Your baby refusing solids is a problem you could come across when your infant turns 6 months old.
After half a year breastfeeding or formula feeding your little one, you may get really excited about introducing baby food into his diet. Though it's an important milestone to look forward to, you should also leave some room for disappointment. Taking this new step isn't generally easy for newborns, who need some time to adapt to flavours, textures, colours—and a whole new way of eating that they are experiencing for the first time!
If you want to find out why your baby doesn't want to eat and what to do about it, don't miss any details in the following article.
Baby refusing solids: Food, I need to get to know you
There are multiple factors that lead to a baby refusing solids. Understanding what's going on with your baby can take you several days, or even weeks. The point here is to be super patient and realize that this is a big change that can easily overwhelm him in different ways. Here are the most common causes of your munchkin rejecting food.
- He doesn't like the food: like any person of any age, your baby won't eat something he doesn't enjoy. It could be related to the kind of vegetables and fruits that you've picked, so try with different ones and see if he's more receptive.
- He's not hungry enough: of course, another reason can be that your little one simply isn't hungry. Maybe you need to spread out the meals better throughout the day. To let you know that he doesn't need food, your baby will close his mouth and turn his head.
- Too many changes at a time: as said before, a baby can get overwhelmed not only by the new food, but also because of other factors like having to use a spoon. CaptainMums can offer some extra information if your baby refuses spoon as well.
- The baby's too hungry: no, we are not joking. If your sweetheart is starving, he may just prefer what he's used to. In other words, he'll want breast/formula milk, fast and easy, to calm his appetite. Next time, try with solids before he gets this hungry.
- The baby's too distracted: babies this age tend to be curious about all the elements in their surroundings. It may be hard for them to focus on the food if there are extra things that he can pay attention to, such as the TV, toys or other people around him.
- He's just confused: up to this point, the baby's made a clear association with mealtimes that involves you and either your breast or the bottle. Having the baby food in front of him can lead him to confusion, at least for the initial 'approaches'.
Baby refusing solids: Set your strategy
Fortunately, you have many options to face your baby refusing solids. Some tricks that you can try depending on your baby's behaviour towards the food. Don't lose faith and give these tricks a chance:
- Don't give up trying: your baby may be picky in the beginning, but if you keep trying (never forcing him) over a few days with the same or new recipes, he may end up accepting the food. Again, he needs to get used to it before he can even decide whether he likes it or not. Actually, experts claim that a baby won't fully accept new food unless he tastes it between 10 or 15 times.
- Create a transition: adding some spoons full of puree to his breast or bottled-milk is going to make the process so much easier. Don't jump directly to solids.
- Don't get stressed: if you don't want your little one to get crankier, keep it together and don't lose your temper. An upset mum is the last thing that your baby needs when he's about to take this big step forward.
- Make the mealtime another game: creating a fun atmosphere, where the food and the spoon become part of a game, can definitely encourage your munchkin.
- Schedule it well: when your baby doesn't want to eat solids, it is good to set accurate meal schedules either to prevent him from getting to hungry or to give him enough time to make up his mind.
- Eat with him: since babies tend to repeat the things we do, you should try to share meals with him. Sitting next to your little one and showing him how easy and fun eating can be, may motivate him as well.
As you keep introducing new items into your baby's menu, try to do it with one at a time. Not only it will allow your baby to adapt to it more easily, but it will also let you identify which foods he's more sensitive or allergic (if that was the case) to.
Baby refusing solids: Pressure leads to failure
Dealing with a baby refusing solids, there are also things that you shouldn't do if you don’t want to make it worse. Mainly, you should avoid forcing him to eat when he's rejected something. That will cause extra and unnecessary drama that, surprise, won't solve the situation. In addition, don't stop nursing your baby with breast or formula milk while you try to introduce him to new foods; he needs to know there's a 'safety net'. Once he starts eating, the portions that you feed him should be small and the scoops of spoon, not nearly as full. Little by little, your baby will be making progress and at some point, and whenever you feel it's time, he will be ready to say goodbye to the breast. For when that time arrives, here you have some tips and tricks about how to stop breastfeeding.
In a nutshell, the point is that your baby can be overwhelmed, but you can't let him drag you into the same feeling. Being strict won't help you either... it's a matter of being creative and patient. If you can control your emotions and don't fall apart at the first rejection, you'll succeed and your baby refusing solids will be soon part of the past.