Parental anxiety and the impact of feeding issues on families
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are a frequent cause of parental anxiety, impairment in quality of life of child and parent alike and can impose a financial burden to families.1,2
50% of babies experience feeding issues in the first 6 months of life.1,2
This equates to ~ 300,000 infants in the UK experiencing feeding issues every year.3
How can Healthcare Professionals support parents with feeding issues?
Up to 78% of formula-fed infants have more than one feeding issue4, the most prevalent include reflux in babies or regurgitation, baby colic symptoms and constipation2. Further challenges may be seen with babies experiencing diarrhoea, lactose intolerance or faltering growth.4-6
Parents often seek expert support from their Healthcare Professional for the management of these issues and with individualised support based on education, reassurance, and appropriate nutritional recommendations – feeding issues can be managed– relieving some of that parental anxiety1.
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- Vandenplas Y, et al. Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2019;22(3):207-216.
- Iacono G, et al. Dig Liver Dis. 2005;37(6):432-8.
- Office for National Statistics. Births in England and Wales 2021 [Online]. Available at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/livebirths/bulletins/birthsummarytablesenglandandwales/2021#live-births-and-fertility-rates. Accessed August 2023.
- Bellaiche M, et al Acta Paediatr 2018;107:1276-1282.
- Walsh, J et al. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners vol. 66,649 (2016): e609-11.
- NICE guidance NG75. Faltering Growth – recognition and management. 2017. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK458459/ [Accessed: August 2023].
We believe that breastfeeding is the ideal nutritional start for babies and we fully support the World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life followed by the introduction of adequate nutritious complementary foods along with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age. We also recognise that breastfeeding is not always an option for parents. We recommend that healthcare professionals inform parents about the advantages of breastfeeding. If parents choose not to breastfeed, healthcare professionals should inform parents that such a decision can be difficult to reverse and that the introduction of partial bottle-feeding will reduce the supply of breast milk. Parents should consider the social and financial implications of the use of infant formula. As babies grow at different rates, healthcare professionals should advise on the appropriate time for a baby to begin eating complementary foods. Infant formula and complementary foods should always be prepared, used and stored as instructed on the label in order to avoid risks to a baby’s health.