Growth Faltering

When a baby is not growing as expected, it could be due to any the following following reasons

  • Their ability to suckle on a breast or artificial teat

One reason behind growth faltering could be that the baby has an un-coordinated suck that impacts their ability to transfer milk from their mom’s breast. The tongue is made up of 4 pairs of muscles that work together to produce a strong and effective suck. Perhaps the baby has a tongue tie that is impeding their ability to suck effectively. Health care providers can assess the baby’s suck.

Bottle feeding positioning could be a factor or event the nipple flow rate may not match the infant’s ability. There are things to look out for when a baby is bottle feeding to ensure they are having a positive bottle feeding experience, by not working too hard for milk or not being overwhelmed by milk.

  • Milk supply is not meeting the baby’s nutritional requirements

Maybe the mom has a dwindling milk supply due to an underlying reason. This could be due to a progressive shallow latch or a tongue tie that was un-detected. Maybe there is stress or a health concern impacting her milks supply.

  • A medical or health concern

A medical concern such as silent aspiration can be a culprit. An acute respiratory infection that impacts the child’s ability to feed effectively due to a stuffy nose and not able to suck, swallow and breathe, will interrupt feeding and may cause a dip in weight. The infant usually compensates with shorter more frequent feeds, to stay hydrated. I’ve seen many times that Usually once the infection has resolved the weight resumes, however it is important that the mom keep up her baseline milk supply for when the baby can resume breastfeeding.

  • Positioning while feeding

Awkward positioning techniques from the early days can become ingrained habits, and be quite difficult to change as time goes on. It could be a shallow latch or the baby’s body is away from their moms body. It’s important to have a close fit and hold between the dyad when breastfeeding not only does this stabilize the infant but it also can deepen the latch. The close fit and hold is always attainable with laid back breastfeeding, as mom is not fighting against gravity to bring the baby to her breast, the baby is positioned on top of the moms torso and can self latch.


Hopefully your baby is thriving and not encountering a period of growth faltering. If their growth is faltering there may be some underlying reasons, know that there are supports and solutions to help them get back on their growth curve. See your health care provider if you have concerns.

Maxine Scringer-Wilkes

Exemplary clinical and leadership abilities demonstrated in the community, hospital and health care industry. Proficient and skilled at nursing education, community health, development of patient and staff education, and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and NRP. Masters of Nursing focused in Maternal/Child Health Nursing.