Will my baby stop feeding when full

Feeding Your Newborn (for Parents)

How you feed your newborn is the first nutrition decision you make for your child. These guidelines on breastfeeding and bottle feeding can help you know what's right for you and your baby.

Breast or Bottle?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for about the first 6 months. After they start on solid foods, babies should breastfeed through the first year of life and even beyond, if desired.

But breastfeeding isn't possible or preferable for all new moms. Deciding to breastfeed or bottle feed a baby is usually based on the mother's comfort level with breastfeeding and her lifestyle. In some cases, breastfeeding may not be recommended for a mom and her baby. If you have any questions about whether to breastfeed or formula feed, talk to your pediatrician.

Remember, your baby's nutritional and emotional needs will be met whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding your newborn has many benefits. Perhaps most important, breast milk is the perfect food for a baby's digestive system. It has the nutrients that a newborn needs, and it’s easily digested. Commercial formulas try to imitate breast milk, and come close, but can't match it exactly.

Breast milk has

antibodiesthat help protect babies from many infections, including diarrhea and ear and lung infections. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop medical problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and allergies. Breastfeeding also might make a child less likely to become overweight.

Breastfeeding is great for moms too. It burns calories, so can help nursing moms lose the weight gained during pregnancy. Breastfeeding also may offer protection from breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Some moms find breastfeeding easier and quicker than formula feeding — it needs no preparation, and you don't run out of breast milk in the middle of the night. Also, breastfeeding costs little. Nursing mothers do need to eat more and may want to buy nursing bras and pads, a breast pump, or other equipment. But these expenses are generally less than the cost of formula.

Breastfeeding meets a variety of emotional needs for both moms and babies. The skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection, and providing complete nourishment can help new moms feel confident in their ability to care for their newborn.

Limitations of Breastfeeding

With all the good things known about breastfeeding, why doesn't every mother choose to breastfeed?

Breastfeeding requires a big commitment from a mother. Some new moms feel tied down by the demands of a nursing newborn. Because breast milk is easily digested, breastfed babies tend to eat more often than babies who are fed formula. This means moms can be in demand as often as every 2 or 3 hours in the first few weeks. This can be tiring, but it's not long before babies feed less often and sleep longer at night.

Some new mothers need to get back to work outside the home or separate from their babies from time to time for other reasons. Some opt for formula feeding so other caregivers can give the baby a bottle. Mothers who want to continue breastfeeding can use a breast pump to collect breast milk to be given in a bottle, so their babies still get its benefits even when mom isn't there to breastfeed.

Fathers and other family members may want to share in feeding the baby. When mom is breastfeeding, dad or siblings may want to stay close by. Helping mom get comfortable, or providing a burp cloth when needed, will let them be part of the experience.

When breastfeeding is going well, other family members can help by giving the baby pumped breast milk in a bottle when mom needs a break.

Some moms may feel embarrassed or worried about breastfeeding. These feelings usually end after a successful breastfeeding process is set. It can help to get advice from those who've gone through the experience. Most hospitals and birthing centers offer in-depth instruction on breastfeeding to new moms. Your pediatrician, nurse practitioner, or nurse can answer questions or put you in touch with a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding support group.

In some cases, a mother's health may affect her ability to breastfeed. Moms getting chemotherapy for cancer and those who have HIV should not breastfeed, for example.

If you have a medical condition or take any medicines regularly, talk with your doctor about whether it's OK to breastfeed. If you have to stop nursing temporarily, continue to pump breast milk to maintain milk production. If you or your baby are sick, continue to breastfeed if you can. Talk to the doctor if you have any concerns.

In some situations, it may not possible to breastfeed, such as when a baby is very sick or born early. Mothers should talk with their baby's doctor about expressing and storing milk. Often, a baby who can't breastfeed can get breast milk through a feeding tube or bottle.

Some moms who have inverted nipples may have trouble breastfeeding, but a lactation consultant usually can help them overcome this. Likewise, women who have had plastic surgery on their breasts should be able to successfully breastfeed. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Hold off on pacifiers or bottles until your baby has gotten used to and is good at breastfeeding. Lactation professionals recommend waiting until a baby is about 3–4 weeks old before offering artificial nipples of any kind (including pacifiers).

Benefits of Formula Feeding

Commercially prepared infant formula is a nutritious alternative to breast milk. Bottle feeding can offer more freedom and flexibility for moms, and make it easier to know how much the baby is getting.

Because babies digest formula more slowly than breast milk, a baby who is getting formula may need fewer feedings than one who breastfeeds. Formula feeding also can make it easier to feed the baby in public, and lets the father and other family members help feed the baby, which can enhance bonding.

Limitations of Formula Feeding

Just as breastfeeding has its unique demands, so does bottle feeding. Bottle feeding takes organization and preparation, especially if you want to take your baby out. Store-bought formula can be pretty expensive, but do not try to make your own formula at home.

It's important to make sure that you have enough formula on hand, and bottles that are clean and ready to be used.

Here are a few guidelines for formula feeding:

  • Carefully follow directions on the label when preparing formula. Do not add more water than directed.
  • Bottles left out of the refrigerator longer than 1 hour and any formula left in the bottle that a baby doesn't finish should be discarded.
  • Prepared bottles of formula can be stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours and carefully warmed just before feeding. You don't have to warm formula, but most babies prefer it.
  • A bottle of formula can be warmed by holding it in running warm water or setting it in a pan of warm water. A bottle of formula (or breast milk) should never be warmed in a microwave. The bottle can heat unevenly and leave "hot spots" that can burn a baby's mouth.

How Often Do Newborns Eat?

Your newborn will nurse about 8 to 12 times per day during the first weeks of life. In the beginning, mothers may want to try nursing 10–15 minutes on each breast, then adjust the time as needed.

Breastfeeding should be on demand (when your baby is hungry), which is generally every 1–3 hours. As newborns get older, they'll nurse less often and have longer stretches between feedings. Newborn babies who are getting formula will likely take about 2–3 ounces every 2–4 hours. Newborns should not go more than about 4–5 hours without feeding.

Signs that babies are hungry include:

  • moving their heads from side to side
  • opening their mouths
  • sticking out their tongues
  • placing their hands and fists to their mouths
  • puckering their lips as if to suck
  • nuzzling against their mothers' breasts
  • crying

A feeding schedule is not necessary — you and your baby will get into a routine. Babies know (and will let their parents know) when they're hungry and when they've had enough. Watch for signs that your baby is full (slowing down, spitting out the bottle or unlatching from breast, closing the mouth, turning away from the breast or bottle) and stop the feeding when these signs appear.

As babies grow, they begin to eat more at each feeding and can go longer between feedings. There may be other times when your infant seems hungrier than usual. Continue to nurse or feed on demand. Nursing mothers need not worry — breastfeeding stimulates milk production, and your supply of breast milk will adjust to your baby's demand for it.

Is My Newborn Getting Enough to Eat?

New parents often worry about whether their babies are getting enough to eat.

Babies are getting enough to eat if they:

  • seem satisfied
  • have about 6–8 wet diapers a day
  • have regular bowel movements (poops)
  • sleep well
  • are alert when awake
  • are gaining weight

A baby who is fussing, crying, seems hungry, does not appear satisfied after feeding, and has fewer wet diapers may not be getting enough to eat. If you're concerned that your baby isn't getting enough to eat, call your doctor.

Most infants "spit up" a small amount after eating or during burping, but a baby should not vomit after feeding. Vomiting after every feeding might be a sign of an allergy, digestive problem, or other problem that needs medical care. If you have concerns that your baby is spitting up too much, call your doctor.

Should Newborns Get Nutritional Supplements?

Breast milk has the right combination of vitamins and easily absorbed iron for newborns. A healthy infant being nursed by a healthy mother doesn't need extra vitamins or nutritional supplements, with the exception of vitamin D. Breastfed babies should begin vitamin D supplements within the first few days of life, continuing until they get enough vitamin D-fortified formula or milk (after 1 year of age).

Breastfeeding mothers who follow vegetarian diets that do not include animal products need vitamin B12 supplements.

Iron-fortified formula has the right blend of vitamins and minerals for a baby, so supplements usually aren't needed. Infants drinking less than 1 liter, or about a quart, of formula a day may need a vitamin D supplement.

Water, juice, and other foods usually aren't necessary during a baby's first 6 months. Breast milk and formula provide everything babies need nutritionally until they start eating solid foods. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about feeding your newborn.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

Date reviewed: February 2021

How To Tell If You're Overfeeding Baby

We spend so much time fussing over whether baby is getting enough formula or breast milk—and for new parents it can be hard to tell what’s actually enough. Many parents may try to coax baby to finish their bottle or worry that baby isn’t eating enough, when really, baby has just had their fill. So can that well-intentioned fussing possibly lead to overfeeding baby?

Keep in mind that signs of a healthy baby may differ across cultures. “Different cultures have different feelings about how much a baby should eat, how often they should eat and what they should look like,” says Alanna Levine, MD, a pediatrician at Orangetown Pediatric Associates in Orangeburg, New York. Some parents consider a roly-poly baby a sign of a job well done, while other parents see a round baby and visualize an obese teen.

While cultural perceptions of a healthy baby may vary, when it comes to feeding, there are few things to keep in mind. Read on to learn how overfeeding baby can happen, signs to look for and what to do going forward.

In this article:
Can you overfeed a baby?
What leads to overfeeding?
Signs of overfeeding baby
How to avoid overfeeding baby

Can You Overfeed a Baby?

You can probably breathe a sigh of relief: Overfeeding baby is almost impossible, and most of the anxiety over babies’ food intake and appearance is pointless. “If baby is gaining weight and growing and your pediatrician isn’t concerned, you don’t need to worry,” Levine says. Different babies grow at different rates and eat different amounts at different times.

Babies come with an incredibly sophisticated self-regulation system: When they’re hungry, they eat, and when they’re full, they stop. (Sadly, we’ve lost this mechanism by the time we become parents.) So when babies turn away from the bottle or breast and refuse to even consider another nip, they’re telling you they’re full. When baby keeps coming back for more, that’s a sign they’re truly hungry (even if they just finished a full six ounces!).

Overfeeding breastfed babies vs. formula-fed babies

Pediatricians Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH, authors of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers, echo the importance of listening to your child’s cue, regardless of whether they’re breastfed or formula-fed. “We are often asked, ‘how come my child didn’t finish their bottle of formula?’ but are rarely asked that when children are breastfed.” (Probably because it’s a lot easier to see—and worry about—how much milk went into a bottle.)

On average, a full-term newborn drinks 2 ounces of formula per bottle every three to four hours, or breastfeeds on demand (about eight to 12 times a day), according to DiMaggio and Porto. At one month old, baby will likely drink 3 to 4 ounces of formula per bottle every three to four hours, while a breastfeeding baby may feed approximately seven or eight times a day. This pattern of baby drinking more ounces of formula or breastfeeding fewer times a day lasts until they are eight to 12 months old, at which point baby may drink seven to eight ounces of formula per bottle or breastfeed three to four times a day.

While these figures will vary with each child, it’s important to remember it’s perfectly normal for baby not to finish their bottle, as long as they’re hydrated and eating enough throughout the day. “Infants have a better understanding of when they’re full and, unlike most adults, don’t just eat whatever serving size is put in front of them,” DiMaggio and Porto say.

What Leads to Overfeeding?

Overfeeding baby is very rare, but it can happen. It’s more common in bottle-fed babies, simply because it’s easier for parents to see how much food their child is consuming. It also takes less effort to drink from a bottle, so babies (who love to suck) may inadvertently get too much milk while feeding.

If you’re concerned about possibly overfeeding baby, talk to your pediatrician. The doctor will look at baby’s length, weight and development, but as long as baby is thriving, they’re probably eating just fine.

Signs of Overfeeding Baby

The good news is, since you’ll likely be visiting a pediatrician often in first few months, you can track baby’s weight gain and feeding patterns. But don’t rely on weight as an indicator of whether you’re overfeeding baby. Instead, spitting up could be a sign you’ve pushed baby to take in extra food—for example, if baby spits up after draining a bottle you kept offering after they turned away. But more often than not, spitting up is a typical infant reaction or reflux.

If you’re worried baby is eating too much for their age or has symptoms of vomiting, your pediatrician might recommend limiting how many ounces baby is drinking or how many times they feed, DiMaggio and Porto say. In most cases, however, as long as baby is healthy and doing well, feeding changes aren’t necessary.

How to Avoid Overfeeding Baby

If you learn you’ve been overfeeding baby, make a point of respecting your child’s feeding cues going forward. “If baby turns away before the bottle is finished or before your usual nursing time is up, accept the fact that they may not be hungry now,” Levine says. Don’t focus on the numbers: It doesn’t matter how many ounces baby finishes at each feeding. What matters is that baby is healthy and happy overall.

Updated February 2020

Expert bios:

Alanna Levine, MD, is a pediatrician at Orangetown Pediatric Associates in Orangeburg, New York, and works on staff at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey. In addition, she serves as a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH, are co-authors of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers: Practical Answers to Your Questions on Nutrition, Starting Solids, Allergies, Picky Eating and More, as well as spokespeople for the American Academy of Pediatrics. DiMaggio is a clinical assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at NYU Langone in New York City, and Porto is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Yale New Haven Health and medical director of the Yale Pediatric Celiac Program in New Haven, Connecticut.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances. Plus, more from The Bump:

Your Ultimate Guide to How to Bottle-Feed a Baby

Breastfeeding 101: How to Breastfeed Baby

What You Need to Know About Baby Growth Spurts

Child completely refusing to eat in 2023 - Legal support

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Loss of appetite child health indicators.

Translated from Latin, this term means "the desire to eat food", that is, it has a pronounced emotional connotation. From the point of view of medicine, appetite acts as a regulator, signaling that the supply of food in the body is running out. If this "beacon" does not work, then some problems have arisen. Therefore, poor appetite in a child causes understandable anxiety in parents, especially if the refusal to eat is of a long-term nature. nine0007

Decreased appetite may be due to purely physiological causes or systemic diseases. In the second case, without treatment of the underlying pathology, it is impossible to restore it. If a child systematically refuses to eat, parents should definitely consult a pediatric gastroenterologist in Kaliningrad. You can get advice from a qualified specialist at the Edkarik multidisciplinary center. This is one of the best children's medical institutions in Kaliningrad. nine0007

Features of eating behavior in children

Formation of eating behavior in any child depends on education. Eating habits are established from an early age and often remain the same throughout life. This whole complex mechanism is directly related to the brain structures involved in the regulation of appetite. One of the stimuli that awakens the desire to eat is the level of glucose. If this indicator goes down, the person has an appetite. nine0007

Often the lack of appetite is explained by the emotional state of the child. For example, it is very difficult to seat a hyperactive child at the table, and it is also impossible to feed impressionable children. In the practice of pediatric gastroenterologists, patients with selective appetite are quite common. This is a fairly new phenomenon. This category of gourmets includes children who are accustomed to monotonous food. They categorically refuse unfamiliar foods, but especially do not like vegetables.

All the features of eating behavior given here are not associated with diseases, so the situation can be corrected with a competent approach. The situation is much more complicated if poor appetite is a consequence of the disease. nine0007

Poor appetite: types of disorders

Appetite problems can occur at any stage of a child's development. But parents should understand that the growing body constantly needs replenishment, and only good nutrition can provide it with everything it needs. After all, only in the first year of his life, a healthy baby should triple his weight, and his height doubles. The next "jump" is observed from 5 to 7 years, and after 12, puberty begins. During these "peak" periods, the child's body needs enhanced nutrition, but without a good appetite it is impossible to provide it with vitamins, minerals and other useful substances. Systematic deficiency will adversely affect physical and mental development. nine0007

Types of appetite disorders:

  • hyporexia is directly reduced appetite;
  • hyperrexia — "heroic" appetite;
  • bulimia - unregulated desire to eat when there is no control over the amount of food eaten;
  • anorexia - the most dangerous disorder, when the child almost completely refuses to eat;
  • pararexia - a pathological change in taste habits: for example, a child suddenly has a desire to eat a piece of clay or chalk. nine0036

Each of these disorders has its own causes. Only a pediatric gastroenterologist with many years of practical experience will help to understand them.


Any change in appetite is due to a number of reasons. Often in children, these deviations are symptomatic. For example, a baby's poor appetite during the teething period is considered quite normal. There are problems with feeding during respiratory infections and many diseases:

  1. Pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract: gastritis, intestinal colic, dyskinesia, duodenitis.
  2. Anemia is also accompanied by eating disorders.
  3. Diseases of the endocrine system, in particular diabetes mellitus, occur against the background of suppressed appetite or, conversely, in an excessive need for food.
  4. Mental disorders can also affect appetite and taste preferences.

Decreased appetite is often one of the signs of serious illness. But to force-feed a child in such a situation is a gross mistake. Any wrong actions of parents will only have the opposite effect. Therefore, it is not worth risking the health of the child. At the first signs of trouble, you should consult with a pediatric gastroenterologist. nine0007

Danger of poor appetite

If the child does not eat well, but remains active and develops harmoniously, such behavioral features are considered one of the normal variants. The problem is indicated by a dullness or lack of hunger against the background of a prolonged refusal to eat. The consequences of such behavior can be dire.

  • sleep disorder;
  • skin deterioration;
  • dysfunction of internal organs;
  • mental problems;
  • memory and mental impairment;
  • hormonal disorders (in adolescents).

With a very long refusal to eat, catastrophic consequences can follow, up to severe dystrophy. Often anorexia ends in tragedy, that is, the death of the child. In recent years, such cases are not uncommon among adolescent girls. Therefore, any violation of appetite requires competent correction.

What should parents do? nine0017

Parents of children who have poor appetite try to remedy the situation in two ways: increase the amount of food or saturate the diet with the child's favorite treats. But such an approach will only increase the nutritional deficit. The following recommendations will help correct the violation:

  • try to prepare your child's favorite meals;
  • involve him in the culinary process to increase the attractiveness of the food;
  • avoid snacking on the go;
  • strictly adhere to the meal schedule; nine0036
  • cultivate the principles of proper nutrition in the family;
  • do not use blackmail methods on a child like: if you eat soup, you will get chips for it.

For a list of individual recommendations, please contact our pediatric gastroenterologist. Clinic "Edkarik", located in Kaliningrad, is very popular. Dozens of moms and dads come to us weekly with complaints of poor appetite in a child. Comprehensive diagnostics on modern equipment will help to determine the cause of the problem. If the child needs treatment, an experienced gastroenterologist will select an effective and safe therapy regimen aimed at restoring appetite. You can make an appointment by phone or fill out an application on our website. Our consultants will contact you to clarify what time is convenient for visiting a doctor. nine0007

What to do if the child does not eat anything

Mothers, fathers, grandparents are very worried if the child refuses to eat, especially if this happens not from time to time, but constantly. The fidget has to be persuaded to eat an extra spoonful of porridge, come up with new, unusual dishes and games so that the baby leaves the table full. "Komsomolskaya Pravda" deals with the expert, because of what you should and should not worry and how to increase children's appetite. nine0007

No feeling of hunger

The simplest and most obvious reason for poor appetite is that the baby is full. We try so hard to feed our kids that they just don't feel hungry and therefore have a hard time identifying it.

What should parents do? Don't be nervous, stay friendly and let your baby get hungry. Remove from your reach any foods and snacks that can interrupt your appetite - sweets, cookies, sandwiches, buns, juices, compotes and fruits. Offer your child food, but be prepared for him to say no. Wait until the baby himself offers to dine or agrees to your offer. nine0007

Interested in something or a game

Children are often so engrossed in a new toy that they forget to eat. An enthusiastic fidget does not want to give up an interesting business and break for lunch, so the calls of adults can be met with refusal or even whims.

Selective Appetite

If your child does not want to eat the main food and prefers to "bite", he may simply not like the taste and appearance of the dishes you prepare. Try to choose other recipes, experiment with salt and spices. Perhaps the child does not want to eat too hot or cold food. nine0007

Intoxication during illness

When children feel unwell, they refuse to eat any food. This happens with SARS, stomatitis, otitis and other ailments. In infancy, appetite may decrease during teething.

When a child is sick, the body is not able to adequately perceive food. All forces are spent on eliminating the source of pain, so the brain does not send signals about hunger. As soon as health improves, appetite returns.

Consequences of vaccinations

After vaccination, the child may lose his appetite. This is especially true in children in their first year of life. In preschoolers and children of primary school age, problems with eating after vaccination occur in 15-20% of cases. Don't despair - it won't be long!

Allergy manifestations

Appetite disorders may be caused by allergic reactions. For example, babies with atopic dermatitis often refuse to eat. When skin itching bothers, appetite fades into the background. nine0007

Little movement

Children of the first years of life are very active physically and rarely sit still. Natural mobility and outdoor play are the best way to work up an appetite. Some, on the contrary, spend a lot of time in front of the TV and at the computer, move little, and therefore do not experience a strong feeling of hunger.

Consequences of a child's poor nutrition

Regular malnutrition leads to the fact that the child's body does not receive enough nutrients for normal work. The child appears lethargic, drowsy and lethargic. With poor nutrition, there is a risk of underdevelopment of the brain, decreased learning and low immunity. Improper nutrition in childhood can lead to serious health problems in adulthood. nine0007

Parents are not in vain worried about the baby's poor appetite. Refusal to eat can be caused by serious chronic diseases, such as hormonal disorders.

For which symptoms should a child be seen by a doctor? If loss of appetite is accompanied by high fever, vomiting, rashes appear in the mouth or on the body, urination and stool become frequent. When a child loses weight, does not want to drink, or does not sleep well.

How to increase a child's appetite

Everyone has their own appetite. Some children like to eat more often, others refuse to eat, even when it's time to feed. However, there are ways to increase a child's appetite without violence, lectures, threats and blackmail. nine0007

Up to 1 year

A newborn child is completely dependent on the mother and sensitively reacts to her mood. In order for the baby to grow up happy and active, the mother must feed him in a good mood. It is necessary to apply to the chest in a calm environment, without loud, annoying extraneous sounds that can distract from eating.

There are many problems with breastfeeding that cause the baby to eat poorly. Causes of poor appetite can be improper attachment to the breast, inverted nipples of the mother, pain and excess gas in the abdomen of the crumbs. Sometimes lactation changes - there is little milk or, on the contrary, it pours excessively. From the mother's diet, breast milk can change the taste. When formula feeding, refusal to eat is sometimes caused by an incorrectly selected bottle or nipple. nine0007

In the first year of life, it is important that the child is monitored regularly by a pediatrician. Some children eat poorly because they are lactose intolerant, so milk is removed from their diet as early as possible. Sometimes the appetite increases from the introduction of complementary foods or the replacement of formula.

1-2 years old

At this age, the child likes to imitate others, so it is important that he observes how adults, older brothers and sisters eat. A good way to develop eating behavior is playing with a spoon and a plate. An active interest in food is caused by joint table setting, shopping trips and products that the baby can eat with their own hands. nine0007

3-5 years old

Younger preschoolers like bright and unusual dishes, because food is also a game. Liven up cereals, soups and salads to make them look irresistible. Put food on plates with beautiful pictures. The child will want to finish eating quickly to see the “drawn story”. An effective way of teaching is the example of a peer. Take your little one to visit a baby who eats with appetite.

5-7 years old

Older preschoolers are extremely inquisitive. Involve your child in cooking as early as possible. Children are happy to break eggs for scrambled eggs, make sandwiches, knead the dough and put it into molds. A dish prepared with your own hands is much more interesting and tastier! nine0007

Over 7 years old

Schoolchildren have many responsibilities during the day, so routine is important. A healthy appetite can be instilled as a habit. Remove all unnecessary snacks and set clear rules in the family when family members sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is worth walking more in the fresh air, playing sports and avoiding negative conversations during meals.

Popular Questions and Answers

How to develop a child's interest in food?

This question is answered by Natalia Pakholyuk, nutrition expert, naturopath, detox coach :

— A child should be taught to taste a variety of tastes, shown and allowed to taste. For many parents, a bunch works in their heads: “cutlet-pasta-cucumber”. While children need fresh herbs, fresh vegetables and fruits, processed vegetables, cereals and legumes. Parsnips, beets, radishes, parsley, turnips, sweet potatoes - the younger generation has not heard of many cruciferous vegetables, much less tried them. But these vegetables are really tasty! nine0007

A child is not born with an understanding of the principles of healthy eating. All knowledge about food comes to children from their parents through their own experience. Of the prerequisites - the child must have a correct daily routine, including full meals and snacks. Nutrition rules should be clear. It does not happen that “today you can eat at night”, and tomorrow “you can’t”. Or “today chips are allowed”, at all other times it is “forbidden”.

I recommend that parents go shopping with their children and study in detail the composition of everything that is on the counter. Forming good eating habits is a process that never ends. Therefore, the child and the parent must be in constant communication: what can be eaten, what cannot be eaten, what should be added to the diet, and what should be removed. nine0007

Can a child be forced to eat?

— You can’t force or encourage children to eat more than they want, you can’t use food as a reward or make it a duty, you can’t regulate a child’s emotional state with food, says trainer-nutritionist Elena Kostyuk . “All this not only leads to overconsumption and is associated with weight gain in later life, but also disrupts the self-regulation of eating behavior. Children are not machines that require more or less the same amount of gasoline per kilometer. "Clean Plate Societies" should be a thing of the past. The right of the child is not to finish eating, to eat as much as he wants, and even to completely refuse food. If the child is healthy, active, develops according to age, has weight and height within the age norms, there is no reason to think that he does not receive enough food. For more complex cases, there is a food diary, nutrition structuring, consultation with a doctor (pediatrician or nutritionist), help from a child or family psychologist. nine0007

When should I see a doctor due to lack of appetite?

— If the child has no appetite, do not immediately run to the doctor. It is necessary to analyze the psychological component of the question: could stress, fear or resentment be the provoking factor? It is also necessary to exclude the factors of taking drugs and dietary supplements, illness, an abundance of snacks. And also do not forget that the lack of proper physical activity negatively affects appetite and metabolism,” explains nutrition expert Natalya Pakholyuk. - But if, in addition to loss of appetite, obvious symptoms of certain diseases are visible, of course, you need to go to the doctor - but it is for the treatment of the disease itself, and not for the desire to force the child to eat more. nine0007

What to do if the child does not eat well

Refusal to eat can be a real problem in a family with children. How to understand why the baby does not want to eat, and is it possible to force a teenager to have dinner? The reasons in each case may be different - we will talk about them and about methods of dealing with "baby-toddlers" with an expert. Because such battles between adults and children occur from generation to generation and last indefinitely. However, take a closer look: even in ideal “advertising” families, children express their “phi” regarding the dishes presented by their parents. And what can we say about ordinary us! nine0007

You can understand the importance of good nutrition for children by looking at pediatric guidelines. Doctors have even developed a special concept of programming nutrition in the first 1000 days (1), according to which, in the period from conception to 2 years of age, against the background of the maximum growth rate and the greatest plasticity of metabolic processes, human health is formed. Of course, in the future, rational nutrition is also necessary. Alas, this cannot be explained to children - other approaches are needed.

Why does the child eat poorly - and in general, how much is needed "according to the norm"? What are the consequences of poor appetite and how to increase it? And the classic question: do you need to eat up? In these and other important points, Komsomolskaya Pravda will help you figure it out with our expert.

How much a child should eat at different ages

With food, a person receives the necessary "building" substances for the growth, development and proper functioning of all organs and systems of the body. So how much should a child eat to be smart, strong and beautiful? nine0007

According to the recommendations of the Union of Pediatricians of Russia, babies 1-1.5 years old should eat 1000-1200 g per day. Children under 3 years old - 1200-1500 g, while at one meal the child should eat no more than 300-350 ml . Further, of course, these norms are adjusted.

But in the matter of nutrition, it is not the quantity that matters, but the quality. In other words, caloric content, the ratio of macronutrients, the saturation of food with vitamins, minerals, amino acids.

How much should a child eat (BJU) (2)

But even a perfectly healthy baby can refuse food. A common cause in infants is improper feeding. Also, children sometimes begin to eat less when switching from liquid foods to solid foods or when they consume excessive milk drinks.

With age, psychological moments become more important: the child is overexcited, overtired - and already turns away from borscht, accompanying the refusal with various performances. And often parents, without knowing it, exacerbate the situation. For example, they force you to eat (“you won’t leave the table until the plate is shiny!”) or turn on cartoons during meals, just to push a couple of spoons of mashed potatoes into the child. nine0007

Some of the reasons why a child refuses to eat may be considered whims by skeptics, but children's specialists are convinced that this is a serious problem. There is such a term - "selective appetite", when a child can refuse food because of its consistency, temperature, shades of taste, smell. And they also distinguish food neophobia - when the baby does not eat unfamiliar food.

Why else do children have no appetite? If you don’t dig deep: when teeth erupt, your stomach hurts or your body catches a cold. Do not forget about the most banal factors: the child is tired or played too much, he is passionate about something, or it is very hot - interest in food may temporarily fade away. nine0007

Below we will analyze the reasons for refusing to eat, which every parent may face.

Incorrect feeding

Inexperienced mothers are not always able to attach the baby to the breast correctly the first time. Because of this, the child is uncomfortable eating, he begins to cry and may refuse milk. And the parent, in fright, grabs the bottle and the mixture. But when the feeding process has improved, the young mother often, in joy, begins to feed her baby for the future: with every squeak and breath, she offers her breasts. And this again can affect the refusal of food. nine0007

What to do? Feed on demand, let the baby regulate the duration of feeding. And you do not need to solder the mixture, from the principle "to be sure." And they can teach you how to properly apply the baby to the chest in the hospital. There are also many breastfeeding specialists who provide help online and at home.

Well, we'll give you a cheat sheet:

  • turn the baby with his stomach towards you so that his head and torso are on the same level,
  • the nipple should be at the level of the baby's nose,
  • there is no need to bend over, the baby should take the breast himself,
  • the nipple and most of the areola are in the baby's mouth, the lips are turned outward, which means everything is correct.
Pathologies and diseases

There can be many causes, ranging from a short hyoid frenulum to neurological and cardiovascular disorders.

Congenital cleft lip and palate can cause difficulty in sucking and swallowing, with dysphagia, chewed food does not pass normally through the esophagus, and with odynophagia, it is painful for the child to swallow. A number of gastrointestinal problems cause pain in the abdomen, and, accordingly, the refusal of food. With some diseases of the respiratory system, the baby may have difficulty eating. There are neurological, metabolic and other diseases that can cause a child to refuse food. nine0007

All reasons of this kind are united by the fact that the child starts the meal with a desire, but in the process he shows dissatisfaction and he refuses food (3). What exactly is the problem, you need to look with your doctor.

Selective appetite

In this case, we are talking about "whims". Children with selective appetite do not like to try new foods, avoid food that they do not like in texture or way of preparation, and their diet is poor and monotonous. nine0007

Sound familiar? There is evidence in the literature that this problem is quite common among children 3-10 years of age, and one European study showed that selective appetite can be observed in half of children aged 4-5 years (4). Over time, the problem may go away, but sometimes you have to wait quite a long time - even up to several years.

In the meantime, this affects the health of the child. Therefore, it is better not to rely on "maybe", but to contact a specialist. nine0007

Eating disorders

Bulimia and anorexia are considered to be "teenage" problems, certainly not children's. But even at an early age it can happen - what is called childhood or infantile anorexia. This sometimes happens when switching from liquid to solid food: the new consistency confuses the child, and he stops eating.

At an older age, psychological moments come into play: teenagers begin to compare themselves with others, they can be offended by rude comments from peers or adults, and one should not forget about stereotyped standards of beauty. nine0007

All this in combination can provoke a mental disorder, which is expressed in an inadequate perception of oneself, an obsessive desire to lose weight. As a result, the child turns away from food.

Consequences of a child's poor nutrition

Once a child has refused dinner or eats poorly for almost the entire week, as soon as abnormal heat has set in, it's not terrible. But if a child prefers to “bite”, constantly “pecks” crumbs at dinner, or manages with water alone, this is already fraught with consequences. nine0007

Two main points can be distinguished here, which can be caused by a persistent refusal of good nutrition:

  • weight loss,
  • micronutrient deficiency and macronutrient imbalance (MNU).

Some studies show that schoolchildren are deficient in vitamins A, C, B1 and B2, calcium, and preschoolers also deficient in vitamin E, protein and total caloric intake (5).

As a result: the child lags behind in physical development, there are problems with the development of new knowledge, the risk of obesity increases along with a lack of active cell mass, immunity weakens (6), and a chronic stressful situation develops in the family: father is angry, mother is nervous, child in tears. nine0007

Of course, in order to avoid such unpleasant consequences, one should try to prevent violations of the child's eating habits or take timely measures if the problem has already emerged.

Nutritionist Olga Matveeva adds:

— First of all, the problem of poor nutrition is the shortage of substances critical for the development of the child. Often high-quality products are replaced by "junk" food with a lot of artificial additives, sugar, fast carbohydrates. A large amount of such products in the diet affects the hormonal system, there are constant jumps in blood glucose, which cause the release of insulin. This often leads to a disruption in the development of the entire hormonal system - in recent years, type 2 diabetes is often found in children. This is a lifetime diagnosis. The result of overeating is excess weight. This is the path to metabolic disorders in the future. The number of fat cells is laid in childhood, so an overweight child is an obese adult. nine0007

How to increase a child's appetite

There are general rules that will be useful at almost any age.

For a child, it is necessary to correctly determine the portion size. Baby food is a case where more is not better. As early as two years of age, according to some studies, children can control the amount of food they need (7).

The mode is also important: to eat at certain hours, and not when you have to. Remember that this does not apply to babies: in their case, at first you need to feed on demand, later, as a rule, a certain schedule is developed. nine0007

It is desirable that the child does not eat alone - let the parents become a vivid example of how to gobble up the soup and the second. In addition, this way the child will be bolder in food experiments with new products. However, if the child categorically turns up his nose from some kind of food, you need to choose an adequate replacement: he doesn’t want meat - you can make minced meat and stick cutlets, he doesn’t want milk - let him drink yogurt, he didn’t appreciate grandmother’s semolina - the same “wheat” will be even more useful .

But it is important to understand that eating behavior is formed from birth, and each age has its own "chips". nine0007

Up to 1 year

Approximately at 5-7 months, the baby begins to show interest in the "adult" table. Mom's breasts are not enough, you need to try new things. Therefore, complementary foods are introduced at this age. The main thing is to do it slowly and according to the rules (8).

  1. Place the child at a common table so that he can see how the rest of the family eats.
  2. We don't start with meat to introduce new products according to age!
  3. Respect the appropriate degree of grinding: from homogenized, puréed food to "chunky" food. nine0036

And let's not rush things: if a child doesn't want to eat marrow puree, then it's too early. In the first year of life, it may take 5-14 tries for a baby to appreciate a new food (9). At 8-12 months, the child can no longer only taste "adult" food, but also be saturated with it.

1-2 years

From the moment when the child gets used to regular food, it is necessary to introduce a regimen. Doctors recommend establishing five meals: 3 main (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 2 additional (second breakfast or afternoon tea and before bedtime) (7). But snacks - cookies and other snacks "in between times" - are recommended to be excluded altogether. nine0007

Remember that a small person is already a person. Let the child choose what to eat: offer different options that the baby can pick up and taste. It can be fruits and vegetables, bread, eggs and something else. For a child, such a meal is like a game, and the game is the best way to get interested in something.

3-5 years old

At this age, it is important to observe rituals - for example, set the table together, using beautiful dishes, napkins. An interesting design of dishes will come to the aid of the mother of the “little girl”. Cut a carrot or a cucumber in the form of a flower and give a canapé skewer instead of a fork - children love this. nine0007

Different parenting tricks can be used. For example, arrange a competition: who can guess how many spoons of soup are left in the bowl. Of course, in order to count, the baby will have to eat everything.

  1. tricks should be varied: one trick won't work a second time;
  2. such games should not distract the baby from food (fairy tales, cartoons, etc. are not suitable).
5-7 years old

What do you need for appetite? That's right - get hungry. And this requires sufficient exposure to fresh air, games and physical activity, intellectual pursuits, and, of course, the absence of snacks. nine0007

In this case, a child who is not worried about health problems will sweep everything off the table when he returns from a walk or after school.

We also remember that while eating, you should not be distracted by books, gadgets and TV. By the way, this applies not only to children, but also to adults.

Older than 7 years old

At the age of 6-8 children go to school for the first time, and this, whatever one may say, stress for the body. Of course, new unfamiliar conditions, a large number of unfamiliar faces, fatigue and stress can affect your appetite. Therefore, the child must be treated with understanding. Children can easily survive this difficult period only with the support of adults. nine0007

It is also important to continue to adhere to the rules established earlier: diet, joint meals, physical activity, no snacking, varied, fresh and tasty food, no entertainment at the table.

What if a child mournfully picks at a plate with a fork? Only without threats and blackmail! You need to calmly ask why the child does not want to eat, and discuss it. Maybe this is the first triple in his life in a notebook? Or did you like a boy from a parallel class?

By the way, different experiences affect not only the appetite in adults, this also applies to children.

Popular questions and answers

Frequently asked questions of parents about children's nutrition are answered by coach-nutritionist Elena Kostyuk .

What vitamins increase appetite?

First of all, these are vitamins involved in the process of assimilation of nutrients from food. These are vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C. Do not forget about minerals, which are no less important for the good absorption of nutrients. These are zinc and magnesium, as well as iron. nine0007

What tests should be done if the child is not eating well?

If the child is not eating well, tests can be done to show whether the child's body contains enough essential vitamins (A, B, C) and trace elements (zinc, iron, magnesium).

How do you know if a child is eating enough?

Children should not be forced or encouraged to eat more than they want. This not only leads to overconsumption and can lead to weight gain later in life, but also disrupts self-regulation of eating behavior. nine0007

Healthy children can regulate their own food intake by following their internal signals of hunger and satiety. These complex feedback mechanisms include signaling molecules in the digestive system and adipose tissue, as well as neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus of the brain. Thus, we can say that a sufficient amount of food for each child will be individual.

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Should I force my child to eat? | Child health | Health

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Weekly "Arguments and Facts" No. 44. What scares off storks? 30/10/2019

Category: Children Q&A from the newspaper: Weekly "Arguments and Facts" No. 44 30/10/2019

Fyodor Katasonov, a pediatrician, blogger, author of books on children's health, answers:

– Under no circumstances should a child be forced to eat. After the baby gets used to using a spoon, parents should not control the amount of food eaten. Especially to feed, for example, a 3-year-old child to the accompaniment of cartoons or reading books. Thus, the connection between the brain and the body is disrupted. This is fraught with the fact that the baby ceases to understand whether he is hungry or full. This can lead to overeating later on. nine0007

Appetite may change daily, depending on the energy expended. If the child does not want to eat, let him not eat. Lost will make up at the next meal. But not before - there should be no snacking and biting.

It is especially important to limit sugar and fast carbohydrates in children's diets. All parents know that baking, cookies, jam, sweets, etc. are not good for children. Keep in mind that fruit juices also have no place on the children's table - WHO experts have long equated them with carbonated drinks. nine0007

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