Has your child turned into Miss choosy or Mr moody overnight? Is she now refusing to eat what you would term her favourite food? When our babies turn one year old, the real struggle of feeding them food starts.
At this age, they can eat but they don’t want to eat. Wondering what is wrong? In the first year of birth, a child grows three times (sometimes less, sometimes more) in size. But in the second year, they grow only about a kilo or two. This is what causes loss of appetite and they don’t feel hungry anymore because their body knows that growth is slower this year. Here are some tips for you to follow through the phases of food refusal and appetite loss:
- Don’t exaggerate for effect – Very often patents can say that the child ate nothing. When they actually are specific, they mean the child ate only half a teaspoon. You can either stop exaggerating or be specific, or you can try and not focus on quantity.
- Don’t undo the good you’ve accomplished – Kids become very specific about what they want to eat at this age and you might fulfill that. But by doing it you will undo the months of healthy eating that you established. For example, if your kid likes to eat cake, you can cook it for him but cooking it for every meal will only spoil his healthy eating habits.
- Do to yourself what you do to your child – Sit and eat a banana. Then eat another. And then force yourself to eat another. Do you feel ill? That’s how your child feels when you force them. You won’t be able to eat a banana properly for weeks because your brain associates it with a negative emotion. When you force a child to eat, you are creating a negative reinforcement. It actually makes them lose appetite even more.
- Respect your child’s body type – Not every child will be big, their bodies are different. Children eat because they are growing. They don’t grow because they eat. Stop obsessing over their weight and really look at them as individuals.
Reasons for appetite loss:
- Slow growth rate– The changes in body growth can cause loss of appetite in kids. Unlike the first year, kid’s growth slows down during the second year and decline in appetite is normal in this period.
- Medications– If the child has been taking antibiotics recently, appetite may go down. A loss of appetite in a child is the general side effect of antibiotics.
- Constipation– Decline in appetite may be a signal that they are suffering from constipation.
- Sickness– If your child is sick like a sore throat, stomach flu, fever, or a headache etc, then there are changes he/she might eat less than normal.
Your child’s stomach is not a petrol tank in a car. It doesn’t need to be full. Your child’s spirit is not worth crushing for a few bowls of food.