8 Month old...eating Is a Struggle

Updated on October 11, 2010
J.G. asks from Cincinnati, OH
7 answers


My daughter is 8 months old, and she used to be a huge eater. Over the past few months, her eating has slowed down, and now it's an absolute struggle. I'm in school, and she's in daycare during the day, and I know she's not getting enough to eat while she's there. It's SO difficult, though. I run late every single day, just trying to make sure she gets at least some food in her tummy before I drop her off at daycare. It takes 1-2 hours, and no matter how early I get up, I'm always running late because of it. Of course, it is an inconvenience, but I'm more worried about her. When I'm eating, she acts like she wants what I have (which, of course, she can't have). She's almost to the point of refusing her bottles entirely. She used to love oatmeal, rice, and fruit/veggies but now it's even difficult to get her to eat that. She acts like the formula is absolutely disgusting (which it is), and now she's getting to be the same about her rice and fruit/veg.

Is this normal? Any advbice?? At daycare they told me she's impossible to feed too, so I'm gathering that it's not so typical...

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So What Happened?

Thanks, ladies! You know, I feel so silly because I had no idea it was ok to give her what I'm eating. Now I feel bad. I was under the assumption that she had to eat baby food. I always go strictly by what my doc says because I'm so scared of doing something wrong, but I've been hearing this a lot lately. I'm going to try it, thanks! My only concern is that she has no teeth yet, and im afraid she will choke. Is that also silly?

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Why can't she have a bite, all smushed up, of what you are eating? Eggs, for example are easy to eat, especially if scrambled. Toast is great to chew on. Make it crisp dry toast and it's like what you pay extra for in the baby section for melba toast.

I suggest that if you can relax and not worry about what she's eating she will go back to eating. Matter of factly put food in front of her and then don't pay attention to whether or not she eats. She will eat when she's hungry!

Which formula are you using? Perhaps you could try a different formula. But I also suggest that if you think her formula is disgusting you're unwittingly giving her the message that it is disgusting. My cousin tells about his mother and his grandmother giving him cod liver oil when he was a young child. His mother just put the spoon in his mouth and had no difficulty getting him to swallow it. His grandmother screwed up her face, knowing how awful it tasted, and he would refuse it. lol Big message there.

Please stop worrying about how much she's eating. She will eat when she's hungry as long as you're offering her food. And, definitely stop spending 2 hours on breakfast. Set a reasonable amount of time, say 30 minutes, and then clear the table and go on with your day. Have you considered that by not eating she is getting 2 hours of your time. How wonderful! Mom's time is precious and she get even more if she doesn't eat. I'm not saying she's aware of that but it is what happens.

If you think the cereal, fruit and veggies are disgusting, you can puree or mash up the fruits and veggies that you are eating and feed them to her. Same with cereal. Pour formula over regular, unsweetened dry cereal and let it sit until it's soft and mushy. Or make cream cereals found in the cereal section for adults.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Why can't she have what you're eating? We've been brainwashed to think that our children can only have certain things (ie - store bought food) at precise ages (ie - what the store bought food containers say). Before stores started providing babyfood in jars, what do you think people 50+ years ago fed their children? They fed them whatever they were eating.

Yes, a hungry child will eat and one whose not that hungry won't and it's not a big deal. A few days, a week or so of that -isn't a big deal; however, I started babysitting a little girl this spring who was going through the same thing except she would only drink her bottles of formula. She hated all of the store-bought baby food, rice cereal, etc. and her parent's didn't know what to do. This had gone on for so long that she stopped growing and the doctors were starting to get concerned.

I asked them if they cared if I tried what I was doing for my son and they agreed. Whatever I was eating - he got. Pretty much starting at 4 months old. (Within reason of course - no honey, no nuts, etc.) Everything was mushed up with breastmilk, formula or water added to it to get it to the proper consistency for his age.

They were SHOCKED to see how well she started eating. She would eat anything you put in front of her and shot up through the next size clothes and is still thriving now.

All of the canned baby food and cereals that you buy in the stores are a joke. They charge an arm and a leg and they taste disgusting - I don't blame most kids for not wanting to eat them!

It's really not hard to make your own baby food either. You're at the point now where you shouldn't even have to dilute everything much - if at all. Things that are crazy easy: bananas (unpeel and mash.); avocados (unpeel and mash - my son's first food at 4 months old and still his favorite!); sweet potatoes (pierce w/ fork, nuke in microwave, peel and mash.); oatmeal (the little girl and my son LOVE this recipe: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup water - cook for 30 seconds. Mash up 1/2 a banana, add a couple of spoonfuls of applesauce, sprinkle with cinnamon and mix it all together. Sometimes I'll add raisins, too.) Whatever I was making for dinner, I would throw a couple of cups in the blender and puree to the right consistency. (My son had vegetable soup with steak at like 6 months old. He loved it!) Feed some to the babies for dinner, pour the rest in ice cube trays and freeze. When you are ready to use them, pop our a couple per serving and nuke for 10 seconds at time until they are melted. SO EASY - and WAY cheaper than anything you'll get at the store!

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Could she be teething? My little ones were always like that when a new teeth came in that was especially uncomfortable. I have also heard that major changes in babies lives may upset that. Did she just recently start daycare with the beginning of
I wish I had some great advice to give you but if you are really worried I would call her doctor.
Maybe you could try to eat in front of her foods you will eat that she is allowed to eat....no sugar added applesauce....bland potatoes...I know it may not be appealing but that might work.
Good luck!!

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answers from Cleveland on

Well I agree with the previous posters that you should just skip the store bought purees and start giving her what you're eating. Where I will disagree is for the need to puree it. All you need to do is feed her things that she is able to squish with her gums and tounge. Cut things up into tiny pieces and let her have fun. You can try potato (regular and sweet), squash, cooked peas, avocado, a slice of toast she can gum on, little pieces of ground meat, etc., etc. If you want more idea try googling "Child led weaning". The basics of it is if they can feed it to themselves they are ready for it! My son has been eating finger food since we started him on solids at 6 months. He now has a very advanced pincher grasp and fine motor skills because eating his food was great exercise and motivation! He is a GREAT eating and will literally eat anything I put in front of him.

Now, all the being said I do worry about your daughters refusal of her bottles. Before 1 year of age a child's main source of nutrition should be coming from breast milk or formula. Even though my son LOVES his solids he still nurses on demand (and he still demands it many times during the day!). You need to work on getting her to take her bottles even if that means stopping all solids for now. She doesn't NEED the solids but she NEEDS the bottle. There just isn't enough calories, fat, etc. in solid foods to keep up with the demand a child's body has for proper development.

This may seem a little weird but if you daughter is refusing the formula would you consider switching to donor breast milk? There are a ton of resources out there for it and she just may like the taste better.

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answers from Dayton on

Skip the store-bought purees and stop making a big deal out of how much she eats. No baby eats the "perfect" prescribed amount that their parents think they should. What they do eat is as much as they're actually hungry for and no more. That's the right amount, and it's not an amount you can decide for her.

When my son was that age, we made some of our own purees, and were starting to give him bites of squishy food that he could handle. Try some of those puffs, and if she can handle those, any easily dissolved crunchy foods will work (Kix or Cheerios are good, pretzels are too dense, though). Try some overcooked pasta or finely shred some grilled chicken. Cook her some peas, and don't even bother mashing them. She might really like picking up the individual peas and feeding herself.

My only concern out of what you've said is that she might be refusing bottles all together - which could be a concern for dehydration. Try a sippy cup with water, formula, or pumped breastmilk and see if she'll drink from a sippy cup better. She's really not ready to completely give up all formula until she's getting at least 3 full meals a day of solid. Even then, she should probably still be drinking 16-24oz of formula. She can have some water with her meals if she's thirsty (or formula if she'd rather), but outside of meals she should probably still be drinking formula. She might just be reaching a point where she wants to do more herself. Let her do as much as she can and just wipe up the mess afterward. It's a learning process and she'll get good at it eventually.

*edited to answer your follow-up question* No, it's not silly to be concerned that she could choke. But there are many things you can do to help make it less likely that she will. And don't freak out if she coughs and gags a little with a new food. As long as she's coughing, she's working it out on her own and learning how to eat the food. It might take a few tries before she works out how to swallow chunks and bits normally. Just remember to start out with small pieces of easily mashed food. Some soft and squishy peas or cut up cooked carrots are great. If you give her meat, shred it (think pulled pork or shredded chicken sandwich texture, not chicken cubes). Cheerios and puffs and Kix all work pretty well for whole-grain foods she can feed herself that will be an easy starting point for learning to self-feed table food. I've also heard it said that "if it's small enough to fit up the nose, it's small enough that they can't lodge it in the windpipe and choke." I think that's a pretty good rule of thumb. Finger foods that seem safe but can be choking hazards are raisins, popcorn, hotdogs, and grapes. Anything small and slightly squishy with a solid skin that you have to puncture to eat can be a danger. Remember to cut up anything with a skin like that and keep any kernels out of the popcorn if your daughter will be eating it. It also might ease your mind to take an infant first aid/CPR course. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

I second stop making a big deal out if it. Kids will eat when they are hungry and right now this is something she knows will get your attention. She may be trying to tell you she wants more adult food instead of baby food. Send whatever you are having through the food processor or blender, and she may be happy. Stop spending 2 hours getting her to eat - just set her down with breakfast for a reasonable amount of time and let it go. She will eat if she's hungry - I promise. I'd say more but Marda P pretty much said it best! Also, yogurt is a great first food

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

My pediatrician told me years age that hungry children will eat. Your daughter may be going through a growth slow down and not as hungry as she once was. Tirning meals into a struggle will only make matters worse for both of you. I would suggest talking to the doctor about what table food she can have and start there. Also the formula issue can also be discussed with the doc. She may be ready to switch or try a sippy cup. Have faith. This to will pass.

1 mom found this helpful
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