Feature : Our Children’s Feeding Clinic

“We see families who have lost hope that their child will ever be able to eat regular meals and enjoy mealtimes”

Did you know that we run a specialised Children’s clinic, designed to help children and families with mealtimes? We speak to our Children’s team about what the ‘Feeding Clinic’ is and how we tackle a number of eating issues from the perspective of different clinicians.

What type of Children do you see at the clinic?

Families who see us at the feeding clinic usually have concerns about:

• A limited food range or increasing refusal to eat
• Anxiety and behavioral issues related to eating
• Avoidance of certain food textures and groups and
• Difficulty managing foods or drinks

What ages are the children who come to your clinic?

We know that meal times can be a challenge for children of all ages. We can see infants from 6 months of age who are transitioning to solids, through to children up to 8 years old.

How do I know if this clinic is right for my child?

We can help children who experience a range of feeding difficulties, including:

• Problems with transitioning from milk to solid foods
• Difficulty tolerating new and different food textures
• Only accepting a limited range of foods (usually less than 20 different foods)
• Mealtimes have become stressful and a challenge for all of the family
• Tantrums, meltdowns and complete refusal to try new foods are a regular thing

And:

When some or all of the above issues have resulted in several foods being dropped from your child’s diet, resulting in a decreased variety of foods being offered long term.

What would make this clinic not suitable for my child? And who do you recommend I see instead?

1. Weight and Growth Issues: When your main concern is related to your child’s nutrition, low growth rate (weight and height), weight loss or gut concerns.
=We recommend you see our Children’s Dietetics team first.

2. Disability or Conditions: If your child has a disability or more complex medical needs, then this clinic may not be the right fit.

=We can help provide you with the contacts you may need to book your child in to a clinic that best meets their needs for ongoing support.

3. Milk Feeding: For young infants experiencing feeding difficulties relating to breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
=We recommend you speak to your Maternal Child Health Nurse and/or a Lactation Consultant.

Who would my child be seeing at the Feeding Clinic?

Every child is different. As a part of the feeding clinic service your child can be seen by a range of clinicians, including our Paedaitric team of Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Dietitians as well as our Child Psychologist.

What would be involved in my first appointment?

• An initial feeding assessment will be held with a combination of the above clinicians, tailored to the particular needs of your family and child
• As a part of this program, you will be provided with information and a plan on the steps to improve your child’s feeding issues
• This may involve follow up appointments with the same, or other clinicians.

What’s different about this clinic?

‘We see families who have lost hope that their child will ever be able to eat regular meals and enjoy mealtimes. For some parents, worrying about their child’s eating habits can consume their lives.

This clinic is a starting point towards more enjoyable mealtimes. We provide strategies and education tailored to your child’s needs, it’s not a one size fits all approach’

–Anne Netherway, Feeding Clinic Dietitian

How do I book in and what do I pay?

•Your payment for this service may be at a reduced rate, depending on your health care card status. Fees can be discussed in more detail when you book in your initial appointment
• Please call 03 9890 2220 or drop us a line to find out more.