24 answers

My 6 Months Old Baby Refuses Solid Food

Hello Mamas,

I am having so much trouble feeding solid food to my 6 months old baby. I was told that breastfeeding was the best. It may be so for the baby but I wasn't especting the downsides of it. My first daughter was entirely bottle fed and by the age of 6 months she was eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and fruit juice.
My new baby refuses the bottle. All she wants is mommy's breast. Even with my milk in a bottle: no way. She would rather starve.
Last month I started her on rice cereal, then fruits and vegetables jars (N#1). Somedays she was ravenous, others she wouldn't touch anything. Now for the past several days she hasn't opened the mouth once. Since yesterday I managed to give her very little fruit juice in a cup, but other than that, only breastmilk will do.
What amazes me is that when I pump to get some milk to make the cereal, I only manage to extract 3 ounces at the most! How can a baby like her (she isn't exactly the skinny type) can thrive on so little milk?
Can anybody help and give me some advice? I don't want to call the pediatrician, she is hopeless. We are on medicaid so the choice is very limited, we have to deal with a pediatrician who deals with infants as if they were bags of potatoes...
Thanks in advance!

F.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

She can get more milk out than you can. Right now when you feed a breastfed baby "food" it is really just for practice. The breastmilk is so much better for her than any jar of green beans ever will be, so don't sweat it. Feed her what she will eat and let her breastfeed what she wants. I breastfed both of mine and my first was exactly the same way, but my second was not. He would just eat what ever he was fed.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, pumping is not a good indicator of supply. Gaining weight (even a little) and wet diapers indicate supply.

I agree, you are doing a great job, mama. Don't worry about solids right now, she doesn't need them. My first son was breastfed, loved solids and took the bottle with out a problem. My daughter refuse the bottle and solids. I think it has to do with personality, more than anything.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

First of all - rest your mommyheart at ease....the amount of milk a baby will get from suckling is vastly different than the amount of milk your body will letdown when pumping. Hormones produced in your brain help the letdown process even more so no fear there.

Also - six months is the MINIMUM age for introducing solids. That means a baby should AT LEAST six months old at the very youngest before giving them solids. But many children still get all their nutrients they need from breastmilk beyond that six month mark. It's not a madical date where they suddenly need to have solids.

If she's not ready she's not ready. Continue nursing her. Try again in another month.

My oldest son was ready for solid food at 6 months 3 weeks - my second born not until well past 7 1/2 months. It varies child to child.

Is she soiling diapers every day? Wets 2 or 3 times a day minimum? A nice poopy one every other day at the least?

Does she have active, alert times throughout the day where she is happy, awake and playful?

Is she growing? Either heavier or taller? (not necessarily both at the same time!)

If yes than DO NOT WORRY. :-)

You are making enough milk for her or she would be one very pissy baby.

A. <><

ETA - don't worry about her refusing the bottle either. Both my children went straight from breast to sippy cups. They hated artificial nipples. So try the soft, rubber spouted sippy cups (Valves are bad!!) but don't push it.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi F.,

You're doing a great job nursing your baby and please don't think that the down side is that she won't eat solids! I have a 21 month old that I'm still nursing and she got very interested in eating solids at around 6 months. But all babies are different, so I encourage you to listen to the wisdom and needs of your baby and not be fearful about her eating solids when she doesn't want to. I've grown to realize that babies are SO smart about their needs, whether emotional or physical. (she may have a need that you or a doctor can't possibly know about that will work itself out if she gets what she wants - breast feeding) Even a small amount of breastmilk is more nurtritious than most baby food, so just let her nurse, if possible, until she get hungry for more. Since she isn't underweight, she clearly is doing fine. Also, breastmilk gets more nutritious and high-calorie as a baby grows, to meet their new needs. Our bodies, with God's guidance, are amazing that way!

Also, you might try "living" foods rather than the pasturized (heated) baby food in jars. My baby mostly eats a "live" food diet and at that age loved bananas and avocados, mashed very finely. Also, I have a small grater with a very fine grate that I used for mangos, which are very nutritious and tend to have a smoother texture than pears or apples that are grated. I just wonder whether, in her baby wisdom, she might recognize the difference between processed and living foods, which most of us have long forgotten. If she still isn't interested, I'd just let her nurse as long as she wants to. (I know that is easier said than done since you do have other things to do at times and need her to take a bottle with breastmilk at least) I'm still nursing my baby at night and morning and some people think that's weird, but I've done the research and it's the most healthy thing you can do for your baby as well as yourself.

Don't feel bad about not taking her to a doctor either. Unless she's sick, you will do better listening to your own wisdom and your baby than a doctor who doesn't know her or know much about real nutrition. My daughter has only been to the doctor for her first 2 well-baby visits and I just stopped going after that. Breastfeeding and eating a live food diet have kept her healthy - she's never had more than a runny nose so far. Keep up the good work and hang in there!

Hope this is helpful!

L.

1 mom found this helpful

I still breastfeed my one year old son, so the best advise I can give you is don't worry about it. I know this is a hard pill to swallow for a new mom, but you mentioned that your child is happy, healthy, and is taking solid foods. Sometime babies just go through phases so it is best to just be patient and let it pass. Keep offering the solids however, so when your baby is ready for the again, they are not foreign to her. About the pumping, I find it helpful to nurse from one brest twice in a row, and then pump the other when it is very full. You also may want to try to relax and put a warm towel on your breast to encourage letdown. Also, it is easier to pump in the morning when your supply is the greatest, aviod pumping in the evenings. I hope this helps, God Bless.

1 mom found this helpful

Some babies don't eat solids until 8 months or later! It's totally individual. Your baby is not nursing the same amount that you are able to pump. She is much more efficient and if that's what she prefers at this point then it's the best thing for her. Keep trying to give her cereal and a few other stage one fruits and veggies. She may be teething or getting sick and just feels better nursing. It won't last!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi F.!
Well, I'm not sure about her refusing solids, but I think I can help you with the breast milk concern. The baby can get out more than the pump. I have a 7 1/2 month old, and I can only pump out about 3 ounces as well, but I talked to the local LLL consultant, and she told me that your baby can always get out more milk than the pump because they stimulate your hormones. Hope that helped!

1 mom found this helpful

Congrats for doing such a great job breastfeeding!
First, how much milk you pump is NEVER an indication of how much you're actually producing. Some women just respond better to pumps than others. Babies are much, much more efficient than even hospital-grade pumps so I can assure you that she's getting several more ounces out when she nurses.
Second, delaying solids isn't a problem; some babies just aren't ready at 6 months. They really don't need to eat solids for nutritional benefits until they are 1 year old. The only reason we start them earlier is to teach them how to eat, chew, etc. Why don't you hold off on the solids for a few weeks and then see how she does? Mother's milk is all she needs the first year so don't stress about it.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 10 months and was the same way. She refused anything other than mommy. Now though she eats everything although she still nurses for naps and bedtime. It is normal for them to go through phases of only wanting one particular thing, formula, breast milk or even a specific food. Give the solids a break for a few days and then try again. Sometimes it is less stressful for everyone to just go with their flow.
As for the amount you get when you pump, some women just can't pump a lot but they have a large supply. I am like that. I know I have a large supply but just couldnt' pump. Your body will not starve your baby. Just make sure to monitor how many wet diapers she has and you will have an idea of how much she is getting from nursing. I think about 10-11 is right on target. Also if you want her to drink other things and she refuses a bottle you might try a sippy cup with a straw. That is the only way my daughter drinks anything other than nursing. It may take a few tries for her to get it but it seems a little easier to learn than figuring how to tip a sippy cup. Good luck and if you are still worried, don't hesitate to talk to your pediatrician, that is what you pay them for.

1 mom found this helpful

My sister who is a nurse is my inspiration....she's so laid back and I've taken so many cues from her on mommy'ing. She would say if the baby is healthy and is gaining weight, give it time. Eventually she'll go to eating solids. I don't personally think that formula vs. breastfed has anything to do with it. I have three girls and all of them have responded very differently to solids and their timing has all been different. Just b/c 6 mos is the avg age that babies begin solids, it doesn't mean if they're not taking them that they're abnormal. Just make sure she's gaining weight and feeling/acting normal...as long as that's happening, I'd wait it out a few weeks and see what happens as you keep putting the solids, etc in front of her. Some babies, I've heard, don't like baby food and instead wait until they're ready for pastas and bananas and such to begin taking anything besides breastmilk or formula.

C.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is breastfed and he is really jazzed about eating solids one day and not very interested the next. I would not be worried at all if I were you. If she is gaining weight and happy she will eventually want to eat like mommy does. Also it is completely normal for breastfed to not want bottles. They enjoy breastfeeding for more than just milk. They relax and are comforted. It is an amazing thing you are doing by breastfeeding. Breastfed babies have better brain development, are smarter and healthier. They are also kinder (I work in a nursery at the church). I notice the breastfed babies and toddlers tend to be very kind and loving. Also pumping does not always get muck milk because it doesn't let down as easily. What worked for me was pumping one side while feeding on the other. The baby feeding tends to help let down. Also no pump will ever truely mimic that strong sucker your baby has and they are just not as good at getting milk out of you as she is. As far as solid foods I have been told breastfed babies don't really need them until 8-10 months anyway. So unless it is really bugging you I would not push it on her. My son really loved avacado and that helped him start solids. I would put a slice of avacado and a little water in the food processor and feed him that. He really started wanting to eat solids one day and I think he wanted to chew (b/c teething) and wanted to copy us. Good luck and great job mommy!

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, pumping is not a good indicator of supply. Gaining weight (even a little) and wet diapers indicate supply.

I agree, you are doing a great job, mama. Don't worry about solids right now, she doesn't need them. My first son was breastfed, loved solids and took the bottle with out a problem. My daughter refuse the bottle and solids. I think it has to do with personality, more than anything.

1 mom found this helpful

More than likely, this is her way of helping to increase your milk production now that she is eating more per sitting. My little girl went through a "growth spurt" at about 6 months (I'm also breastfeeding) and yours probably is too. Just go with it and try not to stress out about it. Give her a week or so and she'll probably go back to the solids with no problem. Solids are just a bonus for them right now to "teach" them how to eat, but most importantly, they need either breastmilk or formula for the nutrients. Make sure she's getting enough of that and don't worry about the rest. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I'd totally relax! You are doing great. I have 4 kids and not one ever took a bottle. They also were slow to start any solids (and we never even did cereal). My first started eating sweet potato (mashed with breast milk) at 9 1/2 months, my second started with mashed bananas at seven months, my third bananas at 8 months and my stubborn fourth started on very finely diced red bell pepper (odd I know) at (finally) 11 months! I would just keep offering them food every few days until they finally accepted. My last was the strangest because he did not care for a mushy texture but then gobbled up red bell peppers.
Just take your time--babies do not starve themselves. My ped said a baby can be on soley breastmilk for the first two years of life and I am sure she will hae wide variety by then :)

1 mom found this helpful

She can get more milk out than you can. Right now when you feed a breastfed baby "food" it is really just for practice. The breastmilk is so much better for her than any jar of green beans ever will be, so don't sweat it. Feed her what she will eat and let her breastfeed what she wants. I breastfed both of mine and my first was exactly the same way, but my second was not. He would just eat what ever he was fed.

1 mom found this helpful

My baby (now 3 yo)was just like that. I have started her on cereal when she was 6 month old and for good 2 month it wasn't really a meal for her, she was just getting used to the idea that food could come not only from my breast. She was spitting it out making a huge mess, that was it. If your baby looks healthy and happy, she is getting enough food. You can give her water plus to breastmilk to make sure she is hydrated. Definetely don't give up on solids, keep trying and soon you'll be surpriesed to see her eating :)
E.

1 mom found this helpful

I think only one other person mentioned this, but having nursed for quite some time, I would wonder about your little one going through a growth spurt.

My daughter did this periodically in the first few weeks, around 5 or 6 months, and again close to a year - she would refuse anything she might normally enjoy, refuse all bottle feeding, and seem to nurse non-stop for about a day or two (longer if she didn't get as much time as she seemed to want). My pediatrician told me it was just her way of increasing the milk supply as she was growing.

After a week at most, she would go right back to eating everything else in sight. She wanted solids around 6 months - which we did somewhat (against the advice of our pediatrician). But really that waxed and waned until she was around a year old. As long as your little one is still happy and healthy, no worries about the solid foods.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi F.,

Both of my children were breastfed and my first was a great eater, enjoyed the transition to solid food and is still a great eater. My second was not ready for solids at 6 months, it took a lot longer, he was very picky and is still not as good an eater as his sister. They are just different. I wouldn't worry, just keep putting stuff in front of him...you may try giving your child him stuff he/she can feed him/her self and go from there. It helped in our house.

Also, both my children who are regularly in the 95th percentile for height managed to survive just fine on smaller quantities of breastmilk as time went on. My pediatrician always assured me they would not starve themselves and they didn't. When they are hungry, they will eat.
Good luck!
A.

1 mom found this helpful

You're doing awesome! Just think of all the money you've saved on dr. visits and formula!

Breastfed babies might (or might not) wait a little longer to start solids. Keep offering, but if she's not interested, no problem! Your breastmilk has everything she needs.

Breastmilk changes as your baby ages, she gets exactly the nutrients she needs. And a recent study has shown that 2 month olds take in about the same number of ounces as a 6 month old! The amount doesn't go up like it does for formula. It's used perfectly efficiently. She will decide she's ready soon enough, enjoy not having to clean up food all over her face and clothes! :-)

Some babies prefer finger foods, like cut up very ripe bananas, avocado, sweet potatoes. Have you gone to a La Leche League meeting? They can be very helpful for breastfeeding moms at any stage and are free! Good job mama!

1 mom found this helpful

We are going through the same thing right now with my 6 1/2 month old son. We have a great ped, and she said some babies just aren't into being spoon fed. She suggested that we try for a couple of days every week or so, and don't push him if he doesn't seem interested. She thinks he will eat when he can feed himself and told us to start him on finger foods at 7 1/2 months if we still can't get him to eat anything else. He is EBF and won't take a bottle as well. He is a little on the small side, and they still aren't worried. Our first DD has always been a picky eater, and the ped always says the worst thing you can do is get frustrated and push them to eat which can lead to problems down the line. You decide when and what to offer, and they decide if they want to eat it.

1 mom found this helpful

Its all trial and error esp. with b/f babies, they can drink only mommys milk for a year w/o ANYTHING else so rest assured she is getting enough. Babies suck must harder than you realize I have an 11 month old and he is 27 pounds and eats VERY VERY little other than milk. He got sick for a good 3 and a half weeks when he was almost 9 months old and refused anything else but nursing so my pedi said it was okay he'll eat when hes ready and he is now 11 months old. Just keep trying and she'll eat soon. Hang in there!!

1 mom found this helpful

I can't say much that hasn't already been said. You've been given some great advice!

I breastfed all 4 of my kids for around a year and all of them exclusively for a minimum of 6 months. Hubby and I both are asthmatic and I was strongly encouraged to hold off solids until at least then.

One thing I always did with the cereal was I only mixed warm water with it rather than breastmilk. I figured it would be easier if they learned to like the food that way, and since it wasn't their main nutrition. That made it all a little easier if I was trying to feed them away from home.

Also, a peditrician told me once that you should present different foods to a child up to 12 times before ruling it out. That's a lot of times, I know! My oldest is now 10 and she is still the pickiest eater of all 4 - she likes things now that she didn't when smaller AND she won't touch things now that she used to love!

It just doesn't really get any easier - just go with your gut and know that at the end of the day they will eat what they need.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

to answer your milk question, when you pump your breast releases less milk than when your baby sucks on the breast. the pump does not stimulate the glands as well as the baby does and the hormoanes you release are different as well when you pump so you let down less to the pump.

good luck with the rest...AJ

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter was almost the exact same at that age. I feel your pain! My only advice would be to hang in there, be persistent by continuing to offer the baby food...and bottle. It was the weirdest thing with my daughter, it was like a switch was flipped and she started eating the baby food fine....and taking a bottle! GOOD LUCK!

Also, congrats on making the choice to breastfeed! Hang in there with that too if you can. It's so worth it (my daughter nursed until 14 months)and most likely NOT the cause of all the "trouble" you're having. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Let your baby take the lead. If she only wants breastmilk than that is probably best. My now teenager only had breastmilk for the first 14 months of his life. He would not eat until then but was healthy and thriving. At 14 months he ate solids like a 6 month old, just a few bites at a time. Do not worry, your baby truly knows best. I was once yelled at by a pediatrician because my son wasn't on solids, and my son wasn't even sick. He didn't ever get sick until he stopped nursing so please don't worry about it. I made sure my next pediatrician didn't have a problem with delaying of solid foods.Breastmilk is INCREDIBLE so if that's all she wants I am sure that is all she NEEDS.

1 mom found this helpful

Relax. You sound like you're very worried. Infants pick up on emotions and then it becomes a vicious circle. There will be days when your baby is ravenous and others when she is not. It's ok. I would advise you to continue to offer the foods you've been offering. When she's hungry, she'll eat. Also, continue to breast feed her as she needs. Mother's milk is very nutritious so what she gets from you is probably enough.

Also, remember that each child is different. I had three boys and they were all different. Two of them were like your baby. They refused to take a bottle. It was either my milk or starve. When I weened them off the breast, they went directly to using a straw to drink fluids. All the beautiful bottles would not entice them to take a bottle. I too worried that my milk was not enough. It was. They're quite grown and very healthy guys.

One more bit of info. Genetics play a part in how our children act. If you or your husband were a picky baby when it came to eating foods, you'll know why your baby may not eat every time you feed her. I too agree that if your baby is gaining weight adequately for her age, she's fine.

It sounds like you're a great mom.

I.

1 mom found this helpful

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