I work with babies, toddlers and children in two ways:
- Helping families to pick their way through the maze of healthy eating advice – there are some straightforward dietary changes that can better support most children’s health, behaviour and development.
- Helping parents to identify the underlying biochemical imbalances that might be affecting their child’s health. Whether this is about behaviour, sleep, mood, energy or digestive upset, I use functional medicine assessment to tailor dietary and lifestyle recommendations to the child’s needs. I can then help parents to make this work in the context of the rest of the family’s diet. Sometimes I help families to coordinate and make sense of the care they receive from the multiple practitioners involved in their child’s wellbeing.
If you’d like to get a glimpse of the difference that dietary changes can make in particular for children with special needs, I recommend the documentary film, The Magic Pill. The film highlights the kind of dietary choices that I use in my clinic.
When health problems gave me no choice but to change my diet, we decided as a family that we should all change the way we eat – particularly as one child had asthma at the time. We changed practically overnight. (I’m an all or nothing person: see my blog post on this here, this approach doesn’t suit everyone!)
It meant that I spent quite a bit of time during those first months on planning, shopping and cooking. There were no more quick and easy supermarket pizzas, ready-battered fish or instant noodles. It wasn’t easy. It meant cooking every day and finding meals that everyone would enjoy. My children were between eight and 17 years old.
I didn’t know at the time that I would go into nutrition as a career but it was as good a preparation as I could get. It means I really, really believe parents when they say they don’t have much time or that they really can’t get their children to eat certain foods. It means I know how hard it can be, but also that there are shortcuts and, potentially, results that make it worthwhile.
My work with families:
I used to work with parents when I ran breastfeeding and parent support groups and I regularly had articles published in parenting newsletters. However, my health coaching and voluntary work with The Public Health Collaboration (a UK initiative to promote real food) took me quickly into working with people with metabolic issues such as diabetes and weight gain. It was only after graduating as a nutritional therapy practitioner that I realised I had a mine of experience with children and parents, as well as with children’s nutrition.
I was increasingly working in the field of brain health and it was clear that nutrition can have a profound effect on the growing brain. I found myself working with children as young as six months old, digging deeper into health problems commonly seen in babies and children – including special needs such as autism – and keeping up-to-date with the latest options available in areas as diverse as milks, supplements and feeding techniques.
I have appeared on a specialist panel for conductive education provider, Naomi’s Garden. You can see their work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/naomisgardenCE/
If you would like to discuss any aspect of children’s nutritional health or how dietary modifications could help your child, please get in touch by booking a free 20-minute call with me using the button below.