Tips to Get Baby to Eat Solids

Really, Ma? You couldn't try to aim ... just a little?

Today’s post is in response to a question I received about an older post A Solid’s Feeding Guide. Anonymous wrote:

My friend’s baby is 6 1/2 months old and won’t eat solids. She spits it right back out no matter what it is. If you even put an empty spoon in her mouth she spits “it” out. Any tips on how to get her to eat? Her Dr. said just to keep offering it and if she’s not eating by 8 mo. then she will need speech therapy.

While we did get some of the usual dislike, gagging, “messy photo-op high chair moments” when Noob Baby first started eating cereal, she eventually accepted solids without too much fuss. (Now, I’m not even going to get started on how picky she’s become as a toddler. We’ll save that for a whole other post.)

Here are some tips on how to get your little rebel to eat old people food nasty mush pureed solids:

Wait till baby is showing readiness rather than going by age.

  • Good head control
  • Losing the “extrusion reflex” (tongue thrust)
  • Sitting well w/support (to be able to sit in high chair)
  • Significant, healthy weight gain. At least 15 lbs AND at least 4 months old (preferably around 6 months to be safe).
  • Growing appetite
  • Curiosity about food

Start with cereal – preferably rice or oatmeal

Try mixing the cereal with either water, formula, or breastmilk and find the COMBINATION and CONSISTENCY your baby prefers. Some prefer runny cereal, while other babies like the thicker texture. For babies with a strong gag reflex… thin, runny purees are usually preferable.

A little goes a long way

If baby is gagging, try putting just a tiny bit on the tip of the spoon. Then only place spoon at the tip of the mouth, just slightly inside. Putting spoon too far inside the mouth will trigger the reflex.

Try different foods

Some people say you should stick with one food color at a time or start with veggies first so the noobs don’t only want the sweet stuff. But if your little one isn’t eating at all, fruit is better than nothing! Noob Baby loves her fruit and will gladly eat the fruit purees over anything else. Remember to allow enough time between trying new foods (at least 3-5 days to avoid allergic reactions).

Say Oommmmm. I mean you, parents. Just breathe.

Even though you are soooooo over it and ready to throw in the towel, make sure mealtime is still relaxing and fun for your noob. Babies can develop anxiety towards the high chair if they are forced to eat (and gag) over and over again. I have been known to sing and fingerplay to get Noob Baby to eat. Shameful. I know.

If at first, second, or third you don’t succeed… try try again.

If she still isn’t eating, try again in a week or so, or even in a month (a month is a long time in noob years). It’s amazing how one day noobs like/dislike/eat/don’t eat something and the next day…. the COMPLETE FREAKIN OPPOSITE! Meanwhile, you’re sitting there with jar in hand, spoon poised, and a big WTF look on your face.

Hoodwinked Parent: But why baby why?? You swore to me that you loved peas yesterday. I went and bought 50 gallons at Costco yesterday. We had a deeaaaallll!!! I sold my soul to the devil for these peas!!!
Noob: (Smug look)

Be clever. Be tricky. Be a Jeddi.

Try dipping some food on his pacifier if he uses one… or other similarly ingenius tricks you can come up with. Suggestions anyone?

Know when something’s amiss and use your lifeline.

Ask your pediatrician for suggestions. As my reader mentioned, some babies do require medical attention, even in the form of speech or feeding therapy. I had never heard of feeding therapy until I was researching for this post. Here is an interesting link about Feeding Therapy for babies.

Well, good luck to you Anon and friends. I’m on my way to hide chicken and veggies in NB’s applesauce.

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  1. 9

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  2. 10

    My recent endeavor has been starting my LO on solids as well. I discovered “baby-led weaning” (see the book by Gill Rapley) in my research and being one that sees many toddlers with difficulties with textures of adult food, I wanted to try this technique out. Baby-led weaning or baby-led solids is the technique where you wait until 6 months and then you start to give you LO table foods. You let him grab the food and feed himself. Of course it takes a while for your LO to understand the concept of chewing, not pushing food so far back that he gags, and eventually swallowing. You don’t deal with purees or rice cereal. My hope is that he will be more open to different textures of food since texture was his first experience. My feeling is that the toddler I work with rejected real food because they have grown so accustomed to mushy foods and perhaps the window of opportunity to introduce them to real table foods was missed. And the added benefit is improved dexterity from manipulating the foods. Essentially you give them a large holdable piece of vegetable or fruits ( and later on other foods) and let them explore it and munch on it. It has to be large enough for them to grasp. You never feed them but let them feed themselves.
    My LO is now 7 months and he has eaten steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cantaloupe, toast, chicken, rice cake, asparagus, string bean and cucumber. He doesn’t eat much in quantity at each sitting but he sure eats a variety.
    Check the book Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley if you are interested in trying something new because feeding purees isn’t working.

    • 11

      I just started BLW today! My daughter will be 6 months old tomorrow, but I got excited! She was offered broccoli and king prawn. She didn’t even look at the prawn, but she LOVED grabbing hold of that broccoli stem and munching on the tree part! I can’t wait to start giving her more options. I loved the Baby Led book. It really made so much sense!

  3. 12

    This was a very informational and helpful post concerning a common problem to most babies. Thanks for the insight and help. Michelle

  4. 13
    Aidah's mum says:

    I am just starting my 5 month old on rice cereal today and found it very challenging

    Thanks for the tips

  5. 14

    Awww she is so cute. I remember when my son first started eating solids now at nine months he is eating enything he can get his hands on lol.

  6. 15

    Don't be afraid of a mess, the baby, clothes, and you are washable! :) Mine hated the spoon at first and sometimes would fall for the paci trick. He would watch us like hawks if we ate anything so I got the bright idea for a family picnic. Put him in the bumbo and spread an older sheet on the floor. Hubby and I ate some sandwiches and a couple of bites of a fruit jar. Baby zoned in on the spoon and drooled over every bite we took! So we offered him a bite of the fruit and the whole eating thing clicked with him! He became an over night champ at eating and eats everything now from mangos to peas but still hates squash.

  7. 16
    Elizabeth says:

    Oh, yeah. I totally could have written that question when we first started solids. My girl hated them. HATED. THEM. She'd go through this brief period where we thought she'd finally seen the light, then the next day, back to gagging and spitting and crying. Until finally — she saw the light. I mean, we didn't do anything different, just kept offering the solids, but not pushing them if she really didn't want them. Then, one day, she liked sweet potatoes. Then, she liked pears. Then, butternut squash. And, from then on, it snowballed — now, she hasn't met a puree she doesn't like! (I mean, peas and brown rice, even!) Your #6 is great advice — just take a break for a couple days, and you might be totally shocked when you start up again. We certainly were:)

  8. 17
    Anonymous says:

    i've found that if i give my baby her own spoon to hold, she'll be more interested in what's going on and open her mouth to feed herself, while i swoop in and stick a spoonful of food in!! it's worked fairly consistently, tho of course, nothing always works!!;)

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