Background: Children with Down syndrome are commonly reported to experience feeding problems in the early years. This study aimed to explore and synthesise the experiences of feeding young children with Down syndrome from parents and professionals, and the support needed and received during this time.
Methods: Eight mothers and twelve healthcare professionals took part in semi-structured interviews. All par-ticipants had, or had supported, a child(ren) with Down syndrome aged 0–5years.
Results: Reflexive thematic analysis resulted in two themes and seven subthemes. Mothers had clear feed-ing goals and adapted their journeys to meet their child’s individual needs, with support from professionals and peers. Professionals could empower parents by building confidence and offering proactive support, although a lack of knowledge about Down syndrome and difficulties accessing support undermined mothers’ confidence in services.
Conclusions: Breastfeeding and family mealtimes held significant value to mothers, and specialist and trusted support may be needed to help families achieve these goals.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Early online date6 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Dec 2023


  • Down syndrome
  • breastfeeding
  • eating
  • feeding
  • mealtimes


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