Baby refuses to eat. What should I do?

Feeding their child is an important subject for parents. When baby starts to eat a more varied diet, parents alternate between feeling happy, seeing them eat their first banana, and worry, or even exasperation, when they simply refuse to eat.

So what can you do to encourage baby to eat and does it matter if they refuse?

Be patient

If your child, who is starting to eat "solids", rejects what you have prepared, refuses to eat at mealtimes or spits out everything they put in their mouths, you need to be patient. You need to try and understand and not lose your temper.

How many parents lose patience at mealtimes and talk about how, if they don't eat anything, they won't grow up to be big and strong, to the point that it becomes an obsession and spoils family life?

Food is a symbol of pleasure and of emotional and maternal security. It plays a vital role in childhood, particularly in the parent/child relationship. It is therefore essential that parents pass on to their children the pleasure of eating and spending time together.

Use cunning to get them to eat

A child will not allow themselves to starve to death. You should find this reassuring. Some have a large appetite and are very curious when it comes to food, others less so.

Like many aspects of childhood, you need to be patient and use cunning to get your child to eat!

"Finger food" can help! In fact, to make baby's mealtimes easier and more fun, encourage them to touch their food and eat with their fingers. According to Marc Bellaiche, paediatric gastroenterologist, tactile discovery of food is important for your baby.

Visual appearance is also very important: for instance, if you use vegetables to present your child's plate in a fun way (a clown's face with a tomato for a nose, spaghetti hair, eyes made of sweetcorn), you can convince them to eat.

Try to regularly offer new foods. They may say no seven times, but on the eighth they will try it.

Be inventive, creative, daring... take them to the market with you, eat with them. You need to make them want to discover lots of new flavours, as a family!

Make mealtimes an enjoyable experience!


Breast milk is the ideal food for infants. WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months and then continuation thereof until the age of 2 alongside the introduction, from 6 months, of safe and appropriate complementary foods. Please consult a healthcare professional if you need any advice about feeding your baby.