Nutrition is the foundation for growth and development. Whether an infant or child eats by mouth or through a feeding tube, good nutrition allows children to thrive. It directly affects a child’s brain activity and capabilities, fine and gross motor skill development, and overall health and wellness.
Who Can Help Assess And Treat
A registered dietitian (RD) is the most qualified specialist to address growth and nutritional needs. Some RDs call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are RDs. RDs are food and nutrition experts who have earned a bachelor’s degree; completed an accredited, supervised practice program; passed a national board examination, and attended continuing education courses to maintain their licensing. To find a registered dietitian in your area, visit Feeding Matters’ Provider Directory or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
What They Do
- Assess a child’s diet to determine if the child is taking the nutrients he or she needs (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, fluids, calories, etc.)
- Work with a feeding therapist (speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist) to find nutritional food that the child has the skills to eat
- Work with a physician to create a well-tolerated diet, which could include a wide range of formulas and/or a homemade blenderized diet (allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis etc.)
- Incorporate the family’s lifestyle and religious beliefs into the diet (vegetarian, soy, pork, etc.)