As part of our guest post series for Fearless Foodies, I’m thrilled to have recently met Molly on Instagram, and have her cover some common myths to do with feeding. Those of you who have bought the program will also have the privilege of hearing our audio interview! Molly has a great feed with actionable tips when it comes to feeding babies, toddlers, and fussy children of all ages. Every post I see her write, I think YES! And agree wholeheartedly. So I just had to reach out to her and ask her to contribute to Fearless Foodies. I’ll be linking her Instagram at the bottom of this article, so be sure to follow her!
Before we read up on debunking some of these myths, let’s learn a bit more about Molly:
Molly Dresner is a Speech Language Pathologist and Feeding Therapist based in New York City. She is ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) Certified and trained in the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding. She recently authored The Speech Teacher’s Handbook: A Parent’s Guide to Speech & Language. Her focus is on providing parents with fun and functional suggestions to support their child’s language and feeding development.
I am happy to share some feeding myths with you today! I am trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding, which was developed by Dr. Kay Toomey, PhD. Many of these myths are part of the SOS Approach. If you believe your child is having difficulties during mealtime, please reach out to your pediatrician for names of therapists in your area.
Feeding Myth: Kids Should Not Play With Their Food
Kids learn through play! Playing is a multi-sensory experience that will ultimately lead to increased acceptance of different foods. It allows for little ones to feel, see, hear, and smell their food in a fun & comfortable context before they taste it. It is best to continue to expose your child to food during play, even if they are not ready to taste yet. You can do this through cooking or pretend play.
Feeding Myth: Kids Should Eat 3 Meals Per Day
Kids have much smaller stomachs than their adult counterparts and a limited attention span. The main goal is to have each meal completed in 20 minutes. If your child takes well over 20 minutes to finish his/her meal, then you may need to switch it up to 4+ shorter meals per day.
Feeding Myth: Eating is Instinctive & Easy
Eating is no easy feat! It involves coordination of all of the senses, muscles, and organ systems. Eating is only instinctive in the first 6 months of life! By 6 months of age, eating becomes a learned motor behaviour. It is best to establish a mealtime routine at this point. Children perform best when they know what to expect (i.e. the who, the what, the where, the when, etc.).
Feeding Myth: There are Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Foods
This is purely cultural – for picky eaters, food is food. Use the foods that are most functional for your little one. If your child prefers foods that are typically breakfast foods, is it okay to make them for lunch and dinner as well. We want to focus on the healthiest food options that our little ones prefer, instead of the most appropriate for the meal.
Feeding Myth: Sippy Cups are Great
Ditch the sippy cup! It is much better to use a straw cup or an open cup instead of a sippy. Sippy cups cause an immature swallow pattern, dental issues, open mouth breathing, and a forward tongue position that can interfere with speech sounds. There are many options for straw cups and non-spill cups that mimic a regular open cup (i.e. the 360 cups). You can also introduce a tiny open cup as early as 6-months if your little one is ready. I like to use Dixie cups and plastic shot glasses as intro open cups because they are the perfect size for little hands.
How great were those tips! These feeding myths things that many parents worry about, and I get it, we all want to do the best for our babies. But the good news is (and I hope you agree), that by debunking these myths you can relax a little more with your child’s meal times and enjoy watching your little one learn through food.
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