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Fussy eaters: Why do some toddlers refuse to eat?

In the first 1000 days, what your toddler eats can have a powerful influence on their future development including their brain development.But what if your toddler suddenly starts being fussy and refuses the foods you give them?
Well don’t stress, it is perfectly normal for toddlers to go through their ‘fussy eating phase’ at some stage. Mealtimes during these times can become a bit of a nightmare for you and your toddler, with lots of tantrums and frustration. Fortunately, most toddlers grow out of their fussy eating phase and normal mealtimes are eventually restored!
If the problem persists, speak to your public health nurse or GP. They will be able to check your child's growth and development and give you further advice on how to overcome your toddler’s fussy eating.
Why do some toddlers not eat?
Your toddler may refuse foods when they are:
  • Sick
  • Tired
  • In a bad mood/grumpy
  • If they are being scolded
  • If they are being force-fed when they have had enough to eat
  • Too full from drinks they had throughout the day
  • Feeling upset, lonely, or anxious (for example if they are away from home)
  • Constipated
  • Anaemic – as low iron levels can decrease your little one’s appetite
If your toddler associates a particular food with a bad experience they may refuse it. For example, if there was a particular food they may have had at a time they were sick or a particular food they may have had when they were away from home and from you. They tend to grow out of this later in childhood so don’t worry too much about it.

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