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Help! My Baby Won’t Eat Solid Food

Introducing solid food is a major milestone in your baby’s life. Most pediatricians recommend solid food be introduced sometime between 4 and 6 months.

The most common first food is baby rice cereal, a very small amount mixed up with formula or breastmilk so it’s only slightly thicker than than the milk.

It’s exciting to be able to feed baby “real” food. But an obstacle many moms face is that their baby tries a few mouthfulls of food, or eats well for a while, but then won’t eat any more!

There’s a couple of reasons.

  • First, it’s a totally new experience, and baby may not be ready. Leave it for a week, then try again. If you are trying solid food early, around the 4-month-mark, babies are especially likely to not be ready.
  • Some babies don’t like eating from a hard spoon. Try something more familiar. Offer food on the tip of your finger instead. Or, put a blob on baby’s finger and help her suck her finger.
  • Some babies don’t like the taste or texture of rice cereal. Try it – it does taste a bit like pureed paper to me, so it’s understandable baby may not like it either. You can also try stage one pureed foods – pears or sweet potatoes are often more popular than cereal. If you like, you can mix them with breast milk or formula to thin the purees out even more, and make them taste a little more familiar.

If baby is rejecting food whatever you try, don’t insist on it. Babies need to experience food as a positive thing, being forced or pushed to eat solid food can set you up with all kinds of battles later on.

Breastmilk and formula provide all the nourishment babies need, and eating solid food as this age is more for the experience, rather than for nutrition. It’s OK to stop trying for a week, or two, or even longer, and wait for baby to be ready.

It’s also very, very common for a baby who has been chowing down solid food for a few weeks or months, and then reject it entirely. Or suddenly become incredibly fussy – like my son when he would only eat bananas or cheerios for two weeks. This can feel so frustrating, and worrying too – is baby getting enough to eat?

It’s normal, and it’s actually a sign that baby is developing well emotionally, and that she has a strong, healthy relationship with you. She feels confident enough that she can test you, and she’s confident that you will keep feeding her.

It’s common that baby will eat for someone else that they don’t know very well during these phases. During my son’s fussy stages, he’d eat for his Grandma, but he wouldn’t touch anything I gave him.
When your baby opens wide for your mother-in-law, and rejects your food, that’s when Moms have to do some deep breathing!

Remember, as with so many other things about babyhood, that it is a phase, and it will pass. Try not to take it personally. And what it really means Baby loves you more than your mother-in-law.

Your baby’s pediatrician should be your first source of information and advice for feeding your baby. Consult with your baby’s pediatrician about what foods are appropriate and at what age they should be feed to your baby. And consult your baby’s pediatrician if you are worried about what your baby is eating, or if they are rejecting all foods, or refusing breastmilk and formula.

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