Gaining and Growing: Assuring Nutritional Care of Preterm Infants in the Community


Decision Tree: Growth Faltering or Failure in a Breastfeeding Infant

Growth problems in a breastfed infant may be due to infant characteristics, maternal characteristics, or both. Appropriate treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. Use of interventions such as medications to increase maternal milk production or use of supplemental nursing systems is ineffectual if they do not address the true cause of the problem. Please see What Parents Say About Feeding Preterm Infants: Breastfeeding.


Potential Infant Causes of Growth Problems

Feeding Difficulties

Nutrient Losses

Increased Energy Needs


Potential Maternal Causes of Growth Problems

Low Milk Production

Inhibition of Let-Down

  • Maternal Stress
  • Medications, Drugs, and Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Difficulties Transitioning from Pump to Breast


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Page reviewed: April 1, 2015