One of the most wondrous creations is a newborn infant. All of the human systems and organs are present in this tiny being of several pounds. But the wonder doesn’t end at first sight. When one is privileged to follow an infant’s growth and development he sees the miracle of each phase. Parents and relatives hope and pray that a child will develop properly.
Sometimes little things go wrong. If treated promptly and properly, children can then continue to grow and develop appropriately.
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Every child is different. Infants will be unique in size, temperament, rate of development etc. As long as the child develops steadily, even if the milestones occur somewhat late, a pediatrician will usually not be concerned. If, however, development stagnates at some point, or if a child is significantly smaller than most children his age, it may be a problem. This cluster of symptoms is usually known as failure to thrive (FTT) and can cause a plethora of other problems.
Children that are born with an unusually low birth weight may be diagnosed as FTT in absence of other symptoms or diagnoses.
FTT can be caused by many things. Some of those factors are medical. Genetic syndromes such as Down’s syndrome or problems with certain organs or hormones can cause FTT. Feeding problems can also cause FTT. The feeding problem’s source may be in the brain or in the structure of the digestive organs. Other causatives may be problems with the heart, lungs or intestines, which will affect the way in which the body absorbs nutrition. Long term infections can also result in FTT.
At times, the source of failure may not be medical; it may be environmental. Poverty, poor bonding between the child and parents, or a caretaker’s lack of understanding of what is necessary for proper child development can be causes of FTT. Also, exposure to harmful substances can cause FTT. A lack of nutrition caused by irregular feeding or too many disturbances (noise) while the child eats can also be a factor. Oftentimes, the exact cause of FTT will be unclear.
Children who suffer from FTT will not grow and develop at the same rate as most children their age. These children look thinner and shorter. Their height, weight, and head circumference measurements are markedly lower than the healthy averages. Optimal weight and height in healthy children have a direct relationship. In FTT, a child’s weight will be 20% less than the healthy weight for their height.
FTT is characterized by slowed or halted growth and development. Therefore, babies with FTT will have delayed milestones such as turning over, sitting, standing, and walking. Their emotional development may also be delayed.
Signs Of FTT May Also Be:
• Lack of interest in food
• Crying a lot
• Sleeping a lot
• Inability to calm
When FTT receives prompt and proper medical treatment the child will be able to thrive normally. But if a case of FTT has been neglected for a longer period of time, the damage may last longer. The aftereffects of FTT can be life long. It is important to take children to the doctor for the recommended well visits to monitor their growth and to detect problems before they become serious.
Helpful And Healthful:
The best way to prevent FTT begins with proper nutrition in the expectant mother. Taking Prenatal+DHA will provide the mother and developing fetus with all nutrients necessary at this critical stage of development. Optimal nutrition during gestation helps improve the chance of healthy development in the child throughout life.
For the child, a balanced diet is critically important. Children who don’t develop according to the average timeline of childhood development cannot afford to be deficient in even one essential nutrient. Protein, fruits and vegetables are very important. It is also advisable to take Junior Multi, a high-quality multivitamin for children that will supplement the child’s diet with important nutrients and vitamins.
Mothers of nursing babies with FTT should also make sure to eat enough and to eat properly, with a focus on lots of protein, fruits and vegetables. Lactivate can help increase the supply and quality of breastmilk so that the child receives more nutrition at each feeding.
Pediatricians measure the baby’s growth and development from birth. A pediatrician who suspects FTT may also take bloodwork to check the balance of electrolytes in the body, measure hormone levels, and take an x-ray to determine “bone age.” According to the results of the above tests, a doctor will prepare a treatment plan. The doctor may recommend more caloric intake. At times the child may require specific vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. Once the source of the child’s failure to thrive has been identified, measures will be taken to correct it.
• Infants can smile at four weeks old.
• Only newborn children can swallow and breathe at the same time. This is impossible for adults.
• Children usually double their birth weight at about six months of age.
• A baby’s first tears will be produced somewhere between ages three weeks and five months.