Raising a baby is not an easy task. The most difficult part is to feed the baby, which can be bothersome for a lot of mothers. Unlike adults, babies don’t have a fixed routine and food choices. That is why the baby eats only if he is hungry and stops eating the moment he is full. Therefore, trying to feed the baby forcefully when he is not feeling hungry or trying to wait for the ‘so-called’ dinnertime with a hungry baby, is not a good idea. Baby’s appetite tends to change every day and it also depends on their mood. However, sometimes the baby shows signs of loss of appetite and refuses to eat. And this can be scary for a mom. Read on to know the symptoms, causes, and tips to improve the loss of appetite in babies.
baby refuses to eat

  • What Are The Symptoms Of Loss Of Appetite In Babies?
  • What Causes Loss Of Appetite In Babies?
  • How Can You Improve Your Baby’s Appetite?
  • When To Call The Doctor?

What Are The Symptoms Of Loss Of Appetite In Babies?

Several signs indicate a loss of appetite in babies. The main sign is, obviously, the aversion towards food. The baby may refuse to eat even his most favorite food. He may sometimes try to have a spoon, but spit it out soon and become fussy. This aversion towards food can be accompanied by

What Causes Loss Of Appetite In Babies?

Loss of appetite is perfectly normal for some period through the baby’s development process. Only if the duration of the loss of appetite becomes long enough that it starts affecting the health of the baby you need to be concerned about it. There could be some underlying issues that can cause loss of appetite in babies. Some of the causes of loss of appetite in babies are:

  • Poor health: When the baby is undergoing some health issues, like adults, his appetite will also be affected and sometime there may be loss of appetite. Fever, cough, cold, stomach issues like indigestion, constipation and gas formation, are most often the culprits. Even though the baby recovers from illness, the digestive system may take some time to get back on track
  • Growth: The growth rate of the baby eventually slows down after the first six months. 0 to 6 months is the fastest growth period. It slows down between 6 to 12 months and further down between 12 to 18 months. Therefore, a 15-month-old baby may not be eaten as well as he used to when was 8 or 12-months-old since the calorie requirement also decreases with the decreasing growth rate
  • Anemia: If the baby is anemic, the chances are more he may suffer from loss of appetite. It is seen that babies with anemia are exhausted most of the time and are weak. It is a good idea to show him to a pediatrician as this may affect his growth and development
  • Excess intake of fluid: Intake of excess fluids like water, cow’s milk, juices, etc. can affect the normal appetite of the baby. It will make them feel full and thus slow down their intake of food and there is the loss of appetite
  • Worm infestation: Babies experiencing worm infestation are often prone to loss of appetite. It is advisable to seek immediate medical help if you feel your baby is affected by worms
  • Teething: The pain and discomfort the baby experiences while the tooth erupts through the gum during the teething process can be a reason for the loss of appetite around the seventh month. The teething process causes pain and even the gums are inflamed irritating the baby when he chews. As a result of this, he may refuse to eat. It is advisable to offer plenty of fluids during this period
  • Introducing new food: If you introduce some new food to the baby, like whole-grain foods, the baby may not be hungry for a long time as the fiber-rich food will make the baby’s tummy full. It is better to introduce the new food in small quantities and gradually increase the quantity
  • Vaccination: Some vaccinations can cause fever in babies. Fever along with vaccination pain can make your baby lose his appetite for some time
  • Food Intolerance: Gluten intolerance or allergy to some foods like eggs, peanuts, milk, etc. can cause itching, bloating, diarrhea and loss of appetite in babies. It is necessary to identify food allergies in babies and try and avoid that food group
  • Tiredness: Another reason for the loss of appetite could be too much physical strain on your baby. If your baby plays for a long time, it will make him too tired to eat thus leading to loss of appetite. It is imperative to regulate baby’s playtime to avoid low appetite

baby crying while eating

How Can You Improve Your Baby’s Appetite?

Here are some ways which will help you in increasing your baby’s appetite:

  • Sufficient gap between the meals: Maintaining a sufficient gap between the meals helps the baby to develop a proper appetite. The type of food you give to your baby should determine the gap. If you give your easily digestible baby food, then the gap should be small. Similarly, if your baby eats food that takes time to digest, increase the gap to give ample time for digestion
  • Increase the intake of Zinc: If your baby is having a low amount of zinc in his body, it can lead to poor appetite. So it is imperative to increase the levels of zinc in your baby’s system by offering him food like chicken, pumpkin seed, cashew nuts, etc. that are rich sources of zinc. This will help improve his appetite
  • Give baby food that increases the baby’s appetite: Some foods improve the digestive system thereby increasing the baby’s appetite. However, you have to consult your pediatrician before trying these out:
    • Ajwain water, which is made by soaking ajwain in water for a few hours. It can be given one the baby is 6-8 months old
    • Adding a pinch of hing or asafoetida in your baby’s food helps to improve the appetite of your baby
    • Basil improves baby’s appetite and can be given to your baby once he is 8 months old
    • Ginger juice, a few drops in food help to reduce stomach issues
    • Cinnamon is known to boost appetite. You can add this to your baby’s food once he is 7 to 8 months old
    • Peanuts, pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and help in proper digestion

When To Call The Doctor?

You may need to check with your doctor if:

  • Observe the food habits of your baby for a few days. It is ok if he doesn’t eat for two to three days. But if the duration increases to more than a week, then seek immediate medical attention
  • The loss of appetite is accompanied by a rash, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, change in color of the stool, etc,.
  • Even after trying the above tips, the loss of appetite in your baby continues, check with your doctor
  • The baby becomes very weak or is losing weight, it is recommended to check with your doctor

Did your baby suffer from a loss of appetite? What measures did you take to improve it? Do share your experience in the comments section below.