Do not assume that just because your child has Down syndrome that they will experience problems with feeding. Many babies with Down syndrome are able to breastfeed successfully from birth.

Persevere if you want to breastfeed and remember it can take a couple of weeks to establish feeding with any baby. Seek support if necessary from health professionals.

A few babies have medical problems which affect feeding. Babies with gastro-intestinal tract (GI tract) disorders who need an operation will not be allowed to feed at first and will get nutrients intravenously. Some babies with heart conditions may be unable to feed immediately because they are tired or breathless; mothers of these babies can express breast milk by hand or pump to build up their milk supply. Their milk can be given to their babies by naso-gastric tube when the babies are well enough. With patience, and following surgery for any medical conditions, these babies can often fully breastfeed eventually.

Weaning your baby is likely to be much like weaning any other child, but sometimes they can be slower to learn how to suck, chew and swallow. Some babies with Down syndrome are particularly sensitive to different textures and prefer smoother foods and familiar flavours. As with any child, the priority is to provide a healthy and balanced diet.

Ask a qualified professional, for example a health visitor or speech and language therapist with expertise in feeding, if you are worried or need advice on feeding and weaning.