As parents, we have two main jobs with feeding: –
a. Provide food reliably within the right emotional framework which encourages and allows children to eat and enjoy variety of food according to their bodies’ needs with no pressure from their parents.
My coaching and courses help with how to structure meals, deal with overeating/undereating, ending picky eating and teaches how to stop cooking different meals for each family member. We will learn what’s your job and what’s your child’s job when it comes to eating and how to not get confused.
b. Provide life-long healthy eating habits to all kinds of foods including ‘junk food’.
When our children are young, we have control over what they eat. As they get older – go to playschool – we have slightly less control. As they grow, and reach primary school, we have less control. We can pack the most healthy lunch, but our children can swop it, throw it away, or buy food from the tuckshop.
Then comes parties, arrangements and after-school activities. We have no control over what they eat at these times. Therefore, our job is to equip them with a balanced relationship to ‘junk food’ so they don’t overeat when they do get it, beg for it, or become obsessed with it. This method teaches ingenious strategies to achieve this and remove all stress around it.
The goal to work towards is ‘Normal Eating’ or what is know as children with eating competence (as per Ellyn Satter’s CE model).
a. Feel good about eating and have the drive to eat.
b. Naturally eat as much as they need and grow in the way that is right for them.
c. Show us how to feed them as they grow and develop.
d. Learn to eat the food their parents eat.
e. Enjoy family meals and learn to behave well at mealtime.
This deals with any combination of the following common challenges parents confront on a daily basis: –
- Overeating / overweight / fear that child will become overweight
- Fear that your child is eating out of boredom or anxiety and how to handle it
- Under-eating/ underweight children
- Picky Eating e.g. Won’t try new foods, demands the same foods every day, or won’t eat a certain food group
- Begging, bribing, coercing with food or child has to be forced to eat certain foods
- Doesn’t eat at meals and demands snacks all day
- Obsessed with junk food, overeats junk food when gets a chance, begs for junk food
No. I am not a registered dietician or nutritionist. We will briefly discuss the importance of balanced meals as part of your responsibility, but the focus of this is creating a healthy positive relationship to feeding (for you) and eating (for your children).
When this is accomplished, children will naturally eat the right amount of what their body needs over time. The goal is to understand without judgement the causes of undereating, overeating, pressure, anxiety, tension, power struggles, negotiation around feeding and eating. We will then to learn practical tools on how to create the right environment for your child’s physical health and emotional relationship to food and eating to flourish.
We live in a world where there is an over-abundance of information of what we should eat and not eat, as well as what we should not feed our children and should feed our children.
There is almost no information and guidelines on creating a healthy FEEDING DYNAMIC. This healthy eating dynamic incorporates a trusting, calm and relaxed approach to feeding; and allows for a positive lifelong relationship to eating and one’s body to develop.
When a positive feeding dynamic is in place, your child will reach their optimal nutrition.
I work with registered dieticians whose practice is aligned with sDOR, Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size (HAES) and can refer you to them for further nutritional guidance if and when required.
Successful feeding, and eating on the child’s part, requires a vast array of skills. Oral motor abilities (such as sucking, chewing and swallowing) and sensory abilities are the foundations of successful feeding. Meaning if your child can’t chew or swallow or has sensory challenges, that’s the first point of call to address.
However, the feeding challenges which result from these delays or areas of weakness often lead to counteractive feeding measures such as increasing pressure, forcing, bribing and the likes. This compounds the negative dynamic, and even when these issues are resolved, can result in ongoing feeding battles.
I am not a qualified speech therapist, occupational therapist or physical therapist. If I suspect (based on guidelines from relevant health professionals) any oral-motor or sensory difficulties, I will then refer you first to a medical professional (an OT or Speech Therapist) for assessment and treatment. I have a network of highly-skilled therapists who specialize in diagnosing and treating such cases clinically. I can then support you in developing healthy and positive feeding behaviors alongside or after the treatment, which will enable you to create a positive feeding dynamic.
If you are a medical health professional and would like to find out more about my work, as well as develop a working relationship with me, I am always looking to grow my referral base across Gauteng. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Absolutely. Feeding our children and their weight is a very evocative issue for all mothers (and fathers) and brings up a lot of deep-seated anxiety and fears. The wonderful thing is that by being conscious and learning this method, you can empower your entire family to have a different association with food and eating.
Wherever you are at in your inner journey with food and body image, you will gain an enormous amount of learning and growing with and from your children in this journey. Implementing this method when your children are young is much easier than trying to change as adults and it is so gratifying to give our children a different paradigm. Should you choose to explore your own relationship with food and weight after the course, I can refer you to the professionals I work with in the field and/or online materials and books.
Yes! However, it is s a process and takes time and patience. How long it takes depends on the age of the child/ren, how restrictive/ permissive you have been up until now, and your ability to implementing the given strategies.
Generally, within a few weeks you will see changes and by three months the dynamic will have shift remarkably. You will progress, and then may fall back into old patterns. It is a lifelong journey of awareness but with these tools, you will be equipped to make mindful choices and your entire understanding of your job when it comes to feeding will be transformed.
Success is not determined by what your child eats, but around how your child feels around food and mealtimes. We aim for signs that a child self-regulates, has no anxiety around food (e.g. isn’t afraid of new foods or stops overeating restricted foods) and eats ‘normally’ over time.
The Feeding Coach is not a qualified medical professional nor a mental health professional. Any and all advice, information or services from the Feeding Coach do not intend to replace nor override any medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. The Feeding Coach focuses on the feeding relationship, and creating attitudes and behaviors which support a child’s ability to eat and grow according to their body. Should I see the need for additional support, I can refer you to professionals in this field who I work with.