Advancing Feeding Matters: A Report from Dublin and London

Published by Jaclyn Pederson, MHI on Jul 13, 2023

Greetings, Feeding Matters Community! It’s with great pleasure that I bring you an exciting update on the summer awareness travels of the Feeding Matters team. As Feeding Matters’ CEO, I had the privilege of attending the International Family Nurses Conference alongside our Program Manager, Heidi Van der Molen. Our mission to raise awareness and enhance support for families facing pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) took center stage as we engaged with esteemed professionals, discussed key concerns, and explored opportunities for collaboration.

Hayley Estrem, PhD, RN; Heidi Van der Molen; Jaclyn Pederson, MHI at the International Family Nurses Conference

Feeding Matters’ Power of Two: Empowering Parents, Transforming Lives
During the International Family Nurses Conference in Dublin, Heidi and I had the honor of presenting on Feeding Matters’ “Power of Two” program. We shed light on the incredible impact of parent-to-parent support in the PFD community, emphasizing the significant role it plays in helping families navigate their feeding concerns. By sharing personal stories, challenges, and triumphs, we showcased the power of connections, empathy, and knowledge exchange in transforming lives. It was truly inspiring to witness the positive response and engagement from healthcare professionals and fellow attendees. If you are interested in sharing this program with your families or participating as a family member yourself, please visit our family support roadmap to learn more.

Heidi Van der Molen (left) and Jaclyn Pederson (right) presented at the International Family Nurses Conference in Dublin

Addressing Top Feeding Concerns: A Pathway to Support
As part of our presentation in Dublin, we highlighted the “top feeding concerns” that parents often encounter when they find Feeding Matters. By understanding these concerns, we aimed to equip healthcare providers and families with valuable insights into common challenges faced by children with PFD and the struggles that families often face as they work to ensure their children are growing. By sharing our expertise, resources, and evidence-based strategies, we are committed to nurturing a supportive environment that fosters positive outcomes for children with PFD.

Leading the Way with Research and Tools
Feeding Matters’ dedication to research and the development of practical tools was also showcased through our poster presentations at the conference. One poster focused on our comprehensive Feeding Matters family guide, a valuable resource for families seeking guidance on managing PFD. The family guide, available here, is a great tool to any parent on the PFD journey. The second poster highlighted our Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire and the research to identify 6 questions to facilitate early identification of PFD. These initiatives demonstrate our commitment to bridging the gap between research and practice, ensuring that families receive the support they need.

Heidi Van der Molen with Feeding Matters poster on the Family Guide to PFD

Collaboration and Advocacy on an International Scale
In addition to the informative sessions, we had the opportunity to connect with various partners, potential collaborators, and researchers from around the world. Engaging in insightful discussions, we explored ways to advance the field of pediatric feeding disorder and promote early intervention strategies. Notably, I had a productive meeting with Natalie Morris, the Founder and CEO of the Feeding Trust in London. Our discussion focused on the growing challenges related to Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and PFD in the UK. Together, we aim to enhance awareness, understanding, and pathways for assessment and treatment in the medical professional community and families alike.

Natalie Morris, CEO & Founder of The Feeding Trust (left) and Jaclyn Pederson, CEO of Feeding Matters (right)

Looking Ahead: Our Commitment to Progress
As we reflect on the events in Dublin and London, it’s evident that Feeding Matters is playing a pivotal role in raising awareness and fostering change within the PFD community. But we know that we are not the only ones. We have been excited and grateful as we’ve seen a huge increase in presentations about PFD at major conferences across the country and world. Together, we can continue making strides towards a future where every child has the opportunity to thrive.

Feeding Matters’ journey to Dublin and London has been a great chance to talk about PFD, build partnerships, and focus on collaboration and research. Through our impactful presentations, informative posters, and meaningful conversations, we have expanded our network, shared our expertise, and advocated for improved support systems for families facing pediatric feeding disorder. As we move forward, we are more determined than ever to drive positive change, empower parents, and advance the field of PFD so that all children with PFD will thrive.