What Do You Know About Failure To Thrive In Babies

Failure To Thrive is a blockage in normal increases in height and weight that could be the precursor to slow-downs in the developmental process and normal maturation.

Failure To Thrive is a description of a condition given to infants who are consistently underweight or who do not gain weight for unclear reasons. There may be many causes. Many reasons for this involve socio-environmental factors that work together to keep the infant from getting the nutrition the infant needs. Occasionally, medical disorders prevent a infant from developing normally. Another major cause is the child's own sensitivities.

When There Are Environmental And Social Causes

Many socio-environmental factors can be responsible for Failure To Thrive. Parental neglect or abuse, parental emotional health difficulties, and chaotic family conditions in which routine, nutritious meals are insufficiently provided, may all interfere with a child's appetite and food intake. The amount of money a family has to spend on food and the nutritional value of the food they buy also affects normal growth. Inadequate food intake may be a sign of poor parenting and environmental stimulation.

When The Causes Are Medical Disorders

Sometimes Failure To Thrive Syndrome is brought on by a medical difficulty in the infant. The difficulty can be as minor as difficulty drinking, chewing, or swallowing (as a child might have with a cleft lip or palate). Medical issues, such as gastroesophageal reflux, narrowing of the esophagus, or intestinal malabsorption, may also affect a child's ability to obtain nutrition from food. And, other medical problems such as infections, tumors, hormonal or metabolic disorders (such as cystic fibrosis or diabetes), heart diseases, kidney diseases, genetic disorders, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are other physical reasons for Failure To Thrive.

When The Causes Are Based In Intolerances and Sensitivities

And, sometimes child and infant Failure To Thrive is brought on by the infant's defenses reacting to normal environmental factors as if those normal things were toxic. This is a sensitivity to or intolerance of some environmental factors which the child's defenses thinks is toxic.

This response to this "toxic attack" could be shutting down the infant's normal developmental process as a temporary conservation measure until the "attack" stops. And, because these environmental factors are not toxic to others, the family and the medical professionals do not know to eliminate these "toxic" factors from the infant's environment. In this case this short-term conservation defensive reaction continues on an ongoing basis. This means that the infant's own defenses interrupts the infant's normal developmental process on an ongoing basis, because of the child's sensitivities.

Diagnosis For The Problems Based In Medical Disorders And Environmental And Social Roots

Doctors diagnose Failure To Thrive when a infant's weight or rate of growth is much less than what it should be when compared with former measurements or standard age-height-weight charts. If the rate of growth is adequate, the infant may be small but still developing appropriately.

To find out why a infant may be failing to develop normally, medical practitioners ask parents specific questions about feeding, bowel habits, social, emotional, and financial stability of the family, which might affect the infant's access to nutrition, and illnesses that the infant has had or that run in the family. The doctor examines the infant, looking for signals that might explain the infant's growth delay. The doctor makes decisions about blood and urine tests and x-rays based on this initial evaluation. More extensive examinations are performed only if the doctor thinks there is an underlying disease.

Finding The Child's Intolerances and Sensitivities

There are some published diets (GFCF Diet and Feingold Diet) which attempt to address these sensitivity issues. These diets work well for those children who are intolerant of the things which are specifically restricted by these programs. But, for the majority of children whose sensitivities are affecting their growth and development, these diets are incomplete and not specifically tailored for them.

It is best to have a specialist, who knows how to perform this specific test for sensitivity, work with your child to determine your child's precise list of sensitivities. Those who specialize in this testing can include some chiropractors, nutritionists, and other wellness practitioners trained for this type of evaluation.

Treatment and Prognosis For The Problems Based In Medical Disorders And Environmental And Social Roots

The medical difficulties and socio-environmental causes approach assumes there is something wrong with the infant's body or the child's social environment. These treatments are focused on a fault in the infant's nutritional processing or access.

Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. If a medical disorder is found, specific interventions are performed. Otherwise, treatment depends on how far below normal the infant's weight is. Mild to moderate Failure To Thrive is treated with high-calorie nutritious feedings given on a regular schedule. Parents might be counseled about family interactions that are dangerous for the child and about social and financial resources available to them. More severe Failure To Thrive is treated in the hospital where nutritionists, social workers, feeding specialists, psychiatrists, and other specialists team together to determine the most likely causes of the child's Failure To Thrive and the best approach to recovery.

Treatment For The Problems Based In Intolerances and Sensitivities

The interventions for the sensitivities approach is to determine which environmental factors the infant is reacting to and eliminates those factors from the infant's environment. When the infant is no longer reacting to those environmental factors, the normal developmental process re-engages and growth and development can proceed normally. With this intervention, nourishment is absorbed appropriately and growth and development starts to catch up. There are specialists in Failure To Thrive syndrome who can determine your child's sensitivities and coach you in getting your child back on track.


The socio-environmental approach assumes that something is wrong in the infant's social environment in such a way that nourishment is not available or is not accepted by the infant.

The medical difficulties approach for Failure To Thrive infants and children assumes that nourishment is not being processed and absorbed by the infant because of some medical disorder.

The sensitivities approach for Failure To Thrive children assumes that the infant is having defensive reactions to environmental factors and these defensive reactions are shutting down the normal growth and developmental process.

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