Baby doesn’t want to eat: possible reasons
Baby cereal on the floor and peas in your loved one's hair? You might be overwhelmed with worry, but you’ll be happy to hear that your baby is only showing signs of independence. Once they reach an age of about 9 months, babies begin wanting to control their feeding time and where they put their food.
Luckily, there are a few simple tips and tricks that can help you deal with a baby’s decreased appetite. Let’s take a closer look.
Is your baby refusing food based on color and texture, or unwilling to try anything new? Congrats, you’ve got a picky eater on your hands!
Picky eating is a completely normal baby behavior. Between 20% and 50% of parents say that their kids are picky eaters and are dealing with a baby loss of appetite. Pushing away the spoon or turning their head can happen for dozens of reasons, including teething or an immature digestive system. It's also possible that your baby isn't yet ready for solid foods.
As long as your baby’s growth and weight gain are normal, there’s usually no need to worry.
Too much pressure
Are you constantly pushing food closer to your baby, watching their every move, and hovering over them? What if we tell you that babies can sense that you are anxious at mealtimes? And once they sense your anxiety and pressure, they’ll eat less because of it.
We understand that you might be tempted to analyze their every bite, but one way of dealing with your baby's loss of appetite is by sitting back and staying relaxed. Try to remember that playing, dropping, and smearing food is completely normal — it’s a natural part of your baby becoming familiar with the food.
If you’re spoon-feeding your little one, try following their cues as to when to bring the spoon closer to their mouth and when to stop feeding them.
Your baby is tired
Sometimes there is no grand reason why your baby doesn't want to eat — they may simply be tired and want to sleep. So, if you try to feed your baby right before a nap or bedtime, they’ll likely be uninterested. For this reason, make sure you’re offering them food when they’ve had their nap and are fully alert.
Toys, music, people, and screens are all major baby distractions. And in some cases, your baby not eating is simply because they've become too distracted to focus on their food. To encourage eating, try creating a distraction-free environment where your baby can focus their attention on testing and enjoying the foods.
Are teething and loss of appetite connected?
According to the American Dental Association, babies begin teething when they’re somewhere between 6 and 12 months of age. One of the most common symptoms of teething is a loss of appetite.
Your baby doesn’t want to eat because of the discomfort and pain of teething. Their gums become inflamed and sore as teeth push on the gum. The pressure can make your baby’s mouth hurt, ultimately leading to a lack of appetite and skipping meals.
To help relieve their pain, there are some proven methods tested by parents and pediatricians. Some of them include using oral pain relievers, while others include rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a damp washcloth.