HELP - my baby refuses to eat baby food!

Jennifer - posted on 03/02/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Has anyone experienced this issue? My daughter refuses to eat baby food. I started her right around 5 months and now she knows how to lock her jaw and close her mouth so I can't feed her. Her doctor says that I shouldn't force her....what should I do? Basically, she is only having breastmilk now, which means she is nursing/eating a lot since that is all she will eat. Any advice? Tricks?

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Hannah - posted on 03/05/2010

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With Baby Led Weaning, you start finger food when you start introducing solids i.e. day one. You know your child is ready to start solids when:
They can sit up unaided.
They can bring objects (e.g. toys) to their mouth and suck/make chewing motions
They are about 6 months of age (research shows that at this age most babies digestive systems have developed to a stage where they can start to digest solids).

They don't need teeth to chew. My daughter is 7 months old with no teeth and eats whole (soft) fruit, meat, bread, steamed vegies and much more. She bites off pieces and chews the food and swallows it. Her gums are really firm - she likes to gum at my fingers so I know!!!
Baby Led Weaning teaches your baby to bite and chew before they swallow. At first a baby tastes and handles their food and learns about textures and flavours. Then they start to bite and move food around the mouth. With practice they learn to move food to the back of the mouth where they can start to swallow.
My daughter didn't swallow any food at first but then I started to see semi-digested bits of food in her poo. Now that she's digesting her food much better, her poo is thick/pasty and smells yukky!
It can be a bit scary offering chunks of food i.e. the risk of choking, but when babies are given suitable finger foods (you wouldn't give raw carrot, nuts, whole grapes for example) and let them learn how to eat by themselves, there is no greater risk of choking than when babies are spoon-fed.

Heather - posted on 03/07/2010

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If you don't have it, you might want to consider buying "What to Expect the First Year"- it's got a great section about introducing solid foods. I have found it very helpful!! It does talk about keeping attempts at solids low-key, as solids don't play a significant role in nutrition until 1 year of age. If she's not interested, just stop, wait a week, and offer it again. Eventually she'll decide she's ready. The book also talks about putting a little of a new food on the baby's high chair tray so that the baby can "explore" it's texture, etc, and using your finger to put just a taste on the inside of their lip or cheek so they know what it is. Don't stress- we all figured it out eventually, right? You don't see many 14 year olds still breastfeeding. =)

Angie - posted on 03/05/2010

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I have one of those feeders. I tried using it for teething with some ice. I haven't tried it with food, though. Maybe I'll try that before introducing whole finger foods. That doesn't make me as nervous.

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Holly - posted on 04/08/2010

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My daughter hates baby food. She is eating about 80 ounces of formula a day because she won't eat solids. If I give her cereal she even eats more.

Angie - posted on 03/08/2010

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I have that book but never really got into it, just like I never really liked What to Expect When You're Expecting. Maybe I'm weird because that's one of the most popular pregnancy books. I like the idea of putting some on my finger and putting it in his mouth, though. I'll have to try that.

Emily - posted on 03/05/2010

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They definitely don't need teeth to chew. My first child didn't get his first tooth until almost a year old, but by that time he was eating pretty much everything.

Nicole - posted on 03/05/2010

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I bought a product called a Whole Food Feeder. Essentally it kind of looks like a soother with a mesh bag attached. I put in chunks of fruit (usually banana or frozen mango) and my son loves it. It gave him a taste of the food on his terms. I gave him this before spoon feeding him pureed foods. This might help because he gets to feed himself in a way that feels more familiar.

Angie - posted on 03/05/2010

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I have the exact same problem. Sometimes Spencer is excited to eat the solids. He'll open his mouth and lean toward the spoon, but other times he'll just clamp his mouth shut and turn his head away. It's frustrating because he eats great at daycare.

As for the finger foods, that makes me a bit nervous. How do you know your baby is ready for that? Mine doesn't have any teeth! Don't they need teeth to chew?

Hannah - posted on 03/02/2010

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I started solids at 6 months with my daughter and am following Baby Led Solids/Weaning methods. I offer her steamed vegies, strips of cooked meat, pieces of soft fruit etc. in sticks/strips/hand-size portions that she can pick up and eat by herself. I give her a spoon to feed herself things like yoghurt and she is surprisingly accurate and gets a lot into her own mouth. She won't be spoon-fed by anyone, preferring to do it herself.
She LOVES food and eats a wide variety of different foods. Her poo has changed to thick pasty smelly poo indicating that she is swallowing and digesting a fair bit of solid food.
Emily is correct in saying that breastmilk should be your daughter's primary source of nutrition in the first year. Solid foods slowly slowly replace milk and there's no need to rush her to eat lots of solids.
There's more information about Baby Led Solids/Weaning here:
http://www.rapleyweaning.com/
http://babyledweaning.com/
I'm really happy that we're doing BLW and she has never choked.

Emily - posted on 03/02/2010

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I'm with your doctor.. solids are really just for learning the first year.. they should not be a huge part of the diet, and should not replace your breastmilk anyway. Just keep offering.. she will get it eventually. Also, some babies do not like to be spoonfed, but like to feed themselves finger-foods. You can start with things like bananas, avocados..etc.

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