Not Sure If Your Baby Is Not Eating Well? Could Be Suffering From Infant Anorexia

Know the symptoms of infant anorexia and the dangers.

Your baby for months is not feeding well, rejects the breast or bottle, and does not want to eat anything. Then you could be suffering from infant anorexia.

My neighbor used to tell me that her 3 month old baby was rejecting the breast very often and was losing weight rapidly. I advised her that in addition to going to the pediatrician, she should visit a nursery nurse to help her with breastfeeding techniques, since growth spurts are common at that age and babies tend to reject some breast or bottle feedings, and be uncomfortable. Soon after, she arrived with her baby from the hospital; They had placed a tube through which the milk should be passed to feed it. “She has infantile anorexia,” this mother told me with a resigned face, “maybe now she is starting to gain a bit.”

The anorexia of the infant, which has nothing to do with anorexia nervosa in adolescents and adults, is a reaction of opposition to the food itself, or rejection of the circumstances in which he is offered the food, including the person in charge of offer it to him. Normally, this outright rejection of food appears in the second or third trimester of the baby’s life, and is one of the reasons for the most consultation in pediatric clinics.


In most cases they are simple anorexias, which have to do with emotional factors. This type of anorexia usually appears when the child already eats little, and in that anxiety that she eats, the parents try to feed her all the time, or her mother offers the breast to continue eating. This causes him to fall into a vicious circle, where the mother offers more food and the child rejects it.

There are several causes that can lead to infant anorexia:

  1. Incorrect eating habits: monotony in meals, rigid rations (that is, “you must eat all this yes or yes”), sudden changes in temperature and flavors, among other factors, can cause a child to have rejection by what is offered to him to eat daily. Many times, the effort to overfeed and force them to eat causes them to develop anorexia.

  2. Emotional causes: The environment that surrounds the child has a lot to do with it and will positively or negatively influence their diet. Marital or family problems, fights, or the same mother-child relationship can trigger aversion to eating.

  3. Secondary and organic factors: Infant anorexia can appear as a consequence of extreme factors such as some diseases or pathologies. That is why, before forcing the child to eat, the doctor should be consulted.


There is some evidence that can guide us to know if our baby may be suffering from infant anorexia. If your baby does not want to eat, does not gain weight well, is irritable during the day and cannot sleep well at night, she could be suffering from this complication.

Food refusal can be classified into two types: active and passive

Active rejection: they spit the food, throw it on the floor. If it is a baby who is breastfed or bottle fed, it will turn its head when breastfeeding, stiffen, and refuse to put its mouth on the nipple or bottle. They can vomit if they are forced to.

Passive rejection: They allow food to be introduced into their mouth but then spit it out calmly.


The specific treatment in infant anorexia is psychotherapy. First, in a familiar way to listen to the parents, reassure them and accompany them in the task of carrying out the treatment. Then, individually with the baby or child, so that they can regain healthy and correct eating habits, avoiding forced overeating. All the treatment will be crossed by a sociotherapy, giving guidelines so that the child’s environment is modified. Treatment can last for months, until the child acquires correct eating habits, gains weight and regains health.

In summary, it is essential to be attentive to the eating habits of the baby and the child, since poor nutrition can trigger health disorders in the child. Do not hesitate to consult your trusted pediatrician when you suspect that your child is not eating well.


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