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Keywords:

  • failure to thrive;
  • feeding disorder;
  • maternal deprivation;
  • regulatory disorder;
  • growth faltering;
  • infant psychopathology;
  • infant mental health

Abstract

Objective:

Evaluate the clinical characteristics of feeding difficulties in 30 community (i.e., nonreferred) infants in the first 2 years of life, and their correlation with mother/child interactions.

Method:

An “in depth” mental health evaluation of feeding difficulties, and the psychosocial functioning of the child in other areas. The mother-infant relationship and the feeding interactions were also assessed.

Results:

Four “groups” were identified. (1) Young infant with difficulties in regulating states and sucking. (2) Older infant with difficulties in self-regulation, focusing, hyper-alert, and with aversion to feeding. (3) Older infants hypersensitive to stimuli (taste, odor) and with difficulties in chewing. (4) Group of with varied and unique feeding problems (pica, rumination).

Conclusion:

Feeding problems tend to have patterns according to the age of the baby in a nonreferred sample. They are not associated with an altered parent-infant relationship nor poor feeding technique. Parents often adapt successfully to the uniqueness of the baby to maintain weight gain. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008