So, you always knew that parenting would come with some challenges.
But, whether you’re an excited new parent learning the ropes or a seasoned parenting maestro who could write a best-seller on infants, your baby not eating can be incredibly frustrating, and sometimes it can get you worried sick.
When Your Baby Is Not Eating
Having that delicious baby formula sprayed all over your brand new top sure isn’t fun.
And spending a geological age pureeing carrots only to have them launched fifteen feet across the room is not the stuff from which dreams were made.
Your baby not eating can range from the funny to the frustrating to the absurd. But, often, it can be really worrying.
The good news is that most causes of poor feeding are not at all serious in nature, and they can be solved easily. Often, if your baby is growing and developing normally, there’s usually no reason to worry.
Poor feeding in babies is actually a surprisingly common experience, and many new parents have had to thread the path upon which you now find yourself.
If your baby hasn’t been feeding well, this article is for you.
We’re about to take a deep dive into the reasons why your baby may be refusing food. And, we’re sharing tried and tested ways to help rectify the problem.
Sound good to you?
Let’s get right to it.
Poor Feeding and Loss of Nutrients
Poor feeding in babies can range in severity from picky eating of certain foods to absolute refusal to feed at all and all things in between.
Because he or she is at such a critical juncture in life with milestones of all kinds popping up, once identified, poor feeding has got to be addressed.
Sometimes the temptation may be to dismiss the initial problem and hope that it will improve over time.
However, if you find that the normal feeding parameters are no longer in play, it’s important to actively do something about it.
At this stage in your baby’s life, essential nutrients are a vital component in helping with cognitive development and growth. Your baby will need all the required nutrients if he or she is to thrive.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues at play.
What Your Baby Not Eating Means and How to Fix it
1. Refusal of Food
When your baby is refusing food, one of the first things to study is the precise nature of the refusal.
It’s helpful to look for patterns.
- Is one specific type of food being dismissed or are all foods getting equal treatment?
- Does the refusal come at a particular time of day or night?
- Is the refusal coming at the beginning of the meal?
- Does it happen towards the end?
Often, once you notice the pattern, you can fix the problem with some minor adjustments.
Remember that babies refuse food for a variety of reasons. Here are some possible reasons:
- Your baby may actually be full
- Something may be distracting him
- She may feel sick at that moment
- Perhaps your baby’s feeding schedule doesn’t fit into your planned one?
Often, your baby’s refusal of food can be down to something simple that can be quickly fixed.
If you find that you have considered all of these possibilities and none fit into the pattern on display, talk to your pediatrician.
2. Refusing New Foods
We could label this one “fussy eating” as well because refusing new foods and fussy eating are two sides of the same coin.
Almost every infant will go through a stage of rejecting new foods outright or being fussy when it comes to foods they may or may not like.
It should almost be considered a right of passage!
In most cases, your baby not eating particular foods will be a passing phase. But, that said, it will be a phase that you can help them through with some considerable persistence.
Here are some things to try to help your baby accept new foods:
- Deliver the food in very small portions at first
- Offer your baby small portions of the new food during a current meal
- Try to make the new food appear similar to the foods already accepted – don’t veer off wildly with color, texture, etc
- Continue to offer the new food at other meals.
The key trick is to not overreact if your baby refuses the new food. Though it may be difficult, stay relaxed and move on happily to the next thing.
Persistence is power!
And, do bear in mind that that full acceptance of new foods can take a few weeks or even a month or two depending on the child.
3. Vomiting And Spitting Up
These two issues are very common in babies and are a natural element of the growing up process.
Vomiting can have many different causes.
- Your baby’s digestive system is still developing
- You baby may have a sick tummy
- Has your baby taken medication?
- Does your baby have an infection?
Baby vomiting is usually not a matter for huge alarm and, it usually gets better on its own.
But if your baby keeps vomiting for more than 24 hours, or if he appears to be in pain or dehydrated in any way, err on the side of caution and call your pediatrician.
When your baby is spitting up he is engaging in a normal baby activity, and, the solutions are usually very simple.
- Avoid overfeeding your baby
- Keep him upright when feeding
- Burp her regularly
- Try not to play with her excessively directly after feeding.
The frequency of spitting up typically fades after your baby’s first birthday.
4. Baby Not Eating – Other Causes
Sometimes, a temporary illness of some kind may be the reason why your baby is refusing to feed.
Common ailments that can interrupt the normal feeding flow include the following:
- Infections – ear, etc
- Sick tummy
- Coughs and colds.
These matters are usually not serious and they should clear up within a few days.
However, there are some other issues that may arise that will need immediate medical attention.
If your baby is refusing food and is showing any of the following signs, seek medical attention without delay:
- Your baby has a fever of over 100 degrees F
- She is vomiting blood
- There is blood in her stool
- She has a persistent cough that is worsening
- She is wheezing
- She is crying constantly.
Always remember that nobody knows your baby better than you do.
When in doubt, it’s always best to double check with a pediatrician.
So, there you have it.
Your baby not eating can mean a lot of different things.
And, the good news is that, for the most part, simple solutions can always be found to help your baby thrive.