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My toddler doesn’t want to eat – why and what to do?

Parents Tips

“My toddler doesn’t want to eat during the whole day” or “My toddler doesn’t eat well”. When these phrases are heard by children, they are not surprised and quite calmly react to this fact. But for parents, it is a disaster and a hard puzzle.

After all, all moms and dads, and especially grandmothers have an acute desire to feed their offspring. And if children-grandchildren do not eat, they begin to appear obsessive thoughts “Oh my God, maybe it is sick? My girlfriend’s son eats so much, he is such a good boy and my daughter is impossible to force, something is not so clear with her!

My toddler wont eat

my toddler won't eat

Refusal to eat is a sign of anxiety. But parents should clearly distinguish between “I am not hungry” and “I can’t eat”. In the first case, the child may not want to eat for one simple reason, it does not have time to get hungry and therefore doesn’t need extra calories. If the problem is related to pain during eating or flesh-eating disease, it is a signal to reflect on this and go to a pediatrician.

My baby won’t eat – norm and cause to reflect


Let’s start by looking at what causes a child may not want (refuse) to eat and what this may mean.

“Child refusing to eat” – this is Norma in the following cases

If your child plays, watches cartoons, runs in the yard, or is busy drawing, and you offer it to get distracted and food during this process, then your toddler is likely to refuse. Why does this happen? The answer is simple – it’s just busy and all attention is focused on the correct decision of the task. It is passionate and focused on – what could be better?

In your case, it is best to offer once and calm down, you probably don’t like to be distracted from something important?

Child’s disease. Very often the child refuses to eat anything when it has a fever and it is not feeling well. And you will not believe it but it is also absolutely normal. The fact is that when we get sick then all the forces of our body are directed to cope with the infection (virus). At such moments your child will have no appetite. It is best to make sure that your child consumes enough fluid and continues the treatment prescribed by the doctor. Just stay close, hug and kiss your child.

There is another phenomenon called selective appetite. It is especially characteristic for children under 1 year of life. For example, your children won’t eat vegetables or fruit and give preference to milk porridge. It is all a matter of time and habit. Mom can offer a child to eat vegetable soup and the child doesn’t want to and asks to cook him French fries as in MacDonald’s with ketchup. If there is such a problem then you should make sure that the child eats less between the main meals and then it will be hungry and eat whatever you offer.

The child may not eat because it is not wasting energy. This is the most trivial reason. You may have noticed that children eat more during the weekend when they are out with friends and move more. The more physical and brain activity – your child will come to the kitchen and wonder what you are going to cook for lunch or dinner.

“My kid won’t eat breakfast” is also a phrase from many parents. But there is really nothing strange about it. Our body is not awake yet and all the metabolic mechanisms are passing through and as result, we have no desire to have breakfast. Some rituals that help the body to quickly resume and wake up the desire to eat:

  • don’t eat 3-4 hours before sleep
  • get up early + drink a glass of warm water

Child not eating

child not eating

Sometimes the reasons for refusal of food, especially in infancy, are related to the features of the body: respiratory disorders, problems with food intake (related to the mother’s breast), problems in the intestines, the taste of food or its characteristics (salty, hot, sour, large pieces of food), toothache and problems in the mouth.

In such situations, if you can’t solve the problem on your own, you’d better go to a pediatrician where the doctor will analyze your child’s diet, activity level, height and weight, and eating habits.

What to do when your toddler won’t eat?

  • More often go out in the fresh air and play with your child. A normal level of physical activity is a guarantee of adequate nutrition and a good appetite for your child.
  • Don’t come up with sanctions when your baby doesn’t want to eat soup. Food should not be associated with punishment. If you have prepared a new dish and the child has no desire to try it, you do not need to force it. Calm down and offer to just try a slice, if the dish is not good, then your child can put it back on the plate. This is normal.
  • You should stop controlling how much food your child eats. You must understand that everyone has their needs and they depend on many factors, from height and weight to physical activity. You should pay more attention to the balance and variety of foods on the baby’s plate.

We have listed some of the situations that most often arise at the family table. But the main rule is to be patient and calm, and not to force a child to eat under any circumstances. The child should learn to understand what it needs and in what quantities.

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