Failure To Thrive In Infants
Failure to Thrive describes an infant or child who does not gain weight at the expected rate. The two kinds of FTT are organic and non-organic. Medical problems such as diarrhea or vomiting that continue may be the cause of organic FTT. If your child has organic FTT, it could be that he or she is not able to take in nutrients from food or formula. Tests will be done to see if there is a medical problem. Sometimes Failure to Thrive has no medical cause and is called non-organic FTT. Infants with non-organic FTT usually begin to gain weight when changes are made in the way the baby is fed, cared for and nurtured.
How Is Cerebral Palsy Treated
There’s no cure for cerebral palsy. But resources and therapies can help kids grow and develop to their greatest potential.
As soon as CP is diagnosed, a child can begin therapy for movement and other areas that need help, such as learning, speech, hearing, and social and emotional development. Many will need assistive devices like braces or wheelchairs.
Medicine helps kids who have a lot of muscle pain and stiffness. They can take medicine by mouth, G-tube, or get it through a pump placed under the skin.
Surgery can help fix dislocated hips and scoliosis , which are common in kids with CP. Leg braces help with walking.
Kids can improve their bone health by having a diet that’s high in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. These nutrients help keep bones strong. Doctors, dietitians, and speech-language therapists can work with families to make sure kids get enough of the right nutrients and suggest changes to their diets or mealtime routines, if needed.
How Is Failure To Thrive Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. And it depends on the cause.
Your child may need to see more than one healthcare provider, such as:
The healthcare providers will work with the family to find the cause of FTT, and help the child get more nutrition.
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Causes Of Failure To Thrive
The basic cause of failure to thrive is a child not receiving, or being unable to retain and absorb, the necessary amount of calories and nutrients needed to support healthy growth. The reasons behind this failure are numerous, and more than one factor may play a role simultaneously. There are, however, two broad reasons why failure to thrive occurs: medical disorders and social/environmental factors.
How Is Ftt Diagnosed
Weight is the best indicator of nutritional status and you childs weight should be monitored at each clinic visit. Obtaining your childs height is also important however a single measurement of height is less valuable for the diagnosis of FTT than several height measurements over time . Linear growth may be affected in children with malnutrition, but this usually indicates a prolonged period of poor nutrition.
Most children with non-organic FTT present with growth failure in the first year of life and usually come to medical attention by 6 months of age. In children with organic FTT, the time of presentation is more variable and is dependent on the childs underlying medical condition.
When FTT is recognized, your doctor will talk with you about your childs symptoms, obtain a dietary history and perform a physical examination.
Your child’s doctor may request that you provide food records for your child and will likely involve a dietician to assess your childs food and nutrition needs. Often, as a first step, an appropriate diet will be instituted with the help of a dietician to make certain that adequate calories are provided to allow for catch-up growth for your child. In the event of difficulties with breast feeding, a lactation specialist may be asked to help. It may be necessary to involve other specialists to assess the developmental stage of your child and/or your childs feeding skills.
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How Can Parents Help
It can be hard to learn that your child has failure to thrive. No matter what’s causing it, there are ways to help and support your child. You can:
- Follow the advice from your doctor or the dietitian.
- Take your child to all recommended doctor visits.
- Learn about any medical conditions that the doctor finds in your child.
- Talk to the doctor or a therapist if you feel stressed or frustrated about problems with feeding your child.
When Is Slow Weight Gain A Problem
Slow weight gain is a problem when it interferes with a childs healthy development, particularly during your babys first year when their brain is developing.
Slow weight gain could be a problem if:
- your newborn doesnt regain their birth weight within 10 to 14 days after their birth
- your baby up to 3 months old gains less than an ounce a day
- your infant between 3 and 6 months gains less than 0.67 ounces a day
- your child of any age has been growing steadily and suddenly stops growing
Although you should always discuss slow weight gain with your childs doctor, it is less of a concern when:
- your newborn wakes up on their own and wants to feed 8 to 12 times a day
- your baby is growing at a steady rate
- your baby has about the same number of wet and dirty diapers as other babies
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When Should I See A Doctor
Regular checkups can prevent failure to thrive, or at least catch and address it early. These should begin during your pregnancy and continue through adulthood. Your doctor should regularly plot your childs growth on growth charts.
A child with failure to thrive may be small compared to other children of the same age and sex. Their growth pattern may not be steady. Have regular checkups with a pediatrician to get the most accurate analysis of your childs growth.
Because failure to thrive can lead to permanent mental, emotional, and physical delays, its important to have regular checkups so doctors can monitor your childs health.
Social And Environmental Factors
Social and environmental factors as to why a child does not receive sufficient nutrition can include poverty, parental neglect or abuse, and parental mental health issues. Parents may also feed their child food lacking in sufficient nutrients or not be aware of how to properly prepare food and formula. Social and environmental factors are the most common cause of failure to thrive.
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Feeding Or Eating Behaviors
Parental anxiety about a child’s FTT can be helped by reassurance. Parents should encourage, but not force, their child to eat. Meals should be pleasant, regularly scheduled, and not rushed. It often helps if the parents eat with the child. The child should be positioned so that the head is up and the child is comfortable . Starting with small amounts of food and offering more is preferable to beginning with large quantities. Parents should consider foods that the child likes . Snacks need to be timed in between meals so that the child’s appetite will not be spoiled.
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If Your Child Is In The Hospital
Please stay with your child and help in his or her care. It is important for you to be with your child during this time. You can help with care and feeding and play with and talk to your baby . The doctor may need to do more tests to find a medical cause for FTT. These tests may include stool samples and blood tests.
While your child is in the hospital, nurses will keep track of:
- How often and how much your child eats at each feeding
- How much urine, stool and vomiting he may have
- Your childs weight every morning before the first feeding
- Your childs behavior
- How he gets along with caregivers
The dietitian will look at the food or liquid your child eats or drinks each day. It is important to know how many calories your child is getting. A feeding schedule may be set up so your child can gain enough weight.
A social worker may visit with you and help to get formula or help to solve other problems. An occupational therapist will visit with you and your child.
How Is Cystic Fibrosis Diagnosed
Newborn screening tests catch most cases of CF. If the screening test is positive, or if a child has cystic fibrosis symptoms, doctors do a painless sweat test. They collect sweat from an area of skin to see how much chloride is in it. People with CF have higher levels of chloride.
Most children with CF are diagnosed by the time they’re 2 years old. But someone with a mild form may not be diagnosed until they are a teen.
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What If Theres No Apparent Cause For Failure To Thrive
Its not always clear what causes a baby to fail to thrive and sometimes no specific cause is found. This makes it difficult for parents who may feel theyre doing all they can to feed their baby regularly and support them to grow.
Its not uncommon for parents to feel stressed and anxious about their babys growth, especially when their baby is diagnosed with FTT. Just as a parents emotional distress can contribute to FTT, parental anxiety is a common outcome when a baby does not grow as they need to.
However, some babies are smaller because of genetics. Parents who are shorter and smaller than average are more likely to have children with the same characteristics.
What Else Should I Know
Kids with CP often need to see many different medical specialists for care. That team may include doctors and surgeons, other providers like physical assistants, nurses, therapists, psychologists, educators, and social workers.
Even if many medical specialists are needed, it’s still important to have a primary care provider or a medical home. This provider will take care of your child’s routine health care and also help you coordinate care with other doctors.
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Causes Complications And Red Flags
After FTT is diagnosed, the patients history is taken, and physical examination and further evaluation are performed to determine the causes and complications . Malnutrition or inadequate caloric intake is the most common cause of FTT in Singapore, first affecting the childs weight, then height and, lastly, head circumference. Common reasons for malnutrition include failed breastfeeding, improper formula preparation, inappropriate diet and picky eating.
What Are The Treatment Options For Failure To Thrive
Treatment options vary depending on the:
- severity of symptoms
- overall health of the child
- preferences of parents or caretakers
- family environment
- cause of condition
Some cases of failure to thrive may be resolvable once a doctor treats the underlying condition. If failure to thrive requires further care, the childs doctor may prescribe nutritional supplements or a special diet based on the underlying diagnosis.
When failure to thrive has a connection to problems at home, your doctor may consult social services. Hospital care, including the use of feeding tubes, can provide extra nourishment in severe cases.
After your childs growth has reached normal levels, they may need help to keep physical and mental growth on track. Specialists who can help your child include:
- physical therapists
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Where Can Caregivers Get Help
Taking care of a child with cerebral palsy can feel overwhelming at times. Not only do kids with CP need a lot of attention at home, they also need to go to many medical visits and therapies. Don’t be afraid to say yes when someone asks, “Can I help?” Your family and friends really do want to be there for you.
To feel less alone and to connect with others who are facing the same challenges, find a local or online support group. You also can get information and support from CP organizations, such as:
What Causes Cerebral Palsy
The cause of CP isn’t always known. But many cases happen when a child’s brain is still developing, such as before birth or in early infancy. This may be due to:
- infections or other medical problems during a womans pregnancy
- a stroke either in the womb or after birth
- untreated jaundice
- genetic disorders
In rare cases, CP happens because something goes wrong during a child’s birth.
Premature babies have a higher chance of having CP than full-term babies. So do other low-birthweight babies and multiple births, such as twins and triplets.
Areas of the brain that affect learning can also be affected. This can lead to learning disabilities. Brain damage also can happen from:
- being shaken as an infant
- an injury from an accident
In rare cases, CP happens after a problem during childbirth.
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How Is Ftt Treated
Treatment of failure to thrive depends upon the age of the child, the associated symptoms and the underlying reason for the poor growth. The overall goal of treatment is to provide adequate calories and any other support necessary to promote the growth of your child.
In the event of your child having organic failure to thrive, additional therapy may be needed to treate the underlying medical condition. For example, intestinal disorders may cause poor absorption of the diet and lead to failure to thrive. In this instance, a special diet may be necessary.
Failure to thrive may also develop in twins or triplets, simply because multiple births are more difficult to care for and more demanding to feed. A baby born prematurely is more likely to have failure to thrive because many of the body functions necessary for the proper ingestion and digestion of the diet are immature at birth. Lung problems or heart disease, especially in very young infants, can make feedings more difficult and lead to poor calorie intake and failure to thrive.
You should call your child’s health care provider if any of the following occur: