Starting Solids + Need High Calorie Help

Updated on July 24, 2010
J.A. asks from Colleyville, TX
20 answers

My Dr is not happy with my 6 month olds weight gain and wants me to really push the solid food for the next month and see if that makes a difference. She was just barely eating rice cereal when the Dr told me this and since then I have tried to get her to eat black beans, peas, avocado's, etc. with no luck. All of this is of course puree'd with either breast milk or formula mixed in. The only thing she will eat is the rice cereal with bananas. If I try to trick her with a few bites of rice cereal and then a bite of something else she shuts down and wont eat another bite. Smart little bogger! Any ideas for how to get the calories in and how to move on from rice cereal to food? She has been breastfed only since day 1 and will not take a bottle.

She is 12.7lbs and was 11.2lbs at 4 months. She is in the 2nd percentile on weight and this month dropped below her growth curve. My husband and I are both thin people but the Dr really made me worry that my child was not getting enough to eat. I breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours and am pretty much maxed out on that front.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your comments, they have been really helpful. First of all I am going to chill out because I really do not think my child is starving. The more solids I've fed her over the past few days the less she has nursed. I am going to start over and slowly introduce a new food one at a time letting her try it for at least a week or so before giving up. I am also going to start with fruits and vegies instead of weird stuff like black beans. I think my Dr gave me bad advice. If a child is older and more established with solids then you may be able to push more high calorie foods but at 6 months that does not work. I am going to research the growth curves more so I can discuss with her how or if they apply to breastfed babies. I am going to make sure she fully drains each breast to make sure she is getting the fatty hind milk...she is prone to short snack feedings which may be one of the problems.
Thank you mama's! You have been so helpful to me as a first time mom.

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answers from Denver on

The first thing you should do is take one new item at a time and introduce it for a week or two before you move to something else. I usually started with fruits then moved to veggies then meats. For some reason they get mixed up when you try to give them too much at a time, kind of a sensory overload. You can mix the rice cereal in with it if need be. Once you get through the food groups then move on to some of the heavier meals that should move her weight forward faster.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son is 7 months old. He is very large for his age, so we tried introducing baby foods around 5 months. He refused, no matter what we tried. We tried a few times a day for 2 months. Finally, we had to try something else. At 7 months, he started eating cheerios and very small pieces of diced fruit. He will eat this 3 times a day with a bottle afterward. It has helped a lot!

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answers from Amarillo on

We had that same problem. We started doing what we called "guac-y mash". It's gonna sound gross. We mashed up some banana and avacado together, added whole fat goat milk yogurt and flax oil. You could add the yogurt and flax oil to rice cereal also. Pretty much everything we started feeding her we added the flax to. I also totally changed my diet to add in a lot of good fats. I started making cookies with brewers yeast and flax, smoothies with cod liver oil and soy, etc. I'll send you the recipes if you want. It really worked. We both gained about 5 pounds :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would start working on getting her to drink from a sippy cup. They have trillions of different types. First of all, it's a handy thing in general. Secondly, then you can get some high calorie formula into her without making her dread eating. Of course you can keep breast feeding, but the high calorie formula is probably the fastest way to get her to pack on nutritionally sound weight.

All of the food suggestions have been good, but unless she eats a ton of them, it's not going to help her gain a lot of weight.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Make her a little more rice cereal and then add just a bit of maybe peach baby food.....not a lot, just a dab, or you can use any fruit baby food......and I would try puree'd fruit, not veggies.............maybe some mashed potatoes......

You'll find out what she likes, but like I said, just add a bit to start off with to her cereal and then slowly increase it till she eats it with the new taste and then try giving her the new stuff without the cereal.....

Good Luck and hang in there......

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

I had the same issue with my now 19 month old and I did not want to use formula and wanted to stick to natural foods.

Have you tried the YoBaby yogurts ? They come with fruit puree and active cultures for babies 6m+

You can also try to add few drops of brown butter in her food. It makes everything rich and creamy - Take the unsalted sticks of butter and bring it to a boil on low heat. It will froth a little bit, turn translucent and then slightly change color to dark amber. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Strain and store. You can store it for a long time in the refrigerator or outside. It will harden into a semi-solid state once it cools.

What you can also do is try some mashed potatoes with butter and cheese. Just add salt and pepper.

Peas are a good source of protein and good energy. Add some boiled, de-skinned and mashed peas to the rice cereal or mashed potatoes for some zing.



answers from Dallas on

Just curious if her diapers are really wet. Are you certain she's getting enough breast milk. I had no idea mine wasn't until I rented the super sensitive baby scale from the hospital to weigh before and after each feeding.



answers from St. Cloud on

You don't say how much she weighs....... My daughter was always on the smaller side so I tend to not worry about this as much. I think breastmilk is perfect and if that is what she wants, I say give it to her. Just make sure to breastfeed on demand! Our son was exclusively breastfed till 9 months before receiving any baby food or table food........

Perhaps you should get a second opinion from another doctor.?.?



answers from New York on

ETA- i completely disagree with those saying to offer sippy cups of formula. nothing is better than the breastmilk and if she needs to nurse more, that would be much more beneficial than formula. also, that could mess up your current supply, and you end up always drinking less from a sippy than you would from a bottle or nursing. water is what you start in a sippy but i would not offer water at all if calorie intake is the goal.

well, did she drop dramatically in her % of weight? like did she go from 50% to 20%? is she petite? did she lose weight?

i really wouldnt worry too much. honestly, if she really has a weight issue, you should try to get her to nurse more first, not fill her up with the solids. there is no worry at all that she never had a bottle, there is no need she needs one ever in her life. as for the cereal, i fed mine 3 times a day when first doing solids, then move on to the cereal in the morning then again at night, along with either a fruit or veggie(and at lunch i did just one fruit and one veggie, no cereal)

as for the eating, have you tried jarred baby food? if you are planning on making your own baby food, which is fine, i would highly suggest you get a proper baby food making book to give you ideas. as for what you have given her, you havent really given her anything fun, lol. my kids hated avocados. what about bananas, apricot, peaches, yogurt, sweet potatoes? then there are even the spanish ones like guava. once you get her to eat one thing, and see there is no reaction, you move on to something else. like give her banana like 2-3 days, then add a tiny bit of peach, then eventually try peach. then do the same with sweet potatoe. if she likes the cereal, mix all with the cereal, but i have a feeling once she accepts the texture of the new foods, she will be fine. yobaby yogurt actually has a bit of sugar in it, but if she wont take anything, i would highly suggest trying that, mine loved it.

i waited until 6 months as well, and by doing so, she will actually get to stage 2 sooner than someone who started at 4-5 months. the next stages are much more interesting as taste is paid more attention too. remember, sometimes you have to offer something like 20 times before they finally take it, and of course, they truley wont like 100% of what you give them. at 6 months, you could also give her very, very cooked macaroni elbows. see if there is any interest in self feeding

dont fret, your baby is just 6 months, she would be fine just nursing. the food at 6 months is not supposed to be her main meal, its just used to get a baby used to textures, taste, and swallowing. unless there is something else going on, just keep trying. do not, under any circumstances, lessen your nursing. that is the best thing no matter what.

my first, i did traditional baby foods and bottle fed formula. with the 2nd i did whats called baby led weaning. it def isnt for everyone. the idea is to let babies self feed finger foods. i would just offer banana pieces, carrots, peas, potatoes, macaronis, cheeses, ect. all were cooked to be very soft so there shouldnt be choking issues. it took patience, but in the end, i saw no difference between my two children as of 12 months in terms of eating. i dont think it made any impact. but in your case, it might be something else you look into if there is no change in her eating. good luck, and really, its way too soon to worry.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter is almost 10 months old and at her 9 mths checkup the doctor said that my daughter is underweight (she weighs 14 lbs 8 oz) and we need to give her more calories. Her doctor suggested that when we mix her formula to put in less water so she gets more calories. The doctor said she would get more calories from the formula not her baby food.
Hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

I've had the same issue with my 9 month old. The first thing the my pedi focused on was my diet. Are you getting as much healthily fats in your diet as you can to go into your milk. Are you eating lots if protein (especially fish), avocado, etc and still taking your prenatal vitamins. Also, is your baby draining both breasts. The milk at the end is the richest. 
Also, really question why the weight is an issue. Is your baby happy, healthly, active, and reaching developmental milestone? I think some breastfed babies are just small.



answers from Dallas on

After reading all the responses I have one that will not be popular. My son had a simlar problem at abou 6 months he dropped drasticaly, pictures from that time so a flesh and bone skeleton. I was nursing and tried every thing. Then I went back to school, and had to start pumping. It was then that I found out that I was not producing enough milk.

So then I tried all the way that the nursing consultat suggested to increase milk production. It just did not happen for me. With my son at my mom's and not enough milk she started using formula. He then started gaining weight.

It didn't make me happy that I needed to stop nursing sooner than I had planned, but he discovered that he could get more from the bottle and I continued to dry up.

Have you checked your milk production? Maybe you need to suppliment with formula.



answers from Dallas on

I really don't want to go against what your pedi is telling you, but it is becoming widely accepted that the growth charts are geared toward formula fed babies. If you are breastfeeding, it is no wonder that she is not keeping up with these charts.

No doubt, your child has also started to be "on the move" (crawling, creeping, rolling). This uses more calories. Lots of babies lose some of that "baby fat" when they become mobile. Is her head measurement keeping up? Is her length increasing? These are important too.

Don't give up the breastfeeding!! This is vital for her continued nutrition. Make sure YOU are eating well and healthy foods and keeping YOURSELF well hydrated. This will help her with her own diet.

Keep up with the solids if she is interested, but as long as she is increasing her growth, it should not be a bother. Be satisfied that she is not LOSING ground.

K. Voigtsberger
Breastfeeding Educator



answers from Dallas on

The old growth scales were made back in the 50's or 60's when most babies were being fed enough formula to make them little chubs. Grandmas wanted to see those chunky rolls of baby fat as a sign of health. I breast fed and my kids were always under the curves. They did grow up fine and are healthy young adults now. No problems with obesity, food obsessions, or body image with any of my kids.



answers from Chicago on

You have to give them the food up to 15 times. So keep on giving it to her, and she will eat it!

You might want to try apple, and then combine some of the other foods (avocado, for instance) with it. My guy wasn't eating avo, but he will eat it with yolk and apple --I throw apple in lots of things to sweeten it up.

Pear. Pear is a very good, non-offense thing. and Squash...all types. Start with mild flavours and build up.



answers from Dallas on

Is she healthy other wise? Maybe she is just going to be a small girl. I had the opposite problem with my son. He was too big and off the charts for the first couple of years. At 4 months my son weighed a little over 20 lbs. and the pedi was very concerned even though my husband and I are of average size and so is my oldest child. I think sometimes pedi worry when a child doesn't follow the growth plan, but maybe your daughter just has her own way. I would keep up the breastmilk and rice cereal and maybe try to introduce some other cereals, yougurt and bananas. I can't imagine any baby eating black beans at 6 months. Good luck!



answers from Dayton on

If she like rice cereal she might also eat oatmeal.

A very high calorie component is starch.
In some other cultures we use the starch from rice ( the water that rice is cooked in is very high in starch) and mix that in cereal or just give that to the baby directly if they will take it.



answers from Dallas on

My son had similar problems around the same age. I was nursing, and he completely dropped off the growth chart at around 6 months of age. It's a little different because when we started trying to find out why he had stopped growing - had been growing well up to this point. We found that he was allergic to milk. I stopped consuming any dairy, and we gradually and very carefully introduced table foods. He refused any puree'd food which made things more complicated. Once we started giving him very small diced food that he could feed himself and stopped the dairy, he started growing. He is still a little small for his age, but we are very thankful that he is back on the chart and has stayed there.



answers from Miami on

Why can't you just nurse more? Breastmilk has tons of calories. It's like whole milk and you already know she likes it. She doesn't really sound ready for more solids yet. Honestly, she'll get more calories from breastmilk than she will from any vegetable you give her. If you go too crazy with solids you'll get a lot of digestive problems. By all means keep offering her new foods though. Maybe sweet potatoes or squash or carrots since those are sweeter. How about oatmeal mixed with breastmilk?

Offer her breastmilk in a straw sippy cup. My daughter wouldn't take a bottle as a baby either so around 6 months, we went to a nuby straw sippy and she did great. My son picked up how to use a straw cup at 7 months from messing around with her water sippy.



answers from Dallas on

I am sorry to say, but so many doctors do not give good advice to women who breastfeed exclusively. That is all, and I do mean all she needs until about 11-12 months when you introduce your own steamed foods and puree, etc. Then avacado, brown rice, squash, etc offering one at a time to watch for 3 days for allergic reaction. Nurse as often as she wants in the daytime. They need 27 oz. during day to begin sleeping through the night and even then she may wake to nurse some for awhile longer. Call LeLeatche League or a lactation consultant. We know a good one and they can advise you better.

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