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Today Stephanie and Dr. Elana recap the interview with Dr. Stephanie Drummond about pediatric occupational therapy. They break down just how complex feeding is to help reduce mom guilt surrounding feeding challenges. They offer fun, simple ways to increase sensory input when your littles are young to help them navigate their world. They also share key takeaways and things they’ll implement with their kids after listening to the gems in the interview with Dr. Drummond.
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Elana Roumell 0:03
They have such depth in what they’re looking for and how they’re trying to move the kid and, and what bodily function they’re trying to push or that we really have to give these experts credit in what they’re doing to really facilitate this healing, and not necessarily diminish just because they’re seeing it as play, that they’re actually doing real deep therapy.
Stephanie Greunke 0:29
Welcome back to the Whole Mamas Podcast. We’re here to give you tools, resources and evidence based information so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Whether you’re trying to conceive or are navigating life with a toddler or a teenager, we’ve got you covered. I’m Stephanie Greunke, registered dietitian and Program Director for Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program, where I teach moms how to navigate the endless decisions regarding pregnancy.
Elana Roumell 0:52
And I’m Dr. Elana Romell, pediatric naturopathic doctor and creator of Med School for Moms – an online resource where I teach moms how to safely be a doctor mom.
Stephanie Greunke 1:02
Before we dive into this week’s recap where we share our key takeaways from the episode with Dr. Stephanie Drummond, pediatric OT, we want to thank our podcast partner Four Sigmatic. Okay, let’s talk about hot chocolate. Are you sick of me talking about how much I love Four Sigmatic’s hot cocoa drinks yet? hashtag sorry, not sorry. I’ve talked about their Rishi hot chocolate and how I use a convenient Single Serve packs in the evening after I put the kids to bed as a nice treat. While I’m hanging out with my husband or watching my current obsession on Netflix, which right now is a show called the mind explained but has been as indulgent as Orange is the New Black. The Rishi hot chocolate is perfect for nighttime because of medicinal mushroom. Rishi is one of the world’s most studied mushrooms that’s been shown to support sleep and stress. I love mine mixed with non dairy milk, usually coconut milk, a dash of cinnamon and Celtic sea salt, so it’s a creamy salted chocolate flavor. It feels like such a treat after dinner, and I love That it’s simultaneously calming my adrenal after a long day of work and momming. It is also supporting my immune system which is great in the winter to fight bugs my kids pick up at daycare. And according to the botanical safety handbook Rishi is a safety class one eighter which means is the safest rating possible so I feel comfortable using this Rishi hot cocoa anytime, even when I was nursing, if I’m feeling an afternoon lull or have a chocolate craving, which often happens these days, then their hot cocoa mixed with cordyceps is a better choice. The Rishi hot cocoa can cause me to feel drowsy and while that’s fantastic at night time during the afternoon when I still have work to do and kids to feed, I do better with cordyceps. Cordyceps is another medicinal mushroom that is energizing. The cool thing is that with cordyceps hot cocoa is energizing, but it isn’t caffeinated. That means I can drink it in the early or late afternoon usually around 3pm when I need a snack break and it doesn’t keep me up all night and Who doesn’t love a warm beverage in fall and winter? If you’d like to try Four Sigmatic and enjoy the warm hug in a mug in the mornings and evenings while boosting your energy and supporting your adrenal and immune system, we have a special discount for you. Head over to Foursigmatic.com. That’s FOURSIGMATIC. com forward slash wholemamas or use discount code wholemamas at checkout to get 15% off your order.
All right now on to our nourish yourself segment so Elana, what did you do today to nourish yourself?
Elana Roumell 3:35
Well, I love these segments are so much fun to share some quick little updates. So when we are airing this episode, I would be in full mom mode, which is so fun. I’m going to be snuggling my new baby, but I’m so grateful for your time being able to just do a couple of these episodes prior to baby so I can be in full mom mode. And I realize I never mentioned how nourishing my baby sprinkle was. And so This is just something I wanted to bring up during the nourish yourself segment because I was actually really hesitant. I didn’t even think I wanted to do it. I had a big baby shower for my first pregnancy. And then with this one I was like, I remember calling you up Stef and being like, I just don’t have the time or the energy like, I don’t need anything and you’re like, Are you sure? And so I was so grateful that one of my great friends hosted my baby sprinkle at her house. I wanted to keep it really small. I wanted it to be just my vision was just I wanted to be relaxing and a connection time and really have no kids. I was like really firm on that rule because it was just I felt like the last time that I could just be with my girlfriends and not have like a baby on my boob or just like being you know, watching a diva running around. And it was so nourishing to me and I really feel like it was nourishing to the other women there as well. So Stephanie, thank you for being there. I couldn’t even have my sprinkle without you. I’m going to be so sad when you leave for Wisconsin. It won’t be as easy for us to gather like this. But anyway, I wanted to share that I’m glad I did it and it was really Fun, and enjoyable. I don’t think just for myself, but for everybody else to
Stephanie Greunke 5:04
Oh, I had a lot of fun. Thank you for having it.
Elana Roumell 5:08
Good. I’m so glad
Stephanie Greunke 5:09
I love the idea of a baby sprinkle even if you don’t want gifts or you’re not somebody that likes attention like that, like I don’t really love all the attention like that when I have parties like birthday parties, but just to know that you’re supported and you have a strong community of mamas or maybe not mamas just really good friends around you is such a gift going into the postpartum season and just making sure that they know that you need help. And I know you had somebody walking around with a meal train list and just making sure that mama is taking care of as she is about to embark on another postpartum I think was just so beautiful. So I highly encourage if you are on the fence, definitely have a baby sprinkle.
Elana Roumell 5:50
Thanks. I really appreciate you saying that. It was it felt really community oriented. I felt so loved and I adore my village so I feel so blessed in that way So thanks. I’m so glad you’re part of it Stef.
Stephanie Greunke 6:02
Yeah. And add to your sprinkle. I actually talked to Dr. Stephanie Drummond, who are going to do the podcast.
Elana Roumell 6:08
She was there. How fun What a coincidence. Yes. Yeah,
Stephanie Greunke 6:11
I know, I tried to tie these together. And, and we actually had a conversation about me having a tongue tie surgery, which we’ll have to have a whole episode about, because I think this is really interesting. And actually, when we were at the sprinkle, we’re talking about it and I’m like, yeah, I’m gonna get mine done. And I remember there’s a couple of ladies around me that were like, Oh, I didn’t even know that was a thing. And, and Dr. Stephanie actually, like diagnosed a couple other people. She’s like, Oh, yeah, you have one. You know, you kind of she helped me figure out who I would go to, to actually do a really good job of releasing my tongue tie. So I actually have, I’m going to schedule another call. I haven’t heard back from this place about getting my tongue tie surgery scheduled probably by the end of this year. So that will be really interesting.
Elana Roumell 6:57
Oh, that’s really neat. I know. And I was so excited when We were talking about I was like, Oh my god, you need to talk to Stephanie now. And so she came right over with all her advice and clinical experience. So I just I love that. I love that we’re such great resources for one another. I don’t think many other baby sprinkles would have discussions like that. But that’s okay. I love that in mine. There’s so many medical experts. Yeah, yeha it was really, really fun. So awesome. Well, I was excited to be able to bring Dr. Drummond’s on the show. I may slip and just call her Stephanie, I’ve got you two Stephanie’s in my life, because she’s such a wealth of knowledge. She has so much to share. So I’m sure you’ve got tons of questions. I know you really enjoyed the episode. She just is so like, brilliant in what she does. And I mean, I just learned so much from her all the time. So let’s go ahead and dive into some questions and see if there was some community questions as well.
Stephanie Greunke 7:47
Yeah, I actually learned a ton from this episode. When I listen to our podcasts to do a recap, I usually go for a walk I know you do this to. Kind of multitasking and getting out in nature. And also making sure that we gather all the information that we need to create these recaps. And I walk outside with a paper and a pen. So I can jot down like timestamps that were really interesting or specific notes, and you should see my paper as I was walking, it was just covered. And no, this one actually probably would have benefited from sitting down and listening to it so I could type but I just loved everything that I heard. It was incredible. And I really appreciate the examples that she gave, because I think that drives home the points that she was making, especially with something like OT where many of us don’t really understand what occupational therapists do or how they can help our kids. So I thought that was brilliant. And this episode really helps me understand what our littles are going through when they are having tantrums or having troubles eating or what our moms are going through too having to navigate all of these breakdowns and communications. It just made me want to give both of them a huge hug. We’re all just trying to do our best and those are working through a lot of discomfort without having language to put to what they’re feeling. And then we have moms that are feeling all sorts of emotions, maybe exhaustion, or confusion or frustration or anger, shame, feeling like maybe they did or are doing something wrong. And that’s why their kid is having trouble. So that perspective was really helpful for me to understand and to be able to like you help give these moms the next step of Hey, how about trying occupational therapy to help resolve some of these factors, which aren’t things that we’re doing wrong, it’s just that the dysregulation of body systems in the individual that we can definitely correct with the right therapy. So did you get that feeling from her too like, just this sense of, I mean, you know what she does and you refer her but like this sense of grace that we really have to be giving ourselves during the season.
Elana Roumell 9:58
Absolutely. And I love how you bring up that topic of almost like this mom guilt or mom shame because I do I hear this and I see it a lot in my practice when parents come to me specifically for picky eating, like, that’s their chief concern. And when I tell them, you know, they’re like, I’ve tried everything, I do everything, like, I really I promise, like, I’m trying to follow the rules I’m trying. And I say to them, like, have you ever considered that it’s not actually about you failing at this, that this can really truly be a biological imbalance, you know, in their nervous system. And so when I explained to them what occupational therapy can do, and what could be causes, like the sensory processing disorders, or even some core instability, or you know, things that we talked about in the interview, they’re like, their jaw drops, like, Oh my god, I never thought it could be something like that. And it’s like, it’s almost this like, light bulb that they’re like, oh, my goodness, awesome. Like, there’s other things we could do. It’s not like me having to do X, Y, and Z. Constantly for the next 20 years, you know. So I think it is really important that we help shed a light to these moms to just make sure that they really do understand that there are options and there’s things that we can do. And like you said, our little skin talk to us. So they can’t tell us that they’re overwhelmed with stimulus, they can’t tell us that they’re actually in fear of eating a sauce because the texture stimulates something in their nervous system that actually creates a pain response. Like, they don’t know this stuff. They don’t know how to articulate that. They just know that it’s uncomfortable, so they’re just not going to touch it. And that’s going to be their behavior. So I love how you really emphasize that is let’s give a little bit more grace to the moms and the dad’s really trying their best. And let’s really keep an open eye for Hey, occupational therapy may be indicated for my child and why not just get assessed. I kind of joke with Stephanie often about this and I say to her, I’m like, I feel like occupational therapy should be a standard practice in like all preschools or daycares so that we’re screening for it so that by the time they make it to kindergarten, they’ve already gone through the therapies in order to really optimally be able to learn and, and grow and be healthy. She goes, I couldn’t agree with you more, I think every child can actually benefit in many different ways, whether it’s feeding or other type of ways. And unfortunately, it’s just not obviously standard of practice. But I just think with so many proactive moms listening, it’s just nice for them to know that they can always reach out for an assessment. But anyway, back to the feeding struggles. I am kind of curious to know what your takeaways are, from what you learn from Stephanie’s input because you obviously are such an expert in this field. And you’ve been giving advice for so many years now, knowing more about occupational therapy, specifically with someone who has a feeding specialty. What are some of the takeaways that you now may do not only with your own family, but maybe recommend to some of your clients?
Stephanie Greunke 12:58
Yeah, you know, hey, I really did learn a lot that I want to move forward and really share with the families I work with and to utilize with my own family. And one huge takeaway was that, you know, oftentimes, when we’re looking at advice, when it comes to picking, picky eating or feeding our kids, there’s just a lot of repetitive talk that doesn’t take the entire context into situation. And one example is, it was telling parents like, Oh, you just got to expose your kid more, right? We hear this a lot. We’ve even talked about it on past podcasts of like, Oh, you know, it takes 20 plus exposures for a kid to really become familiar with the food. So just just keep offering that food. And while that’s true, if there is some past trauma there, that has to deal with sensory processing or maybe past choking experience, that exposure may not be enough, right. And the example that she gave with that physician who was 35 years old, still struggling with food textures, because of a past experience of choking on a carrot at 18 months shows just how strong the food related trauma is. And she gave the statistic that it takes over 700 or 700 positive experiences with food after one negative experience. And I know when I heard that I was like, oh man, like that kind of sounds disempowering. But even though it sounds scary, if your little one has a choking episode, or maybe tastes something super spicy, and now they’re afraid of food, you might feel like you have to climb this battle of 700 positive experiences. But if you take it into perspective, we make on average 200 plus food related decisions every day, we’re constantly exposed to different types of food. And if we can keep offering it and they’re going to see that food in the grocery store, and they’re going to see that food at birthday parties and they’re going to see that food all over the place. So that 700 number sounds like a lot but we can definitely work on feeling safe and I don’t think every single person requires 700. Especially if we are working with an occupational therapist that can help address that trauma and that fear in early childhood because she mentioned working with older adults, but she said that earlier that we can get them in the better.
Elana Roumell 15:21
I love that thanks for actually reminding me those I did I you know, you do the interview and you listen to it over but like these are really staggering data points. And it is very important that we all understand this so our expectations can be aligned with how we are, you know, moving our kids or even adults, you know, further in their development of feeling safe when it comes to food. So I appreciate that a lot. That’s a great outline. Thanks Stef.
Stephanie Greunke 15:50
Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, I think you know, we’ve talked about infant feeding and feeding kids on past episodes. I know Jill castle, we had on We’ve talked about baby led weaning and the difference between choking and gagging. So there’s a lot of information that you can learn by listening to those episodes. The other thing that I wanted to talk about when it comes to that safety is there’s work that we can do and with Stephanie, who’s an occupational therapist, and maybe working with a dietitian and those type of things that really get picky eating, but there are also things that we can do at home to help kids feel more safe with food exposure. So I have a couple of ideas in my head, but I am curious to hear if you have any examples of things that you do to help kids feel more safe.
Elana Roumell 16:35
Yeah, I want to share one and I would love to hear yours. But I think it’s actually really important that we move slow and that even very slow and steady improvements we really celebrate and acknowledge and so just as an example, like Aviva, let’s say, this actually hasn’t happened. So I’m gonna have to just make up a situation by a choking experience, let’s say with carrot and every time we put a carrot down, she’s really scared about it. Understandably, I would actually take the approach of just having her like lick the carrot and then putting it down. So not actually making her eat it. But just saying, Okay, let’s just do one step at a time. Can you lick the carrot, and then just getting super excited about her doing it, and seeing how she does with that, because as young kids, as you well know, they just got like, so excited for like the littlest things. And especially when a parent responds with excitement, they just match it, and then all of a sudden, they get excited. And then the next time there’s a carrot, she licks it, and you’re like, Oh, my God, we’re so excited. And we’re, again, we’re taking very slow steps to having a different relationship with that carrot, to the point where maybe one day she feels safe enough then to go ahead and take a bite of it. So that would just be something that I would do in my home. This is just more of a personal example or experience that I probably would take on. And again, just not forcing it or getting to moving too fast with it. But again, this is much easier at a younger age. If you’re working with the 35 year old, that licking is like, not exciting. They’re like, I’m not even close to this, you know, like, they probably would just discredit that whole idea of moving so slow. So I do agree to start as early as possible to try to like, recreate these habits and recreate different patterns and associations to really helping eliminate these type of fears when it comes to food exposures. So what were you thinking Stef? I would love to hear some of your takeaways as well.
Stephanie Greunke 18:27
Yeah, I think you know, on the episode Jill Castle, and things that we talked about was creating a calm food environment. And so, you know, oftentimes, I don’t know about your house, I feel like dinner is just like so much of a rush because we’re all getting home from our day, whether that’s at school or at work, and then I’m in the kitchen like rushing to get dinner prepared for everybody. And then we’re sitting down and maybe my husband brings up something from work and then that’s kind of triggering. So just working as much as you can to slow that down and that might not be possible on the way that it’s like, oh, you’re just gracefully, slowly cooking that simmering stew. But like when you do sit down at the table, just having that conversation, not talk about work or not talk about the negative things, just kind of having some peace and quiet during the meal time as much as you can with toddlers and you know, talking to them about the food that they’re eating, but not pushing things and letting them play like what you talked about the carrot letting them look and not forcing them to eat foods that may not feel safe to them, but also giving that exposure because that is important, even if they do need additional help. On top of that, I think awesome modeling by eating a variety of foods ourselves so that they can see us eating maybe the food that they’re scared of like us eating the carrot. I think also diversifying the foods that they’re eating, and maybe even with that carrot example maybe that carrot that they choked on was a raw carrot, right? And could we change that form to a cooked carrot or something that’s mashed. So they’re getting that taste or they’re seeing what that carrot looks like in that form, but it’s softer and more manageable for them to chew and to digest. So working towards the appropriateness, the developmental appropriateness of the foods that we’re offering.
Elana Roumell 20:13
Excellent. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think these are great, tangible actions for these moms to look into and sit with. So if you don’t mind, I kind of want to veer off from some of the feeding stuff and talk a little bit about some of the other cool tips that she had. I know we talked a lot about the W sitting, this is something that is just so common for so many kids and I know for us, Aviva will still do it at times, but we are very mindful of correcting her and helping her just engage her core more. I’m just curious if you’ve picked up anything from the interview that maybe Otto and Lee are doing that you may want to try to maybe correct or be more mindful of?
Stephanie Greunke 20:50
You know, what I thought was really interesting was your tip about keeping feet on like a foot rest. And that’s something that I knew as far as high chairs, I knew it was really important for baby led weaning and infant feeding. But after my kids grew out of their high chair, I was like, Okay, cool. Now they can sit at a regular chair with us at the dinner table. And we’ve had our iteration of dining experiences for a while. I don’t know if you remember, we were sitting on the floor, like we had the table really low. And then we sat it underneath on the floor and had their feet underneath, so they were touching. But then they started running around at dinner time. And I’m like, Okay, well, this isn’t working. So then we decided to move that table into the play area. And they use our old dining table for coloring and we got a higher dining table. And so now they’re sitting on adult chairs, but they’re wiggling around and all the time we’re like sitting down at dinner and they won’t still, they’re sitting on their feet, which is something that she talked about. And I was just thinking about it the whole time. I’m like, wow, that might be why they’re wiggling so much at dinner is because they don’t have somewhere to put their feet down. And she was talking about the fact that eating is the only skill that requires every sensory system. And we often take this fact for granted. And so if they’re not able to kind of stabilize, they’re going to have a harder time focusing on what they’re eating. So I thought that was just really interesting. And I actually text messaged her after the interview, and I was like, Well, what do you recommend? Like what’s a good chair for kids that are past the high chair days? And she recommended one called the kicker Roo, I believe it’s called.
Elana Roumell 22:36
Yeah, she had one who actually encouraged me to buy that high chair. She was like really adamant when she saw my baby registry with the Aviva and so that’s actually what we use because it goes from a high chair and it converts into actually even an adult chair could be. So yes, that is a great one. And they’re just wood. They’re so easy to clean. I totally recommend them.
Stephanie Greunke 22:55
Yeah, yeah. So I looked it up and they’re they’re pretty expensive. So my husband I are going to Back and forth on the necessity of it. I mean, I definitely think that they’re necessary but then all of a sudden we had an experience where you know whenever we played they just like they squirm. They’re just wiggly. So we’re like, Is it because of the chair at dinner? Or are they just a really active boys? And I believe I read or I heard somewhere that you can’t expect toddlers to really sit more than 10 minutes at dinner. You really have to think small and realistic when they’re young. And so I’m like, Okay, well, maybe it’s just the fact that they’re a little kid. So we’re processing that right now.
Elana Roumell 23:32
Oh, yeah. And so just keep in mind, you know, the Kickaroo I mean, we’ve used now for three years because we started at the high chair stage. So I don’t know if it’s worth the investment maybe at this stage, but I think for some new moms who are looking into different highchair options, I think it is a good one to consider as it grows with the child. Now as far as though your boys I mean, first of all, Brian is so handy. I bet he can even just build a wooden little like foot rest on the existing chairs or you know the other idea and this is kind of funny but it’s only because I’m so short I actually know this stuff but then there are tables that actually have little ledges to put your foot. So you know, because i like that for me, my feet like never reached the floor on like any chair. So I’m always looking like where can I put my feet for that stability. But you know, she gave that example of like if you go to a bar and you sit on a barstool, you’re looking to put your feet somewhere. You don’t want your feet just hanging and oftentimes bar chairs have that little foot rest or maybe the bar has a little foot rest right like there’s there’s always something to help with that comfort. But you think of like our littles where it’s like they’re sitting on a barstool all the time. It’s just a normal chair, but because of their height, everything is always just like, you know, dangling, and so I think it is important to either, you know, if you don’t want to get like a chair like the kickaroo, perhaps you either build in or find just dining room chairs that has like a little bit of a stable bar where they can put their legs if they want. Or you find a dining room table that also has like a nice little anchor ledge that you could put your feet. So all of these things again, you know, you just don’t think about, but it is very important. And when you really understand the body and physiology, it really also helps you to understand why this can actually benefit. And then you really don’t know until you try. One of the things, Stef if you don’t mind that I just want to bring up because I find that this happens very frequently. So I just want to it’s not really a question. It’s more just like a statement to comment on is when I refer a lot of patients over to Dr. Drummond’s center, some parents will say like, Oh my goodness, it’s amazing. It’s this big gym and the kids are just playing. And I’m like, I know, isn’t it amazing that there’s therapies that have to do with play and they’re like, and sometimes it’s hard for us to know like what they’re really doing. And I said, I know this can be hard and this can actually come up with all type of therapies for kids. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and that is, in order to really help improve children’s abilities in any way, we have to meet them where they’re at, which oftentimes is playing. And so you actually did a great episode on Play therapy for traumas and working through traumas and how using play can help. It really helps with any type of therapy with our littles is using play in order to access some of these different behaviors and to how to reprogram or repattern. From the outside as parents it may look like they’re just playing like, what are they actually doing? But when I was shadowing her therapist and her individually, and I would ask the questions like Okay, so what are you actually doing during this play therapy? You would be shocked to see the insights and the depth of like, what they go into, like, oh, we’re looking at this system and this system, and we’re seeing how they connect this and then we’re looking at this movement. It just goes on and on. And I was like, Oh my goodness, like, I don’t see that at all. I just see two kids playing, or I see the kid playing on the swing, or I see the kid trying to balance. But their training and their eyes, they have such depth in what they’re looking for and how they’re trying to move the kid and what bodily function they’re trying to push. We really have to give these experts credit in what they’re doing to really facilitate this healing, and not necessarily diminish just because they’re seeing it as play, that they’re actually doing real deep therapy. And you can notice this oftentimes afterwards, the session the kid is tired, because they’ve been pushed in certain ways. It’s actually very similar to how we train a dog, for example, I know this is a totally different type of species. But when you’re potty training or you’re training dogs, they tend to want a nap more. You know, it’s hard, you’re pushing them, you’re trying to push them to learn. It’s the same with the kids when you’re putting them in therapy, they’re worn out by the end. It’s not just about running around and playing, you know, their therapists are really kind of pushing them in ways that are somewhat uncomfortable, but it’s how they’re retrained. And then they’re retraining their nervous system. So I just wanted to preface that or not even preface just share that comment Stef. It’s not even a question, but I just feel like I want parents to really, really value this type of therapy and training. And I think that knowing that there is just so much that goes into it and asking the therapist. Don’t be shy so you can learn as well is very helpful.
Stephanie Greunke 28:31
You know, what I found really interesting too, is I went on her website after and I was like, I wonder if she takes insurance or she would take my insurance and she actually does. She takes TRICARE which is military insurance. And what that just kind of emphasizes to is that this isn’t just play right? There is actually something happening here. Otherwise, insurance companies wouldn’t cover this type of therapy. So just like you said, it looks like play but there’s really A lot of learning happening.
Elana Roumell 29:01
Oh, no question. And in fact, you know, I even have Aviva in in early intervention program that’s state funded and she gets assessed for all three therapy: speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy. And she didn’t qualify for the occupational therapy or physical therapy, but she definitely qualified for speech therapy, and we’re still doing speech therapy. But that’s another just confirmation to see I mean, this is like state taxes, where this is going to help with these kids. And many kids benefit tremendously from one or all of these therapies just depending on where they are developmentally. And what I was saying in the beginning is, even if they don’t qualify, like maybe we don’t see deficit, I just think some of these therapies are only benefiting the entire child like being proactive. It’s kind of like the idea of taking a multivitamin lets say. The child may not need it, but it’s only benefiting them in the long run. And then there’s some children who clearly have symptoms being expressed that they need that vitamin. So again, you’re just trying to figure out where the child is on the range. And it can obviously change with their progress of development. But I just think it is a fascinating field. And I really believe like, if I was a naturopathic doctor, I’d probably have been very gravitated towards occupational therapy to just see how they progress these kids. I mean, I even say to my patients, look, you know, you’ve come to me for certain testing and certain biochemical type of work ups and I’m going to be able to help diagnose some gut imbalances or maybe heavy metal toxicities or genetic susceptibility to Xyz food sensitivities, but without the actual co management and co collaboration with occupational therapy for certain cases. I’m not going to get you that far. If you are really committed to getting your child to, you know, their health goals. I highly recommend this and this is why we work so well together because with children in particular, these sensory issues and some of these type of trauma feelings are very, very common with any child with certain behavioral issues, whether it’s anxiety, depression, or tantrums or disobedience and violence. I mean, the list goes on. Autistic spectrum, ADHD, ADD. And these therapies can really help rebalance them in so many ways along with some other therapies. So I’m just a big geek in this. I love this. And this is why I’ve gotten so close to Dr. Drummonds because I keep on wanting to learn more, and she just has such a great depth of knowledge with experience and her own education. You know, she’s a doctorate in this so she’s very well educated and informed.
Stephanie Greunke 31:44
I had no idea you were so passionate about this topic.
Elana Roumell 31:47
Oh, yeah. Actually, why she’s been on my list of like someone to interview we’ve both been just so busy. I just want to share this with the world. Like, I kind of felt like I was in the dark. I didn’t even know this really existed until I really met her and I got her. Like, she taught me this stuff. You know, I didn’t actually learn this in medical school or my medical training. It was sad. I felt like why didn’t I get this? And I do know pediatricians will refer out to it. But unfortunately, I also learned from Dr. Drummonds that it’s not like every occupational therapist is, is equal or the same. You know, I’ve seen some parents bring in their children to see me saying, Oh, yeah, we’ve already done the occupational therapy and my ot therapist said, we’ve maxed out there’s no more help you can get and I was like, I still see deficits, like I still see imbalances. That’s not true. It could have been their own feeling that they’ve done everything they could, but that doesn’t mean that another OT could do something different. And so this is why I’m very particular about the people that I refer to because just like any naturopathic doctor, any medical doctor, you know, at the end of the day, we’re still different people and different type of approaches. And I think it’s just important that you’re really getting good assessment and jiving with that practitioner.
Stephanie Greunke 33:02
Oh, 100%. Hey, Mama, Stephanie here, Are you overwhelmed with all the information out there regarding pregnancy and prenatal health, we get it. So I want to take a minute to share about our whole mamas pregnancy program. Our program includes over 20 videos discussing topics from nutrition to exercise, mental health, sleep, conversations to have with your partner as you approach birth and so much more. Each video has suggested reading, action steps and handouts to help you dive deeper into the topic and apply what you’ve learned. Our weekly pregnancy emails guide you through the program each week of your pregnancy. They’re the only weekly service that focuses on the nutrients that you and your growing baby need, and provide simple recipes using that unique nutrient. You also get a short checklist of things to do each week to help you prepare for baby and take care of yourself. We want to help you spend more time enjoying your pregnancy and less time searching for answers. Want answers and support to your burning pregnancy related questions immediately from the comfort of your own home? Then you’ll love our safe non judgmental community within the pregnancy programs. It’s my favorite corner of the internet and many of our members agree. To find out more visit wholemamasclub.com and click on join programs. Now let’s talk about. definitely going to an occupational therapist is something you highly encourage. But in addition to or if it’s just not possible for parents, what are some things that we can do within our house to really expose our kids to different sensory inputs and help them learn the proprioception and these type of things. And I’ll give a couple of examples to start and then I’m curious if you have any additional ones. So in the episode, she was talking about things like putting her kids into a bin that was filled with beans or sand or letting them play in grassy areas in dirt or letting them play with food or get messy with their yogurt, touching objects that are warm and cold and sticky and smooth. So these are things that you can do really inexpensively. Taking your kid out into a grassy area is free. Maybe the sand thing is easier in some places than others but you can definitely get sand at a store. So, you know, these are really simple ideas to expose them to different textures to really help them understand their world. And another one that I really love before I forget to say is busy toddler. I don’t know if you follow that account, but that’s one of my favorite Instagram accounts is @busytoddler. So what else? What are some other things that maybe you’ve learned from her that you do with Aviva or recommendations for parents to do at home?
Elana Roumell 35:34
Yeah, so I agree. I think busy toddler that account is excellent. I believe she was a kindergarten teacher or a preschool teacher or something where she took so much of her information and activities and advice and is like giving moms practical ways and very affordable ways of making activities. Is that correct? I’m pretty sure that’s the same account.
Stephanie Greunke 35:53
Yeah, I don’t know her background. Yeah. I just love following her.
Elana Roumell 35:55
Yeah, because I was really curious about it. But anyway, I mean, one thing just to reitterate and I think I talked about on the interview was just getting Aviva messy. And so again the messiness with the sand or the dirt or whatever, but specifically for her with food because Stephanie would like watch me feed Aviva and she’s like, stop cleaning up after her. And I was like, but it’s all over her. She goes, would you want to be interrupted, like every time someone like, you know, you took a bite now you’re like wiping her mouth, like, let her get messy. It’s good for her for x, y, and z. So all of these reasons that you were talking about with getting them really used to the sensory input. And so once she explained that it’s actually therapeutic for the kids to get messy. I started realizing Wow, I need to let go of me liking to be clean. Like I need to let go of things having to be orderly and organized because just the idea of putting a child in sand, I’m like ughhh now I need to give her a bath and wash her off before she comes inside. And this is just my brain because I like things clean and organized. But again, that’s to the discredit of her and her development, right. So I think it’s just so important that as parents, we kind of have to step aside from what may be necessarily convenient for us for our children’s, you know, optimal development. So that was just another thing. You know, you mentioned such great things already. I think these are great. But one of the things that we could easily implement every day multiple times a day is around food and just letting them get messy. And baby led weaning really lends itself to that, which is awesome. I mean, there were points where I never even use spoons for purees. I literally, if there was anything like an avocado that was just such a mushy kind of food, I just put it right on the table and let her just go for it. If there was ever like a pureed pouch thing, I would just squeeze it right on or even a smoothie, I would literally just put it right on the high chair and be like, go for it with or without a spoon. Let her just like put her hands in it, put it all over her face, do whatever so I got really good at letting her get messy and I think that was really a positive experience and then I just would wait until the way end and then just clean it up all at the end. And Dr. Drummonds taught me that and I really appreciated that and that’s something anyone can do.
Does Aviva like to be messy or does she like being clean? Like you?
It’s very good point you know at the end of every meal she’s just so used to me cleaning her hands so she’ll just say okay, all done and then she reaches her hands down. She knows I’m ready with a wipe a towel. Yeah so she does do that but I wouldn’t say she dislikes getting dirty because at the park she’s all about being in the sand, but at the end she actually knows Okay, now it’s time to wipe off. So I don’t know if it’s because she’s just used to that routine or if she actually just knows Okay, now I’m dirty. I want to be clean. I’m not sure yet. But she definitely is not, like weirded out by getting dirty that’s for sure. You know it doesn’t phase her at all. I’m kind of like I look at her literally in the sand, the sand is like in her butt. I feel like isn’t that uncomfortable, you know? And she’s like, What do you mean? Like She’s so happy. So I don’t know what she’ll grow into. But at this point no, it definitely doesn’t scare her.
Stephanie Greunke 39:12
It’ll be interesting to and you have your second because I feel like I let my guard down for being clean even more after we have the second because it’s like you’ll clean one of them up and then the other one will be completely full of dirt or food and you’re like, all right, well, my standard for cleanliness is just going to have to take a dive.
Elana Roumell 39:30
Oh, I’m taking time to be honest though stuff. I love having a dog like yeah, anytime I’m not home and she’s making a mess I’m like, ah, where’s Murry when you need him?
Stephanie Greunke 39:42
I Know. We have to sweep a lot more.
Elana Roumell 39:45
I totally bet that’s funny. Were there any other takeaways? I mean, obviously you could see how passionate I am. So I could probably keep on talking but I just wanted to see was there anything else? And I’m so glad you got so much from the episode. I knew you would. I knew you would love this just as much as I do.
Stephanie Greunke 39:59
Yeah, I think the biggest thing that I got was about the compassion and just really getting curious of what is going on for them or what is happening in their world that they’re having a hard time eating or having a hard time moving or having a hard time with sounds. And you know, as a dietitian, of course, my ears are up for all the problem feeder and the picky feeder discussion points. But, you know, maybe at the end of the day, our littles aren’t problem feeders, they’re just struggling with an imbalance or some dysregulation that they need to work through. And it’s important to remember that all of us, you know, have littles that struggle with feeding at some point. So it’s important to know that you’re not alone. I mean, Elan and I both have our own issues with you know, feeding our littles and we need to have compassion with ourselves and our littles. And there are a lot of ways to support this complex process so it doesn’t feel like an endless battle.
Elana Roumell 40:55
I love that and that you’re not alone. You know, there are providers and there are experts and, you know, I just I love that just having compassion and grace for yourself because you do you feel like you’ve exhausted all measures and you’re like you just don’t understand why this child isn’t maybe eating as many foods as maybe your other child, really get curious. It could be something that could easily be, you know, worked on with some expert advice, and it’s just about seeking them out and getting good therapy. And you know, of course, reach out to us if you have any other questions or reach out directly to Dr. Drummonds. And you know, you can also ask her as well. Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as Steph and I did. I mean, we love doing these recaps, and we’re hoping that these recaps, help you guys solidify the information and really just have actionable takeaways that you guys can incorporate into your day to day so we really enjoy doing this just like Steph said, when she goes on a walk and takes all the notes on a notepad I’m doing the exact same I’m just doing it on my phone. We really do take a lot of time to listen to all of our episodes and try to outline as best as we can. So I hope you guys really appreciate it. And we want to thank our partner Four Sigmatic for today’s sponsor. Don’t forget about the special offer for whole mamas audience, they’re generous and giving us 15% off your Four Sigmatic purchase. Go on to their website FourSigmatic.com/wholemamas. It’s spelled FOURSIGMATC. com, forward slash wholemamas. You can use the discount code WHOLEMAMAS at checkout and then enjoy this special offer. Now if you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by sharing our podcast with your mama friends and writing us a review on iTunes. Let us know what you enjoyed about the episode and help us grow our village. You can also visit our website at wholemamasclub.com/podcast. To review show notes find past episodes and leave comments and questions for future shows. Please remember that the views and ideas presented on this podcast are for informational purposes only. All information content and material presented on the podcast is not intended to serve as a substitute for the medical advice, consultation, diagnosis or treatment of a qualified physician or health care provider. Consult your provider before starting any diet supplement regimen or determine the appropriateness of the information shared on this podcast. Or if you have questions regarding pediatrics, pregnancy or your prenatal treatment plan. Now go on, have a good day, and nourish and nurture yourself and your family.
- Taking the guilt out of feeding struggles
- Creating a sense of safety around food
- Fun, easy strategies to help littles navigate sensory input
- Key takeaways and things they’ll implement with their kids
- San Diego Occupational Therapy
- SDOT on IG an FB
- Busy toddler account on IG
- Learn more about Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program
- Sign up for our Weekly Pregnancy Emails
- Take the Free Mini-Course at Dr. Elana’s Med School For Moms
- Schedule an appointment with Dr. Elana
- Follow Steph and Elana on Instagram
- Whole Mamas Podcast Archive