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What to do When a Baby Doesn’t Want to Eat

Question:

I have a 19-month-old son who is not interested in eating and doesn’t say simple words like “mama.” His doctor wants him to gain more weight, but he is growing in height not weight. My husband and I were both skinny as babies, so I think it could be genetic. Should I be worried?

Answer:

Thanks for reaching out to us today about your concerns with your young child. Any parent would be concerned if their child was not eating. Most children at this age are focused on getting into things and less focus on eating. If your child is not eating at all, then this is not normal and is something you should tell his doctor.

In the meantime, try feeding after a big playtime, when he has built up an appetite. Remove distractions so his attention is on eating. Try different foods and realize that the more foods you expose your child to, the more luck you will have finding something that he’ll like. Record what your son eats and when and give that to his doctor to help him understand what’s going on.

If you feel in your gut something is wrong, or you think your child might be ill in any way, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor. They can alleviate your stress by reassuring you that everything is OK, or telling you what to try to make sure that your child is gaining the appropriate amount of weight.

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