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Does Your Baby Refuse to Eat: The 7 Best Things to Do

It's natural for babies to refuse to eat when they don't feel like it. They might even throw a tantrum. This situation can be worrisome as children must eat right to stay healthy. 

So what can you do to get past this? There are plenty of things to do when your baby refuses to eat. It will not only help you encourage your kids to eat but also grow their appetite for various other types of healthy food. 

This article discusses the best seven tips every parent should consider to build proper eating habits in their children. Here's a short brief. 

1. Offer a Variety of Food Options

It's not uncommon for children to lose their appetite if they're served the same meal day after day. Therefore, providing a range of meal alternatives can help them get back on course.

For instance, include different meal platters in your child's lunchbox. If you are making a sandwich today, try adding a fruity dish the next day. You may also prepare meat or cheese dishes as children tend to like them.

There are a lot of different toddler lunch ideas that you can try to create variety on your baby's plate. This way, they can choose their favourite foods and won't have any reason to refuse to eat.

2. Serve Smaller Portions

Many parents make the mistake of giving their children a heaping plate of food. This often leads to a frustrated child who doesn't want to eat anything. 

So how do you make sure your child is eating enough without making them feel force-fed? One simple solution is to serve smaller portions on a plate. This way, they can see that the portion is manageable and more likely to try it.

However, if you're worried about them not getting enough nutrients because of this, don't be! Smaller portions mean they'll need to eat more often throughout the day. It can be good for their digestion.

Plus, it allows them to try new things and expand their palate.

3. Keep Electronic Distractions out of the Way

Electronic devices can be another leading reason for your child to get distracted, reduce their appetite, and as a result, make them refuse to eat. So it's crucial to keep these distractions out of the way. How do you do so?

Here are a few key things to do when your baby refuses to eat because of electronic distractions.

  • Let your kids know that mealtime is for eating and that all electronics will be put away during that time. This includes phones, tablets, TVs, and any other electronic devices.
  • If you can, set up a dining room in your house that is free of technology. It will assist in keeping your child's attention on their food and away from electronic devices.
  • Take the time to converse with your children over meals. It will make mealtimes an enjoyable experience for them without the use of electronics.
  • Allow your baby to play with their food. Even if it seems messy, it will keep them distracted from the other things around them. 

4. Be a Role Model

As a parent, you are your child's first and most significant role model. You can help your child prevent refusing to eat by modelling healthy eating habits yourself.

At mealtimes, dine together and offer your child new items. Explain to them why it is essential to eat various foods, and praise them when they try something new.

Never force your child to eat something they don't want to. Just keep offering them healthy options, and eventually, they will come around.

5. Stay Engaged with Your Baby During Meal Time

Getting your baby to eat can be challenging, especially if they are fussy. So it's essential to keep your baby engaged while eating. It will help them avoid distractions and enjoy a fun mealtime experience, giving them no options for refusing to eat.

Try out these tips:

  • Ensure your kid's dine-in seat is comfortable. If he gets a comfy chair that fits him perfectly, he can enjoy the meal with ease.
  • Try to feed them with your hands as you converse with them about a variety of topics. You may even tell them stories or play verbal games at times. This will encourage your baby to take bites more often.
  • Don't force your baby to eat if they're not hungry. This will only increase their resistance to food.
  • Be patient and keep offering healthy foods even if your baby refuses them at first. They may eventually come around and try something new 

6. Avoid Repeated Exposure

It's important to avoid repeated exposure to food so your kid doesn't become averse to it. If your child regularly refuses to eat certain foods, keep those meals away from them.

Try serving new foods alongside familiar favourites, and be patient—it may take a few tries before your child takes to them. With a bit of perseverance, you can help your child develop a healthy, diverse diet.

7. Consult a Medical Professional

If your baby refuses to eat anything repeatedly, consult a medical professional. Not eating can lead to serious health problems for babies, so it is vital to get help if you are concerned.

A medical professional can help you figure out what might be causing your baby's lack of appetite and how to best address the issue.

The Causes of Your Baby's Refusal to Eat

It's not always the case that your baby's refusal to eat is due to a sudden loss of hunger. There could be a variety of other reasons for this. Here is a quick overview of the primary reasons why babies refuse to eat:

● Picky Food Choices

Babies can have highly specific food preferences. And so, they are picky about how a meal platter looks or smells; if it doesn't meet their preferences, they are most likely to refuse it. 

While it can be frustrating, try to be understanding. Don't give up if they don't immediately take to something. With a bit of patience, you can reduce such picky eating habits in your child.

● Facing Digestive Issues

Another reason your baby refuses to eat could be because they're facing digestive issues. This could be anything from trouble swallowing or a sensitivity to certain flavours.

Although that's a rare case, sometimes it happens that some babies get born with oral impairments, which gradually impact their eating habits as they grow up. However, in many instances, dietary allergies or intolerances may also be the cause.

If you believe your baby may be having digestive problems, consult a doctor. They can help you find the best way to feed your baby and ensure they get the nutrition they need.

● Growth Spurt

Babies' appetites often decrease during a growth spurt because their bodies are busy growing. At those moments, they don't tend to be as hungry as usual and may even push away food.

It's essential to continue offering your baby food, even if they're not eating as much as usual. They may not be interested in eating large meals but still need nourishment. Offer small meals or snacks more often throughout the day.

Eventually, their appetites will return to normal, and they'll start eating more again. Growth spurts usually last a few days to a week, so there's no need to worry!


You try everything in your power to feed your baby, but getting him to eat can be a real struggle. And part of that may be because your toddler simply doesn't like the taste of healthy meals. 

Therefore, this article talks about the seven best things to do when your baby refuses to eat. These tips will help your baby establish better mealtime routines and good eating habits.

So, why wait? It's now time to get started on the actions. 


● Do babies eat less when teething?

It depends. Teething is a process that every newborn baby goes through, and it doesn't have to be a painful experience. While it's true that some babies may eat less when they're teething, it's nothing to be concerned about.

Just offer your baby plenty of opportunities to eat, and let them decide how much they want. Consult your paediatrician if you're still worried.

● Why is my baby acting hungry but won't eat?

There are a few potential reasons your baby may not be eating, such as teething pain, an illness, or simply not being hungry.

If your baby is in pain from teething, you may want to offer them a cold teething ring or a frozen washcloth to help soothe their gums. Speaking with a paediatrician about your baby's symptoms is also advisable.

And lastly, if your baby is not hungry, it could be because of their growth spurts. During those times, babies might not feel hungry for a few days.

So try serving them smaller portions of meals more frequently in a day if you're worried that they're not getting enough to eat. 

● How can I get my baby to eat again?

First, ensure that you are providing them with a variety of enticing and healthy foods. If they keep seeing the same few things on their plate, they're likely to get bored.

Second, try to create a relaxed and enjoyable environment at mealtime. If your baby feels anxious or stressed, they may be unable to focus on eating.

Finally, be patient and give your baby time to eat. They may not be able to finish a whole meal immediately, but they’ll get there little by little.