Do you believe everything you read? I hope the answer is “no”. But if you’re like me, then sometimes as a parent I get caught up in the hype and forget what was drilled into me at university.
Who wrote it? What is their evidence?
- Are they an expert in the area?
- What deems them an expert?
- What evidence do they use?
- Is it based on their own experience? – can they cite references to back up their article?
But don’t stop there…. If they do cite some references – look closer at them…are they from journals that look reputable? Or are they from other magazine or blog opinions articles (not so reputable).
If I have time, I do often look up the articles because I want to see what the research articles actually say (I’m hoping that they were quoted correctly in the first place). Now look closer – what was the sample size like? Was the study randomised (therefore unbiased)? What did the researchers find in their conclusions?
Evidence in feeding difficulties is tricky, often the sample sizes are small and often we can’t have a control group for ethical purposes. But there are enough feeding articles out there with good conclusions and their research is based on sound validity theories and outcomes.
Today on social media, parents are overwhelmed with the number of feeding articles. I’m a feeding therapist and I can 100% say that I have a mile long list of saved articles that have come across my news feed that I have saved to read “one day”. But while that can be overwhelming, it encourages us to read different sources which helps ensure our views don’t become swayed in one direction only. Because there is no “one size fits all” in anything but particularly in feeding.
When you read an article, check the source and then read another article (or even a few more articles) on the same topic. There is nothing wrong with “opinions” and “parent reports” or even “sponsored posts” but take it with a grain of salt. When reading articles, I ask myself these questions:
- Who wrote the article?
- Where are they basing their evidence on?
- Does their view seem balanced?
- Are they being sponsored to write an opinion on a product? Do they acknowledge their bias?
- What do other reputable sources say on the same topic?
There are so many “experts” in nutrition, feeding and health popping up every day and it is hard sometimes to know what advice to follow. At the end of the day, rely on your gut instinct – does it sit right with you? Have a coffee with a friend and discuss the article – but make sure you discuss the pros and the cons to get a balanced view on the topic.
Good Luck! Now to get to that mile long list of feeding articles I have……
Happy reading and feeding!
This website and information on this blog post is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant or intended to replace Speech Pathology assessment and management nor medical or nutritional care for a child. It is recommended that you discuss any concerns or questions you might have with your Speech Pathologist and managing Doctor and develop an individualised team plan specifically for your child.
About the author of this blog post
Valerie is an Australian based Speech Pathologist with 13 years experience in Paediatric Feeding. She has recently opened a private practice called ‘Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology’ that caters for Newcastle based babies and children with feeding difficulties. Valerie is passionate about working in the area of paediatric feeding and special needs and has been involved in the teaching and training of Australian Speech Pathology University students and allied health professionals. You can find out more about Valerie Gent and ‘Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology’ via her website www.letseatspeech.com.au and Facebook page www.facebook.com/LetsEatPaediatric SpeechPathology or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org