Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 73 (1), 56-70

Feeding Problems in Infancy and Early Childhood: Evolutionary Concept Analysis


Feeding Problems in Infancy and Early Childhood: Evolutionary Concept Analysis

Hayley H Estrem et al. J Adv Nurs.


Aim: The aim of this study was to report an analysis of the concept of pediatric feeding problems.

Background: Reviews of the literature on pediatric feeding problems and disorders repeatedly reference the lack of a shared conceptualization of feeding problems. It is difficult to track aetiology, prevalence and incidence of a phenomenon when available definitions and diagnoses lack practical utility.

Design: An evolutionary concept analysis.

Data sources: A search was conducted in October 2014 of Google Scholar, CINAHL, PubMed and Web of Science databases, with MeSH terms and key words including: failure to thrive, feeding disorder/difficulty/problems, infantile anorexia, oral aversion, mealtime behaviour and dysphagia. Inclusion criteria were: subject of feeding problems, index children 0-10 years of age, English language and full text.

Methods: The articles (n = 266) were sorted into disciplines of authorship, including Psychology, Medicine, Nursing, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Pathology or Other. The sample was divided into a historical sample (n = 42) for pre-2000 articles and current for those published post-2000. The current sample was later reduced to 100 and coded for surrogate terms, related concepts, attributes, antecedents and consequences.

Results: The historical view of pediatric feeding problems shows a tradition of mother blame or parental culpability, both direct and indirect. Currently, there exist many different definitions and typologies, but none have sound validity or generalizability. Areas of attribute consensus across disciplines are problematic feeding behaviours and selective or restrictive intake.

Conclusion: A spectrum conceptualization of feeding problems is suggested for further development, with attributes that would be critical to have a feeding problem.

Keywords: concept analysis; enteral feeding; feeding behaviour; midwives; nurses; nursing.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 2 PubMed Central articles

LinkOut - more resources