Toddlers are all so different. Some toddlers are like a vacuum, eating anything in sight, even things they aren’t supposed to.
Then we have the picky eaters. The ones who won’t eat certain foods no matter what you do.
Finally, we have the super picky eaters. These are toddlers who won’t eat at all. No matter what foods you give them, they just won’t eat, and you don’t even know how they can be as rambunctious as they are if they aren’t eating.
So what causes this? Why won’t your toddler eat? Here are a few reasons why your toddler may have lost their appetite.
A Life Change
A life change can lead to a loss in appetite. Something that seems insignificant to you may be a life change that rocks the toddler’s world and makes it harder for them to function. For example, going to daycare for the first time may lead your toddler to having a hard time eating food.
If there has been a change in the toddler’s routine, that may be to blame.
If your toddler has a little illness, this could cause them to have problems eating. If your toddler is under the weather, there we go. Make sure to give them lots of love when they are dealing with an illness.
Is It A Bad Thing?
If your toddler stops eating, this may make you go crazy. You may feel like force feeding your toddler because you know they need food. However, you would be surprised. Often, a toddler can go for a long time without food, and usually, the problem ends up resolving itself, with the loss of appetite being a phase. Your toddler will eventually eat if they are hungry enough, which is the entire point of eating. In an age where we eat to feel good, many people forget that.
Don’t Give It Too Much Attention
Many parents who will give attention and make a big deal out of their toddler not eating. However, this makes the problem worse.
Toddlers love to get the attention of their parents, and if they see the parent upset over this, they may end up doing it more to get attention. Figuring out how to wind up their parents is just how a toddler works, and by forcing them to eat, you may be in for a rude awakening.
While a toddler is growing, a toddler who spends a day or so not eating isn’t going to be a big deal. Yes, a toddler should eat, but humans, in general, can last for a long time without food, and naturally, your toddler will return to eating. Giving in to your toddler may make the hunger strike into a power play. Despite the cliché of the parent being forceful with food, it never does work. It just makes the toddler want the food even less, especially if they feel forced to do it. Make sure that’s not your plan.
What You Can Do
We understand that it can be frustrating if your toddler isn’t eating, however, your toddler is smarter than you would think. They can determine whether or not they are full or want food. As a parent, offering them food and cooking some nutritious meals for your toddler is good, but if they don’t want it, don’t get mad. Instead, tell them that the food is here if they change their mind.
Also, make sure they are eating in a place where it isn’t distracting. If you’re offering a meal while the toddler is playing with a toy and watching their favorite show, it can be a little harder for them to eat. Instead, make sure they’re eating in a nice, quiet room.
Don’t bribe, make a fuss, or force your toddler to eat. Eating food is something you should do when you feel hungry, not something you should do out of obligation. By making a fuss, it could lead to your toddler being a picky eater, and no one likes picky eaters.
When Is It Time To Seek Help?
A hunger strike tends not to last a long time, and soon your toddler will be eating normally. However, if your toddler hasn’t been eating for a long time, and you notice a difference in their weight, you may want to speak to a doctor. This could be a sign of a bigger problem, and it’s something you definitely need to speak to a professional about. They can help find the cause and be able to teach you how you can feed your toddler.
Your goal is to feed the toddler a nutritious meal every day. They need four servings of veggies and fruit, three of grains, two dairy, and one protein. Servings tend to be much smaller for toddlers. However, don’t overthink it too much. You don’t need to get the servings in every day, and sometimes, your toddler may not be hungry.
It Takes A While For Toddlers To Try Something
If you want to introduce a new food to your toddler, it’s important to keep trying. For some toddlers, it can take them 10 or more tries until they eat it. Offer them food, but don’t force it on the toddler. Let them decide what they want. Obviously, don’t feed them fast food every single day, but offer them nutritious food.
Creativity goes a long way. In the land of toddlers, if the food has a unique shape or texture, they may try it more. Buy cookie cutters and cut food into unique shapes. When you do that, your toddler may be more likely to eat the food and be able to love every bit of it. Creativity is quite rewarding.
A toddler not eating for a bit is nothing to worry about, and it’s something you shouldn’t force. A parent forcing food on their toddler never ends up well, and it’s not something you should try.
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