you notice your child losing weight, not gaining weight, or
dropping to a lower percentile in her weight pattern, there
might be reason for concern. Children that are significantly
below their expected weight, generally in the fifth percentile
or lower, may be diagnosed as failure to thrive. However,
if there is a sudden drop in weight, regardless of what percentile
your child is in, there may be reason for concern.
when a child has growth issues it is related to a feeding
issue. The child may not be getting enough calories
or have issues with digestion or malabsorption. It is
important to determine the factors for why a child is having
growth issues. There are many reasons a child can have
poor weight gain including chronic health issues, poor milk
supply for breastfeeding moms, improper mixing of formula,
illnesses, reflux, inadequate nutrition because of neglect
or poverty. Failure to thrive can also be an indicator
of other medical problems such as hormone imbalances, food
allergies, or digestive problems.
infants that are breastfeeding, there are many factors that
could contribute to poor weight gain. Breastfeeding
moms should seek out assistance from a board certified lactation
consultant. A poor suck, scheduled feedings, improper
latch, or having a premature infant can all contribute to
an inadequate milk supply. Sometimes mom's supply is
fine but baby is having difficulty with sucking/swallowing,
which in turn, can cause supply issues and poor weight gain.
Even if mom has a poor supply or baby has a poor suck, this
can often be corrected with proper help. Working closely
with a lactation consultant should help improve supply and/or
your child is diagnosed with failure to thrive or is having
weight gain issues your doctor may order tests. Failure
to thrive can be an indicator of a serious health condition
such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, or heart disease.
If it is thought to be a feeding issue, she may suggest ways
to increase the calories in your babies diet. Do not
give baby or child nutritional supplements like Ensure without
consulting with your doctor first. She may recommend
higher calorie formula or supplements for breast milk.
You may be referred to a feeding specialist to work with you
on improving your child's nutrition.
nutrition is important for mental and physical development.
If you are concerned about your child's weight contact
your pediatrician. If there is a medical issue
surrounding the weight issue your doctor can provide
you with information and treatment options.
If your child has a normal rate of growth and developing
normally this is not cause for concern. Some
children are just smaller than others, particularly
if their parents are also small in stature.
However, if you are worried that your child is underweight
discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.