Relationships between feeding problems, eating behaviours and parental feeding practices in children with Down syndrome: a cross-sectional study
Background: Research investigating feeding problems in children with Down syndrome is scarce. This study investigated feeding problems, eating behaviours and parental feeding practices in children with Down syndrome (n=40), and typically developing (TD) children of the same age and sex (n=40). Method: Parents of children aged 6-months to 5-years in the UK completed questionnaires assessing their child’s feeding problems and eating behaviours and parental feeding practices. Results: For children with Down syndrome, feeding problems were: significantly greater than for TD children; negatively associated with breast milk duration and appetite during exclusive milk feeding; and positively associated with drinking more slowly. For both groups, feeding problems were significantly correlated with more food avoidant eating behaviours. Conclusions: This study provides new information about the relationships between feeding problems and eating behaviours in early development. Longitudinal research is needed to further investigate these relationships, so that effective support can be developed for families.