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responsive based feeding approach.


what it is and how we apply it.

responsive feeding.

responsive feeding is an attentive, trust based approach to feeding which is built on the foundational principals of respect, warmth, love, and support.  responsive feeding can be established at birth and applied throughout the lifespan.  responsive feeding therapy focuses on intrinsic motivation to eat rather than making a child eat.

key concepts:

  • understanding and recognizing hunger cues and fullness signs

  • responding promptly to child's needs through nurture and warmth

  • is never intended to be rigid

  • division of responsibility

here's how we practice responsive feeding:

  • focus on a child's current skills and strengths to build confidence

  • identifying intrinsically motivating factors that influence a child's eating including: hunger, satiety, curiosity, connection, comfort, pleasure

  • providing child with support and opportunity, space, and time, to develop new skills through increased opportunity and experiences.
  • supporting other needs that may be impacting feeding such as:  sensory needs, communication needs, medical needs such as GI, medical trauma, nutrition, health.

  • improve caregivers understanding of their role in a child's feeding and educate, empower, and support them to implement new strategies


goals of responsive feeding:

  • create independent, intrinsically motivated eaters

  • develop healthy relationships between child and caregiver

  • develop and foster a child's long term, healthy relationship with food


non-responsive feeding.

non-responsive feeding practices often involve pressure, force, or coercion to get a child to eat. some practices encourage rewards and punishment in an attempt to mold a child's feeding behaviors. 

what's at risk:

  • being pressured into eating can lead to the development of negative associations with food which result in avoidance, defiance, or other perceived "behaviors" around food and mealtime

  • decreased willingness to eat or try food 

  • overeating and overweight due to decreased learning and opportunities to recognize bodies fullness and hunger signals

  • sometimes immediate or quicker changes / results but significant decrease in likelihood of long term, consistent change in feeding habits and abilities

we do NOT support the following:

  • suggesting or adhering to a strict "feeding schedule" due to parental desires and/or medical advice for "weight gain"

  • feeding or touching children without their consent, both verbal and non verbal 

  • shaming or guilting caregivers

  • feeding therapy done with just the child; feeding is a whole family affair and should actively involve the whole family, as well as take place in a variety of settings

Eating Watermelon
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