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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How can poor appetite and weight loss in an infant be managed?

Hello Dr. My daughter is 1.6 yr old, She never eat any thing we always use to force feed her.also visited all type of child spec., one doc suggested me leave her independent she will eat whenever she feels hunger. i tried one month same activity described by doc. she lost her 2.5 kg weight in month. doesn t eat any thing.as i can see 194 doc r online.any body can hv experienced such case .plz guide me. she is under weight.one thing i obesevd abt her she is very clean type of person .she dont want to touch any thing like mud,liquid food(Dal rice etc..)
Mon, 24 Sep 2018
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Pediatrician 's  Response
Hi,

How old was she when she stopped eating? force feeding is commonly used by parents when they believe the child is not eating enough. When a child has been ill or was prematurely born a parent may consider her fragile and force her to take more food than she wants. Mothers can overestimate the quantity of food that a small child requires.
The apparently small quantity which the child takes is enough for an average weight gain, but when mother does not realize this, she may try to force feed her to eat more.

Most appetite problems begin between 6 and 18 months of age when the infant is developing independence and resists domination. I agree with the doctor who told you that all attempts at forcing her to eat must be stopped. No persuasion, no coaxing, no bribing, no threatening and no punishment. She will eat when she wishes. Place her in the high-chair and let her sit at the table with the rest of the family. The food is placed before her and it is expected she will take what she wants. Encourage holding and drinking from cup and eating with spoon.

Allow her to try placing food in her mouth by herself, and then help her if need be. If she will not touch her meal, she is left without any food until the next meal. If she doesn't touch the next meal, again she should be left without food. She will soon eat when hunger overtakes her as long as no one makes a fuss about what she eats.A small child can eat some of the meat, then the pudding and return to the meat. Parent makes it clear that the food in front of her is all there is and that if she does not like it she can leave the table, but there will be nothing else. A child likes bright colors so make food attractive and of variety. As long as she has a poor appetite, give no more than a pint of milk a day.

Allow her to feed herself as much as possible. As soon as your infant realizes that she cannot make more fuss and attract any more attention the food refusal stops. She needs outdoor exercise and over-fatigue should be avoided. Normal amount of sleep for her age is 12 to 13 hours a day. Naps decrease from two to one at average age of 18 months. When parents carry out this treatment plan, the response is extremely satisfactory.


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