Updated: Mar 17, 2020
We are pediatric Occupational Therapists and we started Feeders and Growers with a mission to change how medical professionals are educated in pediatric feeding & eating. We were driven by the knowledge that there were more thoughtful and functional ways to approach this topic than what was commonly available. We quickly grew to encompass education for parents as well.
We remain as dedicate as ever to this mission- to creating and sharing high quality, research based information about feeding and eating issues in infancy and childhood, though we are moving towards doing this in larger part in within an online community moving forward.
We have 4 core beliefs that drive our approach and create the foundation of what we do. These core beliefs distinguish us from other feeding therapists and professionals who teach on this topic.
CORE BELIEF 1: CONNECTION AND LOVE- These are arguably the most essential components of feeding. We believe connection, not nutrition should be at the center of all feeding experiences with infants and young children. We believe kids and adults remain highly motivated by connection to do challenging things and often learning to taste and eat new food is one of those challenging activities.
CORE BELIEF 2: EXPLORATION & DISCOVERY Learning to eat is exactly that- learning. This belief, that these are skills to be learned and developed over time, is consistent with a "growth mindset" (Carol Dweck). We recognize that our best chances to learn occur when we are calm, feeling good, and in a supportive context with someone we trust and love. Our brains are their most open to learning through exploration in this state and less so when stressed, anxious, defensive, scared. Of specific importance, there is a phase usually between 6 and 18 months where babies are incredibly driven to explore with their hands and mouth. During this phase mostly we just need to get out of a child's way and let them explore while we observe. This is one reason why we are such advocates for a "baby led, whole foods" approach to early feeding.
CORE BELIEF 3: HABITS AND ROUTINES We believe mealtime habit and routines are one of the most powerful elements of mealtimes with kids. As Feeders we lay the foundations of mealtime for our family. This includes when, where, and what we eat. It also includes how we interact during meals, whether or not we listen to our bodies, and the way we explore unfamiliar foods. Our habits and routines are unique to us -family and culturally specific.
CORE BELIEF 4: MEANING AND CELEBRATION Mealtimes: at their best-celebrations, events that bring us joy, consistency, belonging. Simple evenings at home, chaotic birthday parties at a restaurant, or rushed snacks on the go, these events are often filled with meaning and value but also a simple sense of normalcy even in the mundane. The experiences are unique to our own family and culture though also deeply common place to all of humanity. Meals and food are the cornerstones of many of the most special events in our life. Feeders and Growers believes that the ability to engage in memory making through food is an important part of life.