HELP, MY BABY IS NOT INTERESTED IN SOLIDS!!
Remember some of the key rules when it comes to babies and solid foods: Solids before 1 is mainly for fun and exploration, and up until then your baby's milk or formula is the most important source of nutrition. If you keep these things in mind, it helps keep you calm when it seems like your baby is never going to put anything in his mouth!
If you are just starting out and your baby is not at all interested in solid foods, first ask yourself, Is my baby really ready for solids? See here if you are not sure: Is your baby ready for solids?
Current World Health Organization guidelines for starting solids recommends waiting until your baby is at least 6 months old** If your baby is not yet 6mos and has not taken an interest, it might be best to leave it for a little while longer and try again when he is 6mos. See here for more information on starting solids with you EBF baby: Exclusive Breastfeeding and Solids Introduction
Many babies will be ready and keen to start solids around 6mos. This is the point there they are mature enough and developmentally ready to do so, and most will be excited to start. But if at this point your LO is still not that interested, it's still ok! You have lots of time to work up to it. The time between 6-9mos is when most babies are learning the basics of eating: biting, chewing, moving food around with their tongue, and swallowing are all new sensations they have to get used to. Using their hands to pick up food and put it in their mouth takes hand-eye co-ordination and practice. During these months, it is not important how much food gets swallowed, only that they get exposed to the whole experience. Whether you are doing purees or Baby Led Weaning (BLW), take this time to have fun with your baby and expose him to different tastes and textures. Don't concern yourself will filling him up. Remember, milk is still the most important part! If your baby is totally not interested in being spoon-fed, consider BLW instead. See here for more information: Baby-Led Weaning
or pop over to the BLW support thread found on the Feeding Solid Foods forum.
From 9-12mos is generally when most babies will start eating more out of hunger. They have figured out all the basics and are now starting to realize that eating satisfies their hunger. It's also the perfect time to start finger foods if you haven't already. This is the age where a lot of babies start refusing to be spoon-fed. This is totally normal. See here for more tips: Spoon Refusal and Finger Food Tips
Some things to keep in mind during these times if your baby is still not that keen on solids:
*Always keep offering a good variety of foods with different tastes and textures. If your baby doesn't want something one week, try again another time and the outcome might be different. If he is not interested in purees, try finger foods.
*Never try to force or cajole your baby into eating. This can backfire and cause negative associations with eating.
*Remember, it is your job to provide a fun and safe eating environment; but what goes into your baby's mouth is up to him.
*Try to stay relaxed because your baby can pick up on your feelings about his eating which might create more problems.
*Eat with your baby. Babies learn all about eating by watching their parents and siblings. If you don't already eat at least one meal a day with your baby, start doing so. Even if it's not your mealtime, sit and have a snack with him. Eating is also a social habit, and most babies would prefer sitting and enjoying a meal with their family over sitting in a chair and being fed by a spoon any day.
*Let your baby experiment with food. Give them a preloaded spoon, maybe some purees to dip his finger or other foods in, or offer lots of safe finger foods. The more they explore, the more they learn. And remember that the mess is all part of the process!
Some moms might be concerned that if their baby is not eating enough solids then they are not getting proper nutrition or are missing out on adequate amounts of important things like vitamins and iron. There is no reason to start worrying yet. Up until 1 year your baby's liquid diet will still have everything he needs to grow and develop properly. Think of the period from 6-12mos as the 'practice run', the time where your baby will learn all about his new solid foods diet, before it takes centre stage at a year.
Things like teething and illness can be real appetite busters. Don't stress if your baby isn't feeling up to eating. Do you feel like eating a lot when you're not feeling well? Usually once the problem has passed they will have more of an interest in food again. Just try to ensure he's still getting all his milk.
If you are really concerned, if your baby absolutely will not eat anything, or if your baby is losing weight or not developing well, then it's time to talk to a professional. Your baby's doctor, a dietician, a nutritionist, or a naturopathic doctor are all people who can help you get to the bottom of the problem if you suspect something is up.
If you've made it to a year and are still worried about your baby's eating, please visit the Eating for Toddlers board for more advice and support: Eating For Toddlers
Just like any other aspect of parenting, if your baby's eating is stressing you out, take a deep breath and a step back. It's ok to stop for a few days and then try again when you are both in a better place. Good luck, and have fun!!