Feeding and Eating Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood
Feeding and eating disorders of infancy or early childhood are caused by physical reasons or the environment the child is in – namely the parenting skills being used or not used. If a child loses a lot of weight suddenly or is small for their age and doesn’t seem to growing normally, it may be a sign that a feeding or eating disorder is present. If the symptoms of feeding and eating disorders of infancy or early childhood do appear, there are many treatment options available.
Types of Feeding and Eating Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood
These are the three main varieties of feeding and eating disorders found in children.
- Pica – This disorder centers around eating non-food materials – some hazardous and some not.
- Rumination Disorder – This chronic eating disorder focuses on a person’s mild regurgitation of food after meals – not vomiting.
- Feeding Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood – When malnutrition is not caused by a medical problem, it is referred to as a feeding disorder of infancy or early childhood.
Causes of Feeding and Eating Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood
There are many causes of these type of eating disorders in children.
Some center around bad parenting, others poverty, while some children inherit the eating or feeding disorder through their genes.
For bad parenting, damage can be done by misreading eating cues from the child and not giving enough food or over feeding when the child is not hungry.
Parents with emotional disorders may have an affect on the eating habits of their children. In addition to these causes, there are other physical reasons children get disorders that cause them to fail to thrive and grow, including various diseases, sensory deficiencies, or even muscular disorders.
Symptoms of Feeding and Eating Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood
The symptoms of feeding and eating disorders of infancy or early childhood are very similar to those of malnutrition, including physical signs as well as emotional indicators. Because food isn’t being provided or doesn’t have enough nutrients, growth and development are delayed, causing children to be significantly lighter than they should be for the age. Because they’re not getting the nutrients they need, the child may display withdrawal and irritability.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the following measures may be taken:
- Increase the number of calories and amount of fluid the infant takes in
- Correct any vitamin or mineral deficiencies
- Identify and correct any underlying physical illnesses or psychosocial problems
A short period of hospitalization may be required to accomplish these goals.