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Help! My baby won't eat solid food!

Updated on June 24, 2013
WryLilt profile image

Susannah Birch is a certified birth doula, journalist, and owner of Trimester Talk, a leading pregnancy website.

Baby eating mashed pumpkin.
Baby eating mashed pumpkin.

So your baby doesn't like food...

If your baby doesn't like food, it's natural to be worried. You'll wonder if they're going to miss out on important nutrients, not gain weight, or have other problems.

The truth is though, it's completely normal. In fact many babies don't start eating solids for 6-8 months and in some cases longer.

If you're not sure if your baby is ready to start solids you need to check with your paediatrician or doctor.

Here are some tips on being certain your baby is ready to eat and encouraging them to do so.

Remember that if baby stops liking solids for a while, it could be because they're teething, which can make their gums painful. Keep trying!

Always use a different spoon when feeding baby - sharing utensils can give baby new germs including ones that can lead to tooth decay.

Some things to remember

  • For the first year, milk is the main food source for babies.
  • Food during the first year is more about experimentation for baby than nutritional benefit.
  • Some babies love food from the minute they try it.
  • Some babies hate food for quite awhile and may not really eat much till 8-9 months or longer.
  • Many babies don't like puree (in fact it's a recent introduction to the infant diet) so feeding them whole food (baby led weaning) can help.

Tips on helping baby eat solid food

  • Stop stressing - baby can tell when you are stressed and will get upset, making them less likely to eat.
  • Eat with them - make enough so you can eat some food as well, showing how it's done and how much you like it.
  • Set enough time - don't feed baby unless you have the time to spend on working with them - the hurry can leave you both stressed.
  • Play games - make faces, sounds, play hide and seek, anything to make the experience something they'll enjoy.
  • Don't push it - if baby starts getting upset, stop. If they associate high chairs and feed time with force and being uncomfortable then it'll turn into a vicious circle.
  • Don't force feed - this will lead to bad associations and make feeding even more difficult. Do you really want your baby to react the same way to a spoon as they do to a needle? If you're spoon feeding, leave the spoon in front of their mouth and let them come the rest of the way. Don't put the spoon in unless they open their mouth.
  • Keep trying - it can take a lot of tries before baby eats.
  • Smaller meals - Don't put too much food in front of baby - this can lead to them feeling overwhelmed. Start small and offer more if they want it.
  • Let baby feed themselves - yes this can get messy but if baby wants to grab the spoon, let them. Most babies like to put new items straight in their mouth and letting them do this allows them the freedom to experiment with the food in their own time.

Instead of feeding baby

The most important part of eating for the first few months is learning to chew and eat food correctly. If you really think your baby just isn't interested, you could try the following:

  • Give them a rusk or zwieback toast to chew on.
  • Let them lick and suck plain food from your finger to get used to different tastes.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Meily 

      6 years ago

      Is a very good aticle for all mom ! Ok from now on I'll try to feed the solid food to my lovely son

    • acellucci profile image

      acellucci 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      This is a must read article for any moms who tend to stress that their baby isn't eating. I know I was that way when I first tried my son on food. Now he loves almost all veggies and some fruits. Who would've ever thought that he'd prefer vegetables over fruits?

    • AustralianNappies profile image

      AustralianNappies 

      7 years ago from Australia

      I had the opposite worry. My baby would hardly drink any of her usual baby formula once I introduced pureed food. I spoke to my Doctor about this because I was concerned she wasn't receiving enough calcium in her diet due to this. He assured me that babies do not starve themselves, and hearing this eased my mind quite a bit.

    • profile image

      azam97rm 

      7 years ago

      What a good guide for mothers out there! My wife blend food for our babies in their early days. I wrote one hub about that, just to share experience with others.

    • mega1 profile image

      mega1 

      8 years ago

      I remember when my baby only liked round foods (he was over one year) like peas, grapes, meatballs, melonballs, anything round! Then suddenly he was over it - but it was kinda funny searching for round things to feed him!

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      8 years ago

      Good hub, sometimes babies will not eat as much or nothig at all, unless they have an illness that causes a loss of appetite, don't worry, they will eat when they are hungry.

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 

      8 years ago

      Hello Larasmama-gives a lot of food,reminds a lot.Thankyou.

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