One of the reasons that babies should have regular well-baby visits and later, well child visits, is to make sure they are developing at the proper rate. As mothers, we have this image in our heads that a healthy baby is a plump baby with cute little fat rolls on their arms and legs.
My first baby was not a plump baby. In fact, weight-wise he was often in the 30th percentile. Of course, I worried! Our pediatrician, a father of six, assured me nothing was wrong as my husband and I are not large people. However, not all small babies and children are healthy. Some have a condition called “failure to thrive.”
According to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, children are diagnosed with failure to thrive when their weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below that of other children of similar age and gender. Infants or children that fail to thrive appear significantly smaller or shorter than other children the same age. Teenagers may be short or lack the usual changes that occur at puberty.
Typically, failure to thrive is considered when the child’s weight is 20 percent below the ideal weight for their height. As a result, the child may lack physical skills such as rolling over, sitting, standing and walking; lack age-appropriate mental and social skills; and be slow to develop secondary sexual characteristics. Failure to thrive is often the result of medical problems such as:
- Down syndrome and Turner syndrome
- Defects in major organ systems
- Problems with the endocrine system
- Damage to the brain or central nervous system, which may cause feeding difficulties in an infant
- Heart or lung problems, which can affect how oxygen and nutrients move through the body
- Anemia or other blood disorders
- Gastrointestinal problems that result in malabsorption of food or a lack of digestive enzymes
- Long-term gastroenteritis and gastroesophageal reflux
- Cerebral palsy
- Long-term (chronic) infections
- Metabolic disorders
- Complications of pregnancy and low birth weight
Treatment of failure to thrive depends on the cause. Delayed growth due to nutritional factors can be resolved by educating parents to provide a well-balanced diet. A child may need to be hospitalized initially to focus on implementation of a comprehensive medical, behavioral and psychosocial treatment plan.
Diet is critical to the health and ongoing development of the child. Nutrition-packed Thrive Ice Cream may be an option to get important vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and probiotics in the child’s diet. Because it’s ice cream and tastes great, it also helps with children who are difficult to feed or reticent about eating.
Children should not be given dietary supplements of any kind without consulting the child’s physician first. If you would like to add nutritious Thrive Ice Cream to your child’s diet, download our nutritional facts and take to your child’s next doctor’s appointment and discuss the best course of action for your child.
For more information on Thrive or to order online, visit our website.