Tips for feeding or eating disorders

Tip Sheet 5 - Feeding development problems in infants aged 0-2 yrs

Who is this for?

These tips have been developed for professionals working across health care, from primary and universal care, hospital general paediatric services through to specialist Children and Young People Mental Health Services (CYPMHS).



This is the fifth in our series of top tips on eating or feeding disorders in infants, children and young people.

These tips aim to support you in what to be aware of, what to look out for, ask, investigate and do when seeing infants and their families with concerns around feeding and eating. They draw on more detailed learning available elsewhere, but in particular, from the Healthy Child Programme hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (links provided in ‘Further Information’ section).


What to be aware of

Feeding related problems are common for a variety of reasons in infancy

The feeding relationship between the rapidly developing infant and their parents/carers is complex and evolving, so it’s vulnerable to difficulties

Most young infants are able to regulate their appetite well, drinking only the quantity of milk they need

It’s best to learn about different food types, different tastes and textures earlier than middle toddlerhood

Neophobia (new food dislikes) is a developmental stage that begins in the second year of life

What to look out for

There are many reasons why infants may have disrupted feeding development

Look to support parents

What to ask and investigate

Six key questions to ask during an initial assessment of a child aged 0-2 yrs with feeding problems

Some of the symptoms and their possible causes

The ‘Why’ Of Feeding problems in Infants

What to do - additional steps

Feeding difficulties may arise for a number of reasons, so each assessment should be holistic, person-centred and sensitive

Further Information

Links to other MindEd HEE TEL Learning


These tips have been curated, drawn and adapted from a range of existing learning, including MindEd, RCPCH, NHSei, NICE, NHS HEE elfh/BEAT/RCPsych resources. RCPCH have kindly agreed for MindEd to adapt from and draw on their resources.

The content has been edited by Dr Mima Simic (MindEd CYP Eating Disorder Editor) and Dr Raphael Kelvin MindEd Consortium Clinical Lead) with close support of Dr Rachel Bryant Waugh and the inner expert group of Prof Ivan Eisler, Dr Dasha Nicholls and Dr Simon Chapman; and a wider expert reference groups of BEAT (Kathrina Dixon-Ward, Martha Williams, Brooke Sharp), Elaine Lockhart (RCPsych Child and Adolescent Faculty Executive chair), Gemma Trainor (MindEd Consortium RCN lead rep) Prof Ulrike Schmidt (Professor SLAM/KCL and MindEd Editor) Dr Lisa Shostack (MindEd Consortium BPS Lead Rep).


This document provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this document, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read in this document or in any linked materials. If you think you may have an emergency, call an appropriate source of help and support such as your doctor or emergency services immediately.

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