tolerance of tube feeds and how they might adjust in order to make the experience more comfortable and conducive to oral intake. Blended diets, in particular, spark curiosity, so let’s take a look at how they might factor into your child’s pre-weaning stage.

Weaning Triggers: What’s Normal and How to Cope

Weaning Triggers: What’s Normal and How to Cope

Parents whose children have struggled similarly to mine often face significant trauma triggers, and sometimes, our response to these triggers can unnecessarily stall the progress we make in weaning our children safely from feeding tubes. The minute we hear a cough or baby cry, the second there’s a gag, cough or hiccup – panic sets in. Because to a medically complex kiddo, every scenario feels like a medical emergency, even if it isn’t.

Swallow Studies: What They Tell Us….And What They Don’t

Swallow Studies: What They Tell Us….And What They Don’t

While swallow studies are a useful piece of the puzzle surrounding whether or not your child is able to swallow food and drink safely, they rarely provide us with an absolute, comprehensive picture of what’s going on during typical mealtimes. So, let’s take a look at how swallow studies are conducted, what kind of insight they provide, and how we ought to interpret their results.

Tubie Siblings – And How NOT to Overlook Them

Tubie Siblings – And How NOT to Overlook Them

When one of your kids is tube-fed or recently weaned, it’s easy to overlook the other kids at your dinner table, or forget that safe and joyful meals are just as important for non-tubies as for tube fed kids. I learned this the hard way – that there are a few things to be aware of when your tubie is not an only child.

Why is My Weaning Child Waking Up at Night?

Why is My Weaning Child Waking Up at Night?

Weaning your child from a feeding tube can be stressful and exhausting for a number of reasons, one being that often, a weaning child can begin to wake up at night, crying for reasons that they can’t quite articulate. And while 3 am is sleepy time – especially for us parents! – there are some good ideas for helping you to get through.

Pre-Weaning Strategies for Toddlers

Pre-Weaning Strategies for Toddlers

Being the parent of a toddler is exceptionally fun and rewarding.  It can also be exhausting. Developmentally, toddlers are learning to be independent people. Having a toddler with a feeding tube brings its own set of challenges. How do we, as loving caregivers, help the toddlers in our lives with tubes get ready to participate in a wean during this sometimes challenging developmental stage?

Improving Your Child's Oral Skills

Improving Your Child's Oral Skills

One of the big questions that comes up as a child becomes more and more driven to eat orally is “How do I get their skills to catch up?” While some kids will need the help of a local feeding therapist to more intensively work on the muscles for biting and chewing, there are some things that we can do to help set our kids up to be successful, as well as help progress their skills for biting and chewing naturally.

What Weaning Looks Like Over the Holidays

What Weaning Looks Like Over the Holidays

I learned how to let go of my anxiety-ridden control tactics, and my daughter found her appetite and learned to eat happily and independently. But that took time, patience, and a lot of help. And looking back, there is one thing that I would tell that tired, frustrated mom who skipped Thanksgiving dessert to cry in the bathroom.

Why Won’t My Tube-Fed Child Eat?

Why Won’t My Tube-Fed Child Eat?

What can feel more devastating than initial placement of the tube is that moment you realize that, even though your child’s medical issues have resolved, the feeding tube remains.  And the question that most often persists at this stage is simple: Why won’t my child just eat?

Tricks and Treats: How Halloween Candy Can Foster Food Play!

Tricks and Treats: How Halloween Candy Can Foster Food Play!

There are so many ways to explore foods – to learn about them and to increase your sensory understanding of them (eventually leading to the sensory experience of eating them). And Halloween provides the perfect opportunity for some messy, candy-filled playtime!

The Eating World of Toddlers

The Eating World of Toddlers

 Unpredictable, but typical, toddler behaviors around food can be stressful for families weaning their tube-fed children. But rather than pulling your hair out, I want to offer a few suggestions for how to navigate the two most typical (yet frustrating) mealtime behaviors that toddlers exhibit.