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Newborn anorexia


Newborn anorexia affects infants, often between 4-10 months of age. It is actually a chain reaction. The child refuses the food he is given, and as we try different approaches to force him to eat, the more food he refuses. The onset or the disorder is gradual, and infant anorexia usually disappears by itself or with medical care. Infant anorexia must be distinguished from reactional anorexia which is due to an acute problem such as infection or pain ... In the latter case, doctors must treat the problem and everything associated so that things fall back into place.


An infant affected by anorexia eats less or gradually swallows less liquid. When the parent realizes (usually the mother, during feeding), a psychological struggle begins with the child. Feeling the stress of the parent, the child refuses all food, which becomes associated with the parent and the tension of the moment. It's a vicious circle that must be broken so that the child can regain a healthy relationship with food.


A clinical examination of the infant establishes a viable diagnosis and rules out other causes than anorexia. Parents should consult a general practitioner or specialist such as a pediatrician or a psychologist. The doctor will give advice that is tailored to the situation and try to resolve the infant anorexia in the best way.


Therapeutic treatment can put an end to the vicious circle of food refusal and the stress that this creates for the child and the parents. It is advisable for people feeding the child, to pretend not to give any importance to the child's refusing of food, making no comment and reacting naturally to the refusal. The parent should also try playing games while feeding the child, allowing him to eat messily if he wants and at the times that he prefers. Relieving pressure will help the child to feed again when he feels like it.


What emerges from studies on infant anorexia is that it is an underlying expression of a conflict with a parent(s) feeding style. Sometimes the child will eat normally when with others (nanny, grandparents...). Not allowing this situation to fester will help the transition back to normal meals. By leaving room for more freedom during the child's meals, the latter learns to not perceive eating as a time for stress, but rather as regular part of his day, just like dressing, bathing, etc.

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