What could cause my baby's poor appetite?
It is very upsetting for moms when their babies lose their appetite. It’s like rain on a sunny day or a storm on a beautiful vacation… But do not show the white flag immediately; do not let it spoil your life. Because maybe with a little research you can solve this problem. The first thing to do is to find what may be causing your baby's poor appetite. Is he ill or teething? Did he stop eating because of stress or is it psychological?
Also let's not forget this saying "patience comes first"... Be patient, sooner or later you will find something he likes. Maybe you will have to try something new every day but don't worry, it will BE worth it.
Parents mostly complain about poor appetite in the period from 8-9 months until school age. If your child eats less on some days and more on others, remember that this is an age-related characteristic so there is no need to make a big deal out of this. However if your baby's appetite has been poor for a very long time and if his weight gain is not sufficient, you must consult a doctor as this may be due to flatworms, constipation, anemia or urinary tract infection.
At a very young age, babies can feel their parent's attention on what they are eating. Babies know very well that by acting cranky about food, they will draw your attention. Some smart babies use the method of refusing to eat in order to get what they want. Therefore beware of these innocent weapons, try at least not to fall each and every trap (it will take your cool away for sure)
Loss of appetite when solids are introduced...
As said many times by now, each baby is unique with his/her own magic. Inevitably, each baby goes through different phases until he gets used to this new period. Some adapt very quickly; some need more time... If your baby wishes to go slower, it’s totally fine, just keep pace with him. Don’t force him to eat; instead introduce him a new and a fantastic world of tastes bit by bit. Let him taste, feel, love and appreciate.
Now it’s time for smart and simple tactics that will make your life much much easier. The first one:: Just put a bowl of the same food that you put before your baby. Do this whenever you are introducing a new food. Start eating together, take your time, have fun. Do not forget to praise the food by saying "Hmm very delicious, I like it".
And don’t forget to keep your cool no matter what; do not ever panic. Remember; our key word in this process is "patience". If he refuses the food you place before him, remove the food very calmly and try it again after a while. Patience pays back, always!
Another useful tactic is to let your baby play with the food you’ve just given him. Are you serving a new puree? Give some to him to play. Let him get his hands into it, go sticky with it, squeeze and squash it.... This means some dirty clothes and a messy house but believe that this will help him establish a strong bond with the foods he eats. Furthermore, dirt is good and it’s a perfect and fun way of learning, although not for the moms all the time… We believe that with your mom-super-powers, you would handle it just fine.
Gourmet babies refusing new tastes...
Most babies refuse new tastes. Don't worry; don’t feel sad about it. This is extremely natural.
First of all, take a deep breath. Your biggest supporter in this period will be "patience". (Here comes our beloved keyword again J For the start, serve him foods that he’s used to along with the new ones. Go ahead like this for a while. Even if he does not eat still, let him visually get used to them.
Sometimes in order for a baby to try a new food, he has to see it many times. If you want, over time you can try to mix this new food with the foods he already likes.
Another method is this; in time re-introduce this new taste that your baby has refused. But do not give this a try too often. Let some time pass in between. When you introduce the food he had refused in the past, you may try offering it with a different combination. You may mix the tastes he will love like winter squash, carrot and potatoes with foods that he is not a fan of. But don't forget, there is no rule saying that your little gourmet will like sweet foods. Many gourmet babies like little garlicky, spicy foods. Of course you have to wait for the right time to introduce them When you find a few basic foods that your baby loves, combine these with the new foods you wish to introduce. And now it’s time for you to relax, get a rest and maybe dream of your little one becoming the most famous chef on Earth. Or if this wouldn’t be your dream, maybe you think of many lovely moments where you felt the taste of life to the heart and soul… Both would lighten up your day
Gourmets that only love one type of food...
When gourmet babies like something, they easily and immediately get used to it. And sometimes it is not very pleasant for them to try something new. Some gourmets act very determined. If your baby is one of them, you should take one more deep breath and continue offering these foods to them. But never be pushy. In time, he will get used to the new foods that he had refused many times in the past. And it would be nice if you can manage to make him at least taste the new food once... Some people call this "no thank you" bite. Tell your baby that you will make him taste this new food for once. Tell him this: "Just one bite, not more". And tell your baby that he can say "No thank you" after he tastes it and that you will immediately stop giving it to him. But promise: You will stick with your word on this. In this way, he will get used to trying new tastes. And good news is, he will benefit from it for the rest of life.
Gourmets that do not want to eat vegetables...
Vegetables may also be hard to get used to for some of the little gourmets. If your little gourmet refuses to eat veggies, you can mix them with fruits until your baby gets used to them. Spinach with kiwi, winter squash and carrot with cauliflower… How creative you go is up to you. And we have no doubts about your creativity, since you already created an amazing miracle. So you may set the bar if you like. Just gradually reduce the ratio of fruit in these mixtures and try to shift to vegetables.
If your baby has teeth and can chew, you may chop the vegetables like carrot, cucumber in bar form and give them to your babies. You may grate vegetables in his favorite foods. It’s up to you to decide; whichever suits your beautiful baby most, it’s the best one.
Loss of appetite during illness....
When your baby's mood is down, he loses his appetite. Sounds familiar? Just like all of us, right? Especially when he is ill, this is aggravated. During these times, increase fluids and focus on giving nutritious foods.
If your baby is sick, he may refuse to eat for a short while but don't get upset. This will not prevent him from growing. This has not prevented anyone from growing since the beginning of timeJ You can expect him to regain his healthy eating habits in a few days. It is normal if he loses some weight during this time. As soon as he is well, he will close the gap. Spend this time to focus on foods he loves and he can eat. If he does not want to eat anything, give him a lot of hugs and a lot of love! This will definitely make him feel better. It’s a guaranteed recipe and works perfectly for anyone in the world. By the way, do not forget to consult your doctor and give him plenty of fluids and water.
Loss of appetite and teething....
Teething can sometimes is a difficult period. Your little gourmet may have hard time chewing as it causes itching and as the structure of his mouth is changing. So he may get cranky while eating. For a short period, you may go back to smooth mashed foods. You may focus on mashed foods and yoghurt in this period. These are easy to swallow and shall give your baby some relief. Also you should ensure that your baby drinks adequate amounts of milk.
Keep in mind that you may also create different alternatives for your little gourmet. Just like yoghurt mixed with mashed fruits, grated vegetable purees with cheese... This is a perfect opportunity to create new tastes!
What should I do before meals?
Little Gourmets lose their appetite when they are extremely tired and sleepy. Just think of yourself and grasp how you feel when you are tired and sleepy. How you adapt your own meal times according to your mood. What you should do is simply to organize your baby’s meal times accordingly.
The important thing to keep in mind is, before you sit down to a meal, first play with your children. Child who cheers up would definitely enjoy eating more.
Also, do not give snacks to your child in between meals. That wouldn’t help in any way…
What should I do during meals?
Here is a useful tip: Have yourself a bowl of the same food that you placed before your little gourmet and sit with him. While eating make comments like "Hmmmm this is great".
Let him play with the food; let him squeeze and with his little hands and fingers. If you wish you can place an extra plate just for this purpose. Let him eat from one plate and play with the other. It is true that this means a lot of dirty laundry but truly believe it is worth it. Although it may seem hard and tiring to deal with a little mess, a little fun won’t hurt and it will positively grow your baby’s relationship with eating.
Do not be pushy when feeding him. It is much better not to use awards or punishments during this period.
By sitting on highchair and family table during meals, your child will learn that eating is a social event. So take this tip into account.
Feed him in a silent environment where there is no TV so that he won't be distracted.
Piling up food on a plate may look repulsive to him, so try to keep the portions nice and small.
Prefer foods that he can easily chew and swallow.
Feeding him in a rush, not giving him enough time to eat his food or just on the contrary keeping the meals very long (half an hour is normal time for feeding), will have a negative effect on your baby.
If your little gourmet refuses to eat, after 30 minutes, without saying anything remove the full or half full plate. Do not try to give any other alternatives. At the same time, be calm and do not panic thinking "Oh no, he did not eat anything!". Do not react at all, do not scare or upset him; do not get angry with him either. If he wishes to eat, place the same food in front of him and if not, do not serve another meal.
Sometimes our little gourmets show bad temper when it is time for a meal. This may be because he wants to say "I am a grown up now, I can make my own decision and you can't make me do what you want". To avoid this, offer him more than one option. Instead of a single plate of food, offer him two and ask him "Do you want this one or this one?". Let him choose what to eat. This will help him feel he is in charge somehow and he will willingly make his decision. And you may enjoy watching your little baby grow up, making his own decisions and expressing himself confidently. The feeling would be priceless.
No matter what you do, never force a child to eat. Eating should be a fun and enjoyable time; and this will definitely pay back in the future.
Another important point to consider is “instincts.” As Oprah says “Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie” and she has a good point. Experts think that parents should pay attention to the instincts of a child who refuses to eat the same food persistently. Because researches show that children who persistently refuse to eat the same food may have allergy against it. You'd better trust your child’s instincts. Of course do not forget to discuss this issue with your doctor and get his opinion on the matter.
Last but not least, when you realize that your child is full, make him stop eating.
When should I consult a doctor?
If you feel that your child is not active enough and most importantly is way behind the development curve, you should discuss this with your doctor. There may be a problem that requires attention. If eating habits of your child has changed noticeably, if he looks tired, he does not sleep enough, without any delay consult with your doctor.
What could cause my baby's poor appetite?