My 2 Year And 6 Month Baby Boy Does Not Like To Eat. He Does Not Know How To Chew And Swallow Food. Please Advice.

All parents fret over their child’s nutrition. There are some children who are mild mannered and do not trouble you when you try to feed them. There are, however, others who do not like to eat or are simply too full of energy to sit down and be fed. While these are minor troubles, some toddlers may have troubles with foods that might need a little more attention and possibly intervention.

From what you have related, it seems that your baby does not know how to chew and swallow, and perhaps that is the reason that eating is an uncomfortable, and at certain times embarrassing, activity for him. While chewing and swallowing are basic instincts of a human being, not all children know how to do it. If you give your child some food and see him gagging over it, he is probably not faking it. You may take your child to a pediatrician who will evaluate his chewing and swallowing skills. Usually by the age of one year, your child should be able to start eating regular foods and snacks. However, if he doesn’t, that means there is a problem. If the doctor says that your child does not know how to eat, do not take it personally. This in no way is a reflection on your parenting skills. This is a rare though perfectly natural anomaly.

Your doctor will suggest different ways in which you can teach your child to chew and swallow. For some children, sucking their thumbs can be more instinctive than chewing food. When your child is in therapy, there is a high likelihood that his appetite will increase and so will his ability to eat the food properly. However, this can be a turbulent time for your child who might get embarrassed. If you keep on threatening your child or telling him that he’s different, it is only going to make the situation worse. In fact, your child may end up developing an aversion to food completely.

Till the time your child is in therapy, feed him foods that are semi-solid or are a pasty consistency. You may give him soups, broths, and formula. However, make sure that there is enough variety in his meals so that all his nutrition needs are met; otherwise, there are chances that your child may develop deficiencies or suffer from stunted growth. Lack of proper nutrition at this age may also cause some long-term complications.

answered by G M

Dietary Advice for Toddlers

Oh it seems you are having a real tough time with your baby, but it is very important to find out the reason why your baby is refusing to eat. Firstly don't force him for anything as this might make conditions worse, instead try this:

  • It is common for toddlers to eat well on one day and not at all on the other, don't panic see when he is hungry and strike the iron that time.
  • Learn his likes and dislikes and accordingly present the food or snacks in that manner. Try to introduce different colors and shapes, however don't introduce all at a time as he might get confused and reject all your effort.
  • Try to explain him why he should eat and the benefits, like it would give him more strength to play. Be simple in explaining; don't confuse him with medical jargons.
  • Put on his favorite cartoon character on the television or narrate stories while feeding as this might divert his attention to more interesting things rather than just eating.
  • Have patience and try to eat the meals together, if he sees you enjoy the meal even he would take some initiative.

answered by Dr S

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