Why has my child stopped eating?
Good nutrition equates to good growth and development. If your child has lost their appetite it can be a huge worry, but if your child appears generally healthy and happy, there is probably no reason to be concerned about a temporary slump in appetite. The main thing is (and it’s easy to say) but try not to worry, in the majority of cases, the problem rectifies itself quite quickly.
Is loss of appetite common for some ages?
There are no clear statistics, but loss of appetite is most common between the ages of two and six years. Some food refusal can also happen towards the end of the first year as infants become toddlers and start to be wary of any new foods (neophobia).
What causes loss of appetite?
Appetite can fluctuate from day to day: even healthy children go through periods when they don’t have an appetite. The reason for loss of appetite is rarely medical in origin. However, some conditions such as acid reflux and constipation, thyroid problems and iron-deficiency anaemia can cause a loss of appetite, as can some medications.
Illness, in general, sometimes puts anyone off their food, so coughs, colds and sore throats can put children off eating for a couple of days, and that’s quite normal. The eruption of a new tooth may cause a lot of pain in the mouth, making it too sore to eat.
Growth spurts can also affect appetite. When your child's growth slows, which it does for older toddlers, their appetite decreases in line with the slight decrease in nutrition requirements. Similarly, a change in activity levels, or exerting less energy can lead to less food being needed.
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