What Is Faltered Growth?
- When a baby is no longer gaining weight and has plateaued
- They have experienced weight loss
- Their weight gain is slow causing them to fall 2 percentiles on their growth chart, in just a few months.
The key measurement for monitoring faltered growth is weight gain over time. This is usually done by your healthcare professional recording your baby’s height and weight on their growth chart. You can learn more about Growth Charts here.
What Can Influence Your Baby’s Growth?
- Genetic factors, if you and your partner are a small build, then it is likely your child’s growth will be in the lower percentiles on their growth chart
- Feeding methods can influence your little one’s weight gain. Breastfed babies tend to put weight on more slowly than those who are formula fed.
What Are Possible Causes Of Faltered Growth?
- Problems with breastfeeding or incorrect mixing of formula in the early months of life
- An inadequate intake of solid foods for babies over 6 months
- Offering sweet drinks, such as cordial, soft drink, and juice or even replacing breast milk, formula or solid foods with sweet drinks.
- A loss of appetite due to an ear infection, cold or other acute illness
- Chronic vomiting and diarrhoea make it difficult to digest and absorb nutrients. Some conditions can cause ongoing diarrhoea, such as coeliac disease, cystic fibrosis and cow’s milk protein allergy
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux can cause an aversion towards food because of the pain it causes. To find out more on Reflux click here
- Congenital heart disease, the effort of feeding can make a baby with this condition very tired and not leave them with enough energy to feed properly
- Although rare, some little ones suffer from chronic diseases, such as hyperthyroidism or heart, lung and kidney’s diseases, which cause their metabolic rate to increase. This means they need more food to gain weight appropriately.
- A cleft lip or palate, as the effectiveness of a baby’s suck when feeding is reduced and they can become tired during long feeds
Managing Faltered Growth
- Make sure you establish whether your little one’s growth is actually faltering or if they’re just not meeting your expectations of a ‘healthy’ chubby baby. If your baby is feeding well and is bright and active there is unlikely to be a problem
- For true faltering growth, an assessment of your baby’s feeding routine, diet, physical health and development should be undertaken by your healthcare provider to identify a cause
- Once a cause is identified, appropriate treatment can commence.
Always consult your healthcare professional if you are concerned about your child’s growth.