Objective: Children with Down syndrome may experience more challenges in their early feeding and may be introduced to complementary foods comparatively later than typically developing (TD) children. This scoping review aimed to identify and synthesize the existing literature that describes feeding problems and early eating experiences relating to the period of complementary feeding for children with Down syndrome. Methods: Scopus, PubMed, Medline, Web of Science, and PsycInfo were searched. Journal articles published between January 1991 and June 2022 that reported on the complementary feeding period with children with Down syndrome were included. Results: Eighteen journal articles met the inclusion criteria. Children with Down syndrome were introduced to complementary foods later than TD children and progressed to more challenging food textures at a slower rate. Gross and fine motor skill delays and sensory difficulties contributed to secondary feeding problems such as difficulties chewing, biting, and reduced awareness of food on lips and tongue. Parents of children with Down syndrome reported exercising more caution and employing more controlling feeding practices compared to TD and had higher levels of concern regarding their child's weight. Conclusions: Guidelines and early feeding support specific to children with Down syndrome should be available before the first complementary foods are introduced and throughout this period. Feeding support should aim to address parental concerns and provide assistance when feeding problems occur, to minimize delays and encourage the optimum development of eating abilities. Future research should address the development of feeding problems during this period and explore possible interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-930
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number11
Early online date21 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Down syndrome
  • children
  • complementary feeding
  • feeding problems
  • Down Syndrome
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Infant
  • Child
  • Food


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