Baby Failure To Thrive Causes

What can I do
It can be difficult to tell whether or not your child is getting enough calories. It is easier to discern this with a bottle-fed baby, because the daily milk consumption can be measured. Still, you may not be sure that the calories are getting in and staying in. In order to tell if your baby is getting enough with each feed, look for the signs of hunger (such as fussiness and glancing around for more food) when the feed is done. If your baby is furiously looking for food shortly after her last feed, then she may not have eaten enough.

If you think your child is not gaining weight adequately, then you can try feeding her more frequently or giving larger amounts with each feed. Keep a log of feeding, stooling, and sleeping patterns. This will help when you discuss the issue with your doctor.

Breast-feeding mothers can try to increase their milk supply by drinking lots of water and by feeding more frequently. Pumping the milk may help to stimulate more milk production. There are many remedies that can assist in increasing milk supply. Two of the most common include drinking a small amount of dark beer and taking the herb fenugreek.

When does my doctor need to be involved?
Call your doctor if you think your baby is not gaining adequate weight. Usually the doctor will suggest that you bring her to the office for a weight check. If your baby is taking significantly less milk with each feeding – leaving more behind in the bottle or pulling off the breast after a short interval – then talk to your doctor. Also call your doctor if your child has a dramatic increase in the number of stools per day or if the stools are watery, foul smelling, greasy, bloody, or filled with mucus.

If your doctor has told you that your child is failing to thrive, then you and your doctor will come up with a feeding and weighing plan. Follow-up will be fairly frequent, and you shouldn’t hesitate to call with questions. Often a gastroenterologist will become involved with the care of your child.

What tests need to be done, and what do the results mean?
If increasing the number of calories solves the problem, then a baby with FTT may not need any tests. However, depending on the severity of the weight loss and the appearance of the child, tests may be done. A complete blood count looks for anemia and evidence of chronic problems. An electrolyte panel looks for problems in kidney function and imbalances in body minerals.

Abnormalities on a liver panel may identify other chronic medical issues. Urine can be checked for infection and byproducts of metabolic problems. Stool may be tested for fat content – if there is fat in the stool, then there is some malabsorption. Stool can also be checked for infection (including parasites) and blood (a marker of allergy or intestinal inflammation).

An X-ray may be done to look at the structure of the intestines. Occasionally the X-ray is performed after the baby drinks a liquid that illuminates the lining of the intestines (barium). Tiny cameras can also be inserted into the stomach via the mouth (called upper endoscopy) or into the large intestine via the anus (called colonoscopy) to take clear pictures of the bowel. These tests are invasive and used only when necessary.

What are the treatments?
If the cause of the FTT is too little caloric intake, then the treatment is to increase the amount of daily calories. Sometimes this is as simple as stepping up the frequency or volume of feedings.

But other times – when there are physical or mechanical reasons for the poor intake, for example – these must be fixed. One example is cleft palate. A child with a cleft palate may have difficulty feeding effectively. Special bottle nipples can be used until the cleft is repaired.

If FTT occurs in the setting of high caloric intake, then the treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Malabsorption, for instance, may be treated by altering the diet. Hormonal abnormalities may require a specialist (endocrinologist). Infections can often be treated with medicines.

What are the possible complications?
The main complication of FTT is developmental delay. A child may not grow well and can eventually have short stature. The brain may not develop as well as it should, and in extreme cases this can lead to learning disorders or delayed mental development. The early gross motor skills – such as rolling, crawling, and walking – may be delayed as well. When FTT is identified and treated early, permanent long-term

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.