Loss Of Appetite In Toddlers – Causes & Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

Are you a worried mother who always complains that your child doesn’t eat enough? Are you worried that your growing toddler may suffer from nutrient deficiency? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post is a good idea!

Poor diet or loss of appetite among toddlers is a common mommy woe. Do you feel all your efforts at cooking delicacies for your little one go down the drain due to his loss of appetite? Is teething and loss of appetite in toddlers related? Well, most toddlers turn out to be fussy eaters and convincing them to lick their plate clean is no mean achievement! Want to know why most toddlers suffer from ‘physiological anorexia’? Read on!

What Is Loss Of Appetite or Appetite Slump?

A loss of appetite simply implies that you are not hungry, and you don’t want to eat anything.

What Are The Causes Of Loss Of Appetite In Toddlers?

It’s not uncommon for toddlers to eat less than what they consumed as babies.So,what causes loss of appetite in toddlers?You would notice the loss of appetite in all children between one to five years of age. As long as your child is energetic, happy and active, you really shouldn’t worry about the appetite slump. [1] One thing to note here is that as your baby turned one he had doubled or even tripled his birth weight. But as a toddler he will gain weight less often. Most children gain just four to five pounds a year after their first birthday. Their body does not grow as rapidly as it did when they were infants. The appetite center in your child’s brain regulates his changed dietary needs. So, toddlers would eat as much food as they would need for growth and energy during this stage. Hence, they experience a physiological anorexia.

However,there are other reasons for loss of appetite in toddlers: [3]

Stress And Depression: Well, there could be many reasons that explain your toddler’s stress. Did you move to a new house? Is he missing his old friends? Has he joined a new school? Did he get bullied? You will find your child has become quiet or may be a little aggressive if he is suffering from stress, anxiety or depression. This could be the cause of sudden loss of appetite in toddlers.

Any Health Issue: Did your child fall ill recently? Did your pediatrician prescribe any medication for him? After falling sick your toddler’s body would take some time to get back to normal. A loss of appetite is pretty normal while recuperating. Loss of appetite in toddlers with fever happens normally.

Munching and Drinking Between Meals: Is your child snacking a lot or is gulping down too many glasses of juice between meals? Either of the two habits can explain his inability to finish his meal.

Physically Inactive: Is your child spending all his time and energy watching TV and playing games on your Smartphone? Lack of exercise too can take a toll on your toddler’s digestion and appetite.

When To Seek Medical Help?

Seek a pediatrician’s advice in the following situations:

  • You notice a weight loss in your child without any apparent reason.
  • If your child has not gained any weight during the last six months.
  • If your child is suffering from diarrhea or fever.
  • If your child throws up after every meal.

How Much Food Is Enough For My Toddler?

As a parent, we are never satisfied with our toddler’s appetite. He can eat a whole plate of pasta but may not finish his bowl of salad. Here’s a diet chart your toddler should follow: [2]

Food Group Two Year Old Three Year Old What Counts As
Fruits 1 cup 1-1 ½ cups ½ cup of fruit?

  • ½ cup of a fruit puree
  • ½ cup of 100 % fresh juice
  • ½ a medium banana
  • 4-5 strawberries
Vegetables 1 cup 1-1 ½ cups ½ cup of veggies?

  • ½ cup of mashed, sliced or chopped vegetables
  • 1 cup of raw leafy green
  • ½ cup of vegetable juice
  • 1 small ear of corn
Grains 3 ounces 4 -5 ounces 1 ounce of grains?

  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 cup of cereal flakes
  • ½ cup cooked rice or pasta
  • 1 tortilla
Protein Foods 2 ounces 3-4 ounces 1 ounce of protein food?

  • 1 ounce cooked meat, poultry or seafood
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of cooked beans or peas (kidney beans or lentils)
Dairy 2 cup 2 ½ Cups ½ cup of dairy?

  • ½ cup of milk
  • 4 ounces of yogurt
  • ¾ ounce of cheese

Tips To Improve A Toddler’s Eating Habits:

Here are a few handy tips that can boost your toddler’s appetite.

  • Let Him Decide The Quantity: Fill his plate with all the nutritious food and let him eat, how much he can. Don’t force him. Within a week, you can tell how much quantity is enough for him. Serve him that exact quantity and remind him that if he needs more he can surely take it. It will help you avoid wastage, and he’ll learn to finish eating everything on his plate.
  • Limit Snacking: Snacking once in a day is perfectly fine, and you need to allow it. But not let him frequently snack as this habit wouldn’t leave him hungry and eager for his next meal.
  • Avoid Spoon Feeding: Your toddler is old enough to eat by himself, never spoon feed him. If he is hungry, he’ll eat by himself, force feeding will only lead to an appetite slump in children.
  • Limit Milk And Fluid Intake: Give your toddler only 16 ounces of milk per day. Milk and other fluids contain a lot of calories, and excessive intake may cause a feeling of fullness and appetite loss in young children.
  • Serve Small Portions: Serve small portions and let your child finish eating it. You can pat his back for his accomplishment.
  • Make Mealtime Your Family Time: Make mealtime enjoyable and fun, so that your toddler looks forward to this small event every day.
  • Serve A Variety Of Foods: If you could change the menu every week and add more dishes it could help your kid try different tastes and flavors. It can help you understand his preferences in food.

Now you know that a loss of appetite in toddlers is not a reason to set the alarm bells ringing. So, why wait? Go ahead and enlighten other moms!

Did your toddler suffer from a loss of appetite too? How did you manage to overcome this mommy challenge? Do share your tips and advice with us here!

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