At the age of one to five years, toddlers may not gain weight at three to four months each year and this is normal. In addition, there will always be a phase for toddlers to experience a decrease in appetite.
Your little one's appetite is controlled in the brain, they will eat as much as they need for growth and energy. However, there are many parents who force their little one to eat more than their body needs. Forcing your little one to eat according to the portion that you apply can actually be a factor in your little one's appetite.
How Long Is Your Little One's Appetite Low?
When the mother is able to let the little one decide how much food she wants to eat, then this problem will usually decrease in 2 to 4 weeks. After that, your little one's appetite will increase, when he is bigger and has greater needs.
Causes of difficulty eating and short tips to overcome it:
1. Tired of eating menus or serving food.
The same food (> 6 months old) will make children bored and lazy to eat. Not to mention the way of serving food that is mixed between side dishes such as food blending together. Just like adults, if we eat the same menu every day and serve it mixed up, we will definitely be lazy to eat. Likewise with the introduction of coarse food.
Make a variation for the children's meal menu. If necessary, make a children's meal menu, min. for 1 week to make it easier for mothers to adjust food variations. Like if a child doesn't want rice, it can be replaced with bread, macaroni, pasta, noodles, etc. Appealing food presentation is also very important. Don't mix up the food. Separate the rice with the side dishes. Decorate with various colors & shapes. If necessary, print the food with cute cookie cutters. This doesn't just apply to your little one. Even adults will be interested in eating well-served food. Vegetables, for example, most children don't like to eat vegetables. Even though the nutritional content is extraordinary. In fact, working around this is not difficult. Vegetables can be made into interesting shapes. The color also supports to attract children's attention. In this case, the mother's creativity is required. In addition to the form and presentation of food, a variety of food menus can prevent children's boredom.
2. Eat calorie dense snacks before mealtime, so that children don't feel hungry.
Such as candy, soft drinks, chocolate, to snacks with MSG, etc. As a result, when mealtime arrives, the child is full.
Arrange a snack before it's time to eat try to give healthy snacks such as pieces of fruit, steamed vegetables, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, mother-made cakes, etc.
3. Drink too much milk
Milk in many families is considered the divine food that can replace the main food such as rice, vegetables and side dishes. Parents tend to be impatient to provide coarse food. Or parents are often afraid that their children will starve, so that the food is replaced with milk. In the end the child's stomach not getting food but just too much milk instead. After the child is 1 year old, the presence of milk in the daily menu is not mandatory. In terms of nutrition, milk is only to meet the needs of calcium and phosphorus. We can easily get calcium and phosphorus in fish, vegetables & fruit.
Cut down on milk! Over the age of 1 year needs only 2 glasses of milk a day. Start training children with various types of food.
4. Influenced by the habits of their parents.
Children like to imitate what other family members like to do, especially their parents. Many of the behaviors that are carried out by their parents affect the children's eating behavior. Eg. children who grow up in watching their parents doesn't like to eat will develop lazy eating behavior as well. Another behavior, we often encounter parents still feeding their fifth grade elementary school children. As a result, children are not trained to be able to eat on their own. Inappropriate eating behavior is also like the parents' habit of calming a fussy child by buying calorie-dense snacks (candy, soft drinks, chocolate, etc.). As a result, children are full & lazy to eat.
Pay attention to & change parental habits & behavior at any time, including eating behavior. Remember, children record, learn and apply all the things they get from their surroundings, especially their parents. Let the child try to eat his own food from an early age, without being fed. No need to be afraid of mess. Feeding is about learning. If you are afraid with the mess they are gonna make then you can also but baby dishware that has bottom suction.
Picture: Avanchy Bamboo Baby Bowl and Bamboo Toddler Suction Plate
5. The emergence of a negative attitude (the normal phase that each child goes through)
At the age of> 2 years, children often refuse to listen. When meals arrive, children sometimes say they don't want to, their food likes to be melted or thrown, etc. This is called a negativistic attitude. Negativistic attitudes are a normal phase that every toddler goes through. This attitude is also a part of the stages of development to show a desire to be independent. So toddlers are generally marked with ME, meaning everything must come from ME not from others; the point is power. So many parents don't understand this, so because they are worried that their children's nutritional adequacy is not fulfilled, parents usually force their children to eat harder. This method must be avoided.
In fact, the more children at this age are forced, the more they will fight (as a form of negativism). Especially if the realization is not the rejection of food. It is understandable if there are people who until adults do not want to eat rice or don't touch meat at all. It could be that when he was a child, he had experienced trauma due to the treatment of his parents who always force him to eat.
Understand the child's condition well. Be an authoritative parent. It means not being pushy, but also not letting go. Build good communication with your little one, be patient with the children. Home is the first & foremost school for children.
6. Your little one is sick or sad.
The child does not want to eat it can also be because the child is sick or sad. If at first the child looks active, cheerful and chatty, then when he is sick he prefers to be quiet and look lazy.
Tips: Back to the concept of good communication. Don't force your child if you don't want to eat. Give snacks that are calorie dense. Stay creative in processing and serving food, foster good communication, continue to learn to be parents and understand the child's condition, and be patient.
Other Tips to Help Increase Your Little One's Appetite:
Entrust your little one to know his own portion of food.
Your little one will eat according to their needs. Your little one's brain will ensure that they are consuming enough calories for normal development and energy. Mother's job is to provide a balanced menu for your little one.
Do not feed your little one if he can eat alone.
Parents whose children have difficulty eating usually like to feed their children. However, when your little one is old enough and able to eat on his own (generally 15 months of age), then let him eat alone. If your little one is hungry, then he will feed his own food. It is also good to avoid tantrums at mealtimes.
Serve Small Portions for Your Little One.
Your little one's appetite can drop when he sees a large portion of food. If you get into the habit of eating frequently, she can usually afford to finish this. If this portion still makes him hungry then wait until he asks for more food.
Make Mealtime Fun.
Get your little one involved in the cooking preparation process, also involving him in the conversation will be effective in reducing your little one's tantrums at mealtime.
- Skinner N, et al. J Fam Pract, 2005; 54 (5): 470-1.
Hauck F, et al. Pediatrics, 2005; 116 (5): e716-23.