Food is a key feature of a family’s daily routine. Parents think about how to best nourish their child intake from the moment they get up and start the day until the time they are settled in bed. When there are challenges with a child’s intake, it can have a significant impact on the little one’s health, wellbeing, and potential to thrive. It can also place significant stress and strain on their parents and loved ones.

Child nutrition dietitian

Many children can struggle through the learning and developing stages of becoming a competent eater. Some children may struggle with managing certain textures, become fussy with flavours and parents end up with a reduced variety of foods options to offer at mealtimes. This reduced variety can impact on the child’s health, growth, development and it can lead to social anxiety when eating with others and family meal times can become stressful for all. Your child will benefit from healthy eating at every stage of development – from birth, when good nourishment is needed for rapid growth – to teenage years where fuel for growth needs is balanced with the development of health and decision independence.

Our team of paediatric dietitians understand the unique challenges that little ones face when it comes to achieving optimal nutrition. We are passionate about unlocking lifelong eating habits from a young age. Some common reasons parents seek support from our dietitians include:

  • Fussy eating
  • Food refusal
  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Growth concerns
  • Constipation or bowel concerns
  • Micronutrient deficiencies such as Iron deficiency
  • Difficulty introducing solids or progressing through food textures
  • Formula requirements
  • Tube feeding and blendarised feeding diets
  • Weight concerns
  • Special medical conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Lunch box and snack ideas
  • School / Teacher nutrition education workshops
  • Mealtime preparation & meal planning

From years of experience and extensive training in the field, our dietitians are equipped to deliver clinically appropriate and practical advice and support to help a child and their family meet their nutrition goals.

A common reason for referral to our team is fussy eating or food refusal. Many children struggle with the various stages in becoming competent eaters. Some children may struggle with managing different textures, flavours, colours or combinations of food. The urge for “one more bite” or rewards for eating is strong but too often ends up more battles and even less variety of foods eaten. This reduced variety can start to impact a child’s health, growth, and development. It may also impact on a child’s ability to participate in social eating occasions such as family mealtimes, play dates with friends or attendance at school or day care. This is upsetting for both the child and their family.

Our team of paediatric dietitians have additional training and experience supporting children who present as fussy eaters or problem feeders. We take a multidimensional approach to supporting selective eating.

  1. We reassure families by assisting the child is to meet their nutrition needs
  2. We empower parents with support and strategies to take leadership at mealtimes to reduce power struggles and make family eating less chaotic
  3. We support children through a practical, hands-on approach, allowing time and space to learn about and explore new foods

Our team of Paediatric Dietitians are registered NDIS providers and are experienced in the needs of children with complex disabilities. We work collaboratively with a child’s therapy team to support improved outcomes with a focus on improving a child’s quality of life.

Now is the time to introduce life-long healthy eating habits for your child and family. For more information or to make an appointment with one of our dietitians please contact us on 0499 008 451.

Fussy Eaters and Problem Feeders – Food-Play-Eat Program

The ‘Food-Play-Eat’ program, developed by Optimum Intake Dietitians, aims to support children to become competent, confident and courageous eaters. In this 3-month program, you can expect your dietitian will work with you and your child to develop strategies and skills to support your child to feel comfortable and ready to explore new foods and expand their food variety. We teach this using the natural, social reinforcement of playing with the food and interacting with adults.

Your child will learn to:

  • Have positive experiences with food,
  • Interact more freely with foods, with less pressure or encouragement
  • Increase the variety of foods they are willing to try
  • cues to eating,
  • Consume an increased volume of food

You as the parent will experience increased confidence, skills and understanding when feeding your child. You will have the support of your dietitian every step of the way to translate these activities and skills to the home environment.

Who will benefit from our Food-Play-Eat program?

  • A Child who has a low volume of oral intake
  • A Child who has a limited variety of tastes and textures in their diet
  • A Child who has difficulties transitioning to advanced textures
  • A Child who has maladaptive behaviours around eating
  • Families who experience power struggles at meals

The program is structured on a 12 session protocol & includes:

  • Initial Assessment and mealtime/eating development history
  • Home or clinic-based Feeding / meal time baseline competency assessment
  • 8 weeks of Food School Learning: lessons and observations (parent and child).
  • Foods chosen for the home Food School Learning sessions are based on the individual child’s needs
  • Growth measures collected and evaluated where required
  • Referral to other feeding practitioners where indicated (if your child has complex feeding difficulties) such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology and a list of accredited clinicians can be provided to you on request.
  • 12-week final session on feeding / mealtime competency and evaluation

For further information about the program or regarding an appointment, please contact our office on 0499 008 451.