With the exception of a few toddlers, most babies are fussy eaters, which is a cause of concern for most parents. As babies continue to grow, there comes a stage when their rate of growth decreases, which causes the appetite to diminish, states the Keep Kids Healthy website. Yet, each child's eating habits are influenced by a variety of factors including activity levels, health, environmental conditions and the development stage. Once you have taken all these factors into consideration, there are several strategies that you can incorporate to increase your baby's appetite.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Healthy finger foods
Offer your child small portions of food rather than big servings. By doing this, you allow the child to finish everything on his plate and the opportunity to request more food. This method gives the child a feeling of control over his food.
Give your child the freedom to feed himself, by placing a bowl of healthy finger foods within his reach. In this way, the baby can conveniently reach for the bowl to satiate his appetite, all through the day.
Celery sticks and cooked vegetables like carrots and broccoli, toast strips and mild cheese cubes, soft and peeled fruit pieces, make good finger food options. Ensure that the finger foods are small bite-size to prevent your baby from choking.
Limit snacks like savouries, sweets and pastries to two servings a day, and offer them to your child only if she requests these foods. According to the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin website, snacks like potato and corn chips, cakes, cookies and pies, fruit-flavoured soft drinks, sweet toppings and syrups, have a high calorie content, provide low nutritional value, and reduce the baby's appetite for healthy food.
Restrict your child's milk consumption to 473ml or less each day. Milk is high in calories and reduces the child's appetite for other vital food sources of vitamins, minerals and protein.
Tips and warnings
- Be flexible in your choice of foods and offer the baby a variety of food alternatives.
- Don't force your child to eat food he dislikes, or to remain at the table until he finishes the food. This will cause the child to dislike mealtimes and diminish his appetite.
- Poor appetite can be caused by lack of iron, which is a common deficiency in toddlers. Ask your doctor to check your baby's blood count.
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