There is not one single “right” way to feed your child

Weaning & Early Years Nutrition

Feeding children isn’t easy or straightforward despite what others may have you believe but please remember there really isn’t a one size fits all approach or just one way you need or have to go about it!⁣

Over the last 10 years I have seen that nutrition, eating and feeding children fills parents with so many conflicting emotions, from the joy of nurturing with nutrition, food and all of associated positive social and emotional effects, all the way through to the other end of the spectrum; guilt, despair and endless worry.⁣

Feeding your child (from the early days and beyond) is a topic often discussed relentlessly, “are you breastfeeding or formula feeding?”, “When are you weaning?”, “what approach are you taking with weaning?”, “do you let them have?” – it never seems to stop and it is easy for parents to seek the ‘right way’ in a sea of nutrition noise. There are parents who also have some choices removed – think food allergies, tube feeding or complex medical diagnoses.

Common feelings or phrases I hear from parents:⁣

“ I worry that they are not getting enough”⁣

“ Why won’t they eat….”⁣

“ He doesn’t eat the same as…”⁣

“ Should I be giving or excluding….”⁣

“Are they allowed…”⁣

“ Which way is the right way too….wean etc”⁣

“ Is it my fault they…”⁣

“ My [insert family or friend] said I should/shouldn’t…”⁣

“ Is this food/dietary choice ok?”⁣

“ I googled and it said….”⁣

“ I wish they could just…”⁣

Sound familiar???⁣

In fact, one of the reasons I love working as a Paediatric Dietitian is that whilst there are fundamentals that are important when feeding children, each child and their family will do things very slightly differently and that’s ok.

And with that in mind, let 2020 be the year you are kind to yourself and others surrounding feeding choices. Try to avoid falling down the trap of guilt, anxiety or comparison and if you are looking for advice about feeding your child, be wary of those promoting a one size fits all approach and look for professionals who provide information and advice which is not only evidence-based but considerate the different needs of each child & family. ⁣
Remember that you can raise a happy & healthy feeder, even with different roads you can reach the same destination. ❤️

Lucy Upton RD – Dietetic Lead