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Feeding tip: wiping a child’s face, and growing empathy. How does the “feeding machine” make you feel?

Posted by on Jan 22, 2013 in Blog Posts | 8 comments

chaplan feeding machine

I was watching a Charlie Chaplan movie this weekend, and saw this clip of a feeding machine (to boost productivity for factory workers so they could eat and not miss work…)

It made me incredibly uncomfortable, so of course, I want to share it with you. With his exaggerated movements and expressions, CC comes off childlike; his eyes open in anticipation of the food, he is distressed when he can’t get away, or keep up with the pace, or when the “blotter” comes out of nowhere and cleans his face. But gamely, he tries to do what he is told.

How do you feel when you watch it? Can you imagine being fed this way? Alas, it reminds me of various video clips I have seen of dysfunctional feeding cases, and even of certain therapy techniques where children are restrained and forced to eat or drink.

feeding tip: Notice how often his mouth is wiped and how it interrupts, surprises and seems to upset him. If you are wiping your baby or young child’s mouth frequently during meals, particularly if s/he is easily distracted or has sensory concerns, pay special attention to this video. Avoiding frequent wiping may help your child stay calm and focused and less stimulated during mealtimes. Feel free to have a warm washcloth for the end of the meal, or to use if your child indicates she prefers to be clean.

What do you think? Does it help you empathize with a child who is fed in a forceful or non-responsive way? Does it help you look at a practice like frequent face cleaning in a new way?

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