Failure to Thrive
On Infant Bonding Disorders
The first few years of life are a time when most children gain weight and grow much more rapidly than they will later on. Sometimes, however, babies and children don't meet the expected standards of growth. Although most of these children are merely following a variation of the normal patterns and are not at risk, some children are actually considered to have "failure to thrive". This diagnosis is a general consequence of many possible causes. Every case, however, has one thing in common. That is the failure to gain weight as expected, which is usually accompanied by poor height growth as well. The process of diagnosing and treating a child who fails to thrive is focusing on identifying an underlying problem. Failure to thrive has been recognized for more than a century, but it does not have a specific definition, partly because it describes a condition, not a specific disease. The condition involves children who do not receive, are unable to take in, keep in, or use the calories they need to gain weight and grow as they need to. This affects not only their biosocial development in an obvious way, but has detrimental consequences to a child's cognitive and psychosocial development as well. A child who has had failure to thrive may suffer from mockery, jokes and ridicule for their smaller size, they may be much slower intelligently than their peers, and can have a very difficult time making friends. Most failure to thrive cases are made in infancy or the toddler years, a crucial period of physical and mental development. After birth, a child's brain grows as much in the first year as it will throughout the rest of the child's life. Poor nutrition during this critical period can have permanent negative effects, not only on a child's physical growth, but also on their cognitive development. An average term baby doubles his or her birth weight by four months, and then triples it by one year of...
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