Failure to Thrive
This problem is more common in babies who are born very early and those who are born with a low birth weight. Other things that may raise a child's risk are:
- Birth abnormalities, such as laryngomalacia or congenital heart defects
- Developmental delay
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Eosinophilic esophagitis—an allergic disease that causes swelling in the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach
- Poor oral health, such as cavities
|Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease|
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Family and social risk factors may be:
- Financial problems that make it hard to buy food
- Poor use of feeding methods
- Family stress
- Poor parenting skills
- Post-partum depression
- Lack of social support for the parent(s)
- Abuse or violence in the family
- Substance abuse in the parent(s)
- Unusual ideas about health or nutrition
Any underlying problems causing failure-to-thrive will be treated. The goal of treatment will be to improve nutrition and boost growth. This can be done with:
- Diet changes to support growth
- Using a feeding tube in children with severe symptoms
Family and social support may also be needed. This can be done with parent training and family counseling.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Failure to thrive. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growth/failure%5Fthrive.html. Updated November 2014. Accessed January 10, 2020.
Failure to thrive in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/failure-to-thrive-in-children . Updated October 23, 2018. Accessed January 10, 2020.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on recognition and management of faltering growth. NICE 2017 Sep:NG75.