Feeding the baby correctly is a measure of our parental competence, and poor child appetite jeopardizes this competency. We need to urgently do something if the child eats poorly, because it seems to us that children need to be “stuffed” with food at all costs, even contrary to common sense (because behind us are years of scarcity, social upheavals, wars, hunger.) Does the child need this? Our expert, dietitian, author of the book “My best friend is the stomach, tells about children's appetite and food manipulation.” Food for smart people ”and a blog about dietetics Elena Motova.
Food without appetite
Understand and remember that forced feeding is absolutely unacceptable. The child's body is a self-regulating system, and if the child does not want to eat at a particular point in time, it does not mean that he has a bad appetite: it is when a child feels hungry that the child is ready to take food, digest it, and transform it into building material for its growth and development. Eating without appetite, but from compulsion (the time is right, and if you do not eat right now, you are tired and will get sick), it simply will not be digested properly and will bring nothing but harm.
If the child does not want to dine, a sensible parent will send him or her to appetite until noon, dinner, or the next family meal. Nothing bad will happen to him during this time, we are so arranged that we can do without food for a long time, but next time the baby will eat with pleasure and without additional parental efforts.
Eating without appetite or dreaming of something more
After the first year of life, when the child is actively growing and almost always pleases the parents with a good appetite, there are other times when growth slows down and the food dominance is replaced by knowledge of the world and itself. Therefore, food becomes less important, and the baby is distracted while eating, rejects some foods, eats little and selectively. Very often, this natural stage of the child's development frustrates the parents; they are troubled by the question: "What if the child eats poorly?". And the persuasion begins.
Even those of us who will never feed a child against his or her desire are asked to eat a spoon for dad, mom or grandmother, distract and entertain, satisfy all demands and whims, only to feed at any cost. The consequences of this "wanted as best, but it turned out as always" - aggravation of problems with appetite and nutrition as they grow up.
Children are great psychologists, and understanding how important their food is to dad and mom gives a lot of room for manipulation. The child agrees to eat only two or three of his favorite foods, eats only under the TV or sits on his dad's shoulders when he is fed with a spoon. Every breakfast, lunch, or dinner becomes a conflict, and a kid needs a new toy for his porridge or soup.
I do not thicken the paint at all, all of the above are real cases from my pediatric practice.
I do not want, I will not eat
How is a child's appetite related to energy?
A modern preschooler is a child of a big city who walks only two hours in a kindergarten, and devotes the rest of his time to calmer activities. A schoolboy who, for lessons, a computer, electives and circles generally forgot what movement is. Are you surprised that such a healthy child has a poor appetite? Food makes up for the energy spent by a person, if a child or an adult leads a sedentary life, his energy consumption is minimal.
Poor appetite in a child and you want him to eat better? Instead of a Sunday trip to a fast-food cafe, you should go to the park to ride bicycles, and if you limit the time at a computer and TV, you will have the opportunity to run in the yard or go outdoors. You will be surprised when, after a walk through the woods or swimming in the lake, but just on a picnic, your little one will eat everything that you offer him.
WHO strongly recommends that children from five to seventeen years of age devote at least an hour a day to “moderate to high intensity physical activity,” and it is better if this time is longer. An active lifestyle, hiking, outdoor games, physical education at home and at school - this is necessary if you want a healthy child with a good appetite. Another prerequisite - the movement should bring joy!
Winter cold joys not a hindrance
The problem of eating behavior in children
The trouble with modern children (and adults) is that they absolutely do not know what a feeling of hunger is. The natural, natural hunger-satiety mechanism has replaced food by duty, without appetite. And this is scary, because these extremely complex processes are regulated both by hormones of the internal organs (stomach, intestines, adipose tissue, pancreas) and brain structures, the hypothalamus plays a leading role in controlling eating behavior. What do you think happens if, instead of the hypothalamus and hormones, the amount of food eaten is constantly regulated by someone else's desire? The system gets messy, and sometimes breaks. The energy balance, which is a balance between the energy coming from food and the one that is spent on living, is disturbed.
How to understand if there is little or many children?
The most common question for the doctor is whether the child receives enough food. It is strange to think that with an abundance of food, someone may be malnourished, most likely the opposite is likely. The parents whom I asked to keep a food diary, that is, to record everything that a child eats during the day for at least a week, were very surprised when we analyzed the results together. In most cases, it turned out that their boy or girl is eating quite quantitatively, but not always qualitatively. In fact, the amount of food a child eats can increase very slightly from a year to three years. Children are not cars that require more or less the same amount of gasoline per kilometer. Today your baby can eat very little, but will catch it up tomorrow or next week.
Refusal of food. What is the reason?
How to stop worrying about food?
If you want problems with baby food for a long time to not leave you, I advise you to worry as much as possible about the fact that the child does not eat well. Every hour, ask the child if he wants to eat, spend all his free time in the kitchen, inventing new mouth-watering dishes for him, and discuss with the tragic intonations the child’s appetite / weight / eating habits with everyone who will listen.
But seriously, it is not necessary to be a nutritionist or pediatrician to get rid of nutrition problems once and for all, but it is absolutely necessary to maintain calm, patience and common sense.
A mobile healthy child occasionally experiences periods when growth slows down, the intensity of metabolic processes decreases, so he eats little or rarely. Hormonal background, heredity, even the season, affect appetite, and there is nothing we can do about them. Just accept as a fact that sometimes a child refuses to eat and this is completely normal.