Infant Mental Health Therapist – Parent/Child Therapist

Support for the relationship between the child and parent and for the parent themselves

At Lively Eaters the emotional and behavioural elements of successful feeding are recognised and highly regarded as a key element in moving forward with successful eating. The parent-child relationship provides the base from which developmental tasks like feeding, sleeping and play emerge. This relationship provides the security and emotional support that helps children take the many small steps towards independent, self-regulated eating. Our Infant Mental Health Therapist provides support to parents to nuture and facilitate a functional and enjoyable family partnership.

Many of the families that come to Lively Eaters have experienced early or traumatic births, lengthy hospitalisations, invasive medical procedures or confronting developmental diagnoses. Many of these experiences and the very nature of the diagnosed condition can throw the parent/child relationship “off track”. Adjusting to a medical/developmental diagnosis and managing complicated treatment regimens can be overwhelming and exhausting. Sometimes parents can come to feel more like a therapist than a parent.

Many children and parents, can lose trust that food can be safe and enjoyable. For some children food can come to be seen as something to avoid and resist and negative behaviours can quickly spiral.  Mealtimes can come to be coloured by anxiety or conflict for both the child and parent.

Our Lively Eaters Infant Mental Health Therapist can help families to understand and rework the dynamics of mealtimes.

If this seems familiar or if you have experienced any of the difficulties listed below you may benefit from exploring this support.

  • Difficult pregnancy, prematurity or traumatic birth
  • Prolonged separation of mother and child
  • Loss of early days in which to get to know your child, lengthy hospitalizations (over 2 weeks )
  • Medical or developmental conditions that make understanding your child’s cues difficult
  • Possible post trauma responses from invasive medical procedures or other events
  • Artificial feeding like naso –gastric tubes or PEG tubes that seem hard to wean from
  • Postnatal Depression or Anxiety
  • Grief and Loss
  • High levels of conflict or anxiety/withdrawl for any member of the family, loss of any enjoyment in mealtimes “dread, worry, anger” swirling around the family relationships.

It may be our recommendation that to be able to ‘move forward’ with successful feeding, support through our Parent/Child Therapist is one of the avenues which needs to be explored. A portion of these sessions can be rebated by Medicare through a Mental Health Care Plan, through Private Health insurance (Extras, Occupational Therapy cover) or under NDIS plans.

Please speak with your Lively Eaters Feeding Therapist if you would like further information about this often misunderstood or under acknowledged area of childhood feeding challenges.