Paediatric Dietitian

TLC-WA’s Accredited Practising Dietitian, Niki, is passionate about all aspects of diet and nutrition for both children and adults. When it comes to food, everyone has varying likes, dislikes and unique circumstances that affect their ability to eat nutritiously. During her initial assessment, Niki takes the time to get to know her client and build a thorough understanding of their personal situation and the dietary difficulties they face individually and as a family.

Niki works collaboratively with her clients and their family members to establish achievable short and long-term goals. She helps them build an understanding of nutrition and educates them on how significant improvements can sometimes be made by making small, dietary changes. Niki believes there are many different ways to achieving a healthy diet and helps her clients learn how often well-accepted, but overlooked, foods can be better utilised to fill nutritional gaps.

Niki is a strong believer that meal times are so much more than a way of getting the energy, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals we need. They are about tucker, talk and togetherness and, to this end, food can have many layers of meaning that can be tapped into when tackling fussy or problem eaters. She works with parents and families to help build a greater understanding of the meaning of food in addition to addressing the practical aspects of what is going on the plate.

At TLC-WA, we work with clients across all age groups to address a diverse range of food, diet, nutrition and eating related difficulties. We are committed to incorporating evidence based techniques as well as maintaining up to date knowledge and training on the most widely proven interventions from around the world. As an allied health private practice, we’re also able to build a multi-disciplinary team around a client, tackling their eating and nutritional challenges from an holistic perspective.

Our Dietetics areas of specialisation include:

Fussy Eating and Feeding Difficulties (Young Children to Teens)

Feeding difficulties can be a daily struggle for some families and cause a great deal of worry and stress for both parents and children. To provide practical help and education for families struggling with fussy eaters, TLC-WA created ‘Stepping Up to New Foods’, a programme run jointly by our Accredited Dietitian, Niki, and Occupational Therapist, Rosalind Garside. The programme is offered to individuals as well as pairs of children across multiple age groups and is based on a practical, play-therapy approach. It explores the concepts of ‘exposure with pleasure’ and ‘the many steps to eating’ and also incorporates coaching for parents and other family carers.

Food Allergies and Intolerances (Children and Adults)

There are many types of food allergies and intolerances, all of which can cause symptoms which vary in severity from person to person. People with food intolerances, such as chemical or FODMAPs intolerance, may have been experiencing uncomfortable symptoms over prolonged periods of time but struggle to identify the cause. Certain intolerances, such as Coeliac Disease, not only cause uncomfortable symptoms but, left unaddressed, can result in long-term organ damage. Food allergies, such as protein allergies or Oral Allergy Syndrome, can also result in serious, sometimes life-threatening anaphylactic responses.

Some of the most common, early symptoms of food intolerance or allergy can include gastro-intestinal upset and respiratory difficulties as well as dermatological, neurological and behavioural changes. Due to the huge varieties of food we consume, it can be difficult to identify exactly which foods are the cause. Furthermore, especially for children, the variety, adequacy and enjoyment of their diet can suffer when certain foods are eliminated in the search for the culprit. TLC-WA’s Accredited Dietician, Niki, has decades of experience accurately diagnosing and addressing food allergies and intolerances, including in-depth knowledge of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s ‘Elimination Diet’. She works closely with each individual client, tailoring an Elimination Diet approach that is achievable whilst still able to deliver results efficiently. Following a confirmed diagnosis, Niki then helps clients adjust to their required dietary changes by offering practical advice, suggested meal plans, food substitution ideas and ongoing support.

Importance of the Microbiome and Gut-Brain Axis (Including Constipation and IBS)

It is a widely held belief among Dietitians, Scientists and Medical Practitioners that gut bacteria, or the Microbiome, plays an important role in reducing conditions like constipation and IBS, and contributing to overall good health and well-being. At TLC-WA, our Accredited Dietician, Niki, educates clients on the significance of maintaining healthy gut bacteria and the ways in which they can improve the performance of their microbiome.

Taking better care of the helpful bacteria and other organisms in our gut requires both pre and probiotics. Most people are familiar with the concept of pre and probiotics but are often unaware they can affect which strains flourish in their bodies through the food they eat. In fact, a far greater positive effect can be made on our microbiomes through the plant foods, fibres and resistant starches we eat, than by taking supplements and fermented foods, although these can also be helpful. AT TLC-WA, Niki educates clients on how to take better care of their gut bacteria and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that occur as a result.

Optimal Diet for Pre-pregnancy, Pregnancy and Lactation

Pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and lactation are particular stages of life during which women should strive to achieve optimal health and nutrition. Severe nutritional deficiencies can make getting pregnant more difficult and can even affect the health of the unborn child. The demands put on a woman’s body during pregnancy and lactation can easily result in nutritional inadequacies and can also bring with them other concerns, such as nausea (morning sickness), Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, weight gain issues and Gestational Diabetes.

At TLC-WA, our caring Accredited Dietitian, Niki, works with pregnant and lactating clients, as well as those planning a pregnancy, to offer individualised assistance designed to help achieve and maintain optimal nutrition during these periods. Many clients also find this a great opportunity to reassess their family’s eating patterns and make positive and healthy changes for the long term.

Children’s Nutrition, Growth Assessments and Advice for Parents

Every child is different and growth potential is affected, not only by food and nutrition, but also by genetics, environment, medical issues and even sleep. Growth also occurs in cycles so needs to be observed and evaluated over time. Common causes of parental worries around growth include concerns that their child is not hitting expected growth milestones or is gaining too much weight.

An independent growth assessment by a qualified expert can help allay parents’ fears by evaluating the situation from a purely factual and scientific perspective. TLC-WA’s Accredited Dietitian, Niki, often finds that, in educating parents on how to tune-in to their child’s unique way eating and trusting they will eat enough for appropriate development, that the stress associated with their child’s unwillingness to eat at every meal time is reduced. In situations where extra nutrition is required, Niki tailors practical and stress-free ways to incorporate additional foods into the child’s diet.

Education and Groups

TLC-WA’s Accredited Dietitian, Niki, has considerable experience offering hands-on nutritional education and healthy cooking groups across all ages and situations. Niki is available to visit and speak with mothers’ groups, play groups and school groups on a variety of nutrition and healthy eating topics.

Prior to conducting a session, Niki works closely with each group to understand their individual priorities and concerns and tailors the content, and style of presentation, to meet their needs. Overall, the aim of Niki’s group sessions is to help make healthy eating for children, adults and families as easy and stress-free as possible.