3 Reasons Why Your Child is Refusing Food

A little tummy ache here and there is common in children. It becomes concerning when it happens too often and they start refusing food. Sometimes making dietary changes with gut health supporting foods and digestive health supporting growing up milks (eg. Similac Total Comfort) can provide comfort. From milk intolerances to gastro issues, here are 3 reasons why your child may be refusing food.1, 5

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

This is when food and stomach acid comes back up the esophagus. When it happens in younger children, look out for choking, wheezing, wet burping, bad breath, and frequent refusal of food. GERD is usually minor, but if prolonged, it can damage the esophagus and cause poor growth due to inefficient nutrition absorption. Do not feed food to your child more than they can eat and avoid chocolate, caffeinated drinks, spicy foods, and tomato-based items that trigger GERD symptoms.1, 4

Allergies and Food Poisoning

Your child may have had a reaction to a certain food and are now refusing other items associated with it. For this, to find out which food is causing it, requires some patience. Usually, these allergic reactions are immediate or within 24 hours, resulting in either diarrhea, hives, and in the worst case, anaphylaxis. Remove the suspected food (you may have to take account of what your child ate that whole week) and visit a medical professional. When preparing food at home, properly wash and cook meats and vegetables with care.1, 3


Even in adults, if you feel backed up, you are less willing to eat anything. Children may not be able to put a name to a problem, but they sure will tell you what is happening. When they say their tummy hurts, check if their bowls are regular. If you see bloating, some crying, or irritability, they may be constipated. Children can be constipated if they are not eating enough fiber and drinking enough water. Since dietary fiber increases stool size and softens it for easier passing, adding high fiber foods like apples, bananas, barley, oats, and beans to a child’s diet should ease constipation.1, 2

Tummy aches and food refusals only become worrisome when they happen too often. Easiest form of treatment is through food. But when food alone is not enough, your child may need the help of growing milks to ease tummy aches. Make sure that they are formulated with the right prebiotics (2’-FL) HMO & Nucleotides and high-quality fibers to support gut health. For this, parents can look towards Similac Total Comfort stage 3. Not only does it have a unique combination of DHA, lutein and natural vitamin E that supports vision and brain development,6,7 it is rich in prebiotics to support gut health, 2’‐FL HMO & Nucleotides to enhance resistance.8,9 It also contains Vitamin A, B12, C, D, folic acid, iron, selenium and zinc which help to support the developing immune system.

Visit Similac Myanmar today to get a sample and explore more child digestive information


  1. https://www.webmd.com/children/features/digestive-doctor
  2. https://www.everydayhealth.com/constipation/guide/
  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/allergies/
  4. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/gerd-reflux.html
  5. https://abbottnutrition.com.my/products/similac-total-comfort
  6. Auestad,Halter et al.2001,
  7. Auestad,Scott et al.2003
  8. Buck R et al.2004

Schaller et al 2004