REALLY hard time getting my 1 y/o to eat solids!

Allison - posted on 05/22/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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When my daughter was about 7 months we started feeding her solid (pureed/stage appropriate) foods, she did really well with them. Since starting daycare, about the same time, she has had a few illnesses, colds + ear infections. During her illnesses she regressed to bottles of formula only. Now every time I try to feed her solids it is a battle, lots of tears, pursing lips tightly together and slapping the spoon and mommy when the food comes near. My husband hardly tries anymore and will just make her formula.
On my days off I sit for up to 45-60 minutes each meal and sneak bites in during open mouthed crying, it's kind of torture...she's upset, I'm upset, just terrible...her daycare writes on her daily report sheets that she eats complete solid meals, but I'm beginning to question it based on her behavior at home.
I have tried home made food, organic only foods, processed jar foods, having the house completely empty, silent and devoid of any distractions, I have tried playing classical, reggae, pop music in the background, I have given her her own utensils to eat/play with during meals, loooootsss of positive reinforcement with each successful bite....
I'm at wits end, husband has given up completely, I continually tell myself she won't be 10 years old and drinking from a bottle, but there has to be a constructive way to do this!? One hopefully that isn't hurtful for both of us, and soooo time consuming...suggestions???? thanks :)

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Jennifer - posted on 06/01/2010

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I wouldn't force her to eat anything. She's one now so she can probably handle something like those little puffs (we love happy baby organics and they are cheaper than gerber) or crackers. I'd put a handful on her tray while you eat dinner and if she eats them, cool. If not, that's fine.

Once she is eating some, try other soft finger foods like steamed veggies, bananas (maybe roll in some of that powdered cereal to give it grippiness until she gets the hang of it), soft cheese bits, bread, etc. Even plain chicken bits if she's ready for chicken.

But never force her to eat anything! She may not be hungry and forcing her to eat tells her that its more important to eat what you think she needs than to listen to her own body's needs. You may need to decrease the formula a tiny bit at a time before her meal, one meal at a time, until she is eating more regular meals.

Another option is to realize that she will not starve herself. She will eat when she is hungry enough and she may jsut be getting more than enough from the bottle and doesn't need solids. So decreasing formula significantly may encourage her to try more solids. Be sure to offer water with meals, though.

Always feed with love. The idea is for her to continue to listen to her own cues - she should be permitted to stop whens he doesn't want any more, just as she has with her bottle. She may just want more control. But you also don't want to create a big "thing" around eating. She will eat what she needs. Do not ever put food in her mouth that she does not want!

Keep in mind, too, that at around 1 year old, kids tend to have their appetites wane a bit as they are no longer growing as quickly at they did for the first year.

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Rebecca - posted on 06/06/2010

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My 1 year old is a fairly good eater - but sometimes he just wont eat off a spoon at all! - he likes to eat pieces of food out of my hands or eat raisins, bits of luncheon and cheese by himself - this seems to keep him happy. good luck with your girl. also maybe actually stop giving her so much milk as it might be filling her up - just offer some water and foods -she wouldnt need much milk at 1yr old ,.

Jennifer - posted on 06/06/2010

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Well, I am not sure if you have a Wegmans nearby but they sell a eggplant lasagna and vegtable lasagna - yes it is messy. My Bridget loves them especially the eggplant lasagna have fun with what you give her and make sure the food is cut up in little bites. Once you can get her to eat by herself you'll find you'll have a few minutes to get others things finished.

Kimberly - posted on 06/05/2010

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try finger foods, my son adores feeding himself he feels accomplished. We usually put the food on his high chair tray and just let him go at it. Sure it's messy but it's fun for him. So we leave him in a diaper. The spoon maybe hard for her to try out right now so I would stick to just finger foods, like canned fruits and veggies, also cut up hotdogs and sandwich meats. I hope that this helps out :)

Karen - posted on 06/05/2010

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Try reading Ellyn Satter's books. Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense and her Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family are 2 books I'm reading - excellent advice!!! My son (also a May 2009 baby) hasn't taken to solid food the way I want him to and with Ellyn's guidance I'm understanding why and making appropriate changes with regards to food in our house. I highly recommend it. I can't stress that enough actually, how much I recommend her advice. She has a website too - www.ellynsatter.com - and you can send her an email with questions too. I'd try her books first though. It'll surprise you, her advice, and what she tells you to do! But it really does work. My son is in the 8th %ile for weight and 70th %ile for height, so I'm trying to relax about feeding and eating so I don't make it worse, but it's hard b/c he dropped off his growth curve for weight. He had been on the 50-70th %ile all along until about the 9th month. Now I understand much much better what's been happening and can start to fix it. In a way that's good for my family! Don't worry, your fix to your feeding/eating problems won't be painful! It'll be good. Give Ellyn a try!

Jennifer - posted on 06/05/2010

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Just give her regular food like fruit and chicken nuggets cut up in little pieces of course and let her feed herself..you may be surprised at how happy they are tto feed themselves. I breastfed as well until Bridget turned one. We had no issue with her eating.....she does not like being spoon fed except at breakfast......she eats constantly...and make a mess.....with my oldest I had control issues about her getting messy at meals......with my second it is a relief to let ger feed herself so I can get other things accomlpished.

Christina - posted on 06/04/2010

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Hang in there. My son is 13 months old. He went through the same thing. He's getting his 1st set of molars, so we have to be careful with what to feed him. The poor guys' teeth hurt! He does enjoy finger foods. So I think he's also wanting to do things on his own. Try a grilled cheese! By the way, I didn't really agree with this at first because I was worried, but they'll eat when they're hungry. Even if it is just a handful of Cheerios. It actually worked just fine. DON'T GIVE UP! You're still the boss. Trust me, there will be worse things.

Flossi - posted on 06/04/2010

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Hi Allison, I know exactly how you feel...my son (12mths on the 28th May) is much the same. Feeding times are a miserable heartbreaking time in this house too! I have done all of the above in the attempt to get him to eat solids to no avail. I am sorry I don't have any tricks to help you out but I can sympathise. I have found that Campbell does like a combination of rice cereal and fruit; mashed banana or pureed apple but that is about as adventurous as he gets. I worry about the lack of nurtients which comes with the lack of a varied diet so I continue to breast feed him. His older brother discovered solids and self weaned at 6 and a half months because he loved his solids so much so I am at a complete loss at this response! I, like you, take strength in the thought that he won't be still this way by age 10 though we do regularly joke in our house that we can imagine him heading out on his first date with a girl and ordering his steak pureed!!!

Brenda - posted on 06/04/2010

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You're not alone. My son does the exact same thing. He is 13 months old. He used to eat baby food just fine, and he has been resistant to most solids. As for the baby food, he will only eat maybe two different kinds, and sometimes he won't even eat that. The only solids he will touch are pizza crust and toast with jam, which of course he can't live on. So, he only wants his bottle of milk, which isn't good for him either. The doctor told me that too much calcium intake can be bad and could make his bones not take in the calcium somehow. I still try to feed him every day and it seems like it's a shot in the dark if he'll eat or not. It is frustrating for us and the babies I know. He does eat his little snacks sometimes, the little puffs you can buy in the baby food aisle and yogurt melts. I've tried all of the toddler entree's and he won't eat any of them either. My boyfriend wants to take the bottle away, but I don't think it's such a good idea until he starts eating better.

Christie - posted on 06/04/2010

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Do you still feed her or are you allowing her to finger feed herself? My son will eat from his tray by himself but if I'm trying to feed him messy foods or get lunch finished quickly, I'll spoon feed him and he doesn't like that much. He wants to do it, by himself, and lets me know his displeasure by spitting or refusing to open his mouth. Now I just cut up his food (raviolli, stewed veggies like Veg-all, tiny soft pieces of banana, scrambled eggs) and let him feed himself. He does NOT like the jar food any longer, I think it is the texture....he's ready for soft, but chunkier food that he can pick up and feed to himself. He still gets a formula bottle about 3 times a day, but he is also getting some solids. Good luck!

Amelia - posted on 06/03/2010

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Have you asked the daycare what they feed her? Maybe she likes their food better.

I agree with the others, try finger foods. My daughter refuses to eat from a spoon and feeds herself. She eats bread, cheese, most fruits, cooked vegetables, even pieces of chicken, and she was eating all of these before she had any teeth. Let her play with her food and throw it around, it's all part of the experience and learning how to eat.

This site is great for finger food ideas:
http://babyledweaning.blogware.com/

Melissa - posted on 06/03/2010

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Saying that she eats in daycare tells me she might be influenced by the other kids eating. If possible to go to the daycare and observe incognito. I suspect an adult puts food in front of them and moves on to another child. My own daughter will eats more when I turn my back! Can you invite a friend over to have a child eat dinner with yours? If so, don't force any foods, see if she'll copy the other good eater. Also, try to time it where you and your husband are enjoying a simple meal AND it's feeding time for the baby. You eat, give her some finger foods. I'm betting she will eventually copy. I agree to try chunky finger foods. The smaller cut up pieces were too hard for my daughter to pick up easily. She LOVES to eat huge strawberries like their an apple. She'd rather eat my ceral while sitting in my lap (lapped up my flaxseed flake cereal!). Surprised my by eating a creamcheese and tuna sandwich (one piece of bread, cream cheese, which is more fattening than mayo, and tuna- protein. fold the bread, then cut 4 strips) It was just the right size for her hand to hold. And she won't take a sippy cup, but loves to drink from a bottle of water.

I've had to quit baby--ing her and make alterations to adult food. And recognize that a battle at dinner time is not worth it. As long as she is gaining weight appropriately, I am letting her tell me when she's had enough. Even though she eats like a bird, she's maintained her rate of growth, and ultimately that's what eating is all about. She's got the rest of her life to learn to enjoy eating.

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Hang in there! I had similar problems with my now one year old. Ate great until 9 months and then food strike after food strike. But never at daycare-she ate her food there fine. I b/f too.

My doc and other moms just said to continue presenting her with food, and she'll eat when she's hungry.Her growth and weight were fine so not too worry. I found eating with her and giving her the same food we have works best, but the biggest solution was I wasn't giving her big enough bites of food-I cut everything to pea size, but one night breaking up bread I left a few big chunks on her high chair tray and she grabbed those up, then I tried bigger chunks of peaches (like two pea size) ditto, stopped cutting blueberries, same thing, she just wanted more to grab.

She likes to start with a few puffs or cheerios, then I can move onto the other foods. She also likes to feed herself yogurt-I load the spoon put in her hand and she puts in her mouth. She has started to try to load her spoon with blueberries and other crumbles too.

It still takes 45-hour, but she's eating (unless tooh/teeth are coming) and it is way less stressful. It's a good time for me and hubby to catch up with interludes of goofy faces, peekaboo and dodging the occasional misfire on the spoon. Yogurt can really travel.

Joy - posted on 05/29/2010

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I breastfed exclusively until Maddy beat me up and took my baked potato away from me. Jar foods taste like poo. Try ignoring the issue and share your food with her if she wants it, until you feel like you HAVE to make her her own or you wont get any! Maddy turned 1 on the 5th and she eats bananas, raisin bran w/ milk, doiuble fiber english muffins, hardboiled eggs, baby spinach, peas, tomato, toasted bread, and anything else anyone happens to be eating. She still has a really small stomach, and she nurses whenever she wants. She really shouldn't be eating WHOLE meals yet so I'd question that.

You're right that she wont be 10 and using a bottle so I wouldn't worry too much. If anything Id back off just because of how much stress this is causing her.

Tracy - posted on 05/25/2010

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I had issues feeding my children after taking them off the breast. All they wanted was me. It was comforting to them. They knew what it was. What I did not see in your post is how old she is now. And if you tried eating the food with her. Some kids want to eat what their parents are eating. If she has not reached a year old yet and she is not losing weight,do not fret. How I broke mine off was using the sippy cup. It takes more than just a day to get them to take it. You may try alternating just to communicate that is what you want her to do. You are doing fine. give it time and some patience.

Kelli - posted on 05/25/2010

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I agree, have you tried finger foods? My daughter just turned a year and at about 11 months started refusing a spoon from mommy after she'd had a cold for a few days also. I started letting her hold the spoon herself and helping her dip it in the jar and she really liked that, and also started just giving her finger foods she could feed herself, and bits of my food small enough that she could mash up and eat herself also. Now that's all she eats, no more puree's for her! Maybe she is the same and just wants to be more independent and feed herself?

Line - posted on 05/25/2010

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Have you tried sharing food with her. Finger foods she can eat by herself. I never had this problem with my daughter she's a great eater, but maybee she'd like to share a plate of finger foods with you so she sees you eat it to. Just trying to help, hope it does.

Karen - posted on 05/23/2010

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I had a very hard time getting my son on solid foods too. I breastfeed my son and he preferred to be nursed rather than eat solids. I tried all kinds of jarred food, table food, nothing worked. I too got him to eat food during the open-mouth crying and I experimented with not having any distractions. I tried feeding him in different rooms of the house, sometimes I'd give him a toy to help distract him, sometimes I'd have the TV on to help encourage him.

My husband refused to feed him because it was so time consuming and discouraging, with all the crying, screaming, etc. I was nursing him all the time and I really wanted to get him to eat solids! Eventually, I learned two things. 1) I was having difficulty getting him to eat solids because I didn't want to give up nursing. I was enjoying the ease of nursing, the convenience and the bonding. 2) There were only a few foods that my son really liked in the beginning and I decided, who cares if he eats fruit for every meal? At least he is learning to eat solids! So I stocked up on what he liked and stuck to it.

I also knew that eventually, the day would come where he would want solid food more than nursing so I just decided to wait it out and stop fretting. If it meant nurse him a lot and him to be happy and healthy, so be it. Sure enough, within a few weeks, he started eating more and more solids and now he eats everything in sight!

I suggest not forcing the issue of eating solids. I saw how my son would react when I was forcing him to try to eat (pushing the food away, closed lips, turn head away, etc) and knew it wouldn't work. So I waited until he showed signs of hunger and tried feeding him then. Even if it resulted in only one or two bites, it was a start.

You may want to ask what the daycare does to get her to eat and try to do those same things.

Just remember, she will eat solids one day!

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