29 answers

How to Get My 7 Month Old to Eat Solids...

We started feeding our 7 month old rice cereal at 4 months. She did really good with it at first and ate it on a regular basis. Then we took her to her 6 month dr. appointment and he told us some other foods we could start feeding her. I tried applesauce and she ate it so good the first time and then the next day when I tried to give her more she wouldn't eat it. Now she won't eat any solid foods at all. She just closes her mouth and turns her head back and forth. She won't even take a bottle so I have to just nurse her all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love nursing and am going to continue it until she's 1, but I just thought that by 7 months she should be eating at least one meal a day if not two of solid foods. And since she will only nurse and eat nothing else my husband and I can't leave her to go do anything unless it's something that we can be back in 2-3 hours so I can feed my baby again. It's rough...any ideas?

What can I do next?

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My doctor told us not to push solids. But, she did give us some ideas on what to do since my baby was not really interested in solids either.
First we tried out barley cereal. He loves it because it is so much sweeter than rice.
She told us it was okay if he only at a couple of bites at a time.. he also was more interested in what we were eating. So I would crush peas or bananas on my plate and he at those a lot better. He also eats really well if he is feeding himself. So I buy those little Gerber finger foods...the sweet potato puffs and such. He loves them. He started eating baby food solids a lot better and was much more interested by the time he was about 9 or 10 months old. Now he is 11 months, and although he doesn't eat as much solids as other babies his age. I just let him eat what and when he is interested. Good luck! Oh, and my baby food schedule says that you don't cut out the milk/or formula and replace with solids. They still love to wash their food down with a drink, they just might not drink as much, but still will have a few ounces. So solids just add to the diet.

My son wouldn't take solids until he was 9 months old. He had no interest and since it was frustrating to fight him on it and then to throw away all the wasted food I gave up trying for awhile. By 9 months he was willing to eat a few things and now 2 months later he is almost entirely on solids. She will let you know when she's ready and although it may be frustrating to not be able to leave her with anyone right now keep in mind that this stage will pass and she will soon be very independent!

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Give her a week to relax again. Then try it. If you push her, she could turn into a picky eater and trust me you don't want that! Take it on her cue. As rough as it is to take orders from a 7 month old, she is in charge of her, she knows what she needs and wants.

As far as leaving her, relax and take her with you. At 7 months she not too much of a distraction. They grow up SO fast. Enjoy her while you can! 3 of my 4 kids never took a bottle. My oldest in now 11 years old. Just love them and keep them close. Because at 11, they want their space.

This sounds just like my second daughter. I found making it different really helped. The more often you try something, the more it becomes normal and comfotable to them. For my little girl I bought a safety feeder (picture a net rattle with a handle that locks closed). She absolutely loved bananas put in that and then she could mash and suck the fruit out herself. After a few weeks she was eating a wide variety of fruits and veges from the feeder or spoon. I think she just liked the independence of doing it herslf, sitting on my lap (of course!). They sell those feeders on line and at babies r us. Good Luck!

Hi M. E
I am a mom of 6 wonderful children. It is so hard with your first baby. Don't give up. First of all, don't feed your baby every 2-3 hours. That's too often. She is controlling you - I know that sounds wierd but it's true. She is getting older now and it's ok to let her wait for awhile. That just makes her hungier. Which is what you want. I used to put some breast milk in some baby rice cereal at night. That helped them sleep longer and give me more rest. I think the key is to let her get good and hungry. She might fuss but don't cave in. It's ok. The one who it will bother most is you. Let your husband watch her for awhile and you go for a walk just to get out of hearing range. Also you can put her in her bed to let her fuss for awhile. This was the hardest thing for me because I thought I was being mean if I let them cry. Crying doesn't hurt. It's not like you will let her cry for hours. But you will let her work up to being hungry. Don't force solids - it will come. I promise. The thing that is hard too is that you get exhausted! Try the rice cereal for awhile. Just with a spoon. She will probably spit it out but if she is HUNGRY she will respong. Don't stress. There will come a time when she won't breast-feed anymore and then you will be kind of sad. Your doing a good job. The more rest you can get by not nursing every 2-3 hours will help clear your head and help you. I would suggest trying to have her go 4 hours. Just make sure you can express milk so you don't get engorged. That is really importsnt. Hang in there! There really is light at the end of the tunnel!

Don't feel like she is not going to eat that food at different time just because she refused once. These foods are new in flavor and in texture to her. as well, just because she ate it the first time does not mean she will the next. Keep introducing it to her for several days, it will take time for her to get use to eating different food.

One thing you can do since you know she likes the cereal, is to give her cereal and the new food in the same meal. This will give her a familiar flavor with the new flavor.

As well, you should be sure not to introduce a second food until she has tried the first one several times. The general rule of thumb is to start with veggies first, going through several of those, then doing the fruits after that. If you do the fruits first often babies acquire a "sweet tooth" and will not try the veggies.

Sounds rough ... any chance she might be teething?

My son wouldn't take solids until he was 9 months old. He had no interest and since it was frustrating to fight him on it and then to throw away all the wasted food I gave up trying for awhile. By 9 months he was willing to eat a few things and now 2 months later he is almost entirely on solids. She will let you know when she's ready and although it may be frustrating to not be able to leave her with anyone right now keep in mind that this stage will pass and she will soon be very independent!

I had a daughter exactly like that. She would never eat baby food. She would fight it, and if I got any in her mouth she would gag. I tried just giving her what ever we were eating that was soft enough for her, like green beans from a can broken up small. She loved it. I know sometimes we feel like if it doesn't say "baby food" on the package, that they will choke or overdose on salt or sugar or something, but in my experience baby's seem to be very good at maneuvering things in their mouths, and my daughter was used to eating regular food, and wasn't as picky of an eater later on as my son who was raised on baby food. However, I wouldn't leave her unsupervised, and I definately wouldn't put any additional salt or sugar on the food. Any way, I guess my advise is to try giving her the soft stuff that you eat, in small pieces.

I feel for you. My babies hated bottles and went straight to sippy cups. I am going to join the chorus of people saying not to worry about the food. Your baby knows what she needs and right now that's mommy's breastmilk. My children also hated baby food from a jar. My suggestion to you is to have her sit with you at the dinner table when you are eating your regular meals. Perhaps have something handy on your plate that you could dish on to her plate-- like mashed yams. My kids much preferred eating what we ate.

Also, try this-- just put food in front of her and let her feed herself. If this is a control battle, then let her have the control of raising a rubber coated spoon or a gooped up finger to her own mouth. Just provide it for her. This worked great for me.

If she can hold a toy, she can hold a spoon and you certainly know she can put her fingers in her mouth. This also saves you the need to feed her yourself-- other than the breastfeeding of course.

I always mixed cereal with the other foods and my kids loved them Try veggies first though as they will get a sweet tooth and not want them later. Try sweet potatoes, my kids loved those. She will not starve herself, make sure she is hungry when you are feeding her and continue to offer the bottle.
Do not breast feed first, let her have solids first. Try other things too like scrambled eggs, make sure you offer her foods with flavor too as cereal can be very boring and some of those baby foods are bland. Offering her flavor will lessen her pickiness in toddlerhood too. Baby yogurt too is another good one to try. Hang in there. You need to get her take the bottle however so you can get a break.

Your baby will get all she needs from you through breastfeeding. Feeding her solids should be mostly to get her used to eating food, but for nutrition your breastmilk is the best! She may show more interest in solids in a couple more weeks or a couple more months. Just follow her lead and let her nurse as she needs. My husband and I do not leave our 9-month-old for more than 2-3 hrs. at a time either right now. Don't worry - the time will come when you can leave her for longer periods of time. Just enjoy her being your baby for now. They grow so fast!

Hello M., No worries. I nursed my children exclusively until around 12 mos. My babies were only interested in food as a toy, but not so much to eat. The milk your body is making for your daughter is perfectly suited to her needs. It is also protective in terms of allergies and illness. She will let you know when her body needs something else. Nurse away... ~T.

Consider taking a break from trying to make her eat it for a couple of weeks and then start again. Or begin pureeing your own food. Neither of my kids liked baby food at all. I couldn't blame them--it really doesn't taste that good. My kids preferred texture too. Mashed bananas or cooked carrots with tiny chunks they could easily swallow but also mash with their own tongue were a big hit. I heard that it takes 10 exposures to an unfamiliar food for a child to learn how to tolerate it. When my kids got older I became a little more persistent but your daughter is still young. I'd give it some time.

Sounds like your bundle of joy is just not ready for solids.

Human beings are not machines that click off all their mile stones at exactly the same time. Every one is different. I'd wait until SHE tells you she WANTS what you're eating. There really is no rush.

There is some evidence that connects food allergies with starting foods too soon. You have the very best food she could EVER need. And she knows what feels good. I'd trust that.

My midwife's son flat refused any solid food until he was 15 months old. Turns out he knew exactly what he was doing, when they did start solids he had all kinds of digestion problems that probably would have killed him - or certainly made life very complicated - had he had solids sooner when his digestion was even weaker. And no, he was not a scrawny baby, he was a nice fat milk-fed boy.

I"d wait. Trust yourself and your daughter : )

Blessings,

M.

try not to give in is my opinion on it. if she gets hungry enough she will eat. try vegies instead of fruits first they seem to not upset their tummy,s as much as fruit. the fruit has lots of acids in them.

Hi M.- You might try mixing the rice cereal with the solid foods. Sometimes the food is too strong, and the babies don't like that. The rice blands it down a little bit. Add a lot of rice at first and then taper it off as your baby gets more used to the flavored foods. My third child was like yours. I had to mix everything with rice. She is still a picky eater at 5 years, but she is coming around. Hope it helps!

I wouldn't try to force her. Does she sit in a high chair?
Try some cheerios on the tray when she doesn't act like she wants to be fed. Maybe texture might be the problem, more than flavor.

M.,
It sound to me that your 7month old is exerting her independence and may be a strong willed child. My 2 of three children are very much like this. I would let her feed herself entirely. My kids rarely let me feed them with a spoon or anything. I would always puree whatever we were eating and then put it on their booster chair. If my kids couldn't eat it themself they wouldn't eat at all. Your daugher closing her mouth is a way that she is showing you that she wants to be in charge of her little life even at such a small age. Rejoice in her independence. My 7 and 4 year old are the most independent and responsible kids. I do not do what they themself can do. They are born leaders and other children are drawn toward that strong personality. Good luck, you will be glad someday, but for now let her feed herself and don't look at her when she is doing this otherwise it will be another source of power over you.
Let me know how it goes.
K.

I'm not a doctor, but I was a certified lactation consultant a few years ago. Seems to me your little one might be telling you that she's not quite ready to move to solids yet. Perhaps she wants to feel that she can still nurse without limit. Or perhaps she's about to move through a different milestone, like sitting or crawling, and doesn't want to do too much at once. I would try going back physically and mentally to when she was nursing exclusively for a week or so, and see if that settles her. And then try eating some of the solids in front of her and see if she shows any interest. It might just be too soon! Hope that helps.

My doctor told us not to push solids. But, she did give us some ideas on what to do since my baby was not really interested in solids either.
First we tried out barley cereal. He loves it because it is so much sweeter than rice.
She told us it was okay if he only at a couple of bites at a time.. he also was more interested in what we were eating. So I would crush peas or bananas on my plate and he at those a lot better. He also eats really well if he is feeding himself. So I buy those little Gerber finger foods...the sweet potato puffs and such. He loves them. He started eating baby food solids a lot better and was much more interested by the time he was about 9 or 10 months old. Now he is 11 months, and although he doesn't eat as much solids as other babies his age. I just let him eat what and when he is interested. Good luck! Oh, and my baby food schedule says that you don't cut out the milk/or formula and replace with solids. They still love to wash their food down with a drink, they just might not drink as much, but still will have a few ounces. So solids just add to the diet.

Hi M.,

The biggest thing to know is that your daughter is not the only kid like this, and that you are not the only parent going through it. It seems like it, but as you can tell from other mothers here, including myself, you are not alone and your baby is not weird. All kids go through stages at different times. We introduced solids to our son at 7 1/2 months, due to food allergy issues, but he didn't really start to eat them until 12-14 months. He only started to eat several "meals" a day at between 15 and 16 months. (just the past couple of weeks!) He just nursed and nursed and nursed. He was getting all the nutrients he needed from my breastmilk, and he made sure he ate what he needed from me during this time. It is hard, I know, but you and daughter will get through this. Some babies just aren't ready. I actually just heard and IBCLC give a talk and she said that even at 9 months, solids were dessert. They really aren't supposed to be the main source of nutrition as early as our society says. Our doctor was very supportive of our efforts at both our 12 and 15 month appts and was not concerned about son's eating habits. Hope this helps.

H.

This happened when I fed my oldest daughter oatmeal. She ate it fine the first time, but it turns out she really hates oatmeal. She wouldn't eat any solids for a while after I fed it to her. I just laid off the solids for a week or two and then tried again. She ate them again after a bit of a break. If she still won't take them don't worry, the breast milk will give her all of the nutrition she needs for quite a while.

My son did the same thing. He doesn't take a bottle and after eating solids for a while he started spitting everything out and wouldn't eat the solids anymore. It was hard to have nursing as the only option. It took alot of patience but I just kept trying solids. He eventually started eating them again and now at 10 months devours everything I offer. Hang in there, hopefully it weill get better soon. Good luck.

Sounds like you're getting lots of good advice here! I'm another voice encouraging breastmilk for now and forget the solids. There's so much pressure in our culture to get babies to eat solids at such a young age. It's largely due to marketing from formula manufacturers and baby food companies. And yes, most doctors get their education from the reps of these companies so choose your pediatrician wisely!! Your breastmilk is THE best food for your baby at this age. As was mentioned earlier, there is a strong link between allergies and introducing foods other than breastmilk too soon. I have 3 kids, all of whom nursed exclusively for the first year. I then selectively introduced solids as they were interested but continued nursing them well past the age of 2. I had so many people telling me that they would be missing vital nutrients like iron in the first year since they only had my milk, but they were all so strong, plump and healthy. Your milk has all the nutrients your baby needs at this point in her life in the perfect amounts... and her body can absorb just what it needs from your milk very easily. Pump and freeze your milk and have a sitter offer it to her in a little cup when you're away. I know it can feel really intense to not be away longer than a few hours, but very soon this will change. Hang in there!!

M.,
Don't let your 7 month old control the eating habits. I have 2 step sons that were allowed to demand the food they wanted and refused to eat anything else. I talked to the doctor about this and she said it starts at an early age. If you only give them what they want they won't learn to eat what they need.
She said when a child gets hungry enough they will eat what you give them. For a baby or young child it takes many times of trying the same food before their taste buds recognize it as an enjoyable food. I have friends that put sugar on everything because her three sons won't eat with out it. No sugar, no food until hungry and they will eat the veggies or whatever else you have for them.

Obviously with a young baby you don't withhold for extreme periods but don't keep offering breast milk with out waiting and letting her get hungry and putting the solids as first choice for awhile. I did this when my son was born and it worked really well. He is 9 now and tries new foods, doesn't always like them but is happy to try. It started early and as soon as new foods were allowed they were given to him. He started eating broccoli and asparagus when he was 18 months, didn't like it at first but after a few weeks of trying without me making a big deal about it he enjoyed the new foods. His saying to his friends now when they won't try something new is 'if you never tried pizza you would have never known you liked it!' Good luck.
S.

Different kids do different things at different paces. Don't sweat it...she's getting the nutrition she needs from breastfeeding. Just keep trying different foods, stop offering it when she turns away and stay positive so that she doesn't associate food with negativity. You might also try feeding her in different way...off a spoon or your finger or putting food on the table in front of her. Maybe take a little break from solids and try again. Our son didn't like the typical first foods (applesauce, rice cereal, bananas), but we kept trying different things and he eventually found some he liked.

I have learned that they will eat when they are ready to eat, not by our schedule. Babies(mine included) can be very particular. My last one (now 9 mos)wouldn't eat any baby food or cereal at all. He went straight to finger foods at 7 1/2 mos. Now he is a great eater, except when I try to be tricky and slip in the old baby food. He gets wise. So, don't fret. They only need breast milk for the first year of their life, so all this eating solids is just basically for practice. If you let the baby take the lead it will all go much more easily. Good luck!

A.

That is completely normal for a child to like it one day and reject it another. Don't give up just keep introducing new things in puree form you can always mix the applesauce in with the Rice cereal. Don't give up though- she'll come around. Hope that helps..

Try not to force anything. It sounds like you've stumbled upon your first real control struggle with her. I would strongly encourage you to nurse until she's 1 (as you said you plan to) and forget about the solid food thing for now (unless your physician says she's not gaining enough weight or there's a serious health issue). She will eventually get curious and come back around. Perhaps try to have her sit at the table while you eat your meals.........don't suggest she eat, but simply let her watch you. As for being tied down with breaks no longer than 2-3 hours, she will eventually lenghthen the time between feedings and you might consider getting/renting a breast pump.........having breast milk stored in the freezer for a sitter/dad was one of the best things I learned to do when I was in your shoes. Good luck!

My son wanted to feed himself from day one. So what I would do is give him his own spoon and then I would feed him in between his attempts at bites. Not sure if this will work for your little one, but if its an independance thing it might. By a year he was self feeding amazingly well.

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