Introduction of Complementary Foods for Children with Down Syndrome: Parent and Physician Experiences

Erin Cochran, Katherine Breithaupt, Lauren Williams, Kristi Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aims: Children with Down syndrome are at risk for feeding difficulties due to medical comorbidities and associated developmental delays, yet there are no peer-reviewed published standards to guide families with feeding progression. This study explored family experiences introducing complementary foods (e.g., purees, table food) for children with Down syndrome. A secondary aim was to describe primary care provider (PCP) training on early progression of feeding for children with Down syndrome and investigate the recommendations they gave families. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with twenty-two parents and eight primary care providers (PCPs) were conducted. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the sample and to report on findings related to feeding milestones. Qualitative interview data were considered in an iterative and cyclical fashion. Results: Parental themes included differences in feeding for children with Down syndrome, limited guidance that was not always followed, feeding difficulties and related stress, and gross motor milestone acquisition related to feeding milestones. PCP themes included limited resources/training, providing similar recommendations for children with and without Down syndrome, and desire for training/resources. Conclusions: Published guidelines on feeding progression for children with Down syndrome are needed, including considerations for determining when skill and interest converge to signal safe introduction of complementary foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-349
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Down syndrome
  • complementary foods
  • infant feeding
  • pediatric dysphagia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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