What To Do If Your Baby Is Refusing Solid Food

What To Do If Your Baby Is Refusing Solid Food We’ve talked already about what to do if you suspect that you’re feeding your baby too much solid food. But what if you have the opposite problem? What if no amount of coaxing or pleading or “here comes the airplane!” maneuvering can get your baby to eat a bite of food?

What should you do if your baby flat-out refuses to eat solid food?

Baby Refusing Solids? Don’t Panic!

First, don’t worry — just because your baby hates solids right now definitely doesn’t mean he’ll hate them forever! Some babies simply resist all the “newness” that comes with starting solids — new tastes, new textures, etc. After all, up to this point, your baby has known ONE taste, and ONE texture — the taste and texture of breastmilk or formula.

Second, remember that when you first introduce solid foods to your baby, she’s mainly just “practicing” with food. Breastmilk or formula is still her primary source of nutrition, so if she’s totally rejecting the pureed peas you painstakingly prepared, it’s okay. 🙂 She needs breastmilk or formula more than she needs vegetables, at this point!

4 Things to Try If Your Baby Is Refusing Solids

Still, you want your baby to learn to love solids; eventually, that’ll be all he eats! If you find that your baby is resisting solids in a big way, try putting one of these four tips into practice:

  1. Try different foods. Does she hate rice cereal? Try applesauce! Does he despise peas? Try avocado! When you try a variety of foods, you’re more likely to find something he’ll like. Consider offering him pureed or chopped table food, too (if allergies aren’t a concern) — some moms find that baby will eat if he’s having what everyone else is having.
  2. Encourage her to do it herself. If your baby’s old enough (8 or 9 months), encourage her to feed herself. It could be that your baby hates mashed bananas on a spoon but adores tiny piece of banana that she feeds herself. Sometimes, being in control is all it takes for a baby who’s refusing solids to suddenly start eating with gusto.
  3. Get creative! Try having someone else feed him. Try feeding him at different times during the day. Try feeding him in different settings — he may refuse to eat in the highchair but will eat just fine while sitting on dad’s lap! It could be that a small change like this prompts him to get interested in eating.
  4. Give up (for a few weeks, that is!) If all else fails, don’t be afraid to give up for a few weeks. It’s possible your baby is teething and it’s affecting their appetite for solids. This isn’t a battle to be won, after all, and if your baby senses your frustration (or desperation!) she may be even less inclined to eat. Instead, take a break and try again later. You might be surprised at the difference a few weeks makes!

If you try the strategies above with no success, or if you’re concerned that your baby’s refusal to eat may be a sign of something more serious, consult with a healthcare provider to make sure your baby isn’t suffering from an underlying medical condition.

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Is your baby a “solids-hater?” How have you coped? How have you encouraged your little one to eat? Share your tips and tricks below!

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4 thoughts on “What To Do If Your Baby Is Refusing Solid Food”

  1. That was a great read. I would also like to add something on babies who refuse to eat food. There could be several reasons why a baby is refusing to eat food. Some of them are:
    – The baby is fed too much liquid because of which it has lost it’s appetite.
    – The baby is too young to feed solid food.
    – There are too many distractions for your baby like TV, outside noise, etc.
    – The baby is not interested in trying new food.
    – The baby is allergic to food for which you need to be careful and observe how the baby reacts.

    Babies take time to get adjusted to new food so parents don’t have to worry. It is better to wait and observe the baby’s eating habits for a few days and the consult a doctor if they find anything alarming.

  2. My 6 1/2 month old was not interested in the purees I was offering him and after several weeks it was getting somewhat stressful! On the day I decided not to bother for a few days I was eating an apple which I let him lick…! And to my surprise he got annoyed with me when I took it away. So, striking while the iron was hot I got some puree out of the freezer and he ate 3/4 of it 🙂 I was so pleased that the next day I tried the same thing and it went ok-ish… not as well as I had hoped. I then noticed a friend had given me a baby led weaning book which I started to read… It all started to click into place and within a few pages I had decided that this is what would work for us. Without even having finished the book my little boy is now “eating” (read playing…!) various foods at lunch time while I eat my lunch. It’s incredibly messy but so much less stressful. We don’t force our babies to roll over, crawl or walk so why force them to eat without exploring and learning all about it for themselves first.
    Only time will tell, but we are both loving it and anyone who has thought about giving it a try should do just that…!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for sharing your story! It’s really great that you were able to find what works well for him and that gives him the opportunity to learn and explore eating solid foods in way that he prefers. We agree that there is often great value in watching and learning from the leads our children are giving us about their preferences. We do have a few articles on this site about baby lead weaning so hopefully each family can find what works for them too. 🙂

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