Caring For Special Babies & Children
Support Organisation for Trisomy 13/18 - (Patau's/Edward's Syndrome)

Feeding and Digestion

If you want to breast-feed but your baby is unable to, you can express milk which can be fed to your baby by bottle or tube.

If you are bottle feeding your baby keep her head up in good body alignment.

If your baby is unable to breast-feed or bottle feed she may be tube fed by passing a tube through the mouth (Oral-Gastric) or nose (Nasal-Gastric) Into the stomach. Tube feeding provides baby with all the necessary fluid and nutrients. Many babies will go on to bottle feeding or spoon feeding but tube feeding may be continued for as long as necessary. Parents with no special medical experience can learn the correct procedure to tube feed their baby.

Trisomy babies may need small and frequent feeds. Some babies may not tolerate certain formulae and you should consider changing to a different brand or a soya-based formula. If your baby is not gaining weight the dietician at your hospital may be able to assist you. A high-calorie infant food may be recommended.

Reflux Vomiting

Reflux vomiting is when food is regurgitated through the mouth and sometimes down the nose. Many babies have a problem with this.

Reflux vomiting may be helped by:

Placing the baby on a level surface with the head raised slightly at an angle of about 30º
Giving smaller and more frequent feeds
Thickening the feeds

If the reflux vomiting is severe your paediatrician may recommend surgery.

Aspiration of Food

Aspiration is when some of the baby’s feed trickles into the lungs. This can occur due to poor muscle co-ordination and can be the cause of chest infections.


Many babies have colic which is a severe pain in the tummy causing baby to scream and draw up her knees. Some parents find that a change of infant milk formula, a soya formula or a different type of bottle or teat helps. If your baby is uncomfortable with colic your doctor may prescribe medication.


Your baby may be uncomfortable with constipation. Relief of this discomfort can be helped by:

Diet to encourage the formation of a soft stool
Extra fluids
Medication such as laxatives, suppositories, or a stool softener
Exercises to encourage your baby to have a bowel motion and to improve the tone of the muscles involved.