Dear Is This Normal,
I have tried feeding my 7.5 month old baby several things and she turns her nose up at it all. She won’t do formula, she won’t try rice cereal, she won’t eat fruits or veggies. So far she only wants to breastfeed. What can I do?
Dear No Solids,
As a mom to two girls who both loved the boob more than anything else on this big green earth, let me just say that I can understand this on a very deep level. One of my daughters took to solids right away, but the other one … let’s just say that if she could have continued breastfeeding through preschool and kindergarten, she would have. But, I’m happy to report that she isn’t a nursing 9-year-old, so there’s hope for your little girl yet! Just because your baby is not eating food right now doesn’t mean she won’t start when you try doing things a bit differently.
It sounds like you’ve tried the usual suspects, and she’s not a fan, clearly. It’s easy to confuse your baby’s food preferences as just a general disinterest in solid foods. It’s really, REALLY common for babies to refuse solids when you first introduce them. See, they’re not born with the skills required to conquer this new stage. Chewing and swallowing, even understanding the act of eating, these are learned skills! And every baby learns them at their own pace.
While most experts recommend starting solids between the ages of 4-6 months, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to your baby’s feeding timeline. For many parents, it’s a long process with a lot of failures along the way. Since she’s refused purees and grain cereals, consider that it might not be the food itself, but the texture. Some babies prefer more variety in the textures of the foods they’re eating – so not just simple purees, but purees with some oomph! There’s a pretty wide range when it comes to textures, and if your little one is looking for something more substantial, try purees that are thicker (like mashed potatoes) or ones that contain whole bits of cooked food. Or take the guesswork out of it and go with a company like Little Spoon, who tailors menus to your baby’s age and developmental needs and has you covered with a menu that offers everything from simple purees to more adventurous ones that are the final step before table foods.
There are plenty of safe, whole foods she can also try! You want to stick to soft foods she can gum down and mash along with small pieces she can pick up with her fingers. Diced bananas, scrambled eggs, cooked fruit and veggies cut into bite-sized pieces, tofu, even boiled chicken or deboned fish. Just make sure the pieces are all soft and cut into small bites, and then let her go nuts! She’ll have control over what she tries, what she eats, what she picks up. This is key for so many babies who turn their noses up at spoon-feeding.
The final thing to remember is that refusing a food once or twice doesn’t mean your baby doesn’t like it. In fact, experts agree that you can’t really determine if your baby likes a food or not until they’ve tried it about 15 times (and that means 15 separate occasions, not in the same sitting).
Their palates are changing and developing, and you’d be surprised how one of the foods your little one quickly rejected turns out to be her favorite after the third or fourth go around. With the green light from your pediatrician, give baby-led weaning a try and see how she does! You may be able to skip right over the cereals and jars of purees if this works out. And she may find something she likes almost as much as your boobs.
Give Solids a Solid Try,
Is This Normal