If you’ve been following our article series so far, you know the guidelines for when and how to start solid foods with your baby. And if you’ve put our advice into practice, your baby may now be eating small amounts of solid food. If that’s the case — congratulations! We’re hoping your baby loves this newfound way of eating 🙂
But some of you may be shaking your head right now and thinking to yourselves, “Love it? He HATES it!” Or your baby may have started showing some strange (or even alarming) physical symptoms now that she’s eating solid foods. Is this normal? Is it fixable? Don’t worry — if your baby isn’t reacting well to solids, we can help you determine what to do next.
Reacting to Solids: Love Them or Hate Them?
Obviously, every mom hopes her baby enjoys eating solid food and can’t wait to gobble up a little dish of cereal at mealtime! It makes the introduction to solids so much easier and babies who really enjoy solids early on will typically “learn” how to eat more quickly than babies who prefer to take their time.
A word of caution, though — you may find your baby loves solids too much! If you find him clamoring to eat cereal off a spoon but refusing to nurse or take formula, try cutting back on solids in order to encourage more nursing or formula-feeding. You might also want to consider offering breastmilk or formula first (when he’s good and hungry), before you offer solids. Remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastmilk or formula be your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year.
Of course, plenty of children don’t love solids; in fact, some hate them! Some moms find their babies refuse solids altogether, clamping their little mouths shut at the mere sight of a spoon, or spitting out every bite of food that enters their mouths. This makes introducing solids hard, of course. But there are steps you can take to try and foster a love of solid foods in your little one:
- Try different foods.
- Encourage him to do it himself.
- Give up (for a few weeks, that is!) and try again later.
Reacting to Solids: The Poop May Change!
Introducing baby to solids often means big changes in her poop. Feed her pureed carrots for dinner, and she’ll likely have a bright orange poop the next day! And finger-foods that are rich in fiber (like raisins, or beans) may pass right through her system and look the same coming out as they did going in.
Baby’s poop may look different after starting solids; it may also stop altogether. Constipation is a common problem after introducing solids. After all, your baby’s only ever had breastmilk or formula; introducing new foods is bound to be hard on his little system! You may notice that your baby’s poop becomes drier and more compact, or that he stops pooping altogether. He may also grimace and draw his legs up when pooping, and he’ll probably seem crankier and fussier than normal. If you notice these signs of constipation, try the following to get your baby pooping normally again:
- Offer more fiber-rich foods: Think pureed prunes! Peaches, apricots, pears, and beans are also good choices.
- Avoid “binding” foods: Avoid bananas, rice, and dairy products, as these can make constipation even worse.
- Offer more fluids: Offer the breast or bottle more frequently, and try to increase the ounces of fluid your baby drinks. You could also offer a few ounces of water or diluted apple juice (although only do this if your baby is getting plenty of breastmilk or formula).
Reacting to Solids: Watching For Allergic Reactions
Of course, poop isn’t necessarily the only thing to change when solids are introduced. You may notice signs of an allergic reaction after introducing a new food to your baby. Remember that as you begin introducing solids to your baby, it’s important to introduce one food at a time, and to wait at least 4 days before introducing a new food. This way, if she develops an allergic reaction, you’ll be able to pinpoint the food that caused it.
Keep an eye out for these signs of food allergy:
- Flushed skin or rash
- Vomiting or diarrhea (call 911 if severe)
- Swelling (call 911 if severe)
- Difficulty breathing (call 911)
- Loss of consciousness (call 911)
If you suspect that your baby has a food allergy, consult a healthcare provider. He or she will be able to order the necessary blood test to determine what the exact nature of your baby’s allergy.
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8 thoughts on “How Your Baby May React To Starting Solids”
I need help defining diarrhea. I started my five and a half months old baby girl on solids recently. Just this week we tried carrots. She loves them. But I am concerned that she may have diarrhea due to them. What exactly is the definition of diarrhea though? Is it soupy? Since giving her carrots her diapers have been extra explosive and very soupy. I don’t want to continue giving her something she’s allergic too, but I am not sure if I should expect this change or not. Btw, she is fed breastmilk; so I am used to loose stool, and even ccassional explosive diapers have happened over these first five months. This does seem different though.
@ Elizabeth Price – Hmmm….good question. I’d say it’s very normal to have alarming-looking diapers in the early stages of introducing solids. Her little digestive system is still acclimating to having new food sources, so it’s normal to expect some odd diapers at first. I’d only be concerned about allergies if she shows other signs as well. Maybe give her a few days, and then try re-introducing carrots to see what happens. This will help you see if she has any more diarrhea-looking diapers with other foods (in which case the problem wouldn’t be just with the carrots), and when you re-introduce carrots, you can see if the reaction is any different.
Hope this helps, Elizabeth! Best of luck 🙂
My son has had milk protein intolerance issues. He got interested in solids when we had to switch him to Nutramigen (who wouldn’t!) so we okayed baby food vegetables with our pediatrician at 5.5 months. Then at about 8 months he lost interest but would still take a couple of bites. At 9 months he was put on a trial run of soy formula that worked so he’s remained on soy for now. Once he started soy formula that’s all he wants. If you show him a spoon he’ll totally turn his face around into the high chair. That’s been going on a month. Here’s hoping he regains interest before his birthday!
@ leslie – Oh, that’s rough! Hope things have improved at this point 🙂
it’s perfectly normal to have problems in the process of starting solids. the point I want to point out is the upright posture. In infants, the upright posture prevents drowning. There’s got to be a high chair for the upright position. I started using a high chair 6 months ago. It works very well in solids.
I started feeding a tsp of puréed veggies a month ago and
it seems like it hurts her tummy (oatmeal
was the worst-crying out every hour) and sleeping horribly so I stop After 3 days and her sleep seems to get
better. The last few nights she has been up every hour and having bowel
Movements frequently and at night almost every hour she poos or farts. It could also be a wonder week or 6 month sleep regression combined with GI issues but I don’t know if I should keep trying to feed her?
She also got her first cold two weeks ago and has had a few hives here and there. Thsnks for any
Advice or thoughts!
@Naomi – Oh, so sorry you’re dealing with this! 🙁 I’d say a visit to your HCP may be in order, just to rule out the possibility of complications or allergies. Some tummy trouble, like gas or constipation, isn’t uncommon, but this sounds like it could potentially be something more.
Every time I offer my son a new food he makes “the first time food face.” It looks like he is appalled but then he goes for a second handful and then a third. So far there isn’t a single food he has refused. My 7 month old may be a better eater than my husband! I hope others having just as much as I am introducing their babies to the wonderful world of flavorful food.
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