Why my toddler doesn’t want to eat?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “why my toddler doesn’t want to eat?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Why my toddler doesn’t want to eat? 

Toddlers generally do not want to eat because they are picky eaters and it is normal through the developmental phase of your children but also some other causes are the main reason why toddlers refuse to eat. In case of medical problems consult your doctor.

When growing, toddlers need less food and smaller portions compared to when they were babies. During the first years of life, the baby will be gaining weight rapidly. After that, toddlers will begin to slowly gain weight compared to when they were babies. 

Also, sometimes you offer food to your child when he is not hungry so he starts playing with the food instead of eating it. In that case, make sure that you are dividing the meal time effectively and that you are offering food when your child develops hunger signs. 

Food neophobia is common among toddlers which is the fear of trying new foods. This problem occurs during the developmental phase of the children. During this phase, you might get the children upset in order to let them try new food, and sometimes you need to wait until this developmental phase passes.

The maturity of the toddlers’ taste sensations is related to the presence of taste buds that are more numerous than adults. So, the sweet taste is the most mature sensation but the sour and bitter sensations are not mature enough during this phase, that’s why children do not like vegetables.

Moreover, several reasons like the preference of easy to chew food, their appetite that is related to the timing of the meals, the pain that can be related to different reasons such as teething, and the presence of some distractions like TV in the surrounding are a few reasons why the children refuse to eat.

How to deal with toddlers that refuse to eat?

First of all, you need to be patient if your toddler refuses to eat. So, offer the same food many times until he tries it. Second, do not overwhelm the child which means that you need to serve the right amount and quantity of food each time. When you give him a small amount you increase the chance of asking for more food.

During the shopping at the grocery store, let your child help in choosing the food he likes and is willing to try. Next, try to find a good way to offer this food. For example, cutting and serving them in a creative and good way increases the chance of your child to eat and try them. 

When asking about what they need to eat, give them choices and let them choose between them. For example, ask if he wants to eat broccoli or carrots for lunch or dinner. Also, try to mix his old favorite food with new food. This will increase the chances of trying new food.

Finally, be a good example for your toddler which means that you need to eat a variety of healthy food to encourage him to try them. At mealtime, try if possible to eat as a family which increases the chances that the child will be more involved thus eating his food.

How to make mealtime successful?

Many steps can be followed to make mealtime successful and to increase your toddler’s food intake. So, first, tell your child that it is time to eat for at least fifteen minutes before mealtime. This way the child will know that it is time to eat and he will leave his toys.

When the child is eating, keep him away from any distractions like TV, cell phone, or toys. So, explain to him the benefits of eating all together as a family and sharing our daily activities. Moreover, all people sitting at the table should have the same behavior. 

Create a mealtime routine which means that put a fixed schedule for mealtime this way your toddler can expect the mealtime thus he leaves his toys and sit at the same place for eating. Finally, try your best to make mealtime funny and pleasant.

When should I call the doctor?

You should call and consult your doctor if you notice that your toddler is losing weight and he is not growing appropriately. So, during the consultation, the doctor might find some health problems that are the main cause of why your toddler is refusing to eat.

So, some of the health problems that lead to food refusal are swallowing problems, gastrointestinal disorders, constipation, food sensitivities, and allergy. In such a case your pediatrician might prescribe further examinations or only some vitamins as supplements. 


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “why my toddler doesn’t want to eat?” and other queries related to this topic.




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