I co-authored the first book on pediatric feeding and yet today, I am busier than ever reading, taking continuing education classes, finding new research, and listening to podcasts. I also find myself following new Instagram and Facebook accounts and having conversations with those who have lived experiences.
Sometimes the new learning compliments and expands my beliefs about feeding and sometimes these voices challenge me to rethink what I have “always done.” This learning has enabled me to pivot and go in new, more sensitive, more effective directions in my work with children and families.
I was around in the beginning of the pediatric feeding movement in the US. Suzanne Evans Morris and I co-authored Pre-feeding Skills in 1986,. by the research she had done on the development of oral motor skills in children. Our knowledge has grown and expanded as we have learned more about oral motor skills and swallowing. As a profession, we have learned more about the medical influences on feeding because we KNOW children who do not feel well often cannot, or do not want to eat. We continue to learn from gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists, pediatricians, dentists, allergists, geneticists and others. We learn more and more about sensory processing and mealtime learning and, as a profession, have tried many different ways to support children and families.
Today, our field of pediatric feeding is expanding at a rapid pace.
There is so much more to learn about new feeding research, family-centered care, newer medical and genetic influences on feeding, neurodiversity and neurodiversity- affirming care, trauma and trauma- informed care, neuroscience, attachment, relationship and connection, PFD (Pediatric Feeding Disorder), ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) , sensory processing and regulation, interoception, and multidisciplinary collaboration. It is an exciting time to be interested in pediatric feeding.
Let us celebrate learning and have the courage to adapt our strategies as we learn more!