When your baby reaches 4 to 6 months old, you should start giving some solid food to your baby. While many babies go through this transition smoothly thinking they are exploring new side of eating, many babies make it messy with a lot of tantrums. You will see that your baby refuses to eat food.
But don’t worry. There could be many reasons why your baby is not eating food and you don’t have to run to your doctor just yet.
Reasons For Baby Not Eating Food
Parents worry a lot when their baby is not eating food properly. Their baby can’t tell why it is not able to eat food which makes it more difficult for parents to find a solution. Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons why your baby is refusing to eat food.
1. Too Much Liquid Food
One of the reasons why your baby is not eating food could be due to the fact that you had fed your baby too much liquid like juice or milk. Such liquid foods can lower the appetite of your baby which is why it could be refusing to eat food. So keep such things to a minimum.
2. Your Baby Is Too Young
Another common reason for your baby to refuse food is that it is still very young to start eating solid food. Most mothers try to start with solid foods very early for the baby which is a mistake. An ideal age to start solid food is when your baby reaches 6 months.
3. Too Many Distractions
Your baby could be distracted by too many things like TV, noise from outside, etc. Even a small noise can distract your baby easily since all such distractions are new to your baby.
4. Growth Factors
Babies tend to eat less as they grow up so you don’t have to worry that your baby’s appetite is getting low. Even if a baby’s growth is less rapid, they need less energy which is why they could be eating less.
5. Your Baby Is Full
Your baby knows his tummy better than you. If he or she is shutting mouth and/or pushing the spoon it could mean that their tummy is full. You can trust your baby on this.
6. Your Baby Doesn’t Want To Eat New Food
Your baby might refuse any new food that you are giving him, if he doesn’t like it. It might take some time for them to accept these changes.
7. Look Out For Allergies
There could be chances that your baby could be allergic to certain food and they could be trying to let you know by refusing it. Observe your baby’s behavior whenever you give him new food and look out for allergies.
Tips To Make Your Baby Eat Food
There is no need to worry if your baby is refusing to eat food. Now that you know about some of the common reasons for baby not eating food, let’s take a look some of the tips to convince your baby to eat food.
1. Do Not Force Feed
Let your baby feed himself and do not try to forcefully feed him. Keep different choices of food in front for your baby and let him decide what he wants to eat. Don’t try to feed him certain foods just because you like them and think it is healthy. Give him different choices whenever you feed him and over time he will be ready to eat different foods.
2. Add Variety
You need to provide a variety of food choices for your baby if you need to see him eat healthy amounts of food. You can also get creative and experiment with the food you cook for him. Children are attracted by colors and so you can cook different colored vegetables and fruits and you can be sure that they will eat it.
3. Don’t Threaten Your Baby
If your baby is refusing to eat food, do not threaten him by saying him like “No toys for you if you don’t eat this completely”. It is only going to increase your baby’s tantrums. Instead build positivity around your baby and encourage him to eat.
4. Avoid Bribing Your Baby
Many parents try to bribe their baby to eat their food like “If you finish the plate I’ll give you a big chocolate”. Your might succeed in making your baby eat this way but you need to remember that you are only encouraging your baby into unhealthy eating habits.
5. Eat Together
Have meals with your baby together as a family. If your baby sees his parents and siblings eating the food that they don’t like, then it is more likely that they will also start eating it.
6. Do Not Bend
If your baby is refusing to eat certain foods, then do not take them off the list completely. As I already said earlier babies take time to adjust to new tastes so you have to keep introducing the food into your baby’s diet regularly until they realize they don’t a choice but to try the food.
7. Experiment With Textures
Once you start giving solid food to your baby, you might sometimes observe that he is still not ready to eat those solid foods in big pieces. In such cases you can make such foods into puree or soups and feed him.
8. Let Them Get Messy
Babies try to explore everything new. In case of food they try to smash, throw and do everything to check this new food you are trying to feed him. So be ready for such mess and let him explore.
9. Try To Fool Your Baby
If your baby is not fond of certain foods, then try to get your baby excited about the food by changing its appearance. For example, if your baby likes carrots and not beans, then tell them it’s a different kind of carrot.
10. Consult An Expert
It is never a bad idea to consult an expert, especially when a 2 year old baby is not eating food. He might be able to check for reasons and prove a solution for your baby’s eating needs. He might also be able to answer any of your concerns regarding your baby and put you at ease.
When To Consult A Doctor If Your Baby Is Not Eating Food
If your baby is not eating food, then keep an eye on their eating habits for a few days. Don’t panic if he is not eating food only during the initial days since he is just getting started with something new. But if this goes on for more than few days, then talk to a specialist.
Observing for a few days will also give you enough time to see if your baby is having any allergic reaction to certain foods. If you realize that your baby is allergic, talk to your doctor immediately. You should also talk to your doctor if you observe conditions like vomiting, blood in stool, gagging, dehydration, loss of weight, etc.
Remember that there are many other parents who are going through the same phase as you are so there is no need to worry. Refusing to eat food is a just a way for your baby to let you know that he likes his food in a certain way. So take up this new responsibility as parent and enjoy it at the same time. Do not give into your baby’s tantrums or get scared about your baby’s health. This is all part and parcel of being a parent. So find your space and have fun being a parent.
If you have any more tips on add on baby refusing to eat food, the share with us in the comments below.