Paediatric Nutrition – Feeding basics to support the littlest people

Feeding babies, toddlers, children or adolescents can pose many challenges, especially if they have certain conditions or additional needs that can make things more complex.

There are some key areas of health that need to be considered to make sure that the feeding and eating journey is well supported.

Dietitians play a key role in helping paediatric clients and their families along this journey. Below are some of the key points of feeding and eating for paediatric clients, and why they are important:

  1. Breathing – this is important to make sure there is enough oxygen coming in and that it is being used optimally by the body. Without proper breathing, paediatric clients are more prone to becoming fatigued from eating and are more likely to have behavioural changes due to a lack of energy from poor breathing behaviours
  2. Posture – paediatric clients need good postural stability to support proper eating, especially when children are just starting to eat new foods. Proper seating with good support allows children to focus on eating, rather than on trying to keep themselves upright and comfortable. Without good support, paediatric clients will tend to be more squirmy and have less capacity to engage with food at mealtime.
  3. Gut Function – poor gut health creates more dysfunction when children eat. Dietitians can support paediatric clients to manage constipation, diarrhoea, or other unpleasant gut symptoms or food intolerances/allergies to support feeding and eating.
  4. Mealtime Distractions – screens, noises, other people, and lack of routine all contribute to mealtimes that are less regulated. Working with your dietitian to manage mealtime distractions will support the improved development of feeding and eating skills and will improve experiences around food.
  5. Food Progression – working through each stage of the solids introduction can be challenging, especially for eaters with higher needs. Dietitians can provide recommendations around strategies to get through these challenges and progress to the next stage of eating and help you to understand why there might be problems with eating in your little one. Cutlery, plates, bowls and eating skills can also be discussed to improve your child’s skills with feeding and eating.

There are many other considerations for feeding and eating in paediatric clients, and it is important to speak to your dietitian and support team about any other concerns that we can support.

Our dietitian, Caitlin, has a special interest in all aspects of paediatric nutrition and is passionate about working with even the smallest people. Get in touch with the TRS team today to book an appointment with Caitlin for paediatric clients on the Sunshine Coast.