Hi there! My name is Jennifer Meyer and I’m a Feeding Specialist. On airplanes I answer the invariable, “What do you do?” question with “I help people eat and teach other people how to do it too.” To this day, no one has ever given the polite “Hmm, that’s nice” as they quickly go back to their paper. EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, lights up and says, “REALLY?? HOW COOL!!” And they’re right, it is! I’ve always loved eating. Some of my earliest memories, both good and bad, have to do with food. I grew up in the Midwest and whenever I got sick or the weather was really cold, or sometimes just for fun, my mom would make me CoCo Wheats. (That’s chocolate-flavored cream of wheat to you folks from somewhere else.) I had this ritual. First of all, mom made it with milk, not water like the box said. Then I would always add 2 heaping spoonfuls of sugar (and yes I DO still have all my teeth!) and swirl it into the CoCo Wheats leaving this cool little trail, before adding a little bit of cold milk to cool it down enough to eat. Just the smell of it calms and comforts me. It means HOME.
What foods do YOU get excited about? What do you want to eat on your birthday? What foods mean “Home” to you? I bet everyone of you thought of something and smiled.
Let me ask you this: how do we care for and comfort each other? How do we show love? Most often with food! A baby is born – we take food. Somebody dies – we take food. Your best friend breaks up with her ‘significant other’, you break out the Häagen-Dazs®!
The problem is that very few Feeding Therapy Programs take into account this emotional connection with food. It’s the OTHER reason we fix meals and eat together. Eating is not just about nutrition and hydration! There’s more to it than jaw stability, airway protection, and stimulus-response. It’s also how we love and comfort each other and ourselves. That’s what we’re about at Feeding And Dysphagia Resources; bringing the Other Half of Feeding Therapy to the table. We’re going to take Feeding Therapy to the next level by bringing back the fun, joy and family connection in eating!