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Failure To Thrive

The diagnosis of "failure to thrive" can

cause a lot of parental guilt, anxiety, and stress. Kiddos typically get this diagnosis if they fall below the 5th percentile.

To the parents out there with a child with this diagnosis, this is not your fault. Let me say it a little louder. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! Failure to thrive does not mean that you are failing to help your child thrive.

Obviously, there are cases of neglect, but I am talking to the loving and caring parents who are stressed out of their minds because their child is not growing.

There is some talk about using the term "under nutrition" instead of "failure to thrive." I think this change in terminology will result in less stress for parents.

The following factors may be impacting your child's growth:

  • Allergies (food or environmental)

  • Airway issues ( possible obstructions, or aspiration)

  • GI tract issues ( eosinophilic esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux, tracheoesophageal fistula, reduced mobility, constipation)

  • Genetic Syndrome (example: pierre robin sequence, down syndrome, mitochondrial disease, etc.)

  • Neurological deficits (progressive encephalopathies, seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, etc.)

  • Psychological (examples: anxiety and behavioral)

It often takes a multi-disciplinary team including your child's pediatrician, speech language pathologist and other specialists (GI, ENT, Neurology and Psychology) to determine the etiology of your little one's feeding issues.

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