why does my child refuse to eat
For most toddlers faddy eating is just a phase that they eventually pass through. However if the problem persists or you have some concerns, speak to your health visitor or GP. They will be able to check your child's growth and development. Very occasionally faddy eating is linked to medical problems or a memory associated with discomfort on eating. Your GP may be able to assess this and can refer your toddler to a paediatrician, or a speech and language therapist for oral-motor dysfunction, if necessary. There are some toddlers who are extremely faddy eaters but have nothing medically wrong with them. Such toddlers quite often get much worse at around 18 months, although they may have had problems with lumpy foods when these were first introduced. These children usually dislike getting their hands and face dirty, and are often sensitive to sound, touch or smells. Sometimes children grow out of this and start to improve their eating at around five years of age. It is especially important that these toddlers are not forced to eat food that they dislike as this may cause them to vomit and eventually affect their growth.
Gellner: Your once-healthy eater is toddling everywhere and has now decided five Cheerios a day is all he needs to eat for days on end. Should you worry your child will starve? I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner and we will discuss the toddler appetite slump on today's Scope. Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering The Healthy Kid Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope. Dr. Gellner: Between one and five years old, it's normal for a toddler's appetite to slow down. It will probably seem like your child doesn't eat enough, is never hungry, or won't eat unless you spoon-feed them yourself. The good news is as long as your child's energy level is normal and they are growing well, your child's appetite is most likely naturally slowing down. "Why is this? " you ask. Babies gain an average of 15 pounds during their first year. Between ages one and five, the toddler and preschool years, children normally gain only four to five pounds a year. Children in this age range can normally go three or four months without any weight gain. Because they're not growing as fast, they need fewer calories, and they seem to have a poorer appetite.
This is called physiological anorexia. How much a child chooses to eat is controlled by the appetite center in the brain. Kids eat as much as they need for growth and energy. Many parents try to force their child to eat more than they need because they worry that their child's poor appetite might cause them to get sick or develop a vitamin deficiency. This is not true and forced feedings actually decrease a child's appetite by making mealtime more of a punishment for your child. Your child's appetite will improve when they become older and need to eat more, usually right around the time they start kindergarten. So how can both you and your child survive during this eating power struggle? First, trust your child. Children eat as much as they need. Your child's brain will make sure that they eat enough calories for normal energy and growth. Serve healthy meals and snacks. If your child is hungry, they will eat. If they are not, they might be fine by the next meal. Even reminding them to eat or to eat more will backfire. Many parents always want to offer their child snacks all day long as well. They may have so many snacks that they never become truly hungry.
Let your child have no more than two small healthy snacks a day, a piece of fruit, for example. Make sure the snacks are not choking hazard size. If your child is thirsty between meals, offer water. Limit the amount of juice your child drinks to less than six ounces each day; it's pure sugar and calories. Limit milk to less than 16 ounces a day. Milk contains as many calories as most solid foods. Drinking too much milk or juice can fill kids up and then they're not hungry for anything to eat. Forced feeding is a main cause of eating power struggles. Parents of a child with a poor appetite will tend to pick up a spoon, fill it with food, smile, and try to trick the child into taking it. Once your child is old enough to use a spoon, never pick it up again as a parent. If your child is hungry, they'll feed themselves. Make meal times pleasant, and avoid making meal times a time for criticism or struggle over control. Don't discuss how little your child eats in their presence. Don't make your child sit at the dinner table after the rest of the family is through eating.
This will only cause your child to feel bad about themselves and mealtime. Parents who are worried that their child isn't eating enough may go off the deep-end, and get a bit irrational. Some wake their child up at night to feed them; others offer their child snacks at one-hour intervals throughout the day. And some try to make their child feel guilty by talking about those starving children in other countries, or say, "If you don't eat what I cook, it means you don't love me. " But the most common mistake is picking up a child's spoon or fork and trying various ways to get food into their mouth. The main way to prevent feeding struggles is to teach your child how to feed themselves. Let your child pace their feedings. Remember, your child will survive this toddler appetite, picky-eating slump. They are doing what their body does naturally. Don't turn it into a power struggle that you just can't win. Announcer: TheScopeRadio. com is University of Utah Health Sciences Radio. If you like what you heard, be sure to get our latest content by following us on Facebook. Just click on the Facebook icon at TheScopeRadio. com.
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