ABSTRACT WATCH : Feeding problems of infants and toddlers

Can Fam Physician. 2006 October 10; 52(10): 1247–1251.

Feeding problems of infants and toddlers

Anne-Claude Bernard-Bonnin, MD, FRCPC

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To propose a diagnostic and therapeutic approach to feeding problems in early childhood.

QUALITY OF EVIDENCE

Articles were retrieved through a MEDLINE search from January 1990 to December 2005 using the MeSH terms eating disorders, infant, and child. Recommended practice is based mainly on levels II and III evidence.

MAIN MESSAGE

Feeding problems are classified under structural abnormalities, neurodevelopmental disabilities, and behavioural disorders, with overlap between categories. A medical approach also needs an evaluation of diet and an assessment of the interaction between parent and child. Treating medical or surgical conditions, increasing caloric intake, and counseling about general nutrition can alleviate mild to moderate problems. More complicated cases should be referred to multidisciplinary teams. Behavioural therapy aims to foster appropriate behaviour and discourage maladaptive behaviour.

CONCLUSION

Feeding problems in early childhood often have multifactorial causes and a substantial behavioural component. Family physicians have a key role in detecting problems, offering advice, managing mildly to moderately severe cases, and referring more complicated cases to multidisciplinary teams.

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