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baby refuses to eat solids
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reathai posted:
My son is 6.5 months old. At about 4.5 months, we introduced rice, then oatmeal cereals. he tolerated it to some degree, but never loved it. then around 5 months, we tried to introduce solid (pureed) foods. we tried sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, pears, prunes and apples (all jarred foods). i also tried mashed avocado. he flat out refused all of them. he clamps his mouth shut or turns his head. if i do manage to get a bite in, he spits it right back out.
at the advice of our pediatrician, we tried cheerios just after he was 6 months old. he likes them. tried to introduce other veggies and fruits again, but no go.
any advice on what to do? he's not underweight, but i would like to see him interested in any solid foods (aside from cheerios). also, at what age does this become a concern that needs to be looked at?
thanks!
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Sara DuMond, MD, FAAP responded:
Hi reathai,
I am so glad that you posted this question because it is an issue that I encounter with lots and lots of babies. So first off, you are not alone! I'm glad to hear that your son is growing well, and the fact that he likes Cheerios is a very positive sign that he'll eventually get the hang of other solids too. Lots of babies dislike the flavor and texture of premade, jarred, purreed foods, but once they are able to explore whole foods, many with richer flavors and textures, they are much more intrigued. It sounds like you've already tried introducing a variety of fruits and veggies to him and he's still shying away. Is he self-feeding with the Cheerios? If so, that's great! And it opens the door for other finger foods that he can explore. One of my daughter's first foods was a turkey meatball, mashed into very small pieces. From there, she explored black beans and from there, it just grew. The point is, keep trying and keep exploring. There's nothing that says that meat can't be one of her first solids (and in fact there is emerging evidence that we should be promoting it as a first food, even over cereal)! Make sure that he's hungry at mealtime, but not too hungry. Some babies do best if they have a little breastmilk or formula just before trying solids, sort of as an "appetizer" because some babies are so hungry at mealtime, that spoon-feeding or trying to aim their uncoordinated fists of food into their mouths just isn't fast enough for them. Plus, a breast or a bottle is just easier. Play around with where and in what seat you feed him. Try a booster seat at the table as opposed to a highchair or visa versa...try changing up the room and/or level of activity that is happening around him during mealtime...some babies get distracted by bustling activity in the room, so they don't "notice" that you're feeding them solids, while others get so distracted that they would rather play and watch the action than eat....play with that a little to see what works best for him. One of my favorite stories is from a few years back, when I had a 10 month old little boy who still wasn't much into solids. His mom laughed that when she had mommy-baby lunch dates out at the park and lunch time rolled around, the other moms would pop out their tupperwear containers of peas and diced green beans, and she felt like hiding under the jungle gym while she fed her son his bottle! I reassured her that he wouldn't go off to college drinking only from a bottle, but that it would take persistence on her part...he's now almost 4 and eating her out of house and home! The bottom line is, it's entirely normal for a 6.5 month old to still not be warming up to solids, there's still plenty of time for him to change his mind about solids, and your only job is to stay consistent with offering him a variety of solids at every meal...whether he eats them or not! Best of luck to you!
Dr. DuMond


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