Why kids refuse to eat – five reasons

Many young parents remain very concerned about the food habits of their kids. They always ask questions about the lack of appetite of their babies. This article would be useful for such parents. The author has discussed five common reasons for the kids' reluctance to take food.

Nowadays mothers are very anxious because the think that their kids don't have any appetite for food. There may be various reasons for the kids' reluctance to take food. Mothers must try to understand the reasons behind this reluctance. In this article, five basic reasons for the kids' loss of appetite are being discussed.

Medical reasons

The most obvious reason for kids' reluctance in taking food is medical. When kids have evident medical condition or are visible sick, their eating is affected. But it is equally true for some other subtle issues. In case of acid reflux and constipation, children loose their appetite for food. So, whenever children don't feel like eating, mothers must check these two aspects. Similarly, at the time of teething, fatigue and other common medical problems, babies don't like to eat.

Sensory issues

If babies are frightened by the sight of a particular food item, they don't want to eat it. Similarly, if the taste of any food is uncommon (taste buds are not fully developed in babies), they show extreme reluctance to eat such food. This is part of their defensive behaviour and this behaviour is termed as 'tactile defensive'. On the other hand, babies keep food in their mouth when they don't chew it. They do not want to consume the food because they do not chew the food. Later, they throw away this food.

Body mechanics

Some child may have physical difficulty in chewing. May be their teeth are underdeveloped, may be they have some infection in gums or may be there are some other reasons. In such cases, the babies show extreme reluctance in taking semi-solid or solid foods and tend to stick to liquid diet. Patience is the best way of tackling such cases. Mothers have to physically show the babies how to chew.

Routine of taking food

It is an extremely important issue. A routine must be charted for the babies for taking food. Generally parents try to feed the babies as and when they get the opportunity. Sometime mothers take food at odd time (lunch and dinner) and they try to feed their babies at that time. The body clock of the babies and children don't permit them to take food at odd hours. So, they simply refuse to take food. So parents must develop a routine to feed babies and stick to that routine. This immensely help to develop the appetite of the babies and children.

Child behaviour-likes and dislikes

The babies/children develop their likes and dislikes towards particular food-item(s). As a result, they prefer taking only the food(s) which the like. At the same time they develop a habit of throwing out the food which they dislike. Parents, especially mothers, must patiently develop the habit of taking different foods among their babies with love, affection and occasional strictness.

Summing up

Parents are extremely concerned about the intake of food of their kids. Although they are very conscious, they don't get proper advice or guidance from their elders in this regard in the present era of small families. Whenever the child shows reluctance to take food, parents must check the aforestated factors and try to address the issues patiently. If the problem remains or gets aggravated, they must consult a paediatrician. However, it can be stated that this is a common problem and almost every family with small children witnesses this problem.

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Author: Ramachandran Pattabiraman06 Mar 2016 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 0

Super and needy posting! In many houses the war is there between parents and children. The main thing is as told by the author is timing. Many mothers are feeding their children as they find time to feed. But in olden days the mothers are watching time to feed the children as they treat themselves they born only for this.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha07 Mar 2016 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

A little bit familiarity with child - psycology would pave the way for addressing this sensitive issue. I have seen some sensitive mothers feeding their children even though there is no demand of food from the side of children. These ladies remain under impression that more they feed the tiny tots, more they would be healthy. They tend to forget how the livers of such children are being put to the abnormal level of strain. The malfunction of the liver progresses with the time in absence of due care.
The parents must have adequate knowledge how they can nourish their children effectively and it would be better if they study the ailments of babies and would be in a position to identify the real case with which they are suffering. The minor problems include cough and cold, constipation, abdominal pain, loose - motion during the period of teething or otherwise and sound perception of the same would help them in making out the the genuine causes of refusal of their eating.
The author has dealt with relevant points which if followed would offer positive results.

Author: K Mohan07 Mar 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

While I do appreciate the author for citing various reasons attributing to non eating of food by the kids I would like place here the ways and means to attract the child to eat. For example right from the tender age, we should not feed the child with our hands. Instead put a plate and serve the things through the plate. Let the child eat the same on his own. By doing this, we are not wasting our time and the child will surely eat the things which he likes. Though the food may be wasted falling on the ground, does not matter. We are encouraging the child to have self service food habit. Secondly keep promoting the child who eats fast and that will induce your child also to compete and take the food in faster way. This way we have reared our children and my wife never used to run after them for feeding the food.

Author: Adila Kabeer09 Mar 2016 Member Level: Silver   Points : 7

What comes to my mind after reading this is the method adopted by my mom to feed me and my younger sister in our early childhood days. She never compelled us to have food. She never threatened or cursed us for not having it at time. What she did is a perfect example which I recommend to all mothers who complain about their child's food habit. The first and foremost thing is to set a timetable. Don't try to feed the babies often, instead feed them when they ask for food. Those who know the pain of appetite will never waste a single grain. The serious mistakes made by new generation mothers is the feeding of tin food and bottle food to their kids. I beg, please do not do that. If they are exposed to hot and artificial tastes in their tongue they will never be able to enjoy the natural flavors. So they will throw away 'the supposed to eat mild food' at you. More often parents are ready to meet the unnecessary wants of child due to over cuddling and such parents are expressing their love to young ones by giving them the so called tasty tin food and packaged foods like bingo, kurkure lays and all. That is destroying the taste buds of your baby.
Human child can be trained to any extend. Unlike other animals we the primates have this capacity to think and act. So create awareness in your child in his or her younger age itself so that they will love you for what you fed them in his/her later life.

Author: Nikhil10 Mar 2016 Member Level: Silver   Points : 2

It is a very good article posted by the author. I personally believe that these kind of informations are must to be known by parents. Most of the parents are facing this problem and want to get rid of it. A proper diet of child should be ensured to keep his/her metabolic system functional properly. Also, their interest in sports and games would also decide the amount of food they consume. If they play games and thus become tired then it is obvious that they would feel hungry and their body would ask for food. Moreover, swimming is also one of the factor that increase hunger. It is rightly said that 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. Develop your children's interest in physical activities and give them meal at specific time to maintain proper diet.

Author: Venkiteswaran03 May 2016 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Most mothers especially the first timers, will find this article useful.
The most daunting question present day mothers face is indisputably the question 'why my child does not eat well'. Many times it is just their perception and eagerness to see their child as a plump 'bonnie baby'.

I knew a paediatrician in Mumbai a few years ago, who always used to give a one line instruction to the waiting mothers in his clinic. It was a terse" If you complain is 'my child is not eating well, then don't come in and waste my time'. But if the question is 'my child is not playing well, then you step in'.

His justification was that anybody will eat anything when hungry, especially a child. But the real problem is the mothers feed their child when it is not hungry and feed whatever they feel I will like and not what the child likes. He says that a child will prefer to eat a little quantity many times rather than a large quantity at one or two fixed times. So his logic is that if a child is normally playful and active, and the mother feels it is not eating will, then there is no problem with the child, but problem is with the mother.

However it is a relief that this article deals with the reasons for a child 'really' not eating.

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