Pediatric Nutrition

When your child is in the hospital or being treated for an illness, food and nourishment can be just as important as the medicine he or she takes. The right diet can help the body heal and grow, and our registered dietitians are here to make sure children get the nutrition they need.

Pediatric Patient Eating Yogurt

Our registered dietitians can recommend a diet to help your child grow and heal.

At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, whether your child is dealing with a food-related diagnosis, such as celiac disease, or is in our care for the treatment of another condition, you can trust that the food we provide is the food that he or she needs.

Nutrition While in the Hospital

If you have an infant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tisch Hospital or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, we support your efforts to breastfeed. If your baby is unable to nurse, we encourage you to use a breast pump. Your milk can be given by bottle or through enteral nutrition, in which milk is delivered directly to your baby’s stomach through a tube. We also have donor breastmilk available from approved agencies, which we can feed to your baby with your consent, if needed.

If you have questions about our nutrition programs, please talk with a member of your child’s care team.

Children in other hospital areas, including the pediatric acute medicalsurgical unit, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and the Congenital Cardiovascular Care Unit (CCVCU), are offered a variety of different foods. Our goal is to partner with you to meet your child’s nutritional needs while also recognizing that some children are picky eaters.

For children with allergies, we review all recipes to make sure that our food contains no hidden nuts, gluten, or other potential irritants. If your child has cultural or religious dietary restrictions, please let us know so we can accommodate them.

Outpatient Nutrition Programs

Our registered dietitians work with children being treated through our outpatient programs and centers. We also check in with parents to make sure babies who have been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are gaining weight.

Many medical conditions affect your child’s food choices, and this can affect the whole family. We can help you make the adjustments necessary at home to ensure your family is well nourished.

Here are some of the situations our dietitians can help you and your child address:

  • We help children with celiac disease discover fun, delicious foods that are gluten-free. Our dietitians work with the Pediatric Celiac Disease and Gluten-Related Disorders Program to help your family adapt to a gluten-free diet.
  • We help children with inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and eosinophilic esophagitis get the nutrients they need.
  • We create elimination diets for children who have been diagnosed with a food sensitivity, such as lactose intolerance or food allergy. We give you the tools you need to remove certain foods from your child’s diet in a way that the whole family can adapt to.
  • We provide nutritional support and education for children who have been diagnosed with diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart defects, and kidney disease.
  • We create specialized meal plans for children who have physical differences that make eating solid foods difficult, such as cleft palate or facial trauma.
  • We help children whose picky eating, also known as selective eating, is so severe that it impacts his or her health and growth, through our Pediatric Interdisciplinary Nutrition and Feeding Program. We also help children who are transitioning from enteral, or tube, feeding to eating by mouth.
  • We help children deal with eating or appetite problems, such as nausea, difficulty swallowing, or mouth or throat pain. This can be caused by certain conditions, such as cancer, as well as its treatment.
  • We create weight management programs for children who need to gain weight due to picky eating or a medical condition, or who need to lose weight for health reasons.

Robinson Family S.Q.U.A.S.H. Program

The Robinson Family S.Q.U.A.S.H. (Smart choices, Quality ingredients, Unique, Appetizing, Simple, and Healthy) Program is based on the belief that excellent nutrition is crucial for all children, but is especially important for children who are in the hospital or recovering at home.

S.Q.U.A.S.H. is made possible with generous support from Linda Gosden Robinson and James D. Robinson III.

As part of the S.Q.U.A.S.H. program, we host the following events.

Cooking Classes

Gluten-free cooking classes are available through the Pediatric Celiac Disease and Gluten-Related Disorders Program. Classes are free and available to children 7 to 16 years old.

S.Q.U.A.S.H. Pods

These food-related activities, available for all children, help them pass the time while waiting for medical treatment. Children may make their own healthy snacks or create edible “food art,” so they’re having fun while learning about new foods and good nutrition.

Professional Symposia

Twice a year, S.Q.U.A.S.H. holds educational symposia for dietitians and doctors. Other members of the professional or local community are welcome to attend these free events.

For more information, please contact Deborah Tagliareni, Children’s Services clinical nutrition manager, at deborah.tagliareni@nyumc.org or 646-942-7822.