“Feeding kids is so easy” said no parent ever! Despite what the curated feeds of Instagram influencers might imply, we parents know that feeding our babies and toddlers is the source of way more stress than our former childless selves would ever have anticipated. And I should know! Not only am I the mom of two kids under five, I am also a feeding therapist.
I spend my working hours with parents who are struggling with anything from garden-variety picky eating to children who are fully dependent on feeding tubes for nutrition. There are a lot of enjoyable and rewarding things about my job, but one of the best is looking for products that can support adventurous, enjoyable, and successful mealtimes—a mealtime magic wand, if you like. Many of the products I use in therapy are products any parent can use at home. Today I want to share a b.box must-have that you too can use, to support your child’s eating and drinking development at home.
the b.box product you need, according to a feeding therapist
This is new to me, and folks I am obsessed! I was actually switched onto this product by a savvy parent because sippy cups and straw cups have their time and place and are very handy when you’re out-and-about (or when visiting Great Aunt Edith’s place), and your child asks for a drink while seated on her very expensive white sofa! But when you have the freedom to get messy, giving kids an opportunity to practice with open cups is really important.
A principle that I try to abide by when I work with families is if you want to learn a skill, practice that skill. So, I am a big fan of giving children a small amount of water in an open cup to practice from a young age. For some children, the amount of water that flows into their mouth from an open cup can be overwhelming, so it’s good to have an intermediate step; something that slows the flow but that doesn’t require the same sucking motion that kids use on bottles and straws.
Enter b.box training cup! It is free flow, so no sucking required, but the liquid is funneled through a small channel, so your little learner won’t be coughing and spluttering with a mouth full of water. So, whilst you might think a training cup looks like a cup for a toddler, this is actually another great option for a ‘first cup’ as well. Just remember to stick to water and milk—juice can be a special treat sometimes, but when given regularly, it can reduce your child’s appetite, so they eat less of the yummy, healthy foods you’re providing at mealtimes.
So, there you go! The go-to product you need right now for magical mealtimes with your little people at home. Abracadabra … let’s make mealtime battles disappear!
If you are struggling with mealtimes or eating and drinking skills with your child, a feeding therapist (who might be trained as a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, dietitian, or psychologist) might be able to help. Speak to your child’s pediatrician to find out about therapists in your area.
Dr Katherine Sanchez is a speech pathologist with a special interest in feeding therapy. She co-owns a private speech pathology practice in Melbourne called Protea Therapy where she sees children experiencing difficulties with feeding, speech, or language. Dr Sanchez is also mom to two little boys and spends her days trying to achieve mealtime magic at home as well as at work.