family meals

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bonding with Your Tube-Fed Baby

Bonding with Your Tube-Fed Baby

Losing the ability to feed your baby, whether you had planned nursing or snuggling with a bottle, is heartbreakingly hard. However, we can still bond and share togetherness around feeding – by broadening the definition of “feeding” to “proving nutrition so our baby can thrive.”

“But what if it doesn’t work?” Coping with the Fear of a Failed Wean

“But what if it doesn’t work?”  Coping with the Fear of a Failed Wean

When starting a wean, there are so many questions. One of the recurring fears that I discuss with parents is: What if this doesn’t work, where do we go from here? When tackling this answer, it’s really important to back up a step and to start with another question: How do we define success and “working”?

All Words Matter

All Words Matter

So often I hear loving and well-intended caregivers using phrases like 'I was able to,' or how do I 'get it into them' (referring to food, utensils, or oral motor therapy tools getting into children). How do I 'get them to open their mouths' so I can 'do x to them.' I hear meals described as feeds, sessions, therapy, or exercises. Lots of words that describe doing things TO our kids.

Gimmicks and Gadgets

Gimmicks and Gadgets

Every caregiver I’ve encountered has travelled down what I like to call the “weaning worry spiral.” And we travel it because weaning can trigger incredible stress – stress that leads us to try anything and everything to just get our kids to take one, big bite! 

Understanding the "Picky Eater"

Understanding the "Picky Eater"

As a kid, I was the designated “picky eater” of the family. Every family has one, and we all know who they are. My mother would often introduce me to new people as “her picky eater” and the one “whose best vegetables are ketchup and pumpkin pie.” I would slink off with the kids, doing my best to disappear until the inevitable dinner bell rung and I'd have to endure the humiliation of being the picky eater in front of strangers.    

Weaning and Whining: What to Expect from a Weaning Toddler

Weaning and Whining: What to Expect from a Weaning Toddler

Weaning is a long, hard, and exciting journey for everyone, but is possibly truest for families working to wean their toddlers: children gaining newfound independence in all ways, but especially with food. This independence likely comes with behaviors such as refusal, pickiness, short attention spans at the table, tantrums for no apparent reason, and possible plate throwing.

How to Foster a Safe Eating Dynamic for Your Weaning Child

How to Foster a Safe Eating Dynamic for Your Weaning Child

A safe eating dynamic is one in which no one feels pressured, neither caregivers nor kids. There is room to explore food, to enjoy it, to be heard and respected when you say "no thanks" and when you say "yes, please." In a safe dynamic, your eating is not the focus of people’s attention, and no one is trying to impose any agenda beyond having a relaxed meal.