Eve Reed is a paediatric dietitian in Sydney.
You know the scene. You’re at a networking event, a school play, or any other social or professional occasion and someone asks you, “What do you do?”
Like most of us, I do lots of different things, but usually what this means is, “What work do you do?”
When I tell people that I work as a paediatric dietitian, the next question often is, “What sort of clients do you see?”
It made me think about a concise answer – what can a paediatric dietitian do for you and your child? Here’s what I came up with.
What I Do as a Paediatric Dietitian
1. Help with starting solids
Paediatric dietitians can help with the when, what, and how of introducing solid foods into the diet of a young child. As well, we can give you practical advice about preparing your baby’s food, and support and knowledge on how to progress to age-appropriate foods.
2. Give practical advice about your child’s diet
It is common for paediatric dietitians to thoroughly assess a child’s diet and growth to see if they are meeting their nutritional needs. We can then give specific advice for your child.
3. Support children who are over- or underweight
We do a thorough assessment of your child’s weight in relation to their age, height and look at their rate of weight gain since birth. Once their growth has been assessed, we would look at what, where and when the child is eating. We would then work with parents to come up with a plan for changes to nutrition as necessary.
4. Help uncover food allergies and intolerances
Food allergies and intolerances are difficult to test for, even with blood tests. If your child has chronic symptoms such as eczema, runny nose, ear infections, diarrhoea, or constipation, a food allergy or intolerance may be contributing. A dietitian can guide you through an elimination process which excludes certain foods as well as making sure that the child’s diet is balanced.
5. Help with gastrointestinal symptoms such as reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and stomach aches
Often these symptoms can be improved by making dietary changes. Paediatric dietitians are also trained to manage other gastrointestinal conditions such as coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease.
6. Help with fussy eaters
Not only can we provide information on what to feed your child, we can also help with the behavioural aspects of feeding your fussy eater so that mealtimes can be a pleasant experience instead of a battlefield.
7. Manage the nutritional care of children with special healthcare needs
Paediatric dietitians have the knowledge and skills to provide appropriate nutrition for children with a range of medical conditions, such as Down Syndrome, cardiac issues, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, trauma, chronic respiratory issues, tube feedings, and more.
If you (or your child’s paediatrician or GP) have concerns related to your child’s nutrition, growth, or feeding, contact us at any time on 02 94374752 or send an online enquiry.