Well, this is VERY exciting. Let me introduce you to the newest member of the Mealtime Building Blocks team!
Meet the fabulous Lauren Pike, an occupational therapist who works with fussy eating and feeding difficulties! Lauren has worked with kids for the last 8 years, and as an occupational therapist she helps kids to participate fully in daily living and activities. She has heaps of experience with managing sensory processing difficulties, attention/concentration difficulties and regulation. She's also super passionate about helping kids develop skills in self-care and play.
Lauren and I have worked together for years on a community health feeding team. We're incredibly similar in our approach to feeding kids and managing fussy eating. You're going to love her!
You also get to meet her gorgeous little boy Noah- a very busy little 9 month old. Noah is happy and noisy and loves attention from everyone (and according to Lauren, he's pretty good at getting it!).
So, let's get to know Lauren:
Meal plan or wing it?Meal plan definitely- I'm no good at looking at a full fridge/pantry and deciding what to make. I also waste a lot less fruit and veg this way.
Low-fat or full fat dairy? Noah still drinks breastmilk but has full fat cheese and yoghurt.
Peanut butter in the fridge or pantry? Pantry (before I saw this question I didn’t even know the fridge was an option!)
What sort of bread does your family eat most often? I must confess I prefer white bread but I do mix it up with multigrain and wholemeal so that Noah will eat any type.
Which drinks are regularly available in your house?Noah has breastmilk and water.
How old was Noah when first started solids? Noah had his first taste of food at 5 ½ months.
And what were the first 3 foods you introduced him to?His first meal was a lick and a suck of some of our dinner, which was grilled chicken with steamed cauliflower and carrots. It was quite unplanned as only at lunch that day had Noah shown that he was truly ready to start solids. I think it is so important to wait to introduce solids until your child is ready, not just when they reach a certain age (despite how excited I was to start!!)
What is an important thing for you to teach Noah about food? I am trying to give Noah an opportunity to explore food- I want to offer him food that has a variety of tastes and textures so that he is confident with a range of food. At every mealtime I offer him a variety and leave it up to him to select what he eats at that time, so he can manage his appetite without pressure to eat all of what is presented.
Where do you sit for meals or snacks? At home, Noah is always in his highchair (Mocka original) at the table with me and his dad. When we are out at the park we try to have lunch on a picnic rug but Noah is MUCH more interested in playing and will want to crawl off with whatever food he has, dragging it through the dirt!
What time does Noah eat dinner? We still haven't really figured out the best time for Noah to eat dinner- he is usually eating between 4:30-5:30pm depending on when he has woken from a nap and when he is due for bed again.
What’s your child’s favourite meal (at the moment!)? Noah loves roast vegetables (particularly sweet potato) and smoked salmon.
What’s your go-to meal on a busy night? I try to have the freezer filled with meals like scrolls, baked beans and meatballs. But if all else fails, Noah is pretty happy with hummus on a cruskit and cucumber sticks!
What do you try NOT to do when feeding your child? I try not to trick him into eating anything. Noah feeds himself and sometimes it can be hard to watch him eat all the vegetables and leave the meat. I sometimes catch myself thinking, "what if I hid some mince in a ball of avocado?". I have to remember to trust him so he will trust me!
What would you do if Noah refused to eat any dinner? At the moment Noah still has expressed milk with his Dad before bed, so filling him up isn't a worry yet, however I always make sure that there is one thing on his tray that I know he will eat. I find that Noah is more likely to explore the newer or less preferred foods when he has a safe food to have a few bites of in between.
Do you have any phrases that you use commonly at mealtimes?
"Oh God look at the mess!"
But also, "chew chew chew" with some pretty exaggerated chewing by myself! Noah is currently learning to chew his food but will still sometimes do a big swallow or a spit out of unchewed food.
Who does the cooking in your household? Now that I am home during the day, it's me...before Noah came along we shared 50:50!
One piece of good advice about feeding kids that’s been handed on to you, that you’d like to share….
If your child is happy, healthy and growing well, trust them (and yourself) that they are eating what they need. There can be a lot of pressure to feed kids certain things and certain amounts which can make you question yourself...I've definitely experienced this with Noah (even as an experienced feeding therapist!). It took a bit of time for me to reflect on what advice I'd been given in comparison to what I felt was right for Noah and my family.
Stay tuned to get to know more about Lauren. She will be seeing kids and families from July 2017!
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist who works with fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page.