Feeding Problems

Developmental Considerations

Typically developing babies will usually have developed the skills needed for breast feeding by 6 weeks of age. Researchers have shown that infants with FASD are more likely to have feeding difficulties, and are more likely to be hospitalized because they are unable to gain weight. When using a bottle, a textured nipple might help the infant become more aware of the nipple and facilitate feeding.

Eating issues may continue into childhood. In younger children, this might look like gorging or starving, picky eating, and forgetting to eat. When starting out with solid food it is advised to start with neutral foods in smaller amounts and more frequently throughout the day. Older children also might overeat, not feel full, or forget to eat. Some researchers have found that these eating issues might get better as the child gets older. Reducing distractions may help them focus on the feeding.

Infants with FASD often have a weak suckle and do not have the coordination needed to breast feed. Sensory issues can contribute to feeding problems. A child with FASD might find some foods too flavourful (they may be hypersensitive to taste) or want much more flavour added, such as salt or spice (they may be hyposensitive to taste).

The child might gain or loose weight to be closer to the healthy average weight for their age. With the right intervention they could have a balanced diet with the nutrients that they need.


What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know about FASD: Working Together to Educate Children in Manitoba with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
FASD overview; common characteristics of FASD; strategies for mealtime and eating problems (from Healthy Child Manitoba)
Mealtime Strategies (p.50)

Eating and Nutrition Guide for People with FASD
Providing advice for picky eating, mealtime issues, meals, and diet. (from the FASD Network of Southern California)

Nutritional Interventions for Children with FASD
A collection of advice and tips for managing the nutrition of a child with FASD (from Diane Black)

A New Nutrition Program for a Family Member: Ideas to Cope
Ideas for coping with children with FASD and who have certain food intolerances with a list of food substitutes