I’m telling the story of how Violet learned to eat (again) in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. The piece went online yesterday, and I’ve already heard from so many families struggling with the full gamut of pediatric feeding issues. I’ll respond individually to as many notes as I can, but I thought it might be helpful if I did a post of some the resources that were most helpful for us, and may help you too.
Advice for Feeding Any Kid:
- Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding is now gospel in my house. It’s both brilliantly simple and sometimes, very hard to execute. (Can you really trust your child to self-regulate when they’re ignoring their entire dinner, or conversely, eating their body weight in grapes?) But whenever I start to waver on something related to feeding, I come back here and find clarity.
My work has appeared in more than 50 national magazines, websites, and newspapers including Elle, Slate, Harper’s and the New York Times Magazine. At the moment, I’m writing a book (called THE EATING INSTINCT, and coming from Henry Holt Books sometime in 2018), about how we learn to eat, and not to eat. If you’d like to learn more about my research, please subscribe to my newsletter, On Eating (And Writing). You’ll get everything that appears on this blog days ahead of everyone else, plus special newsletter-only content about eating, writing, and other fascinating things.
I’ve written about writing this piece before, so I won’t go into all that back story again. But I wanted to share the essay once again, since it’s the last day of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week. Already, since I first published this piece last August, several more states have passed laws requiring the pulse oximetry screening — which is truly terrific news. But it’s still not required in all 50 states. And even states that have the law on the books may be slow to enforce it — as was the case for us. So if you’re a new or expecting parent, it’s worth asking (and then double-checking) to be sure this life-saving test is performed.
Feeding struggles are about so much more than tubes — and unfortunately, these issues all too often go misdiagnosed. Or worse, get classified as “picky eating” and are blamed on bad parenting. Feeding Matters is a great organization that offers a lot of support and resources for families. If you’re concerned about your child’s eating, their Infant & Child Feeding Questionnaire is a great place to start.
In fact, some babies and young children will starve themselves — because eating is too difficult, painful, or traumatizing. And too often, parents face judgment instead of support. For a full list of conditions that can necessitate tube-feeding, check out the Feeding Tube Awareness Association’s list. (So many other good resources there!)