30 answers

10 Month Old Refuses to Eat Baby Food!!

I got such positive feedback on my son's sleeping issue I thought I would ask for advice on his eating baby food issue. He is 10 months old, 11 month on March 27th. He has always been a good eater when it came to babyfood, formula, whatever until about 2-3 months ago. He has 3 mealtimes a day, morning afternoon and evening and snacks inbetween. He is happy before I put him in his high chair to eat, even while I am getting his food ready he is happy, playing with the toys on his tray. I typically give him 3 things to eat, veggies, fruits, even the occasional baby dessert. Like I said, he is happy...until he sees the bowl and knows it's time to eat. Then he starts fussing. I go to give him a bite and he take his little hand, fists it up and pushes me away with his entire arm. You may laugh(I do at times because it looks so cute), but this really does make it VERY hard for me to get food into his mouth. He hits the spoon so everything comes off, gets it on his arm and just plain prevents me from getting to him. I know he is hungry when I go to feed him. But he does this EVERYTIME I put him in his highchair to eat. He pushes me away, shakes his head, he even after a few bites start to cries, and basically throws a temper tantrum when its mealtime. I don't know what to do. I have to entertain him to eat, give him toys, tickle him, etc and that only lasts for so long before he throws another fit and I can't get anymore food into him. I have tried letting him feed himself but he just throws the bowl on the floor everytime and doesn't even attempt to feed himself. I have tried even making table food for him; mashed potatos, bananas, etc. and that doesn't work either. I even went so far as to feeding him on my lap, or even sitting on the floor with him and trying to get him to eat and nothign works. I think he is full but then 10 minutes later he is grabbing his bottle and sucking it down. Or if I am eating something he is right next to me smaking his lips for whatever I have. (He loves table/big people food but has a HORRIBLE gag reflex so he can't have but tiny pieces). I don't kwow what to do anything and to be honest with you, the fact that I can't get him to eat is stressing me out more than not getting a full night of sleep. Any advice would be greatly apreciated. I know some may say he isn't ready, but at 10, almost 11 months he should be ready. Also, table food, yes I give him some but like I mentioned earlier he only 1. Eats if it I am eating it as MY meal, not if it's made for him and 2. He can only have tiny bites because of his gag reflex on bigger bites.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you EVERYONE for all the great responses and advice!! As of last Friday I started Zachary on mostly table food for meals with the occasional babyfood (the ones I know he likes!) He is adjusting. It's not 100% success yet, but he is eating more and enjoying the big boy food! =] Thanks again for everyone's advice.

Featured Answers

I would put a spoon on his tray for him to grab. Once he has one in his hand to play with and practice with, he may allow you to feed him more. I had the same issue with my daughter. She just wanted to be the one in control of the spoon. I hope this helps,

M.

When you say gag reflex, do you mean he is actually throwing the food up, or he just sounds like he is gagging?
My son gagged on everything, but he loved it and couldn't get enough. It took him almost two weeks to get the hang of chewing with his gums, and we always were right there, and the foods were safe, like cheerios or veggie puffs, that would dissolve.

Hello,
Sounds like he's ready for table food...I suggest you consider planning extra time and thought to the menu and the preparation of his portions by slicing and dicing or even trying a food processor. Kids are usually very clear about what they like to eat. It's not like he's doing it to vegetables he's rejecting everything. He might also be trying to tell you he thinks he's a big boy now and ready for more.They also have toddler food in jars that looks more like big people food. You might be able to hide the jars from him and camouflage his plate so that it looks like he's eating big people food. He probably just wants you to help him step up another notch and more inside of the family circle. Try that. Be blessed. Deborah....former daycare provider and mother of a 29 year-old daughter.

More Answers

Hello,
Sounds like he's ready for table food...I suggest you consider planning extra time and thought to the menu and the preparation of his portions by slicing and dicing or even trying a food processor. Kids are usually very clear about what they like to eat. It's not like he's doing it to vegetables he's rejecting everything. He might also be trying to tell you he thinks he's a big boy now and ready for more.They also have toddler food in jars that looks more like big people food. You might be able to hide the jars from him and camouflage his plate so that it looks like he's eating big people food. He probably just wants you to help him step up another notch and more inside of the family circle. Try that. Be blessed. Deborah....former daycare provider and mother of a 29 year-old daughter.

hi S.,
I had this same issue with my daughter who hasn't yet turned 10 months. She refused baby food, only wanted her bottles but would beg for my food when I ate. The problem I had with giving her big girl food is that she still has NO teeth. I went to my grandmothers to stay for a couple weeks and she told me "you need to feed that baby" She gave her waffles in little pieces, Spagetti O's, mashed potatoes and broccoli, and even whole crackers and cherrios. My daughter loved it and has been eating 3 full meals and two snacks a day ever since. It was so funny because my grandma never seen a baby who was hungry and absolutly refuse baby food. But my daughter knows what she likes and can manage just fine gumming everything. Good Luck with your son.
J.

Two weeks ago, my fiancé and I went out of town and left our 11 month old with my family. While we were gone Zaria ate mostly table food (most of which was Soul Food). Zaria was eating collard greens, corn bread, spaghetti, chicken...you name it. When we got back home, I noticed that Zaria was more willing to eat our food so we gave it to her. We did have to chop it up into small pieces (which is a drag) but she's eating. She stills dtinks out of her bottle, but loves her sippy cup. She didn't ever have a serious gag reflex so Zaria has been eating table good since she was 8 monthes old. I would buy canned vegetables, cut them up, and drop them on her highchair. I even cut the peas. But it helped her get used to eating big people vegetables and now we do not have to cut them. I know its a pain, but maybe you should feed him more table food nut cut it ip on tony pieces. You could try the chop function on a food processor to make of easy.

I am a 23 year old first time mom and graduate student with a very beautiful and active 11 month old little girl.

I would put a spoon on his tray for him to grab. Once he has one in his hand to play with and practice with, he may allow you to feed him more. I had the same issue with my daughter. She just wanted to be the one in control of the spoon. I hope this helps,

M.

Hi S. -

I have three boys myself and I found that once I gave them regular food they wouldn't go back to the baby food. There's alot more flavor in regular food and it may be what he wants. I would make yourself a little bit extra and try letting him eat with you. If he's having a really hard time with reflux try chopping up whatever your having in an electric chopper and let him eat that. He's at the age he should be able to start feeding himself finger foods. Keep strong - this is a phase and it too shall pass. Good luck - S.

Oh My goodness!!! It is so nice to know that I am not the only mom who stressed over this issue. I didn't know what I was going to do. So I assumed the motto "This kid won't starve." Mother's milk or formula is meant to be their source of nutrition for the first year. Food is for fun at this point. Learning likes, dislikes, how to get it into the mouth, etc. So I started making it fun, and I gave her table foods. I was alone with my DD (now 18 months) so I learned to cook food that both of us could enjoy. Things that would cook soft enough for her to gum down like beets (I would boil them on the weekend and leave them in the fridge - she hates canned beets), peas (cut the skin off), avacado, bananas, soups - homemade on the weekend so I could control the sodium amount. She now eats like a champ, so much that some days I can't keep up with her :) Stuff that she could pick up with her little fingers and let her have the control. (This is also good for fine motor skills too).

When you say gag reflex, do you mean he is actually throwing the food up, or he just sounds like he is gagging?
My son gagged on everything, but he loved it and couldn't get enough. It took him almost two weeks to get the hang of chewing with his gums, and we always were right there, and the foods were safe, like cheerios or veggie puffs, that would dissolve.

I would suggest starting to give him small soft pieces of real food. It sounds to me like he would like to control what, where and when. my 8 month old really never took to baby food and eats with us at meal time Cut up pieces of bannana, pices of sweet potato, peas ( really soft) cooked carrots, bread etc.. Basically she eats with us at dinner and has pieces of what she is able to eat with us. She still nurses 4-6 times a day. Babies get thier nutrition from nursing and baby food then real food is to get them used to chewing and moving things from the front to the back of thier mouth.

At his age, there is no need really for pureed food. Soft cook some veggies... broccolli, asparagus, carrotts whatever... and give them in small pieces. 'Stick' shape is great for kids. Kids love to feed themselve and love it when they eat the same thing as mommy! My daughter is 6 months old and eats table food. I do not give her purees, other than some cereal with fruit before bed. It's called Baby Led Weaning. You can google it for more info. If you just give him the pieces himself, he will eat when he is hungry and stop when he is full. He may gag sometimes, but as long as he isn't choking it's fairly common. He is learning to eat... he obviously doesn't want the 'baby food'.

Just be careful with high allergy foods like citrus, strawberries, cow's milk products, and nuts. Introduce slowly or wait until he is 1.

Also, ripe fruits are great. Peel them and cut into slices. If after awhile this doesn't work... you may want to talk to the dr about it and see if there is anything else going on.

S. -

I know it is stressful, especially since this is your first, but he will be just fine. What I would do is at any big department store (Wal-Mart, Meijer, K-Mart, etc.) you can get small food processors or choppers that are very inexpensive. You can put anything that you would eat into one of those and it will chop it up almost as finely as baby food, but still has the flavor of what you are eating. Then I would sit down when it was time for you to eat, put some of that on your plate as well, feed him and try to get him to eat that. I know you want him to eat from his high chair, but if this is getting him to eat then at least he is getting some nutrition other than a bottle. I am a mom of four children and my two youngest never had store bought baby food other then when they were very small. We put things into a baby food grinder and they would eat with us, banans, apples, peas. They all have a much better flavor than the ones in baby food anyway and he is plenty old enough that this will not bother him.

Hope this is helpful and don't fret too much, kids go through all kinds of strange phases and turn out just fine, but I will be thinking of you.
J.

I usually try to get my 15 month hold interested in the food before we sit down for dinner. I pick him up on the counter and give him small bites of whatever I'm making. Within a bit or two, he is interested and we can move to his high chair to have more. Anothers suggestion is to move from baby to food to regular food even though you have to cut it up in very small pieces. We hardly ever give our son baby food. I use a stick blender and proccess everything except meats and he has never had too much trouble eating.

S.,
I am seeing a lot of wonderful advice. Yet if he is screaming and seems afraid it may be it is painful for him to eat. I would check with a pediatrician before I did anything else (just in case). My daughter did the same thing and gagged all the time. Everybody told me "they do that" when they start solids. When she kept throwing her food up in the chair and giving me those teary eyes I had to go with "mommy knows best" and talk with a new doctor. This doctor did a sort of x-ray on her esaphagus(food tube). Her esaphagus was almost completely shut in a spot near the middle of her chest. You know when you get something stuck that is too big and you have to take a drink to get it down? Boy that hurts. Well, that's what it felt like for her with every bite. It also explained her sleeping problems. She had reflux from the scaring it was causing.
I know it is hard when your baby can't talk to you, but remember you know him best. Read his signals, Is it grumpy, I want to do it myself? Is it pain? Or is it I'm bored?
Just relax...Take a deep breath... Your a great mom... He loves you no matter what...You will figure it out.

by the way, my daughter is 16 now and she is the best! :}
Audi

My daughter was not a lover of baby food she would make faces not eat and push it away which would frusterate me also because her brother loved it!! Kendra was also a gagger so I would make our meals and put a small portion in the food processor grind it up add milk or water if it needed put it on my plate because she sat next to me and fed her that way. I even went to the store and bought little dishes so I could take blended food with us when we went to resturants and other peoples houses. Just remember to give a variety and include the fruits and veggies. She now is a good eater and is not picky what so ever, so maybe it is a blessing in disguise.

I have kind of the same issue, my daughter will be 9 months this month and she doesnt really like baby food,when Im eating she also does the lip smacking and crawls over to me for my food. I dont know if I should continue to buy her baby food, because im just waisting it beacuase shell only eat a couple bites,but on the other hand I dont want her to get to big to fast by eating regular food,curious to see the respones you get. Just wanted to let you know youre not alone with this crazy situation :-)

He may be out growing "baby food". I know that it can be scarry to give your baby table food but if it is prepared correctly it is safe. It might make you feel better if you take an Infant/child first aid and CPR class so if, God forbid, he were to choke you would know how to handle it! I skipped baby food altogether. It is expensive and I think that it is kind of gross.
Try over cooking veggies and other foods so they are really soft. I have a hand blender that is really handy to grind up meats and other food!
Good Luck
K.

S.,

Hi, I'm a mother of 4 and have been through this with all of my little one's! Do you eat when he eats? It sounds like your little guy is getting ready for table food and for feeding himself. I would suggest the two of you sitting down for a meal together and it would be fine if you feed him off of your plate. I think our children enjoy the shared experience of a meal together and also as they get older they want to eat what we eat, just as he will want to do everything you are doing. My 19 month old and 4 yr old still enjoy cleaning with me!! My 10 yr old loves to plan meals and cook with me and my 6 yr old just enjoys anytime alone with mom that he can get! As for having a sensitive gag reflex, that's ok, that is natures way of helping the little guy get used to chewing table food without choking. Just make sure everything is cute up really small (this will also help his fine motor skills - pincer grasp!) and also that the food is soft. As far as him not eating much, children will eat when they are hungry and when they need to. Just keep offering him a lot of healthy foods at regular times a day and he will get used to it. 3 meals with snacks in between and he will be just fine!

~K.

Hello, I am a mom of 7. By this age my kids were eating what everyone else was having. In bite appropriate sizes. My kids went through the I don't want to be fed stage. One thing that helped is give your child a spoon to try to feed himself with while you feed him also. Another thing is try a sippy cup at meals and do not let him have a bottle whenever he wants. It is ok if he is hungry for a meal or two. He will eat. It may make a mess but let him eat spaghetti or whatever you are having with his hands with a spoon available. Eat your meals at the time he does. I know it is a trying time but just be humbled by the fact that kindergardners feed themselves real food, he will get through this stage. It is a part of his independance process.

It sounds like you have an independent young boy! Try giving him more table foods but really small. My son loved peas, green beens, beets, cooked apples, etc. I made most of his food. I also gave my son a spoon every time so he could try to feed himself.

It is so overwhelming trying to figure it all out. Keep on trying small bits of table food.

Second thought - make your plates the same. Eat the same veggies, etc. See what happens. Sit at the table, have him in his highchair and eat together. Try and put the food on the tray and not in a bowl. Let him try to pinch and pick it up. He may be upset that he cannot do it himself.

Remember you are not alone. I have a 20 month old and every day at dinner it is interesting. This week he eats everything we give him - last week it was only yogurt.

Good Luck S.!

Well it sound like your son has a love thing for his bottle and he could become a "milk baby". As long as he is not loosing weight and he is growing a developing normally I would not be concerened, He is a demanding little person. I would only put water in his bottle which may discourage him from wanting it. At this age he should not be getting all his nuritients from the bottle unless it's breast milk. Trust me honey he will eat when he gets hungry enough.

Hi S., Hi my name is M., I am a of 3. Two of my children refused to eat much food before 1 year of age. I breastfed them and knew they were getting good nutrition but was constantly pushed by others to give them food. All you can do is offer small bites of healthy foods to baby on his tray at meal times. Try not to make eating a time of struggle or a war zone. Eating should be a pleasant time. Be creative with the foods you offer him. At 10 months of age he should be able to try small bites of everything, fruits, vegetables, soft meats such as chicken, hamburg chunks. Lots of kids gag easily, don't make the bites too large and only put a few pieces on the tray at a time. If he refuses to eat, wash him up andlet him get down. Give a bottle so he at least has that source of nutrition. Try to be patient, he will start to eat better when ready. My children did and all grew to be healthy.

Our doctor thought we were crazy when we were giving our oldest daughter table food before she was 12 months old, but when he had is first child he understood. Mashing up big people food is just like the baby food - and your son catches that. I would feed him what you're eating, when you're eating. Cut the pieces up really small (you should regardless of the gag reflex) so that he can gum them down easily and so he won't choke on them. Give him a little bit at a time, being especially careful of the meat. I think when we started our daughters on table food, we started with a bite or two of meat on their trays and more in reserve. That way they couldn't stuff a bunch in their mouth at one time. You'll still want to be cautious of introducing any new foods to ensure there isn't an allergy (our youngest was allergic to Red Dye of all things - and grew out of it fortunately).

First, see the pediatrician for advise. I was told no baby has ever starved themselves. I would stop trying. Never feed him away from the table, unless thats okay with you in the future. If you're eating away from the table and he has to sit at the table that could be something he notices. Set the tone with your own mealtime habits. Never show you think his fusses are cute or that you're worried about it. Stay calm. Make it clear he only eats when he's in the chair. Continue to give him a variety of foods to choose from, but if he tosses it, its gone. Its the beginning of independence and its hard! I had a very headstrong, poor eater. He's 13 now and at age 8 found his appetite and hasn't stopped eating since! Be careful not to let him run the scenario. We jump through hoops for our kids, but don't let him know how hard you're trying! Also, you may think he should be ready, but eating is one of the 3 things you can't "Make" kids do. The others are sleep and using the toilet. They really do control those things and we only guide. I really sympathize because I was so worried about my son I went to a class in children's nutrition. Turned out he was eating enough and I just didn't know how much that should be. He may just be in transition so you'll set the tone for the future by your solutions today. Try not to worry! You're doing a great job and obviously care a lot and work very hard. If he's not sleeping through the night, better ask the ped about that, too.

Hi S.,
It can't be easy being a single mom. Obviouly you have to leave your little one to go to school. Make sure you find out what he ate and drank at childcare place for one thing. It sounds like you love this little boy greatly! : )
I am a 44 year old mother of 3 teens and a 2 year old toddler. This is what came to mind as I read your problem. All I can say is don't stress out any more about feeding your child for one thing. It shouldn't be stressful for either one of you. They go through times of hardly eating anything and times of seemingly eating huge amounts especially when they are growing.
One thing is as soon as my children started eating solid foods and did well with them, out went the formula. I never gave my children sugar drinks in a bottle because it changes their appetite greatly as does formula, and is but only empty calories. One story to share.
A 16 year old girl was living by us and she had a 1 year old. She was a very inexperienced mother and had many issues and we helped take care of her little baby boy often. She would put Hawaiian punch in his bottle continually and even in a sippy cup when he was done with bottles. This greatly interferred with his appetite because it was a sugar drink. I never let him have it at my house and gave him only milk and 100% juice in a small serving during meals. My point is that sugar drinks, even 100% fruit juice, formula, snacks, greatly affect a child's appetite. So be careful on what you let him have throughout the day.
He probably isn't hungry because of the snacks/formula or just isn't hungry and he is trying to let you know. When he is hungry you will know! Little children need tiny snacks and very healthy ones. All my children have been the same in one thing...If they would eat one cookie, little crackers, etc. before the regular meal, it would really spoil their appetite and they wouldn't want to eat. I never would force them to eat if they weren't hungry. This would happen regulary in Sunday school or nursery during church when they would be given snacks. They would come home and not want Sunday dinner or maybe just 1 or 2 bites. That is ok! They are listening to their own body signals that they don't need the food. Don't try to make them ignore this signal as so many of us do and then end up being overweight as children and adults. Snacks are good but not if they are taking the place of regular meals. Kids only need so many calories a day. Don't let snacks ruin his appetite. When he is truly hungry you will have a toddler that wants you to give him food and wants you to maybe help him if he can't quite do it himself very good yet. If my children ever pushed away food I let them, I even let them not finish and try to give them the smallest little portions because they are small and their tummies are only as big as their fists. They don't need much and they will tell you when they have had enough. Becareful not to change their built in hunger and satisfied mechanism. You are still in control but let your little one tell you when he is hungry or full and go from there. It's so important if you want your child to be thin and healthy. I hope this helps you greatly. Blessings!

My daughter is 10 months old and I haven't given her baby food for the last couple of months. She does a pretty good job chewing up her food though. She eats what we eat so I don't think there is anything wrong with your son eating table food. I think it is in all kids nature to want what mom and dad are eating rather than what is on their plate. You might have to go that extra mile to cut the food up into tiny pieces for a while until he gets more teeth in and can chew it up himself. How much formula are you giving him? Do you give it to him before or after he eats? Maybe your pediatrician can give you some tips?

Good luck. I would be so frustrated if my kid kept throwing food all over the place. You sound very patient for as busy as you are.

My daughter started eating table food at 8 months. She would eat the same veggies we did because she wanted to eat off of my plate. She was my third so it wasn't as scary, but none of my kids were thrilled with baby food. My daughter is 1 and will do the same thing (push food away, turn her head)until she sees me take a few bites. Then she will try it. I hand her a spoon, plop some on her tray off of my plate and off she goes. She loves green beans, corn, pears, quartered grapes, you name it. She also really loved Gerbers pasta pick ups, especially the spinach and cheese ones.

Maybe he is asserting his independence. I also put extra food on my plate knowing that my daughter will want it once she sees me eat it. Then I just put it on her tray, otherwise she throws the bowl and the dog enjoys her dinner. My doctor gave the OK for eggs before her first birthday. She absolutely loves scrambled eggs for almost any meal.

My son did not get any teeth till he was 12 months old and he refused to eat baby food, or anything I tried to feed him on a spoon and only things he could feed himself. So, his diet was limited to sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, banana slices and cheerios - I would cut the potatoes and bananas into bite size pieces that he could pick up. He also loved french fries, but we didn't have those very often. I was nursing him at the time so I really never worried about him going hungry.

my last 2 children behaved the same way! i discovered the happy baby food mill. it basically rices whatever table food you are eating. you may have to add a little liquid. it works well with pastas,veggies,fruits,grains,beans and just about anything. a mini food processor or food chopper would work just as well. also let him feed himself or hold an extra spoon while you try to get a bite in. the mess is worth it. good luck. don't worry he will eventually eat.

First don't panic. My son was just like this.....so are lots of others.
This is a normal "control" issue.
There are 2 things your son wants.
1. Time with you doing stuff together. In this case eating together. he just wants to eat what you are eating, when you are eating. He knows that eating is a social, enjoyable activity and he loves to share it with his favorite person, YOU.
2. Food. Not baby food...your food. So his gag reflex is strong. Start out small, it will improve. he wants to control what goes in his mouth and when and at what speed, let him control it. My kids both were eating table food off the tray of their high chair. Nutritionally he only needs about a tablespoon of food, variety is great. Cheerios were a food group all on their own in our house for months. My kids loved to be able to pick them up and eat them at their own pace.

Don't stress about eating he will pick up your body language and stress too. Let him eat as little as he wants, he still has formula to make up his nutritional requirements.
Check out this website: www.annabelkarmel.com
she writes great books on feeding your baby and toddler, the food is good for YOU too.
Good luck.
Remember God promises.. "this too shall pass"

You sure don't want mealtime to become a circus! Give him the little bites of whatever you are eating. You will expect him to eat what you're eating when he is older anyway. Some babies (I have 3 adult children) want to dig their teeth into something other than mush. If he gags...he gags, but you might want to ask your doctor about that to be sure there is nothing wrong with his swallowing. Some babies' gag reflex is more powerful than others.
He is probably just making sure you know he is his own little person and he wants to eat what the grown-ups eat. As long as you give him things that are safe, things he likes and they are coming from your plate he won't starve. This too shall pass!!

I haven't been able to feed my little girl baby food since she was 9 months old (or so). She loves to feed herself and won't let me help her at all (most of the time). Try what the other ladies have said and put little pieces of whatever you're eating on his tray (skip the dishes for now, I just started about 3 weeks ago, and still not at every meal) and let him have at it. I do try to make sure whatever Amelia gets isn't too messy during the day, but if it's right before bathtime, I let her have things with sauces and let her make a grand old mess of herself and then it's straight into the tub for her!

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