What causes loss of appetite in babies can vary depending on the child’s medical history. In some cases, babies may have difficulty or pain when feeding because of:
- An injury to the face, neck, or mouth.
- A condition that prevents them from turning their head without discomfort, such as torticollis.
- A structural abnormality of the neck, face, or mouth, such as a cleft palate.
This may cause your child to find feeding uncomfortable. In other cases, the issue may be a true loss of appetite from one of the following:
- A cold, causing a stuffy nose, sore throat, or fever
- Gastrointestinal (GI) tract concerns, such as GERD
- Food intolerance
- An underlying medical condition
Lastly, and most commonly, the cause of a temporary loss of appetite could be something as simple as teething. In fact, irritability and loss of appetite are some of the most common symptoms of teething in young babies.
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Growing Concerns About Loss of Appetite
If your child’s loss of appetite lasts for more than a few days, you will want to discuss it with a trusted pediatrician. It is not uncommon for a baby’s appetite to seem to wane in the first few weeks, especially as the mother’s milk production increases.
However, it is important to monitor your child for concerning changes related to appetite. You will want to call the doctor if the baby:
- Seems to forget how to suck or swallow, developing a sudden difficulty.
- Skips a feeding but does not eat as much during the prior or following feeding.
- Feeds much slower than usual.
- Experiences difficulty breathing during feeding.
- Projectile vomits or is unable to keep down most of the meal.
- Shows signs of dehydration.
- Shows signs of fever or infection.
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Diagnosing the Cause Lost Appetite in a Baby
What causes loss of appetite in babies is more likely to be something temporary than a more serious underlying medical concern. For example, an illness, fever, or teething discomfort is much more common than a neurological or genetic condition. Still, even when a relatively minor illness is to blame, there can be complications if symptoms persist long enough.
When a baby experiences poor weight gain, weight loss, slowed growth, or failure to thrive, it may indicate a more serious underlying condition connected to the loss of appetite. If loss of appetite is the only recognized symptom, it may be very difficult to diagnose this condition.
Any other symptoms, especially when seemingly unrelated to appetite, can help a doctor identify the condition and reach a diagnosis. Additional symptoms that may accompany loss of appetite include:
- Excessive drooling.
- Regular vomiting (not spit up).
- Coughing after feeding.
- Rigidity or extra motion in the child’s limbs.
When a baby experiences symptoms that seem unrelated to feedings, this may be a big clue for the doctor when searching for a diagnosis. For example, if the baby prefers to hold their head in an unusual way and seems to only want to feed on one side, it could indicate torticollis. Treatment can quickly ease the discomfort, and any complications will likely disappear as the condition improves.
Loss of Appetite as a Sign of a Birth Injury
In some cases, your child’s loss of appetite may be the first noticeable symptom of a more serious, underlying condition caused by a preventable birth injury. If your child suffered an injury during delivery and now struggles to feed properly, this could lead to a loss of appetite.
If your child received a diagnosis for a condition that occurred because of medical negligence, you may want to speak with a law firm that handles birth injuries. There are deadlines for pursuing a malpractice lawsuit, so we encourage you to reach out right away.
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Speak to a Member of Our Birth Injury Team
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can review your case for free today. If there is enough evidence to support your claim, one of our attorneys can help you build a case to seek damages for:
- Your child’s related doctor visits.
- The cost of any ongoing care.
- Therapy and other treatment.
- Time missed at work while caring for your child.
- Out-of-pocket expenses.
- Your child’s pain and suffering.
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