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Baby Development Baby Guide

Causes of Disability in children and Treatments

A baby or toddler who stays behind others in development may suffer from a disorder.

First and foremost, this is determined by a small increase in weight and size, but the further development can also be adversely affected.

Aiming for a failure to thrive

The weight gain in the first months of life is about 200 grams a week.

If this guideline value is clearly below a longer period, this can indicate a disability. In this sense, a disturbance of the condition is not a diagnosis, but rather a circumscribed concept.

In addition to the low weight gain affected babies are often below average, occasionally an exceptionally dry, sometimes wrinkled skin is found. Ineffective disorders can also lead to motor, cognitive and linguistic developmental disorders.

Possible causes

A failure to thrive is not a disease. The reason for this is usually a supply shortage and the resulting lack of nutrients, and is, therefore, a frequent occurrence in developing countries, but is also not uncommon in developed countries. Babies who are breastfed are less affected:

You get all necessary nutrients through the mother’s milk. Rather, these are children who are supplied with the wrong or insufficient replacement food during the first months of life. However, breastfeeding problems, which can not be observed by the mother, can also affect the development:

A nutrient deficiency of the mother affects the quality of the milk; occasionally too little milk is produced, some babies have a weak suction reflex and therefore do not drink enough. Many a baby simply sleeps when breastfeeding, even then it often does not get enough milk.

It can also lead to problems with the maintenance and conversion to the brewer’s food. The baby gets fewer nutrients and energy with the milk but does not yet absorb enough porridge. The increase in weight then slows down, which can also affect the rest of the development. In small children, the cause is often a fault.

Of course, diseases can also affect nutrient uptake. If your child has too little appetite due to a disease or if it suffers diarrhea for a long period,  there is a shortage of symptoms, which has an impact on the development. The disturbance of the condition can also occur as a side-effect of neurological diseases, such as cerebral palsy.

Psychological problems can also affect appetite or nutrient utilization, for example when a child is emotionally neglected.

Diagnosis and determination of the extent of the disturbance of the condition

It is to be noted that the trouble of the disorder is not a single disease, but can be understood as a symptom of an underlying disease. For example, a disturbance of the condition may result from, for example, inadequate food intake, such as chronic vomiting or swallowing, an increased energy requirement or malabsorption, a disturbed intake of nutrients in the intestine. 

As a rule, the inadequate nutritional status is determined by the regular precautionary examinations. The pediatrician weighs your child and measures the size as well as the head circumference.

He compares the values with the so-called percentile curve. These are statistical average values, with deviations to a certain percentage as normal. Furthermore, the measured variables of siblings and parents must also be considered. If the development curve of your child is below the normal values, this indicates a disturbance of the condition.

Treatment measures

Before the initiation of treatment is to clarify what exactly the development of the child impairs. If it is a matter of breastfeeding, it may be possible to stimulate increased milk production. Midwives and doctors can give tips on this. Otherwise, the food must be checked and adjusted.

If necessary, a nursing mother is recommended PRE food or, in the case of premature infants, highly caloric food is recommended.

If a baby is affected by a failure, the diet is also checked. Occasionally it is balanced in itself, but the child has a very high movement urge, which also increases the nutrient and energy demand. Then particularly high-calorie foods are important to ensure the supply.

If a disease is identified as a cause, it must be treated naturally.

Subsequently, regular weight and size checks are again important to observe the further course. The development curve should approach the normal values over time.

If a disorder is diagnosed too late or not recognized and treated, subsequent illnesses can occur. The immune system, in particular, suffers from this, which increases the susceptibility to infection.

Preventive measures

Before you give birth, you will be informed about the breastfeeding and the nutritional requirements of your baby.

You should also deal with the period of change to porridge beforehand. The best way to prevent a failure is the steady supply of your child with nutrients and energy.

It is, of course, also necessary to monitor the development and to carry out regular preventive examinations. The sooner an incipient malfunction is detected, the faster you can control it.

Especially with the first baby, it can be useful if you write down how often you breastfeed it or give it the bottle and how often you have to change the diapers. The recordings can be shown to your midwife, if necessary, to be consulted by her.

However, if there is a slowdown in the development, such notes also help the pediatrician to investigate causes.


A disorder can have different causes but can be treated well in the normal case and quickly remedied. Possible symptoms are:

  • underweight
  • slowed growth
  • dry skin
  • motor development disorders
  • linguistic developmental disorders 

Tips from Experts

  • Let yourself be taken care of by a midwife in the week’s bed. She weighs and controls the weight gain between the U-examinations at the pediatrician and, if necessary, passes them on to a pediatrician. This gives you security and strengthens them in your breastfeeding.
  • In the case of non-breastfeeding children, of course, you will also be advised on the right replacement diet, and your baby will be regularly weighed.
  • Take care of a regular urine excretion of your baby’s 6-8 wet full diapers are an indication of adequate milk intake.
  • Also, the bowel movement of her newborn baby should show a golden yellow mustard-like color after the milk intake.
  • If the child is not breastfed, the color of the chair may vary in part – ask your supervising midwife or your pediatrician.

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