Medical professionals rely on patterns of development to determine how well a patient is doing, especially when they are very young or very old. A. John Yazdi, MD, with Pediatric Gastroenterology of Colorado Springs in Colorado Springs, Colorado, works with parents to ensure their children are progressing correctly and to diagnose failure to thrive when necessary. If you are concerned about your child’s development, give the office a call to make an appointment with Dr. Yazdi.
Failure to thrive is a medical term used to describe a child who is not growing or developing steadily during the first few years of life. Typically, it means a baby isn’t gaining weight the way most babies do.
It’s a very broad term, though, so it's used in a variety of ways. It might also describe a child that is abnormally short, for example.
Failure to thrive is almost always a sign of being undernourished or some kind of digestive issue. As such, Dr. Yazdi looks for a possible medical explanation like celiac disease to explain the lack of development.
Failure to thrive might also be related to lack of success when breastfeeding. If the mother isn’t producing milk, a baby won't get the right balance of nutrition to grow at the established pace.
Some other known causes of failure to thrive include:
Failure to thrive is something that a pediatrician is most likely to notice first because the baby is underweight. Some things parents should watch for include:
Parents might also notice that their baby isn’t reaching developmental milestones like sitting up or walking.
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Dr. Yazdi’s goal is to ensure each patient under his care is getting proper nutrition, so it’s often necessary to address a feeding or dietary issue. If there is a digestive condition, he will do tests and make a diagnosis before creating a care plan. A typical treatment strategy will involve both medical care and lifestyle changes, though.
For severe cases, Dr. Yazdi might recommend a feeding tube to ensure the child gets regular nutrition. The tube runs from the child’s nose to the stomach and allows for a steady infusion of liquid nutrition.