Starting solids can be such an exciting time for you and your little one. With my babes, my husband and I both would get very excited when we saw that they were starting to show signs of being ready for solids. The cameras would come out and we were so pumped to have pictures and videos of their first few times trying real food. Well with our youngest little man things didn’t go quite as planned.
We tried for weeks to give him little spoonfuls of homemade baby cereal and different food purees. Each time he would either close his mouth or grab the spoon and throw it on the floor. It was somewhat funny at first but then as time went on it was getting a little frustrating. He was having no part of it! Does this sound familiar? If so I’m here to tell you it gets better!
Don’t worry Mama! This is completely normal. This developmental milestone is a big leap. Not every babe is quick to eat everything that is put in front of him. Introducing solids at this age is a fun and experimental time in your little one’s life. The transition to solids doesn’t happen overnight and to be honest is sometimes quite the process.
Health professionals and experts recommend exclusive breastmilk or iron-fortified formula for the first 6 months of life. At around 6 months of age, babies begin to require more calories and nutrients into their diet.
Your babe is ready to start solids when he shows he has good neck and head control, can sit without support, demonstrates curiosity in your meal, and begins using the swallowing reflex (does not push the spoon out of his mouth with his tongue).
Here are a few things to consider when your little one isn’t interested in food.
Get babe involved in family mealtimes
Allowing him to see you eating a variety of foods will likely spike his interest in wanting to try a range of new foods also. And how many times do we say we “ate our meal cold” or we “didn’t have time to eat”. Make sure to take care of you Mama! As your little one is enjoying his mealtime, make sure you are eating a hot meal too! It’s healthy for the both of you.
Create a healthy, distraction-free environment for mealtime
If he is easily distracted by the TV, music, toys, etc. he may have a difficult time focusing on trying new foods.
Follow your baby’s lead
If he is turning his head or pushing the spoon away, he is showing that he is full or not interested. If babe cries as the plate is taken away, he may still be hungry, and you could offer more to him.
Offer frequently but don’t over do it
Constantly putting the spoon to baby’s mouth and almost forcing him to try something is not going to be beneficial. He will likely get upset and loose interest fast. This is where oral aversions can occur.
Timing is key
Make sure babe isn’t coming to the table starving OR overly full. Find that sweet spot where he is satisfied with the breastmilk or formula but not completely “stuffed” that he won’t accept anything else. Try waiting an hour between his feeds and offering solids. We also want baby to be well rested at the table. If we plan meals too close to naptime, he will probably fuss. Not because he is not interested in trying the new foods but because he is tired.
Experiment with a variety of foods and soft textures
Some babies don’t love pureed foods. That’s okay! Try offering a tiny amount of carrots or peas smashed with a fork. You will learn what they like and dislike.
Don’t let this be a stressful, overwhelming time for you. He may sense that you are anxious, and he may feel too pressured to try something new. Have fun and enjoy learning more about your child. Let him get messy and play with his food. That’s what this is all about……allowing him to become interested on his own schedule! Remember…it’s a learning process. He may just need more time to explore the foods!
Always introduce foods one at a time and observe for any signs of redness, rash, hives, or diarrhea before introducing a new food. If you’re babe is at increased risk for food allergies and you would like to learn more about food sensitivities reach out to Your Mama Coach for some advice on allergy navigation.
If babe continues to reject solids as he gets older or if you ever feel that he may have a feeding issue trust your instinct and seek medical advice from your pediatrician or dietician.