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Reviews for Love Me, Feed Me


Featured review: “My son has been through two years of feeding therapy, and I’ve read a multitude of books, articles, and other resources on the subject. This is probably the single best resource I’ve come across. In my opinion, it is a MUST READ for any parent who has a child with eating concerns (particularly with undereating and very selective eating).” —David, on


blogs and adoption and foster resources

Read the full review on Fostering Thrifty Families blog
“I’ve been following feeding specialist Dr. Rowell’s blog and tweets for a while, and have found her approach to the parent-child feeding relationship so sane that it almost seems insane. I knew I’d like the book but I didn’t know I would literally read it cover-to-cover (all 354 pages!) in 24 hours. And I certainly didn’t know it would seriously challenge me to think about what my actions and words are teaching my children about food and eating and weight… Love Me, Feed Me reflects the authors’ familiarity with the issues of foster and adopted children from backgrounds of abuse, neglect or institutionalization. She goes over adoption-specific issues such as the cultural differences in feeding practices that may challenge your internationally adopted child when they arrive in your home, the transition diet to help a child get accustomed to a very different diet in your home than what they experienced in a foster home or orphanage, dealing with malnutrition, food hoarding, and more…the book spends a lot of time showing us how to break this cycle and get out of thinking of foods as “good” or “bad” in favor of a balanced and healthy relationship with our bodies (at any size) and with foods. It’s a book about the feeding relationship between parent and child, a relationship which is an important part of attachment for an adopted child.


Full review at Raising Healthy Eaters
I particularly enjoyed her presentation of oral/motor/sensory issues because I think this is a confusing area for parents and health professionals. Rowell helps parents realize their options, including how to find the right help and what can be done at home. Her insights into weight concerns will give parents peace of mind that they are doing the right thing by focusing on their job of feeding well, instead of the uphill battle of trying to manipulate weight…
Part 2 deals with all the day-to-day issues that make following the trust model of feeding challenging. I love all the stories, especially the ones that show how things are going years later. This book vividly demonstrates that successful feeding isn’t about getting a child to eat a certain way or weigh a certain amount, it’s about taking the worry out of the equation, connecting with your child through feeding and realizing that this is the basis for raising healthy and happy eaters. A lot of aha moments!
While reading the book, I sometimes forgot that it is for adoptive parents, making it clear that this book can benefit all families, especially those who feel feeding issues are getting in the way of parent-child bonding.”


Center for Adoption Medicine Books Resource Page on Adoption and Nutrition
Start here. This book by Dr Rowell (“The Feeding Doctor”) applies Ellyn Satter’s approach to the gamut of difficulties seen in foster and adoptive families. Well-written, sensitive, with many helpful patient stories from her practice helping adoptive families.”


Adoptive Families Magazine online book resources page
“With the view that feeding can build relationships and cement attachment, Love Me, Feed Me focuses on the how to feed rather than the what. “When we feed our children reliably and with love, we teach them they can trust and rely on us as parents,” says author Katja Rowell aka, “The Feeding Doctor.” Her practical advice will help parents who have adopted infants through teens minimize feeding struggles.”


Psych Central Weightless Blog. Review and Interview.
“It dispels common — and damaging — myths about healthy feeding and is packed with evidence-based practices for helping your child build a nourishing relationship with food. It’s a compassionate, practical and safe resource, which I highly recommend to all parents.”



from readers and parents


“Thank you so much for your incredible book. It has changed our lives!” — C.R, facebook fan


This book is a must-read for parents of not only adopted children, but any children who struggle with feeding. The concepts and recommendations are made easy to understand by Dr. Rowell, and give parents solid tools to begin feeding their children with love and trust. Dr. Rowell helps parents to trust themselves and their children, to be better advocates for their children, and to gain insight into what may be at the root of their child’s feeding problems.  As a therapist who works with infants-adolescents with feeding problems, I can attest to the confusion and bad information that is out there. The medical professionals who see these kids could use a good dose of Katja! — Jenny, on Amazon


This book is a great resource for families with children who have eating issues of all sorts. Dr. Rowell is so knowledgeable about this topic and offers great insight into the minds of children who struggle with something as basic as eating. One very valuable aspect of this book is the inclusion of so many examples from other families who have struggled with the same thing. While no parent would wish this nightmare on anyone else, it is so helpful to hear from other parents who have struggled with this same issue and come out the other side with success.
Our daughter, adopted internationally, came home eating everything she could get her hands on. A few months later, we could hardly get her to eat a bite of food and she stopped gaining weight all together. Dr. Rowell, through her writings, was instrumental in helping us get back to a more normal place with our daughter. We now enjoy mealtime once again as a family and are no longer consumed with concern and guilt over our daughter not eating. We struggled for quite a while before finding this resource and are so grateful to have found it and Dr. Rowell and all of her experience. The book has also helped us address our son’s picky eating issues–just as an additional bonus.
I highly recommend this book for anyone considering it. We had extended family who frequently cared for our daughter read it as well, so that they would understand what we were struggling through and how to help support us and our daughter.
full review on Amazon

“This book offers a refreshing perspective on children’s behavior and how it relates to nourishment. We noticed dramatic results within days of implementing the concepts introduced by Dr. Rowell. Our quality of life has increased exponentially!” — reader email


“This book is incredible, and is not to be missed if you’re an adoptive or foster parent, hope to become one, or work in a professional capacity with adopted or foster children (whether as a therapist, nutritionist, doctor, teacher, childcare provider or caseworker). Dr. Katja Rowell goes beyond “how to force my picky child to eat” and instead presents a total overhaul of your family’s approach to food and mealtimes. Getting at the emotional roots of our (parents and children, especially but not exclusively those with adoption-related issues) dysfunctional relationships with food, the approach Dr. Rowell presents is truly healing for families that have long found mealtime to be a time of power struggles, control issues, bad behavior and food rejection. This book gives ideas that can help with everything from malnutrition to the food hoarding issues common in children from neglectful or impoverished backgrounds. She explores how to use the “trust” approach to remove the charge from mealtimes, thus helping children learn to listen to their own bodies and recognize and meet their nutritional needs. This is not a handy little reference guide to nutritional requirements. Instead, Dr. Rowell goes far beyond what most dietitians and speech therapists can offer adoptive families whose children have feeding challenges, by teaching the adoptive parent to alter their own beliefs and way of talking to their children about food, to transform meal time into a positive family experience, and to do something that many of us find very hard: Trusting our children to, over time, learn to eat a healthy and relatively balanced diet without the pressure, games and struggles most of us have become used to. This book is nearly as applicable to non-adoptive families, but unlike Ellyn Satter’s books (which Dr. Rowell’s approach is based on) it is tailored to the issues of kids who’ve had a rough start to life. It made me question so much of what I thought I knew about teaching my children to eat healthfully.   — Brynlae, full review at


“So little information is offered to parents pre-adoption regarding how to feed a child in a way that encourages trust and attachment. A stress-free, pleasant family meal is essential in the attachment process with adoptive and foster children. Dr. Rowell’s spot-on advice in Love Me, Feed Me has truly been a key to the attachment process with my adoptive son. The Trust Model has also helped me deal with feeding challenges with confidence when they come up. I love that this book goes into so many of the day-to-day feeding challenges as well as the bigger picture topics. I recommend this book highly.” — Margo J., Mother to a son adopted at 8 months of age 


As a psychotherapist working with adoptive families I have found Dr. Rowell’s book; Love me, Feed me, to be an invaluable resource. Her calm, sensitive and straightforward advice is sound and effective. The parents whom have utilized Dr. Rowell’s strategies have changed their eating struggles into the joy of food. As an adoptive parent, I longed for this resource when my children were young and we were overwhelmed with the experience of eating. Dr. Rowell’s suggestions would have assisted me to trust my children’s eating preferences over unhelpful medical advice. With the publication of this book, my professional and personal hope is that all parents, adoptive and non-adoptive, utilize this resource to guide them in creating healthy, balanced eating patterns in their families.” — Brenda Hartman, MSW, LICSW, Therapy for Children, Adults and Families, Inc. (from


“…thank you for the book. It has been a Godsend. I am only on page 100 something but what a packed 100 pages! 3 or 4 weeks ago we were still doing coercive feeding with our bite rules and bribes with dessert. The combo of crazy attachment/possible choking trauma that is surfacing and the years of unhealthy feeding relationship eventually caused so much anxiety that our 4yr old was shaking as she ate even accepted/favorite foods. She would literally stop breathing while she was eating the foods that we were bribing her to eat and she would anticipate meals, especially away from home with a huge amount of anxiety/tantrums. I am happy to report that we have started to do family meals again and that although it isn’t always really fun at meal time because of other issues, all the anxiety about food on her part is pretty much gone. We are definitely still in the transition as she is hardly eating anything and has actually dropped some of her favorite foods but she is happy for the most part at the table and has even taken on a new role as ‘table setter’ which she feels very proud of. If I had only known of your work 4 1/2 years ago when we got our little girl I think we would be in a totally different place now. I want to scream from the rafters to adoptive families who are anticipating their first placement/match to read your book. We still have a long way to go but I think we are on the right path. “ —anonymous


“I was so excited to see a book written specifically on feeding issues in the adoptive family setting. I imagine the information could be helpful to a variety of families, but it is a rare treasure to find someone with a particular interest in feeding issues related to adoptive and foster settings. I have struggled to try to bend research and information in “traditional” parenting books to fit our adoptive family circumstances, but it just never quite matches for our needs. This book changed all that and refreshed me with new ideas, comfort in reading of other families in similar situations, and a new knowledge base for approaching old problems. There are case studies interspersed throughout the research that bring home and make personal the factual research aspects of the information. Well written and something I would recommend for every family waiting to bring their child home!”      — JC from



“As a parent of a premature child I found useful advice and feeding strategies for my situation. I appreciated the message that is throughout “Love Me, Feed Me”, that I can trust that my child, along with my support, has the ability to nurture herself. The book is informative, well researched and written in an accessible way. I liked reading stories of other people’s challenges with feeding issues. These helped me realize that I’m not alone in the struggle of trying to do well for my daughter.  A wonderful resource for anyone who has struggled with feeding issues.”      — Trisha, on Amazon



“Having experienced food struggles with my two children in the past, I’ve tried many strategies and read plenty of material on how to “get” your kids to eat the right foods. I found this book to be refreshingly insightful. The layout of the book is easy to understand and follow and Dr. Rowell’s advice rings true to the values I want to instill in my children ~ both in life and surrounding food: trusting our body’s innate ability to guide us will lead us in the right direction. If you want to avoid power struggles over food, raise competent eaters and have peaceful family meals, then I highly recommend this book to you!   — Stephanie, on Amazon



“The book is fascinating.  It has totally changed the way I see nutrition and fitness and health.  I am about 3/4 done with it and am frantically underlining as I go. I have found thus far that my stress about food has gone way down (and generally speaking, Maxwell’s has too, although he will fly into a rage if we don’t offer something he expects to get).”  — Anthony, Maxwell’s Dad, dealing with food obsession



“I was so excited to get my hands on this book! I am a mother to both a son and daughter, and my children have totally different eating habits. Katja’s book gives me the tools to help them both become adventurous eaters as young children while teaching them to advocate for themselves and make healthy choices as they grow older. I love her no pressure approach and the encouragement to trust my instincts as a mother. This book is an amazing and thorough guide book for parents of all types of eaters! A must read!”   JB on



“A gem! I work with many families and have found this book to be invaluable. I have recommended it to both the professionals and the families that I work with. As others have noted, this book is not only about the pressing concern of feeding and food issues within families, it is a priceless tool for building trusting and loving relationships with your child(ren). It validates our instincts for trust-forming, love-based, relationship-building strategies. I find this book to be so valuable for ALL families, not just those formed through adoption.”   MM on



“A must-read for families—especially adoptive ones—but really everyone, because food issues are so rampant today. Rowell tackles the tough issues, and they would have helped my parents when I was adopted and are already helping me with my foster children now . . . This information is desperately needed to help families deal with common challenges that come up involving food. This book shows parents how to build trust and relationships, while avoiding conflict and power struggles.”  Ashley Rhodes–Courter, bestselling author of Three Little Words



I wish I had read Love Me, Feed Me before we had our son with us. It would have saved us so much worry and heartache. Our family has been transformed by the Trust Model and Dr. Rowell’s practical advice. It felt like she was describing our situation to the letter, when we felt like we were the only ones. This book has helped more than I would have imagined, both with our biological son’s picky eating and our adopted son’s intense interest in food. As a bonus, the practical, science-based information will help me take better care of my patients.” — Ruth C., mother and Family Nurse Practitioner


from experts in related fields


“There are few relationships more important or more complex than the one between child and parent over food. When children are eating well and growing and developing normally, parents feel validated. However, when feeding becomes an unpleasant chore, parents question their abilities and self-worth. Much of our contact with young children occurs in conjunction with food and without confidence and pleasure in this interaction, the process of mutual attachment is stilted. Love Me, Feed Me is designed to help families understand and rectify feeding problems commonly encountered in children who suffered early deprivation and is one of the best sources of coherent information on this extremely important topic.”   — Dana E. Johnson, MD, Ph.D, Professor of Pediatrics, International Adoption Medicine Program, University of Minnesota


“Understanding and tuned-in feeding is a powerful way for you to show your foster or adoptive child that you love her and understand how she feels, and s/he can trust you to take care of her. Katja Rowell’s book will show you how.”Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, LCSW, BCD, author of Child of Mine, Your Child’s Weight and Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family


“In her book, Love Me, Feed Me, Dr. Rowell offers parents a deeply complex, loving, and effective plan of action for resolving feeding problems. She skillfully introduces the reader to the Trust Model, then builds the reader’s skill in applying the model in even the most extraordinary circumstances. Throughout, she pays careful attention to the issues of attachment that are entwined with feeding. I recommend this book to community-based programs and providers serving parents of adoptive children. They will find a new treatment paradigm that I hope transforms their program policies.”Carol Danaher, MPH, RD, Public Health Nutritionist, San Jose, California


“This may be the most important book you read about attachment and feeding with your foster or adopted child. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, this essential guide will equip you to handle common feeding challenges and build trust and attachment with your child. Difficulties around feeding and eating are often more intense with the foster or adopted child, and the conventional wisdom about how to address these problems may just do more harm than good. If meal times are a constant power struggle and you are weary from the battle, this revolutionary approach will allow you to reclaim joy and freedom at the family table. You will learn to trust your instincts, and more importantly, your child, so that you can support  his innate ability to eat well. You may even find some healing from your own long-standing struggles with food. Whether you have been struggling with feeding for what seems like an eternity or you simply want to anticipate and prevent common problems with eating and weight concerns in your child, this is a must read.” Katherine Zavodni, MPH, RD, LDN


“As a dietitian specializing in eating disorders and working with children with all kinds of feeding problems, I’ve also earned my stripes personally as a picky eater and a stepmother of picky eaters. Dr. Rowell’s advice is right on target for all of the above. It’s time to replace the “obesity crisis” paradigm with a focus on developing competent eaters.”  — Jessica Setnick, MS, RD, CSSD, CEDRD, International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians, author of The American Dietetic Association Pocket Guide to Eating Disorders, National Director of Training and Education for Ranch 2300 Collegiate Eating Disorders Treatment Program
“…Of particular interest to those of us who challenge the weight paradigm, Rowell shares the experiences of parents advised to feed with the goal of `treating’ or `preventing obesity’ and the devastating consequences (including families who have been through University-based weight-loss programs, or spent years enforcing diets while being scolded and blamed by dietitians and doctors alike). Rowell’s well-researched information on “food obsession,” common misunderstandings about growth and BMI, and the pitfalls of standard nutrition education, gets at the complexity behind the issue of children and weight (both high and low), and offers help. This is one of the few resources that feels safe for parents and children of size–supporting health, not a weight agenda.

Dr. Rowell provides a compelling and accessible resource, partly because she listens to and learns from colleagues and experts (dietitians, feeding therapists, physiologists, and psychologists), but mostly because she listens to parents. The book is filled with their words: following families through the transformation to a healthy feeding relationship. Love Me, Feed Me empowers parents (and the professionals who support them) to raise children who feel good about food and their bodies.”Linda Bacon PhD, author of Health at Every Size, full review on


“As someone who works with families fighting life-threatening eating disorders, I see this as essential reading for parents who are feeling challenged by feeding issues. This well-researched guide gives parents a foundation for raising children who can learn to trust their bodies to guide their eating, even if there are significant feeding challenges.” Becky Henry, CPPC, author of Just Tell Her to Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders



“This book is a blueprint for adoptive and fostering parents on how to achieve a healthy feeding relationship, written with clarity and compassion.”Ines M. Anchondo, DrPH, MPH, RD CSP, Certified Specialist in Pediatrics Nutrition