16 answers

Do You Have Tricks to Teach Baby to Eat Solids?

Hi Mamas! My second son is 6 1/2 months old. I nurse exclusively and he will not take a bottle (unfortunately). When he was 5 months old, I started giving him rice cereal once a day. He hated it and didn't want anything to do with it. It has been a month and a half and we have not made any progress. I have tried adding a little apple juice, applesauce, sweet potatoes and now peaches. I have warmed it up a little and tried it cold. Nothing I do makes any difference. By now he knows what the spoon is for and turns away immediately. When I do get a little in his mouth, he shudders and keeps his mouth open until it falls out. So I have moved him from his highchair back to the bouncy seat during feedings. This helps a little only because gravity sometimes makes him swallow before he can get it out. I have tried letting him "play" with the food and the spoon. No dice.

Help! My first son (now almost 3) took a little while to figure it out (we started at 4 months) but he liked trying. I have an appointment with the pediatrician on the 29th but that seems like a really long way away. Anyone else gone through this? Any tricks to help him learn to eat baby food? I am tired of fighting this battle.


What can I do next?

Featured Answers

If he is exclusively breastfed, he is getting all the nutrition he needs. I would not force feeding on him because no good can come of it. There is no need for him to have food now and the battle is not worth fighting. If you're tired of fighting the battle, stop fighting it!

More Answers

My advice is to try other foods than cereal. Start with the veggies or you will have a really hard time getting him to eat them after you start fruits. Also, try to avoid putting juice in the cereal or whatever to sweeten it. Kids tend to be pickier if they are trained to like things sweet. My son loved rice cereal, my daughter hated it. He hated peas, she loved them (still do and they are 13 and 10!) You could also make your own baby food VERY easily. Maybe squash would appeal to him with the bright orange color. Dab some on his high chair for him to put his fingers into and taste it that way. Then, if he likes that, try using the spoon with the same stuff.

Neither of my kiddos would eat solid foods, as far as 'mooshed' foods, no matter what I did. I tried making my own mixed with breastmilk, with water, tried store bought, tried organic, tried non-organic. They never ate it. I found there was no reason to push it. They get it and want it when they are ready. Your breasmilk has all he needs, so there is no reason for it really. Many people don't even start them until a year. What I did was just wait until around 8 1/2 or 9 months when they could pick up and eat little pieces of food. They always enjoyed doing that and wanted to eat what I was eating. I also found they would eat flavorful liquid food, like cream soups, etc.... Take it slow, don't bother fighting a battle you don't need to, and everyone will be fine :).

Also, rice cereal has very, very little nutrition in it. Other things that are easy to digest, but taste much better and have much better nutritional value are avacados and bananas.

My kids wouldn't take bottles either. We went straight to the sippy cup when they were ready. Try a 'safe sippy'. They are very boob-ish and both my kids loved those the most. They are also BPA and phalate free, which is a huge plus.

Hi, my son hated the rice cereal, too. Try the single grain oatmeal. If that doesn't work, don't worry. My son isn't thrilled with it, either. I usually have to put mashed up bananas in it and applesauce. I basically add applesauce to everything he doesn't like. I don't even mix it in all the way, just put some in the bowl of whatever I am giving him. If he starts to fuss I give him a spoonful of applesauce to trick him and then he'll eat the other stuff for a few bites because he thinks it will be applesauce again!

I am tired of fighting this battle.

So why are you trying to fight?
He'll eat when he's ready. He's getting what he needs from you. The belief that babies HAVE to be on solids by 6 months is just a belief. As long as he is healthy and growing, there isn't really a need to force solids on him. If you just surrendered to what HE needs right now and understand that he isn't like your 3 yr old...how much less stressful would that be for everyone?

BTW...I really do understand the frustration about making sure out little ones are getting the nourishment they need. But it really doesn't have to be a battle. What does your inner wise mamma say when she doesn't listen to cultural beliefs and well or ill intended advice?

Best wishes...you'll figure out the right and best thing to do.

mom of 4. Married 15 years
Birth and Parenting Mentor

If he is exclusively breastfed, he is getting all the nutrition he needs. I would not force feeding on him because no good can come of it. There is no need for him to have food now and the battle is not worth fighting. If you're tired of fighting the battle, stop fighting it!

My daughter would NOT eat the cereal until well after she had begun to eat baby food. When I asked our pediatrician about this he told us that 1) not to worry and 2) that she would eat the cereal and baby food when she was ready for it, and that maybe she was getting enough milk that she did not need cereal at that point. Once your son gets hungry and milk is not filling him up anymore he will want the food.

You've gotten some good advice already. I agree with not worrying about it and just giving it time, and changing the routine completely. Some things you can do to change the routine.

1. Sit him on your lap, not in a chair.
2. Try different foods - as long as you watch for allergic reactions, any food is basically fine - pureed apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc etc (just try not to add anything). A lot of babies love carrots. Some love green beans, some love peas. Different babies love different things.
3. Use something other than a spoon - they have little "biter" things where you can put a cooked piece of potato/sweet potato/apple and he can just bite on it and it pushed the pieces through the mesh for him to eat it/taste it. Or try dipping your finger in it and putting it in his mouth so he can at least taste it (a new food).
4. I would try again to let him feed himself (but without worrying whether any of it gets into his mouth.) When my 1st son was a baby, I put him in a highchair and put the food directly on the tray. I just let him use his hands and most of the time he didn't get anything in his mouth. He just played and learned about food and textures. But eventually, he would put his hands near his mouth and some would get in there. It's ok, because he doesn't any nutrition from food right now. The goal is just to get him tasting different things and learning about how big people eat and learning to thrust his tongue.

The main thing is try not to worry about it or force anything. Continue breast feeding him (don't starve him to try to get him to eat solids of course) and I can guarantee when he's 10 years old, he'll be eating solids, not breast milk. ;)

there is no rush to push the food. HE is perfectly fine just with your breastmilk. Hang in there and just keep showing him it and one day he will eat it without any struggles:) Do not force it or it will be a battle for a long time. He knows if he is hungry or wants it and will tell you:) Hang in there, no worries!

If he's refusing rice cereal, listen to him. There may be a reason for it. He may not like the taste, or maybe it bothers him. It turned out that my son is HIGHLY allergic to rice!!! He can't even be in the house with rice, not even dry rice. Actually, he's allergic to ALL grains, rice just happens to be the worst one for him. Due to this, when it came time to start my daughter on solids, we avoided all grain cereals for her. We started her on mashed potatoes, then moved on to veggies from there, and then to the fruits. Mashed potatoes are a wonderful, easy first food. So, if your son refuses a food, don't push the issue, try it again later, but go on to something else. He knows best and there may be a problem with what you are trying to feed him. Grains are not essential to the diet, in fact more and more people are having issues with eating grains. That is why there are so many Gluten free products on the shelves of the stores now.

J. Powers / Author
The Truly Grain Free Cookbook; Beet and Cane Sugar Free Too!
ISBN #: 1-60563-263-5

Don't force the issue. My kids were 10 and 11 months old before they would really eat much solids, but once they did, they were quick to pick it up and stop nursing shortly after they started the solids. Babies get all they need from the breast until one year. The only reason they recommend cereal is for the iron, you can try giving baby oatmeal, it tastes much better (sweeter) than rice cereal and just try again later if no luck. Sometimes when you act like you don't care or don't want them to do it, takes the pressure off and they can do it when they are ready.


My son didn't really care for the rice cereal either. I would try to oat cereal. He loves that.
Is he still pushing the food out with his tongue? Maybe his reflex isn't gone yet?
Good luck!


The only thing I can say is that my now one year old hated rice cereal. Once I finally caught on to that, I got oat cereal, still a single grain, and she loved that. Gobbled everything up with it. Now it is some months later and she will eat stuff with rice cereal as well, but alway prefers the other.

Good luck!

Maybe just skip the cereal entirely. Since you're nursing just try applesauce by itself or mushed bananas.
My daughter never took a bottle either. She went right to sippy cups at a year. She never took a soother either. It wasn't a big deal though. I simply supplemented nursing with a little bit of solid food, which honestly I didn't really start until 7 or 8 months. I let my daughter more or less decide when she was ready to eat more solid food and nurse less. It was a very gradual thing. By a year she was only nursing a couple times a day though.
It's better for you if its gradual because then you won't be so engorged. It'll work out!!

Your baby will get his nutrition from your breastmilk for the first year, so don't worry too much about solids now. Experiment with different foods, making eating a good experience, not a stressful one. If he is not interested, he may not be ready for solids yet. One of my four children started solids at 6 months, and the other three didn't eat until they could feed themselves finger foods (around 10 months). They all eat now. :)

Here is a link that helps you to know if baby is ready for solids: http://www.llli.org/FAQ/solids.html

And here is some good info about getting started and good first foods: http://www.llli.org/FAQ/firstfoods.html

No worries, it will all work out! :)

What if you make the cereal with breast milk? That might make it more appealing. It would smell like what he likes. I wouldn't worry too much and just keep trying every day. Does he see you and other family members eating too? That could help. It might take a long time so don't give up!

Hi C.,

Are you just adding flavors to rice cereal? I couldn't tell from your message. If so, why not try something really good - like fruit or a nice egg yolk with a touch of sea salt. Rice cereal tastes nasty and your son is just too smart to fall for that stuff. After all, he can see that you aren't eating it! :)

If you switch foods and he's still not interested, stick with nursing. He'll be ok. My second was only marginally interested in solids at 6 months - probably started full time around 8 months. She NEVER liked jar food - we just fed her what we were eating, mashed. Soon, she refused that too and only wanted stuff she could gnaw.

She walked at nine months. So, I don't think you have to worry about him not developing if you don't feed him solids right away.

Best thing about babies? They KNOW when they're hungry. Trust his little tummy.



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