There’s no happier moment for parents than holding their angel in their arms for the first time. There’s also nothing scarier for them than noticing their infant’s appetite dwindle. Parents around the world try all they can to ensure that their child gets the best in terms of amenities, education, and nutrition, so he grows up to become a wholesome and well-rounded individual. No surprises why new parents even forego their sleep and lose track of their meals in an attempt to keep their baby well-fed. If your baby seems to be eating less than usual, in all probability you’ve hit the panic button and attributed his poor appetite to a health concern. But there could also be numerous other reasons behind it. Here are seven factors that could be causing a loss in your baby’s appetite.
7 Causes for Loss of Appetite in Babies
It’s amazing how quickly babies grow. Even before you realize, you see tiny teeth sprout in your infant’s mouth, no longer leaving his smile toothless. This milestone in your baby’s life, however, can also cause a loss of appetite due to the discomfort and pain of the teeth tearing through your baby’s gums.Babies often start teething between the 4th-7th month. You can help relieve the teething pain by giving your baby teething toys to chew on. Try feeding him cold foods like yogurt or mashed fruits. Breastfeeding and bottle feeding can further increase the pain so try feeding him with a cup instead.
2. High Intake Of Fluids
Another reason your baby could be eating less might be because of the overconsumption of fluids like water and juices. The milk your baby consumes is enough to keep him hydrated until he’s 6 months old. Offering excess water to your baby can hinder his body’s ability to absorb the nutrients contained in breast milk or formula. Doing so can also make him feel too full, too soon, thus making him resistant to foods and lowering his appetite.
Viral and bacterial infections could also be the cause your child is refusing food. Conditions such as flu, ear infections, and bronchitis can cause pain and rapid breathing, making it difficult for your baby to eat and sleep. If your baby is experiencing these troubles, it is imperative that you seek medical assistance and ensure he is vaccinated against all common infections. Try avoiding pacifiers as they increase the incidence of ear infections in babies by almost 33%.
4. Hot Weather
The heat can get to even the best of us, and our babies are no different. Overheating can make your baby cranky, develop rashes and also increase his resistance to foods. If uncontrolled, it can even lead to dehydration. You must be overcautious about ensuring that your infant is well-hydrated and is always in a cool room during summers. Make him wear light cotton clothing that doesn’t stick to his body. If the symptoms persist despite these measures, reach out to your baby’s doctor on priority.
5. Food Intolerance
Allergy or intolerance to certain foods like milk, eggs, peanuts, and soy, may cause your baby to experience symptoms such as bloating, itching, vomiting, diarrhea and appetite loss. It is important that you identify the foods that your baby is allergic to and avoid them completely. If your little one seems allergic to milk protein, try feeding him hypoallergenic infant formulas that can help alleviate the symptoms of the allergy and bring his appetite back on track.
6. Sore Throat
Your baby’s sore throat could be a result of persistent crying or a viral infection. It could cause a difficulty in swallowing, thus leading to a loss of your baby’s appetite. In case your baby’s sore throat is accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes, reach out to your doctor for immediate medical help to ease the infection and increase your infant’s appetite.
It is important that you know how your baby’s growth cycle works. He grows at the fastest rate in the first six months, and his growth begins to slow down between the sixth and the twelfth month. His growth slows down further between the twelfth to the eighteenth month. Thus, if your baby is eating much lesser as compared to what he used to in his tenth month, it’s probably because his body doesn’t need as many calories. Make sure to always keep your doctor in the loop about your baby’s nutritional intake and requirements.
Make sure to avoid forcing food down your baby’s throat as it could lead to further health complications. Be patient and gentle while feeding your infant, keeping the pointers mentioned above in mind. As your baby grows up, slowly introduce new variations in his diet in consultation with your doctor. Happy feeding!
Article by Aradhana Pandey
Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.