Poor appetite

Children, like adults, may have periods when they experience reduced appetite. Sometimes the reason is discomfort caused by sore throat, teething or the effect of medication. Other times, poor appetite in children can be due to overexcitement, fascination with new discoveries, fatigue or a normal slowing of growth.

Serious food-related problems are rare. So long as your child is growing normally, he is eating enough to satisfy his needs. It is more important to make family mealtime fun than to insist that your child eat a specific amount of food.

What to do?

Take the time to observe what’s going on in your child’s life. The older he gets, the more he wants to do things by himself. Learn to accept his pace, his clumsiness and a bit of wasted food without scolding him.

Give your child small servings of age-appropriate healthy foods. Let him choose how much he wants to eat and in what order. Milk can be served at the end of the meal. If your child hasn’t eaten anything after a certain time, simply remove his plate without scolding him or making a big deal of it, then let him leave the table.

Offer snacks between meals, but keep serving sizes small so you don’t spoil your child’s appetite for the next meal. Serve fruit, vegetables, cheese and water. Avoid giving too much juice or milk between meals.

Normally, your baby shouldn’t need vitamin or mineral supplements. When in doubt, ask your doctor or a nutritionist whether your child’s nutritional requirements are being met.