It’s getting kids to eat what parents serve that causes so many problems.

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DINA ROSE, PhD is a sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert empowering parents to raise kids who eat right.
Links

Dinner Together Building Healthy Families One Meal at a Time.

Food Politics Marion Nestle's intelligent take on the politics of food and nutrition.

Fooducate Like Having a Dietician on Speed dial.

Hoboken Family Alliance A terrific resource for people living in the great city of Hoboken, NJ.

The Lunch Tray Everything you need to know about improving school lunches.

Parent Hacks Forehead-Smackingly Smart Tips

Raise Healthy Eaters One of the best blogs (other than my own) for learning to raise healthy eaters.

Real Mom Nutrition Tales from the Trenches. Advice for the Real World. From a mom-nutritionist who knows!

Stay and Play The best indoor playspace on the East Coast. Oh yeah, and it happens to be owned by my brother.

weelicious Great Recipes for Kids 

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Wednesday
Jul082009

My child only eats Cheerios and Puffs: When to seek medical help.

I recently wrote about a woman whose 1-year-old daughter fusses if she is given anything other than puffs, Cheerios and other crunchy snacks to eat. I gave her a 5-point plan for correcting this problem from a behavioral perspective.  But what if your child has a puffs or Cheerios fixation because she has a problem chewing or swallowing?

The mechanics of eating are actually fairly complicated and there are lots of things that can go wrong.  If you have a child who prefers one kind of texture over another, seems to have trouble chewing foods, or in any other way indicates that there may be a problem and you should have an evaluation done. 

But where should you go?  According to Kay Toomey, PhD, pediatric feeding specialist and creator of the SOS Approach to Feeding program, as much as our children's doctors want to help, many physicians are not specifically trained to identify the many oral-motor, sensory, postural stability and/or developmental problems which can interfere with a child eating well.  

If you are worried that your child may have a physical or developmental problem, start by talking to your child’s doctor to rule out any larger medical issues that might be causing your child’s feeding problems.  Then, see a feeding specialist for a consultation.

Either ask your pediatrician for a referral to a feeding specialist or find one near you by searching online.  The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has information about feeding and swallowing disorders (known as dysphagia) and listings of therapists by city/state. 

In some states you might need to contact an occupational therapist instead of a speech pathologist.  A good place to start getting information is the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), although it doesn’t look like they have an online search function.

If it turns out your child has a physical problem eating, therapy will sort it out.  And if you get an evaluation and it turns out your child handles the mechanics of eating just fine, then you can return to behavioral techniques.  Either way, you’ll have a lot more information to address the problem.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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