Spina bifida Feeding your child (1445)

Key points below

The nutrition issues below are common in children with spina bifida. They may or may not be a concern for your child. 

Feeding Difficulties

Some infants and children with spina bifida have feeding problems. These feeding problems are often caused by Chiari II malformation. 

Weight Gain

Overweight is a common problem for people with spina bifida. People with spina bifida can be less active and have less muscle mass. This can lead to lower energy needs. There are things you can do to help your child not gain too much weight:

Weaker Bones

Children with spina bifida may have weaker bones. This can lead to bone breaks. Calcium and vitamin D are important for bone strength. 


Constipation is common in children with spina bifida. Talk to your health care provider about the right plan to treat constipation for your child.  Your health care team may recommend medications for constipation. It is also important to make sure your child gets enough fiber and fluid. 

Weight Fluids per day 
10 pounds 16 ounces (2 cups) 
20 pounds 30 ounces (3-3/4 cups) 
30 pounds 40 ounces (5 cups) 
40 pounds 48 ounces (6 cups) 
50 pounds 52 ounces (6 ½ cups) 
60 pounds 55 ounces (7 cups) 
80 pounds 61 ounces (7 ½ cups) 
100 pounds 67 ounces (8 ¼ cups) 
120 pounds 73 ounces (9 cups) 
140 pounds ounces (10 cups) 



Call your child’s doctor, nurse or clinic if you or your child have any concerns or your child has special health care needs not covered by this information.