Disordered eating behaviors such as anorexia, choosy eating, and food phobia are very common health problems, especially in infants and young children.

Behaviors That May Cause Anorexia in Babies or Children

  • Feeding when asleep to overcome the baby’s food aversion or their ingestion of only small amounts of food.
  • Constantly applying pressure to feed, trying to give one more bite after another, when the baby is unwilling.
  • Forcing the child to open their mouth.
  • Feeding at regularly scheduled times (hourly, every 3 hours, etc.), disregarding hunger signals.
  • Continuing efforts to feed despite unsuccessful attempts.


  1. Toprak, K., & Samur, G. (2019). İştahsız Çocuk ve Beslenme Tedavisi Yaklaşımları. Güncel Pediatri17(2), 314-324.

Encouragement to Eat

Suggestions for how families may encourage eating during feeding times:

  • Meals should be served on separate plates; the child should be observed while eating, and the child should be assisted and encouraged while eating.
  • Feeding should not be rushed, and the baby should feel that ample time is allocated for feeding.
  • The baby should be given some food in quantities that they will be able to grab, and self-feeding should be allowed. Postponing the feeding time, expecting that the child will become very hungry, may lead to appetite loss.
  • The baby should be fed when awake, and if the baby is not eating, food should be offered, but no pressure should be applied.
  • While feeding, encouraging words should be uttered and games should be played to promote feeding.
  • Mealtime should also be training time. Contrasting concepts such as big-small or bitter-sour should be uttered.


  1. Ünal, F. (2017). 0-12 Yaş Arası Çocuklarda Dengeli Beslenmenin Önemi. Klinik Tıp Pediatri Dergisi9(6), 17-27.