7-Month-old Won't Eat Solids - HELP!

Updated on February 02, 2010
H.W. asks from Tallahassee, FL
27 answers

My daughter is 7-months-old and I've been TRYING to feed her solids for about 6 weeks now. I started with rice cereal...she had one bite and never opened her mouth again. We've tried oatmeal, bananas, sweet potatoes, pears and this week we're trying apple sauce...she absolutely will not open her mouth. She purses her lips and turns her head.

I asked the day care how they are feeding her (I send a little food each day) and her teacher said that she squeezes her cheeks gently to get her mouth open. Not sure how I feel about that!

What am I doing wrong?? We've talked to our pediatrician and he says to just be consistent and keep trying every day...but it's SO frustrating. And I feel like I'm wasting so much food! I'm still breastfeeding, so I'm not sure if that has something to do with it, but she drinks from a bottle with no problems. Help!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all the advice and insight! As soon as the day care told me they were force feeding her, I stopped taking food and decided to take a break from solids all together. I was upset with her teachers, I was getting frustrated and I know she doesn't NEED the food for nutrition...it's all just practice...so we took a break.

I picked up the book "Super Baby Foods" so that I try making her food for her, but I think I'm going to wait another couple of weeks before we try again. I will definitely try some of the other suggestions you mommies made! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

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C.M.

answers from Melbourne on

I've seen babies that are 8 mo. old, that are only on breast milk, they are fat and happy. If she is growing properly, and you don't feel she is going hungry, just give it a break for 2 more weeks, I didn't start my baby on solids until 7 months, and I kept her on rice cereal only for almost a month and a half. I have found that studies show, that the longer you wait on giving the babies solid food, the less likely it is that they will develop allergies. Take a 2 week break and then just start her again with 2 table spoons of rice with formula or breast milk. (mom of 3 girls..youngest 15 mo.)

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S.J.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

By the time my baby was 7 months old she was on multi grain cereal. Try adding a little cinnamon or nutmeg.

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M.L.

answers from Boca Raton on

Dear H.,
I know the frustration and you'll hear just keep trying but they are right. My son hated solids. As I was told they get there nutrition from there formula or breast Milk for the 1st year. Its all practice with the solids. My son hardly ate solids but when he switched to milk I gave him less and he started eating solids. My son is now 2 1/2 and he just started eating meat. He is not a great eater but if you look at him he looks great. Question are you making the baby food? My son would never eat the jar food only homemade(I got a picky one). It taste better. Also are you trying the solids before the bottle? If not try that because you want to catch her when she is hungry. As for forcing, not good that will only frustrate both of you. Good luck and be patient. If her weight is good I really won't worry about it just keep trying and one day she will open up and start eating.
M.

K.N.

answers from Miami on

I suggest that you mix food with the "milk" Just make the bottles hole a tad bit bigger. Maybe then she will start getting used to the taste! Or try some table foods too. My son was eating food early on, around 5 months, but we watched what we gave him-like mashed pot, smashed carrots ect.. Good Luck!
Sincerely
Kathy N

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J.H.

answers from Orlando on

H., I was reading your update on what happened, and it sounds like you're doing the absolute right thing. I had the same problem with my (now 15-month-old) daughter. I was SO frustrated because all of the other babies I knew were eating solids. I, too, was breastfeeding and my pediatrician said not to worry. I did exactly what you're going to do and took a break from it totally for a couple of weeks. After that it was miraculus! She started eating. Some days were better than others, but consistency is key. I also steamed and pureed her food myself. I kept the baby food around for emergencies or to keep in the diaper bag, but she wasn't crazy about it. I agree about not forcing it or letting anyone else. Letting her pick up bits from the tray is also a great idea. I read somewhere that letting them touch the food and play with the spoon makes it safer for them in their own little minds. Another thing I tried was putting a little cereal in a bottle with breast milk so she could get familiar with the taste. I don't know if it worked, and I know there are conflicting opinions about doing that out there, but I thought it was worth a shot. Good luck, and good for you for breastfeeding, especially since you're working!! Blessings! J.

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S.O.

answers from Miami on

I have the opposite problem my son (7 months) will eat solids but will not take a bottle, I am also breastfeeding.. I started him on solids just after 4 months, I let him play with the spoon at first which he likes to bite on because he's teething, now he loves the food unless I try and sneak in some formula, he knows and will shut his mouth tight, if i mix the cereal with water he is ok he eats all of it no problem.. He know's what's in there!!!

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C.P.

answers from Miami on

It's very silly to force her to eat solids if she isn't ready. If she's breastfeeding well and in good health, it's OK. It is typically when they start getting teeth that they should begin solids and with that it's best to do fruit and vegetables, not cereal. Until they start getting teeth they are not developing the enzymes to break down the foods and eating them can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Don't get worked up if your child isn't doing exactly what the pediatrician thinks she should be doing. When I was a baby, my pediatrician told my mom to start feeding me cereal at 3 months old, that's ridiculous! They don't know it all and they don't know your child! Trust your mommy instincts!

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B.W.

answers from Melbourne on

Your not doing anything wrong, she is just not ready to eat yet. She will. Give her time. I have a 7 month old nephew that still does not eat solids, while my son who is 3 days older is eating them just fine. It all depends on your child. As for still breastfeeding, so is my sister and I. Doesn't seem to matter.

Don't force her as this is just frustrating both of you.

Hope this helps.

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C.B.

answers from Orlando on

My baby is 6 months and I've been trying for a couple weeks with solids. She's not very interested either. I thought she was ready because she stares at us whenever we eat in front of her and she already has 2 teeth. One thing that makes her a little more interested is if I heat up the food. She seems to actually swallow more bites if it's warm. It's weird because she doesn't care what temperature her bottles are. It's worth a try though.

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A.N.

answers from Jacksonville on

I have a friend whose breast fed daughter would not really eat solids until she was about 15 months. Her daughter is beautiful and super healthy. She eats great now. It could just be your daughter's way of avoiding allergies. My friend's daughter has zero allergies. So, I say don't worry about it. She'll eat when she's ready.

Also, for the daycare. I used to teach with a teacher that didn't agree with toddlers that wouldn't eat. She would force them to eat their food, and it was very sad. I'm not sure they should be "gently squeezing" her cheeks. If she doesn't want it, she doesn't want it. It should NOT be a power struggle. My daughter was breastfed and did not eat solids well until she was about 10 months. Plus, it's probably just weird for them to take in these other foods. It's okay for her at this young age to just want breast milk. If she needs more calories, maybe you can put a little rice in her bottle.

Let your daughter guide you. She's only 7 months. I doubt she's being stubborn. She's still going with what nature is telling her. She'll eat when it's time.

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A.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

at 7 months I only fed my baby solids once a day while I was still nursing, in the evening. What I did, was not nurse for about 4 hours? Then she had dinner, which was baby food, and then her bath, and then a long nursing session (however long she wanted) before bed.

Also, i know everyone will tell you not to use the babyfood feeders, but I've used them. They are basically a bottle with a larger nipple hole so they can suck the baby food like a drink. I used that to get her used to the idea of food, and then tried the spoon.

hope that helps! good luck.

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S.T.

answers from San Diego on

Hi, My soon-to-be 7 mo. (7 mo. on the 4th) daughter is the same way. I've been trying to feed her cereal, Gerber 1st and 2nd Foods as well as homemade pureed foods, some days, she'll take 1/2 tablespoon, other days, like this morning, it's a struggle. One day she will eat applesauce, the next day, she turns away. Yes, We've been wasting a lot of food too. She's on formula and is drinking about 20-24 oz daily. Our pediatrician said all she needs is at least 20oz formula daily or average per day in a given week and 1 tablespoon of cereal daily. Again, the cereal is a struggle most of the time. I'm about to give up on the solids too. It's frustrating when they don't eat even when I lay out several different foods that she's eaten before on other days to see what she wants, but nothing....I guess from reading the other posts, it's ok to start them on solids later. I just wanted to say you are not alone and I am glad we are not either. I am more relieved myself. Thank goodness for the internet.

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T.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Clearly she isn't ready to eat solids. If she's happy and healthy with just breastmilk let her be. Pinching her cheeks together to eat? Ridiculous! I wouldn't want to eat either. I wouldn't start making food an issue this early. After all she won't end up being the only college student still drinking breast milk. Lighten up for both your sakes. There are plenty of articles out there that support the idea that solids aren't necessary at this age. Do a google search or start at babycenter.com
Relax.

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K.W.

answers from Orlando on

Honestly, listen to you pediatrician--just keep offering her solids--and if she refuses--do not force them! (I would definitely now allow the DC provider to force feed her either)
When I became a mom a really close and old friend of mine gave me a book called Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and good sense by Ellyn Satter. Honestly, pick it up from the library or book store. It's been a wonderful tool and resource for me. One of the things that really stuck out for me was her advice on the "rolls" we have with feeding our children. It is our roll as a parent to offer healthy choices to our kids to eat--it is their roll to decide what (from those choices) they will eat and how much...
she will eat when she is ready--just keep offering her choices and be patient...

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S.G.

answers from Boca Raton on

The only thing the matter with your daughter is that she lives in a culture that believes in force feeding. (Which is probably why we have so many eating disorders!) NONE of my 3 girls took solids much before a year. I waited till they showed an interest in what others were eating before even trying!
: )
S.

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P.G.

answers from Orlando on

My son was almost a year old before he was eating solids. I gently introduced them from time to time but he was not interested. He was almost exclusively breastfed for 11 months and was a big, fat, happy, healthy baby. I wouldn't worry about it as long as she is growing.

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T.F.

answers from Orlando on

Have you tried any other food other than "baby food"? My youngest of 3 would not TOUCH baby food! So I figured he wasn't ready... and then I was eating a muffin and he was staring at it... so I gave him a crumb of it and he loved it! From then on I just let him take a lick or crumb of whatever I was eating and gradually moved up to bigger crumbs and larger and larger pieces of whatever I was eating. He NEVER ate baby food!

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H.A.

answers from Miami on

my little guy was not too pleased the first time i stuck a spoon in his mouth either (gagged actually!) but, when i put some little dollops of the mush on his high chair table and let him explore it on his own, it soon ended up in his mouth (of course :) and he was okay with that. i guess it wasn't so shocking when he did it himself. same goes with the spoon...i let him squish the food around on his tray with his own spoon, inevitably that went into his mouth too! now he's one (and we're still breastfeeding too) and eats like a bear...and i still usually give him his own spoon to practice with while i use my own to actually get enough into him. don't give up, one day, they just get it!

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R.C.

answers from Orlando on

babies dont have to eat solid foods til they are like a year old. Before that all solid food is an experiment, if she doesnt want it, stop pushing it. why make it a power struggle. and tell the day care to let it go as well. wait a month or so and then try again... my daughter was closer to 10 months before she wanted solids.

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M.H.

answers from Gainesville on

Seven months is still pretty young for a baby to be eating a solid food diet anyway. At that age the only reason doctors want you to introduce solids is so baby gets used to different textures and tastes and basically "learns" how to eat. She is not missing out on any nutrition by not eating solids, as your breast milk (or formula) is providing what she needs for nourishment. At that age with mine, I only offered baby food at dinner time, and let them eat, or not eat, what they desired. I would say, continue to offer it at dinner time, but definitely do not push it. It is amazing how quickly they change, and maybe in a few weeks she will be interested.And, I would eliminate it from the day care until she is eating at home first. Like you said, I don't like the idea that they are basically force feeding her.

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J.R.

answers from Miami on

She might not be ready for solids. We delayed solids till my son was almost 9 months old because he was just not ready. He is also breastfed. But I also noticed he rather eat what we ate instead of babyfood. He was on baby food for a few weeks before he was eating what we ate.

I have also noticed with my friends who breastfed that their babies tend to hold off on solids till they are a little older then the "norm" of 6 months.

Good luck and try to stop forcing her. The downfall to this is that she will just reject all food all together.

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T.S.

answers from Panama City on

H.,
Why are you trying to force it?
Just be patient and wait a few months and try again.
She is letting you know that she is not ready for it yet.
There is no hurry. If you are nursing, she is getting everything she needs right now. The solids will only take away from her nutrition, not add to it. They are really just fillers at this point.
T.
Mom of 4

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A.I.

answers from Miami on

My little one did the same thing until she was about 8 months old. I discovered, with the help of my pediatrician that I was nursing her too often. Her appetite was completely satisfied with all the nursing so she was refusing solids. My pediatrician had me cut back on nursing and she quickly (2-3 days)became interested in eating. However, she never accepted the baby cereals, she went straight to homemade Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, yogurt and such.

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T.R.

answers from Orlando on

My son Gareth, who is 3 now, hated squishy foods. I found this out the first time I tried to feed him cereal off a spoon. Of course it took me a while to figure out why he refused the foods. It was basically a texture thing for him. He still wont eat things like mashed potatos, cool whip, ice cream, oatmeal...you get the picture. Also I am not sure if you are feeding commercial babyfood or what..but have you tasted that stuff. GAG! lol I started just pureeing the food I would make for dinner. I would make green beans with dinner and puree him some, or if I made corn I would do the same. He also like when i would make him what we called baby noodle soup. lol I would basically make chicken noodle soup with carrots, noodles, and chicken then strain out the broth and save it, puree the veggies and add some broth back to it. The texture was more substantial and less creamy. Not sure if I am making sense but I hope so. Try giving your lil one veggies from home puree them up, don't make them too creamy and see how it goes. Good luck

Oh yeah about the daycare thing. I think I would be upset as well. I just don't think forcing food down a baby's throat is a good thing!

Hope this helps

T.

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S.K.

answers from Miami on

Hi H.,

congrats on your nursing her and no, it has nothing to do with it. I had some problems with my son and chunks and a speech therapist did wonders so I would suggest not to waste any time and go see one. (We waited too long) Request it by your pediatrician. It's very important for the development of her mouth muscles. Plus, she needs the nutrition.
Good luck,
Stpehanie

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C.B.

answers from New York on

Breastfeeding has nothing to do with your daughter not liking solids. I think you did the right thing to consult your pediatrician and his approach to keep trying is right on. I would immediately tell your day care people to STOP squeezing your daughter's cheeks to get her to eat. She doesn't want it and this will only cause her to have "issues" with food later on. Stop force feeding her. She's getting all that she needs from breastmilk. Keep offering her tastes of food without forcing it on her. Does she have teeth? Are you feeding her jarred food or have you considered that she doesn't like the taste of the food? I didn't feed my children jarred food. Instead, I ground everything up myself and that is what my children ate. What I ate, they ate but only ground up. Why don't you try grinding whatever you eat and offering it to your daughter instead of wasting food. If she eats it, great! If not, then you've wasted nothing. I bought a baby food grinder from onestepahead.com. Mine was a manual mill but they have electric ones now. Be patient but don't force feed her and get your day care to stop doing what they are doing.

Also I would suggest putting her food in a bowl, give her a spoon and see what she does with it. Maybe she wants to feed herself? It's worth a try...she needs to see that eating is fun.

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