There are numerous reasons why your baby is not eating at daycare. Maybe they feel pressured, bored, distracted, sick, or experiencing separation anxiety. Sometimes it could even be a combination of a few of these reasons. If you can identify why they are having difficulty eating while at daycare, you can make the necessary changes and get them to eat again.
Common reasons why your Baby does not eat at Daycare
Sending your baby to daycare presents a significant change in routine for your little one. For the first time in their lives, they are away from their parents, in a new environment, and adjusting can take some time.
That is why despite preparing delicious and nutritious food for them, you still find they aren’t eating as much as they should, if they are eating at all. Here are a few reasons why:
Joining daycare presents a significant change in your baby’s life. Up until this moment, they are accustomed to being near you. You are familiar, a source of comfort, and know what and when to feed them, so there’s little likelihood they would refuse to eat or be fussy about it.
However, they are in a new environment at daycare, and you are not around as much. Experiencing a bit of separation anxiety is normal, but it can cause them not to eat.
Too much pressure.
When your little one refuses to eat, it can make you anxious because they can easily fall sick. This can lead you to push them to eat, and this pressure can make them not want to eat.
Another reason why your baby is not eating at daycare is that they are bored by the meals they are getting. This is especially true if the daycare offers meals. It’s hard to provide a variety of meals to suit every child, and your little one can become bored with what they are offering.
Your little one is distracted.
The toys, books, new faces, and environment can easily distract your little one, especially if this is the first time they attend daycare. If they are engrossed in their play, they won’t pay too much attention to their food.
A new environment.
A change in environment can cause emotional distress, affecting how your child eats. The new faces and being away from what is familiar can cause considerable discomfort, making your little one lose their appetite.
The portions are too big.
If your kid is served too much food, the thought of having to finish all that food can put them off. Additionally, if they get too many liquids, such as juice, water, or milk, they will not have any more room to eat.
A medical issue.
Your little one could refuse to eat because they are sick or have a medical issue affecting their eating ability.
Solutions you can try to help your baby eat at daycare
Babies have to eat. When they refuse, you have to do what you can to uncover why they don’t want to eat. Once you figure this out, employ any of these fixes to get them back on track and feel more comfortable with mealtimes at daycare.
1. Match the daycare feeding schedule to the one you keep at home.
You can solve your baby’s eating issue by matching daycare meal times to your home schedule. Kids thrive on routine, so matching their meal times with your home schedule will make them hungry at scheduled times.
2. Don’t pressure them.
Kids are sensitive to your emotions and can sense your anxiety in this situation. While it can be difficult, try to remain calm and don’t let them sense the stress you are feeling because your baby is not eating at daycare.
Do not pressure them to eat. It will not work. Don’t push food closer, hover, talk about their lack of eating or try to spoon-feed them. You are indirectly pressuring them. Instead, let your little one self-feed and eat at their own pace. Don’t hover or try to hurry things along. Let them be in control of how much they eat.
3. Feed them a balanced meal before taking them to daycare.
If your baby is still not eating at daycare, you don’t want them force-fed. This can create a stressful, upsetting situation where your child gets upset about going to daycare. To prevent this, feed them a well-balanced meal before dropping them off. If they are already full when they get to the daycare center, you don’t have to worry about them not eating. Simply pack a few snacks or comfort foods to top them off while there.
4. Consider reducing their snacks.
Some daycare centers offer snacks to keep the little ones occupied. However, if your little one eats too many snacks, they can fill up on them, leaving no room for meals. If this is the case, talk to your daycare provider about reducing the snacks your little one has, so they have room for meals.
5. Make their food enjoyable.
Offer your kid a variety of foods in manageable portions to switch things up. You don’t have to change the food; switching up serving styles can help spur them into eating again. If raw foods are too crunchy, try steaming them. Additionally, you can play around with vegetable shapes to get them interested in their food. Cut their veggies in coins, fries, strips, or cubes and experiment to see what they like.
6. Comfort them.
The emotional stress of being in a new environment can affect your baby’s appetite. First, try dropping by during mealtimes to see if they are eating and adjusting well. Your presence can be incredibly comforting to your baby, making them comfortable enough to eat as they should.
Call them during meal times if you cannot make it there in person and encourage them to eat. Ask them about what they are eating and remind them how much they like a particular food. This will make them look forward to meal times and spur them to eat more.
7. Make sure they are not sick.
Lastly, make sure your child has no medical issue that can affect their ability to eat. Several conditions can cause reduced appetite and cause your little one to become a picky eater. Sensory issues, discomfort, or trauma are a few reasons that can affect their eating. Consult your pediatrician if you suspect your baby is sick, which is why they are not eating.
Taking your baby to daycare is stressful enough, but it can be pretty demoralizing if you find out they refuse to eat. Still, as soon as you find out the root cause, you can start fixing the problem.