When Baby Won't Eat

At every stage of a baby’s life, parents worry they’re not eating enough. Whether breastfed or bottle-fed, you often wonder if baby is drinking enough milk. When they refuse the bottle or refuse to nurse, you instantly think something may be up. Though you probably attribute it to a lack of hunger, if it happens more than once, you definitely worry.

Baby EatingSource: Matt Preston/Flickr

The same can be said once babies start eating solids. If baby doesn’t finish his baby food, you again wonder why he won’t eat. As toddlers, it’s even worse. Toddlers are so busy running, playing, and generally exploring the world, that they often refuse food or eat little meals at a time. I’ve learned it’s not so much that they’re not hungry, but that they just generally get distracted.

I can tell you it doesn’t get any better as your children grow older. I still worry about my almost-seven-year-old daughter if she doesn’t eat too much. But, I also keep in mind (with both her and her baby brother) that babies know if they’re not hungry. They may not be able to tell you, but they know if they need to eat or if they’re too full.

So, as I offer food to my toddler, I keep an open mind and remember that if he refuses, he’ll probably make up for it later. Here’s how I keep myself from going crazy about him not eating:

  • I offer him food, but don’t stress if he won’t eat it right away.
  • I wait a while then offer him the food again.
  • I try to get him to sit and keep his attention on the food.
  • If he eats, but gets up after a few bites, I try to get him to sit back down. But, if he still refuses, I let it go.
  • I make sure he gets enough liquids in-between meals. If he’s hydrated, I at least feel better about him not eating very well – even if he doesn’t eat well for an entire day.
  • I give him smaller meals and snacks, correlating with the shorter attention spans he has these days.
  • I remember he’ll probably eat better the next day.

What do you do if baby won’t eat?

Melanie shares parenting and life balance stories at ModernMami.com.
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