Loss of appetite in children

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Most parents are apprehensive when their young ones do not feed well. However, according to experts, poor feeding behaviours and specifically loss of appetite is pretty normal for growing children for various reasons. Below, we combine Common causes of loss of appetite 

Growth spurts

Babies grow fastest between the ages of zero to six months but slow down as they get older, meaning they need fewer calories hence reducing the amount of food they need to eat.

The 3 D’s (disease, deficiency, distraction)

Children, just like adults, tend to lose interest in food when they are down with an illness or undergoing some sort of discomfort such as teething or worm infestation.

Some deficiencies such as iron and zinc have also been linked to poor appetite. Additionally, doctors have identified a condition, infertile anorexia, mostly observed in overly active babies where a child will not ask or intimate the need for food and would rather do everything apart from eating, sometimes even inducing vomiting.

Over-feeding

This is not necessarily limited to one huge single meal setting; sometimes, having too many snacks or bites in between meals means your baby is too full to have a proper meal.

Handling loss of appetite

Addressing appetite loss should be fairly easy and routine although there is no single magic bullet for the challenge. Most times you will simply have to wait it out. Till then you can:

5772674498_dcdd8955c2_bRedefine snacking

Reduce the amount of snacks in between meals to allow your baby to feel hungry. There are occasions, however, when the reverse is true. If your child is having trouble finishing a meal, consider breaking it into ‘piece meals’, where feeding times are more frequent as opposed to a singular large meal.

Allow demand

While set meal times are good for establishing structure, you may need to consider feeding your child on demand. Children are brighter than we give them credit for. They have preset hunger and thirst regulatory systems, which sometimes may not be in tandem with your ‘set’ mealtimes. So go with the flow, provided the end result is harmless.

Try new flavours

Switch the menu-up and see if your child will develop a taste for different sets of food altogether. The truth could literally be in the pudding.

Remove distractions 

Sometimes the easiest cure is as easy as switching off the TV, taking away that soccer ball or toy, and establishing an environment that differentiates playtime from meal times.

In the event the loss of appetite goes on for more than a week, consult a doctor to determine whether there exists an underlying condition and to prescribe an accompanying treatment programme. With some luck, things should resume to normal sooner than expected.

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