Walking the Path of PFD

Published by Jaclyn Pederson, MHI on Oct 19, 2023

October holds a special place in my heart. Professionally, it’s the birthdate of the pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) diagnosis in the US (PFD turned two this year!). And personally, it’s the birth month of my two young sons.

While Feeding Matters was the birthplace of PFD, we do not own it. It’s amazing to see how the professional and parent community have taken it and run. And while we do not own PFD, we do serve as PFD’s champions, advocates, and storytellers. We feel an immense responsibility to walk alongside any family during their feeding journey while also improving the system to make that walk a little easier.

Research confirms what families tell us: they tend to find a way to navigate life during and after the initial throes of feeding challenges in the early months of their child’s life. They are shown to hold it together, so to speak, through formula switches, bottle changes, seemingly endless appointments, tubes or no tubes, medications, and more. But something happens around their child’s first birthday. Whether it’s an anxiety filled smash cake session or figuring out how to reduce bottle feeds, a sobering reality often hits families on their PFD journey at this typically joyous milestone.

And this is something I’m keeping in mind as my son George turns one later this month. After 10 years of fighting tirelessly for PFD families, I find myself asking the same questions I’ve listened to other families ask. This last year with my sweet George, my family has navigated an atypical feeding experience. After many bottle and formula switches, tears, and anxiety as we worked through George’s reactions, we introduced solids timidly, with only some success. Now we’re coming up on George’s first birthday.

I don’t know what’s next in November or the months to follow for us. I do know the various paths I’ve seen families go down. I am grateful that we were fortunate to have many resources and early intervention for George. But, I’m keeping every Feeding Matters family on my mind as I walk this road, especially those who don’t have the resources I was fortunate to have. It’s a responsibility I carry for my son, for your family, and for all the professionals who work to give our kids the best care they can.

While every PFD journey is different, I hold this research close to me and will take comfort that I walk on the same path as so many other parents who have come before me and hope it helps me forge a new one for those who come after me.

All the best,

Jaclyn Pederson, MHI
Feeding Matters CEO


Estrem, H., Knafl, K., Thompson, K., & Thoyre, S. (2023, June). Revealing the Complexity of Family Response to Infant Feeding Challenges. Podium presentation at the 16th International Family Nursing Conference, Dublin, Ireland 2023.

Thoyre, S., Knafl, K., Estrem, H., Thompson, K., Cromeens, M. G., & Park, J. (2023, June). How parents of developmentally at-risk infants define “successful feeding” at 1, 6, and 12 months of age. Podium presentation at the 16th International Family Nursing Conference, Dublin, Ireland 2023.

Estrem, H. H., Thoyre, S. M., Knafl, K. A., Pados, B. F., & Van Riper, M. (2018). “It’s a long-term process”: Description of daily family life when a child has a feeding disorder. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 32(4), 340-347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2017.12.002