Toddler Food Refusal

Toddler Food Refusal

It can feel worrying, stressful and frustrating when your once food loving baby, who would try almost anything you put in front of them, is suddenly refusing their food.

The most important thing to remember is that it isn’t because they aren’t enjoying your food anymore or that they’ve suddenly turned into a fussy eater. Food refusal in toddlers is common and can be down to a variety of factors.

1. Newfound Independence

As babies grow into toddlers, they begin to exert their newfound independence and often food refusal can be a way for them to test the boundaries. In this instance, explain to them that this is their eating opportunity and, if they refuse to eat, don’t offer anything until the next meal. I know, it is so much easier said than done BUT they will have another eating opportunity within a couple of hours and if they are hungry, they will eat!

2. Growth Slows Down

Babies often have bigger appetites than toddlers as they are growing so much more rapidly. Your toddler might just not be as hungry as they used to be!

3. Tiredness

Sometimes if mealtimes are too close to nap time/bedtime, your little one might just be too exhausted to eat. So, it can be worth shifting mealtimes slightly earlier.

4. No Structure

They are grazing on snacks throughout the day. If your toddler has constant access to snacks throughout the day, they may not be hungry enough at mealtimes. Stick to a meal and snack schedule.

5. Unwell

They may not be feeling well or teething. If so, it’s completely normal for them to lose their appetite.

6. Taste Buds Change!

It’s normal for toddlers to begin to dislike a food they previously enjoyed. Keep serving it but in different ways and with different flavours!

Lastly, take away the pressure! They feed off of our anxiety and stress. So, the more we push them to eat and try it, the less likely they are to do it. Keep mealtimes fun, relaxed and enjoyable.


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