What exactly is Failure to Thrive?

Failure to Thrive is an expression used to describe infants or children who are not growing normally. In adults, it suggests a too-rapid decline in function and strength.

Image of a dog resting his hed on a sleeping baby's back

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Developmental delays
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Learning disabilities
  • Listlessness
  • Underweight

PREVALENCE

NCBI reports that the range is somewhere between 1.3% and 20.9% depending on the criteria used to establish prevalence.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

There are many possible causes from asthma to urinary tract infection. It’s certainly helpful to find out the cause, if possible, since even natural treatments would vary.

SELF TREATMENT

The substances and suggestions here are offered to you for further research and can be only general treatment suggestions if the cause is unknown.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and disorder. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important for you and your child to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

If you are a nursing mother, what you eat influences the quality of your milk supply, so eat as well as possible to give your child the best possible nutrition. Check with your doctor to be sure your milk supply is adequate.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

For the nursing mother:

  • Ashwagandha (can lower blood pressure)
  • Avocados
  • Bone broth
  • Colorful vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Omega 3-rich foods
  • Turmeric

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

For the nursing mother:

  • Additives, preservatives
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chemical household products
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Processed foods
  • Processed sugars
  • Smoking
  • Spicy foods

HERBS AND SPICES

Exercise extreme caution using herbs to treat infants and young children. If you want to try herbal remedies for your child, there is a good article at http://treelite.com/NF/2008/05/Herbal-Medicine-for-Infants-and-Toddlers that will provide some guidelines.

For the nursing mother:

  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek

ESSENTIAL OILS

Here, too, one should exercise extreme caution in administering oils to babies and young children. Some are safe but some may cause dangerous side effects, including seizures. Here is a link with some guidelines for using essential oils with children: https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/essential-oils-for-babies although this is not an article specific to the treatment of FTT.

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Catalyn, a multi-vitamin formula said to contain every nutrient the body needs to function (according to current knowledge)
  • Pediatric supplements (ask your doctor) to increase calories

HYDRATION

It is important for the nursing mother and the weaned child to have adequate hydration every day. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow. If you are a nursing mother, depressed or suffering undeserved guilt for your child’s condition, you may find help with a support group of other parents who face the same challenge.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Address any psychosocial or living-condition issues.
  • Nutritional counseling

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

PREVENTION

Prevention will also depend on underlying causes. If baby needs a chiropractic adjustment for a subluxation in her neck, getting fresh air is not going to correct it. The items below are suggestions for general health.

  • Adequate nutrition
  • Fresh air every day
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular check-ups for early detection

 

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