Pediatrician Questions Pediatrician

How can I increase my toddler's appetite?

My toddler son has a bad appetite. How can I increase my toddler's appetite?

2 Answers

You can’t, and nor would you try to do so. Your child will eat when hungry. Always place healthy food in front of your child and then leave them alone for 15 minutes or so. Kids will eat when hungry. When not hungry, they will not eat and should never be forced to do so. You decide what they eat. They decide how much and when. This is frustrating for parents, but is imperative that they adhere to these directions. If you force your kid to eat, they will develop poor habits and may have eating disorders later in life.

Dr. K

There is no reason to do that. Many mothers complain about the lack of appetite in toddlers since their growth slows down and they do not eat as much as they did in the first 15 or so months of their lives. You cannot control how MUCH a child eats--only WHAT they eat. So, if you serve them chicken and mashed potatoes and string beans, and they refuse to eat it and
you, then give them a hot dog, you are teaching them how to get the food they want. Just relax about how much they eat, just make sure it is good food offered to them.