The patient's medical and feeding history should be obtained to identify issues which may have an impact on growth and feeding (Tables 22-7. 22-8. and 22-9).
Table 22-7. Medical Diagnoses Associated with Down Syndrome
Intestinal malformations (eg, duodenal atresia. Hirschsprung's disease)
Increased incidence of infections (ear. respiratory) Endocrine (diabetes, hypothyroidism) Orthopedic (atlantoaxial instability, hip dislocation) Dental (delayed/missing dentition) Increased risk of leukemia Hearing loss
Table 22-8. Nutritional Risk Factors Associated with Down Syndrome
Constipation (hypotonia, hypothyroid, fluid loss) Delayed oral motor skill development Delayed feeding skill development Selective intake
Reduced activity (hypotonia, orthopedic concerns) Behavior difficulties
Table 22-9. Common Oral-Motor Feeding Difficulties Associated with Down Syndrome
Weak lip seal on nipple (fluid loss) Tongue protrusion/thrust
Delayed chewing (secondary to delayed dentition and/or prolonged tongue thrust) Difficulty with texture transition
Difficulty with thin liquids (increased fluid loss and coughing/ sputtering)
be plotted with NC'HS growth charts as this parameter is not available on the Down syndrome growth chart.
Energy. Given the short stature inherent to Down syndrome. it has been determined that caloric requirements lor children with Down syndrome aged 5 to 12 years should be based on body height rather than body weight to avoid overestimating'1 (see Table 22-2). It is important to note that obesity is a significant nutritional risk factor for children with Down syndrome, with approximately 25'/i being affected.7 Prevention should therefore be the focus by promoting healthy eating habits early in life and avoiding use of food as a reward for good behavior. Regular physical activity such as swimming or dancing should also be encouraged.
Protein. Protein requirements for children w ith Down syndrome should be assessed using the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDAl based on sex and age.
Vitamins/Minerals. There is much controversy surrounding variations in v itamin and mineral requirements for children with Down syndrome. Studies to date have not shown any increased requirements due to Down syndrome itself. One study, however, showed that 80'/} of the children in the study had problems related to food intake or feeding, including excessive calorie intake and low intakes of iron, calcium, vitamin C. and lluid.7 If diet intake is limited due to selective food intake, a multiv itamin with iron may be indicated. Supplementation with additional nutrients beyond a standard multivitamin is not indicated at this time. Children who may be receiving supplementation at levels well above the RDA should be monitored to insure intake does not reach toxic levels.
Fluid. Extra lluid may be indicated for children with Down syndrome who have constipation.
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Many women who have recently given birth are always interested in attempting to lose some of that extra weight that traditionally accompanies having a baby. What many of these women do not entirely realize is the fact that breast-feeding can not only help provide the baby with essential vitamins and nutrients, but can also help in the weight-loss process.