Does it make a difference where I feed my child?

If your child is having feeding problems, it is important to look at all the factors involved during mealtimes. The meal setting is one of them.

Feeding Distractions

Many parents try to distract their children during a meal in an attempt to increase the amount of food eaten. Some parents will turn on the TV, sing songs, or read stories to distract the child during the meal. Many of these parents do see an initial increase in eating when using this method. However, volumes typically go back to what they were after a week or two.

Another issue is that the distraction used can cause mealtimes to slow down. Some parents sit for an hour or longer trying to get food in. If this method is backfiring, there are many more from which to choose. The difficult part is breaking your own habit and trying something different.

A different method of distraction is to vary the settings used for feeding. For example, you can have one meal in the backyard, feed them at the park, or bring some food with you while visiting the local children’s museum.

This type of distraction usually works for a longer period of time compared to using the TV or reading stories. This is because the degree of novelty increases when you’re in place that’s away from the usual feeding setting (i.e. inside your home).

Finally, you can make simple changes to where the high chair is positioned. For example, turning the high chair to one side, or moving it to the other side of the room, can positively impact your meals. In fact, for each meal, you can change the position of the chair in your kitchen.

Regardless of the distraction strategy you use, make sure that you don’t keep using the same one if it is not working. The best way to do this is by keeping a feeding log that has a column specifically for “place.”

If none of these strategies work for you, consider feeding therapy to resolve the issue.