This is a common complaint of many mothers that their child "just refuses to eat" !! Sometimes this is the main complaint while sometimes it accompanies other complaints. Mother complaint that it makes them so nervous to give their children anything to eat as they know it will be refused.

Balancing a child is a natural and overpowering maternal urge that should not be over done. But what to do when you have a child who refuses to eat ?

"Keep meal times pleasant. Remember that your child needs a balanced diet" - and this runs through your mind as you juggle with proteins and calories and fats. What shall I give my child to eat today ? You cook all the right food and lay it out attractively and watch in growing dismay as the apply of your eye picks at a little here and pushes his plate away.

You plead, bully, coax. Tell stories and distract them, while you spoon the food into their unsuspecting mouth. But this doesn’t work. Not for long that is. You are tense and desperate and no one knows it better than your child. They may use this information to balk at food in order to demonstrate their power and assertiveness, or they many associate unhappiness and tension with meal times.


I advise mothers to place the food before their child and remove it if they don’t eat. This may result in the child being ready and hungry for next meal. But this simple method doesn’t always work.

Normally children do not starve themselves. Some investigations have shown that even every small children who are allowed to choose their own food select a reasonably well balanced diet.

You child grows and changes. At one time they may eat well at another time, they won’t. Most children eat less in hot weather, during teething periods and during the second year of life. During the second year there may be great variability in eating habits.

Loss of appetite can also occur due to medications. Especially when a number of different medications are taken simultaneously. This adverse effect on appetite is a strong reason for being careful before giving strong medicines.

Children also loose their appetite when ill, like when they suffer from fever, food poisoning, severe cold, cough or even when they are simply under the weather. Even if your child is under some pressure like problems at school or with classmates, peer-pressure, something that emotionally upsets them, they can manifest it by loosing their appetite.

At meal times a pleasant atmosphere is very necessary. If your child is too tired, excited or too hungry to cope with a meal, he should not be forced to eat at that particular moment. Between meal, snacks should be discouraged because they cut down on meal time appetite.

At times infants refuse to take milk or eat because they may be teething or having some gaseous discomfort in the abdomen. This problem can be very well corrected by a homoeopath who treats each child according to his constitution, symptoms, nature and need.


CHAMOMILLA : Dr.Margret Tyler says - The other name for chamomilla is "can not bear it" or Dr.Clarke says it is "turmoil in temper". This is indicated for a child who most of the time refuses to eat because of his bad temper. The moment food is given to him he stretches his hands, takes it and throws it away. All his tautness; crying and yelling spells are exaggerated during teething time. Teething pain aggravate the situation so badly that at times he is without food and milk for quite some time, causing a lot of anxiety to his parents.

Chammomilla 200, 3 pills six times a day will definitely help a lot to decrease his teething pain, irritability, and increase his appetite. Once he improves, Chammomilla 30, three pills thrice a day should be given for the period of dentition and if need be thereafter too.


NATRUM MUR : Thin, emaciated (on the upper part of the body) three year old child was brought to me with a complain from the mother that she doesn’t eat anything. The only thing she like eating is raw salt ! She doesn’t mix well with other kids, she has a bad temper and if at all she eats, she eats in most secluded places.

Nat.Mur 6, five pills thrice a day was given. After a month’s treatment the child became more sociable, and started eating well. Her emaciated neck and chest started filling up - her extraordinary craving for salt also decreased. Nat. Mur. in six potency acts as a tonic and supplies minerals.


AETHUSA CYNAPUM : These children basically dislike milk and are unable to digest milk. Now imagine this picture, your child hates milk but you are unaware of this and you force feed your child milk and food but your child cannot digest milk and develops nausea and hence looses his appetite. If further forced, as anxious mothers do, your child may vomit, complains of painful abdominal cramps and the appetite further reduces till the child just refuses to eat. This also makes the child very restless, anxious because of all the nausea and stomach pain.

This is a typical Aethusa child and this remedy helps when given in 200 potency, 5 pills 4 times daily and do not force your child as this will further reduce appetite.


LYCOPODIUM : Generally these children are thin and emaciated with a poor digestion. They have a good appetite before a meal but once they start eating, even a few bites of food make them full and they get bloating of the abdomen, belching due to poor digestion and soon loose their appetite.

Lycopodium 200, 5 pills 4 times daily till appetite increases.


CALCAREA PHOSPHORICA : This homoeopathic medicine is useful as a general tonic for weak children with poor appetite during their developing years. These children are generally weak with weak bones, difficult dentition and gaseous problems. While eating they suffer from a lot of gas formation with abdominal cramps which further reduces their appetite. Calcarea Phosphorica is a biochemic and homoeopathic combination of Calcium and Phosphorus which helps in development of bones and general health.

Calc. Phos. 30, 5 pills 3 times daily till required improvement takes place.


Readers are adviced that the medical advice offered in this column pertains to generalised treatment of the condition. Kindly consult your doctor before self-medication.