Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – Other

I am finding it hard to get my son to eat and drink at the routine times

My son of 10-months-old wakes up at night 3 to 4 times, and cries for his dummy, as he is unable to sleep without it. I can’t seem to wean him off it. His sleeping pattern is from 9 till 9, but he is always up a few times at night then every morning at 8. He has breakfast at that time, as he is hungry, but he doesn’t want to sleep after that. Then he wants to go to sleep at 11, as he cries and cries all morning. He sleeps for two hours, wakes up, plays till 4 and then has another nap for 1 hour, as he can’t manage without one.
Then he plays, eats etc, and starts getting tired around 8.30pm and I put him to bed at 9.
He is also refusing milk feeds and solids and I often have to force him to eat.
At 8am he has 3ozs of milk, followed with a weetabix mixed with the left over milk and 3 ozs of water at 9am. At 11am I give him a tin of fruit which he does not really want and after his two hour sleep he has bread, vegetables and 2ozs of milk. At 3pm he has a yoghurt and tea is given at 5.30pm which is usually pizza and chips or pasta with juice. At 7pm he has another fruit tin and then takes 5ozs of milk at 8.30pm before settling to sleep. He weighs 25lbs.

Getting your son into a better routine of day- and night time sleeps and eating should help many of the problems you are encountering. In order to do this, you will need to move things slowly and change one thing at a time.

To get your son to sleep without a dummy will mean he will need to learn how to settle himself back to sleep when he comes into a light sleep. At 10 months he now associates falling asleep with sucking on his dummy. In order to break this habit, and so help him to sleep better, you will have to remove his dummy completely from all naps and sleeps and settle him back to sleep with controlled crying. Once you know he is able to do this you will probably find that his sleeping is much better by night so he will begin to not need a late afternoon nap. At first, whilst he gets used to these changes, he may need a 15-20 min cat nap in the afternoon to get him to his bedtime but keep cutting this back once he begins to wake nearer to 7am rather than 8am. Begin to very gradually push his whole day back so you are beginning nearer to 7am and putting him down nearer to 7pm. Move things by 15-20 minutes every few days so he does not become too distressed by the changes being made.

Take a look at a copy of The Complete Weaning Guide for some guidelines as to how to balance his meals through the day. If you wish to follow a vegetarian diet then seek advice from a dietician as to how this should be done. He needs to have three proper meals a day with perhaps two small, healthy snacks at mid- morning and mid afternoon. At present he is having a late breakfast, followed two hours later by fruit and then his lunch. He will refuse to eat these meals as he is not really hungry for them. At his age he needs to be receiving about 2oz animal protein or two servings of vegetable protein a day, as well as three to four servings of carbohydrates, which can include: cereals, wholemeal bread, pasta or potatoes. He also needs to have three to four portions of vegetables and fruits daily, preferably taking more vegetables than fruit. Getting his nutritional needs balanced is very important. Seek advice from your health visitor or doctor if you are concerned about his diet and how to introduce protein. He still needs to be having at least 12ozs of milk a day, inclusive of that used in cooking and to mix cereals.

It may take a while to get your son into a more regular routine suitable for his age. Putting his meals into place as his sleep in the night becomes better, will help as he will be being fed a regular spaced intervals through the day so is much more likely to eat better. Begin to encourage him to feed himself with finger food. Use a selection of lightly steamed vegetables such as carrot batons, peas and broccoli florets to tempt him. Also offer him small pieces of fruit and cheese along with mini sandwiches and rice cakes. Making meal times a happy and social occasion is important at this age.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – Other

How do I move my baby’s naps to allow him to join in family meals?

As a family we are seriously feeling sleep deprived including my toddler. My son was a contented baby up until six months of age following the routines to the latter. However he has now been waking in the night since and no matter how many times we try and settle with water he will only settle with a milk feed. Controlled crying has been difficult at night because of waking my toddler. His naps during the day are following the Contented Baby routines. I have to adjust the lunchtime eating to coincide with picking up my son from preschool.  I have to feed at 11am and he sleeps at 12.15 to 2.15pm. I try to offer more food but he refuses to fill up in the day. My son likes finger food which does end up on the floor! As he feeds in the night he does not want breakfast, my eldest is not a breakfast lover neither are we as parents. My son flatly refuses his milk most days and we can only get a yogurt or two into him.
My son is a very active boy He is walking and likes lots of activity but he does become very demanding and clingy to mum when it is just the two of us at home. He wants holding the whole time even when I’m on the loo! This is just to give you an idea of his character. He weighs 21lbs.

7am:  4ozs formula. He is tried with yoghurt or takes 2tsps of rice and fruit pudding.
10am: small drink of water.
11am: small drink of juice, 4 cubes of homemade spaghetti bolognaise yoghurt and biscuit.
2.30pm: 2ozs or some times more of formula
4pm small drink of water
5pm: small drink of water, diced fishcake and diced potato [went onto the floor], 4 cubes of homemade custard and fruit.
6.30pm: 7ozs formula

When he wakes in the night my son takes on average 6ozs formula.

My son naps from 9.30-10am and 12.15-2.15pm. He settles from 7pm to 3.15am, 4-7am.

Your son’s daytime intake of food and milk is not large and, until he stops taking his night time formula, this is unlikely to improve and so a vicious circle is created. Your son is waking in the night through hunger. The best way to deal with this would be to gradually dilute the night feed down. Since your son is only waking once in the night for a feed he should begin to increase his daily intake once he begins to drop this feed.

Begin by diluting his feed by 1oz. For example, for 6ozs of water add 5 scoops of powder. Each night dilute the feed by another ounce until he is on 1 scoop of powder to 6ozs of water. Offer him this very diluted feed for a couple of nights. On the following night offer him only plain boiled water when he wakes. It may take you a while to settle him, but try not to go back to feeding him. The knock-on effect of having a diluted feed may have already encouraged him to have a larger feed at breakfast time.

Begin to introduce a very small amount of cereal at breakfast. This could be mixed with fruit puree to encourage him to have it. His breakfast milk could be offered in a beaker alongside his cereal. Make him some toast fingers which could be spread with soft cheese or another suitable spread for his age. Some babies do not have a large appetite at breakfast but it would worth encouraging him to eat food other than yoghurt or fruit pudding at this time, even if only in small amounts. When offering finger food, only put one or two pieces at a time in front of your baby. Any more, and he is likely to swipe them all off his tray. You could try some dry cereals as finger food, such as Cheerios, which are usually a great hit with this age. Their ability to use their fore finger and thumb in the “pincer” grasp is very apparent and they enjoy picking up small things. Although not much food seems to be consumed in this way, the more your son is encouraged to feed himself with different tastes and textures the more interested he should become in food in general.

Make sure you give your son all his savoury food first before giving him juice at lunchtime. He needs to increase the amount of solid food he is eating and juice may well just knock his already quite small appetite. Again offer him small amounts of finger food alongside his savoury course. Try a small spoonful of cooked, frozen, mixed vegetables. The different colours and textures should encourage him to pick things up. Often, if a baby of this age is busy trying to feed himself, you can spoon in quite a lot of food without his really noticing it. Encourage him to have less pureed food now, mashing rather than blending so he gets used to the slightly lumpier texture. Let him have a go at feeding himself with a spoon. You may have to load it for him but the more he is allowed to practise the better he will get at it. At 10 months babies can want to be quite independent. Make sure you do allow time at this meal for him to try to feed himself. Even though you have to begin early try to give him time to use his spoon as much as he wants to.

For tea try making easy things such as thick vegetable soups. Bulk these out with potatoes or lentils so they really fill him up but are easy to eat when he is tired. These can be offered with mini sandwiches as finger food. Again you could use a suitable spread on the bread to help him eat a good meal. Although your son enjoys finger food and should always be given some at his meal, it should be in addition to, rather than instead of, his main course. If he is too tired to feed himself something, such as fish cake and potato, he will be missing out on the carbohydrate intake he needs at this time to help him through the night. By using some of the recipes suitable for this age range in Gina’s Weaning Guide you may find he eats a more balanced meal. If he still seems hungry after his main course then offer him some fruit or yoghurt but try to make the main portion of his meal savoury and high in carbohydrates.

In a few months your son may be able to have the same tea as his brother but, until then, stock your freezer with soups and other carbohydrate based meals which can be given to him quickly and easily at this busy time of the day.

Once the nighttime feed is eliminated you will probably notice that your son increases the amount he eats in the day. Always offer him something at breakfast, but this may never be a big meal if he is like the rest of your family. Getting him to have a bigger meal at lunchtime and a filling tea should help him sleep better at night. Controlled crying should only be carried out when you are sure that your son’s waking is due to habit rather than genuine hunger.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – Other

Should our 11mth daughter join in with high tea at her nursery or wait until she gets home to have our own menus?

My 11 month daughter has been full time at nursery since the age of six and a half months old.
The nursery have always fed her depending on the stage of weaning e.g. mashed, diced etc. When she was about eight months she was happily eating finger food. My husband came home and informed me she had eaten a jammy dodger! He was astounded and didn’t know what to say so I went and discussed the matter with her key worker. She informed me that they do stick to a Healthy Eating plan and the manager actually liaised with OFSTED over Healthy Eating. I told her that I just wanted my daughter to have fruit and yogurt etc in the afternoon, not anything remotely similar to Jammy Dodgers! I felt extremely awkward and have become to feel even worse over the months as I’ve also been in to discuss the fact that they weren’t sticking to her sleep times.

She eats extremely well and, touch wood; we haven’t had a problem with food. At nursery I’m aware of the brands of food they eat and they are not what I would choose as we’ve always followed CLB Weaning guide. At 3.15pm all the children have a high-tea. We asked that my daughter just has fruit and a yogurt as we like to give her a tea at 5pm. That way she’s having our food. The problem with that is that we feel quite guilty as when my husband has collected her at that time all the other children are tucking into sausage and beans while she has a yogurt. She tries to eat their food (I can’t blame her!). We feel bad enough that the other children regularly have treats such as chocolate crispie buns and we won’t allow her to have those and I’m not changing my mind on that issue. Should we let her have a high-tea and then give her something when she gets home, if so what would we give her?

At present my daughter eats a protein dinner at nursery such as spaghetti bolognaise followed by fruit, yoghurt or custard. She then has a vegetarian tea from the Contented Baby Weaning Guide.

Discuss with your key worker your concerns over some of the food being given to the children. Explain that you are aware that your daughter seems keen to join the other children but, should you decide that she can join in with the nursery meals, you do have certain preferences as to what she may be allowed to eat. See if the nursery would allow you to bring in your own prepared food for her tea. Although not eating the same food as the other children she would enjoy the social aspect of eating a meal with them. Some nurseries will be willing do this.

If you batch cook thick vegetable soups and bakes at the weekend they can easily be reheated for her at the nursery. If this is not an option, and you do allow your daughter to join in with the nursery high tea, go through the menus with the manager or key worker and make a list of things she is and is not allowed to eat. If there is a written list in her records then it will be easier for you to ensure that the nursery is adhering to your wishes. You are quite within your rights to do this.

The problem many parents find, when their baby does join in with high tea at nursery, is what to give the baby once they are at home again. The baby will need a snack of some kind especially if they have been served tea at 3.30pm. It can take a week or so to find out how much your daughter needs to eat at her 5pm high tea, as well as what foods she will eat, in order for her to continue to sleep well at night. Bear in mind that she may be tired at the end of the day.

Providing the nursery gives you a daily record of all your daughter has eaten you should be able to offer her light but filling suppers such as a scrambled egg and toast fingers; home made fish goujons and a dip; thick vegetable soups, possibly a smaller amount than she normally would take, along with a mini sandwich. She may enjoy a piece of fresh fruit or piece of cheese afterwards if she is still hungry.

It would be worth you looking at the case study of Charlotte in The Contented Child’s Food Bible, page 152, as this deals with the problems which may arise with a baby eating an early nursery tea.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – General Food Refusal

How can I help my son of almost a year to eat better? Meals are a constant struggle

I am becoming very worried about my son and his refusal to eat at meal times. I offer cooked vegetables as finger food, and some of his meals are fine, but many are not. Things such as beans on toast are great, but with meat he is inclined to chew it for ages then spit it out. I try offering him a spoon with food on it, but he gets frustrated and it goes from bad to worse. He has now started to wake around 4am hungry. I am back at full-time work, so my son attends nursery three days a week. They report that he eats well there. My mother cares for him two days a week, but like me she struggles with his eating. At nursery he only sleeps for 30-45 minutes all day. At my mother’s he sleeps better, but still not as much as at home during the weekend. I try to keep weekends as calm as possible so he is able to catch up, but this means we are not getting out with him as much as we would like.
Some days are better than others, but I don’t want him to become a fussy eater. I have read books about what to do and I do persevere, but the constant crying at the table is wearing me down. Sometimes I take his food away and pop him on the floor, but this also seems to upset him. At the moment I feel as though I cannot do anything right. Today he had soup with my mother at 1pm, but would take nothing tonight. She too is getting tense about meals and has taken to singing and clapping just to get him to take some more food. I thought maybe he was teething, but this has been going on for a month and is getting progressively worse. He is never offered snacks and I have also stopped puddings, but still I cannot tempt him. I cook homemade food and the nursery prepares food on the premises.
At 7am my son takes 5 tbsp apple puree with 1-1.5 weetabix, ready brek, or cheerios. He is offered a beaker of milk, which sometimes he will take. He is given juice at 8.30am. He has a proper meal at 11.30am and tea is tagliatelle, beans on toast or a soup snack on arrival home. Again, this is sometimes taken, sometimes not. He takes an 8oz bottle at 6.30pm before bed. At home he naps from 9.30-10.15am and 1-3pm. He goes down by 7pm, and often earlier as he is shattered.
The whole issue has got me down and I feel my baby hates me. Can you help please?

It can be very difficult to cope with a child who repeatedly refuses your meals, yet wakes in the night through hunger, and as a mother it may feel that your own child is rejecting you. Trying to cope with the situation on a daily basis is draining and depressing, and it is often difficult to look at the problem without becoming emotional. At your son’s age, however, he is beginning to leave babyhood and become more independent. He would like to do many things for himself, but the problem is he may not yet be physically able. Holding a spoon and getting it into the mouth before all the food drops off is a complex and difficult task. If it is at the end of a day without a great deal of sleep, it is easy to see why your son may become so frustrated. He needs to eat but cannot manage to do so on his own, but he does not want you to help him – a vicious circle. Stepping back from the situation is not easy for either yourself or your mother, but as the nursery are not so emotionally involved, he seems to eat better there. Babies and small children can be incredibly sensitive to adults’ feelings and tension, especially in those closest to them.

As your son wants to be independent and feed himself, you need to prepare food that he can easily handle. Use the time you have at the weekend to prepare some finger foods, which can be given to him on his return home at night. Giving vegetables is fine, but as you need him to take more protein, look for recipes that can be made up into finger food. Chicken and fish goujons, small meatballs, fish cakes and mini pizzas are all ideal. These can all be homemade, frozen in advance and quickly reheated. There are also dishes that can be prepared quickly once home, such as vegetable frittata, omelets, eggy bread or pancake. These can be filled with grated cheese and cut into small pieces that can be handled. He may also like dipping vegetable sticks, sticks of cheese or a chicken goujon into a dip, such as homemade hummus or vegetable sauce.

The more your son can feed himself, the more likely he is to eat. Continue to make main meat meals, such as shepherd’s pie or risotto, with finely diced or minced meat. Many small children find meat hard to chew, so finding ways to serve it where it is easy for them to eat should help. Another tip is to make a casserole dish of thick consistency and spread it on small pieces of bread roll, which again he can hold himself. Tempting a reluctant eater will involve you in thinking about what you offer him, as it is all too easy to fall back on things you know he will accept. But there are ways in which you can encourage him to try a wider variety of dishes.

A word of caution – learning to feed himself will be messy and time consuming. Have plenty of newspaper under his high chair and cover him with the biggest coverall bib you can find. He will want to use his fingers to dip into food and, although it can mean a lot of clearing up afterwards, let him try to eat as much as he can by himself. Give him a spoon of his own to hold and dig into his food. It can be very frustrating to watch the efforts of a baby trying to feed themselves, but your son will feel more in control of the situation if he feels independent. You may also be able to pop in a spoonful now and again while he is busy with his own. Although you may be concerned about his intake, keep your voice and face happy and encouraging. Praise him when you see him trying to get food to his mouth and give him a clap when he does pick up a stick of cheese and try to eat it. In the same way that he picks up tension about meals being refused, he will also want to try to please you and get your happy reactions when he eats.

There is no easy answer to his tiredness due to lack of sleep in the daytime. Putting him to bed earlier will certainly help, although it is hard when you would also like to spend more time with him at the end of the day. As he gets bigger he will be better able to cope with being at nursery all day – but it is a good idea to let him recharge and catch up at weekends. You may miss taking him out and about, but at this age he will enjoy time spent with you doing ordinary things, such as a trip to the swings or looking at a book together, as much as bigger outings. He will enjoy the simple, quiet routine of home life, as he is stimulated a lot in the week with nursery.

Thinking ahead at weekends and planning what you are going to give him for his weekday teas can help you make the most of the time you spend with him. Stocking your freezer with suitable finger foods and meals should help you to feel that you are doing something positive. Most mothers feel rejected by their babies if their carefully prepared food is refused. This is a normal reaction, but try to stay cool and focused on the positive things you can do. There are a few books on the market worth looking at for ways of tempting a small child who seems to have gone on food strike. Get a few ideas and keep trying with different things.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – General Food Refusal

My baby of almost 1 year refuses lunch and wakes in the night after illness and starting nursery

My daughter, who is almost a year old, started nursery approximately 4 weeks ago. Unfortunately in her first week she picked up a virus which I don’t think has helped in her settling in. Since having the virus my daughter refuses to eat any lunch. She wakes around 7am has 4oz of milk from a cup followed by cereal and maybe some toast. She has a drink of water at around 10am and nothing else until lunchtime at around 11.45-12 noon. However, despite various attempts, she refuses everything that is put in front of her. I have tried her favourites and even foods she has not eaten before, just in case she was getting sick of the foods I was giving her, but unfortunately nothing seems to have worked. She then goes through the day with nothing else until tea at 5pm where she may or may not eat. She has milk at bedtime and is always in bed by 7pm. Unfortunately however she has now started to wake in the night, some nights she has cried off and on for half an hour or more and then gone back to sleep but some nights I am finding I am having to go to her to comfort her before she will go back to sleep.
The nursery she attends is very good and they do follow my routine, although she is so used to being with only me or my husband she is finding it extremely difficult to settle. Could the eating and sleeping problems all be connected to nursery?

If your daughter is still refusing to eat properly after a week of having a virus it would be a good idea to have her checked by your doctor to rule out any further problems. If all is well you will need to entice her to eat again. It can take a week or more for a baby’s appetite to properly return after illness.
Try making her lunch easy; things which can feed herself. Make it as attractive as possible, separating out the separate items, perhaps using a bowl with divisions. She can then see exactly what she is eating. Cut everything up into small pieces and encourage her to self-feed. Use finger food as much as you can – even things such as casserole can be spread onto bread rolls and offered. Give her small portions so she is not overwhelmed by the amount. Even if she does not eat her main meal, offer her a small amount of natural yoghurt and fruit puree as she may find this easier to eat if still feeling unwell.
The night-time waking could be due to feeling a little hungry, although it would seem unlikely as your daughter is not having a very big breakfast. It is more likely due to separation anxiety and starting at nursery. If she will settle herself back to sleep with no intervention then reassure her by day with lots of cuddles. If you do need to go in at night, try not to lift her from her cot but reassure her with your voice and a stroke or pat. Try to use the same words each night: “it’s night time, go to sleep”, then tuck her in if needed and leave. As she becomes more used to her nursery setting she is less likely to wake in the night. Keeping your interaction to the minimum at night as she adjusts to her new routine, will ensure she does not become dependant on you to help her return to sleep.
If your daughter does not already have a comfort object it may be a good idea to introduce one to her now. A small piece of blanket or soft toy which she can snuggle would be ideal. You may like to sleep with it yourself for a couple of nights before giving it to her. The familiar smell of you may help her in the night once she has begun to eat better and is more settled at nursery. If she does become attached to a comfort object, consider having a replacement and alternating their use to allow for washing and maybe being mislaid. Keep such an object for use in her cot only to help settle for naps and sleeping, not something she needs with her during the day.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – General Food Refusal

Since her recent illness my 10mth daughter is refusing food from a spoon

My daughter is a perfect model of the routine until last week when she picked up a viral infection causing her to have ear infection and her throat was sore. She had a high fever and diarrhea and was not sleeping well nor eating. The doctor advised giving her Calpol and making sure she had enough fluid intake and not to worry too much if she did not eat. That was 5 days ago. The temp and diarrhea has subsided and for the first time since she has been ill she slept through the night from 7pm. My problem now is that she refuses to eat. As soon as I put food near her mouth she cries and pushes my hand away. I have tried to leave food on her tray so she can pick at it herself but she just throws it on the floor. She is still taking a 7oz bottle in the morning and a few oz’s at 2.30pm and occasionally has taken a few ozs at 6.30pm. I have also tried to split the 6.30pm feed so she has some milk at around 5.45pm before her bath and some after. This has worked before but not at the moment.
She is at home with me at the moment as I want to ensure she is 100% before going back to Nursery as she does not sleep as well there at lunchtimes. I am worried about how long I should leave this go before I seek help as I do not want her to become a fussy feeder as she has done so well up to now.
She has been taking 7oz at 7am followed by porridge being offered which is mixed with formula. Lunch is her main protein meal and water is offered with it. 2.30pm 1-2ozs, 4.45pm sandwiches and fruit or yoghurt offered with water. 7ozs offered at 6.30pm but not taken well.
She naps at 9-9.45am and 12.30-2.30pm.

Encouraging a baby to eat after illness can be difficult. Finding ways to tempt her back to eating again will help. It can take up to two weeks for a baby to fully recover after illness. As your daughter was probably in considerable discomfort in her mouth and ears she may still associate eating with the pain during her illness.

Think of ways you can offer her food which will tempt her. You may need to go back to offering her food more pureed and sloppy, also at a cooler temperature.

Begin with easy things you know she likes, such as yoghurt, rather than expecting her to have a full meal. You could add mashed banana to this to make it more nutritious and filling. Try vegetable based soups with some cheese grated into them rather than full protein meals just yet.

Make an effort to eat one or two meals with her. You could prepare a simple dip with vegetable batons and breadsticks and offer to share it with her. She may be willing to try food which she see’s you are enjoying. It is difficult to know how lenient to be as you are not wanting her to become fussy, but you will have to make allowances for her in the next week or so.

Try to keep calm about mealtimes which is not easy if you are concerned about her lack of appetite. Offer her small amounts of food in a colourful bowl and give her a spoon to help herself with. She may get little into her mouth but will be busy trying so you may be able to pop in one or two spoonfuls. Once it is clear she is not going to take any more, take the meal away. If you usually offer her a snack between meals then continue to do so, but don’t begin to make food an issue, trying to tempt her with many different options throughout the day. That is far more likely to make her fussy and difficult about food once her appetite has returned.

Make sure she is offered plenty of fluids throughout the day, not only at mealtimes. A baby may not eat properly for a while but they must drink enough liquid to remain hydrated.

Providing she is sleeping well at night, and showing an interest in her surroundings in the day, try not to be too concerned about her eating for the next few days. Appetites take a while to return after illness. Keeping her at home until she is better is sensible. Once she is back at nursery the sight of all the other children eating may help her get her appetite back again.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – General Food Refusal

My 10.5mth son is still needing a night feed and then does not feed well in the day. What can I do?

As a family we are seriously feeling sleep deprived including my toddler. My son was a contented baby up until six months of age following the routines to the latter. However he has now been waking in the night since and no matter how many times we try and settle with water he will only settle with a milk feed. Controlled crying has been difficult at night because of waking my toddler. His naps during the day are following the Contented Baby routines. I have to adjust the lunchtime eating to coincide with picking up my son from preschool. I have to feed at 11am and he sleeps at 12.15 to 2.15pm. I try to offer more food but he refuses to fill up in the day. My son likes finger food which does end up on the floor! As he feeds in the night he does not want breakfast, my eldest is not a breakfast lover neither are we as parents. My son flatly refuses his milk most days and we can only get a yogurt or two into him.
My son is a very active boy He is walking and likes lots of activity but he does become very demanding and clingy to mum when it is just the two of us at home. He wants holding the whole time even when I’m on the loo! This is just to give you an idea of his character. He weighs 21lbs.

7am: 4ozs formula. He is tried with yoghurt or takes 2tsps of rice and fruit pudding.
10am: small drink of water.
11am: small drink of juice, 4 cubes of homemade spaghetti bolognaise yoghurt and biscuit.
2.30pm: 2ozs or some times more of formula
4pm small drink of water
5pm: small drink of water, diced fishcake and diced potato [went onto the floor], 4 cubes of homemade custard and fruit.
6.30pm: 7ozs formula

When he wakes in the night my son takes on average 6ozs formula.
My son naps from 9.30-10am and 12.15-2.15pm. He settles from 7pm to 3.15am, 4-7am.

Your son’s daytime intake of food and milk is not large and, until he stops taking his night time formula, this is unlikely to improve and so a vicious circle is created. Your son is waking in the night through hunger. The best way to deal with this would be to gradually dilute the night feed down. Since your son is only waking once in the night for a feed he should begin to increase his daily intake once he begins to drop this feed.

Begin by diluting his feed by 1oz. For example, for 6ozs of water add 5 scoops of powder. Each night dilute the feed by another ounce until he is on 1 scoop of powder to 6ozs of water. Offer him this very diluted feed for a couple of nights. On the following night offer him only plain boiled water when he wakes. It may take you a while to settle him, but try not to go back to feeding him. The knock-on effect of having a diluted feed may have already encouraged him to have a larger feed at breakfast time.

Begin to introduce a very small amount of cereal at breakfast. This could be mixed with fruit puree to encourage him to have it. His breakfast milk could be offered in a beaker alongside his cereal. Make him some toast fingers which could be spread with soft cheese or another suitable spread for his age. Some babies do not have a large appetite at breakfast but it would worth encouraging him to eat food other than yoghurt or fruit pudding at this time, even if only in small amounts. When offering finger food, only put one or two pieces at a time in front of your baby. Any more, and he is likely to swipe them all off his tray. You could try some dry cereals as finger food, such as Cheerios, which are usually a great hit with this age. Their ability to use their fore finger and thumb in the “pincer” grasp is very apparent and they enjoy picking up small things. Although not much food seems to be consumed in this way, the more your son is encouraged to feed himself with different tastes and textures the more interested he should become in food in general.

Make sure you give your son all his savoury food first before giving him juice at lunchtime. He needs to increase the amount of solid food he is eating and juice may well just knock his already quite small appetite. Again offer him small amounts of finger food alongside his savoury course. Try a small spoonful of cooked, frozen, mixed vegetables. The different colours and textures should encourage him to pick things up. Often, if a baby of this age is busy trying to feed himself, you can spoon in quite a lot of food without his really noticing it. Encourage him to have less pureed food now, mashing rather than blending so he gets used to the slightly lumpier texture. Let him have a go at feeding himself with a spoon. You may have to load it for him but the more he is allowed to practise the better he will get at it. At 10 months babies can want to be quite independent. Make sure you do allow time at this meal for him to try to feed himself. Even though you have to begin early try to give him time to use his spoon as much as he wants to.

For tea try making easy things such as thick vegetable soups. Bulk these out with potatoes or lentils so they really fill him up but are easy to eat when he is tired. These can be offered with mini sandwiches as finger food. Again you could use a suitable spread on the bread to help him eat a good meal. Although your son enjoys finger food and should always be given some at his meal, it should be in addition to, rather than instead of, his main course. If he is too tired to feed himself something, such as fish cake and potato, he will be missing out on the carbohydrate intake he needs at this time to help him through the night. By using some of the recipes suitable for this age range in Gina’s Weaning Guide you may find he eats a more balanced meal. If he still seems hungry after his main course then offer him some fruit or yoghurt but try to make the main portion of his meal savoury and high in carbohydrates.

In a few months your son may be able to have the same tea as his brother but, until then, stock your freezer with soups and other carbohydrate based meals which can be given to him quickly and easily at this busy time of the day.

Once the nighttime feed is eliminated you will probably notice that your son increases the amount he eats in the day. Always offer him something at breakfast, but this may never be a big meal if he is like the rest of your family. Getting him to have a bigger meal at lunchtime and a filling tea should help him sleep better at night. Controlled crying should only be carried out when you are sure that your son’s waking is due to habit rather than genuine hunger.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – Formula Feeding

At nearly 11 months my son refuses his milk before bedtime

Tom is one of twins born at 31 weeks gestation. They both had quite severe reflux in the early days, hence a slow weight gain. (Current weight: 6.3kg) They now receive medication and are much improved, but they have never really enjoyed milk.
Tom absolutely refuses to take his 6.30pm bottle. He now screams and turns his head away just at the sight of it. He has three meals a day and is taking solids well. He drinks water well with meals. In the morning he takes his milk happily (6oz). Since bringing tea forward to 5pm about two months ago, he has become upset and starts crying as soon as he is out of the bath. He goes down screaming every night, which is no fun for any of us. He then generally sleeps through to 7am.
He naps well for 15mins at 9.30am and usually sleeps for 2 hours at lunchtime. I have tried dropping his 2.30pm milk but this made no difference to the evenings. I make sure he begins tea at 5pm and has nothing too indigestible at this time.
I feel his problem is more to do with the anticipation of bedtime, rather than hating his milk. His twin, who is the same weight and in the same routine accepts his milk. As bedtime is pretty unpleasant at present, do you have any ideas?

It can be difficult to see exactly what the problem is, when babies of this age suddenly start to refuse to drink their bedtime milk. Are they not hungry? Or are they too tired? As Tom’s refusal coincided with his tea being moved to 5pm it would be worth considering that he is not really hungry for it. He also is probably beginning to use much more energy at this time by crawling and pulling himself up, so he is very tired by the time he has had a bath.
In order to increase his small milk intake, move tea to 4.45pm and offer Tom a small drink of milk from a beaker halfway through the meal. If he accepts this, he will have already increased his intake by 3-4 ozs. If he is able to tolerate cheese dishes, include plenty of cheesy pasta bakes, pieces of quiche and jacket potatoes with cheese. Give him some yoghurt or a small fromage frais with his fruit. All this will add into his daily total.
To stop Tom getting too tired, make bath time 15 minutes earlier as well and see if Tom still reacts in the same way afterwards. Offer him a smaller bottle if he has taken some milk at teatime. Keeping a watchful eye on his milk intake will help him to continue to gain weight, even though he has taken to solids well.
Begin winding down for bedtime straight after tea, and keep everything as calm and quiet as you can. Prepare their room by pulling the blinds and curtains before you start bath time and keep the lights on low settings. Try to discourage noisy, splashing games in the bath (not always easy with two), instead practise some songs they both know and quietly chat about their day. If you have access to a CD/tape player in their room, find a recording of calming, sleep inducing music. There are many available which incorporate soothing sounds such as waves and natural sounds. Use the same recording every day and start it playing as he gets ready for his bath. This should help Tom to associate going to bed with a sense of calm and quiet.
Some babies of this age do protest about going to bed. It is as though they are reluctant to let go of the day. Providing him with a special teddy or toy to be with him in his cot could help if he does not already have a comfort object. Make sure Teddy is waiting for him when he goes into his cot. Creating a bedtime ritual can be soothing to babies who become overwrought at this time. As long as Tom settles to sleep and sleeps well, once over his tears and he is not affecting his brother, this stage will pass in time.

Feeding FAQ: 9-12 months – Formula Feeding

I am concerned that my 9-month-old son is not having enough milk

My son is now approaching 9 months and has seriously reduced his milk intake. As he has never been very good with his milk intake, I have been making sure he takes between 16 and 18oz per day since the age of 6 months (previously he was on about 24-27oz per day).
Recently this is beginning to reduce even more than the minimum 16oz I want him to have. He takes 7oz in the morning: 4oz on his cereal and 3oz to drink. He has been having 4oz at 2.30pm but this is now causing him to refuse his evening meal at 5pm and he is often vomiting after only a few mouthfuls. In addition, the 2.30pm is very difficult to give him and the only person who can manage it is me! At 5pm he has tea and at 6.30pm he is having 5oz. So all in all he stands at 16oz currently but more often than not, it can end up being only 12oz.
Is this a problem? He does have fromage frais and yoghurts by way of puddings, as I figure he needs more dairy if he is going to refuse milk. In addition, a lot of the food I make him contains cows milk, cheese and butter. He is also doing very well on his solids and follows a well-balanced and varied meal plan. Do you think bearing all this in mind that a milk intake of 12oz is too little? I would really appreciate some advice as I am quite anxious about it.

It is always an anxious time when a growing baby appears to be taking in less milk than he has been. Now he is nearly nine months old, his milk intake will begin to lessen as he has three solid meals a day. He needs a minimum of 17-20ozs a day but that includes the milk used in cooking and on cereals. By a year the minimum he needs inclusive of cooking is 12ozs so you can see how his solid foods are beginning to replace the need for a lot of milk.

A 125g pot of yoghurt or 30gr (1oz) of cheese can be substituted for 7ozs of milk. As you are making sure that he does have plenty of other sources of milk in his diet, he appears to be well within his daily amount for his age, despite his decrease in the amount he actually drinks.
As he is no longer interested in his afternoon milk you could begin to give him a drink of water or well-diluted juice and a small piece of cheese or small fromage frais at this time and see if he is more interested in eating his tea. By now he should be receiving his breakfast milk and his 2.30pm feed, if he will take it, from a beaker.
Be aware that offering juice or even water too near to a meal time will take the edge off his appetite. Also make sure he has eaten most of his solids before offering a drink to prevent him from filling himself up too much.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

It is a struggle to get my 7mth daughter to take milk or solids

My daughter will not take her milk. During the day she will have a maximum of 2-3 bottles; 2-3 ozs at each feed. Since birth her maximum has been 4ozs. Since introducing solids at 5 months, her milk intake has declined. Eating her solids is a struggle too.
At present she is fed SMA progress with an Avent bottle and variable teat. I use a small baby jar as a portion measure for her food.
During the day she takes:
7am: 1-2 ozs, breakfast: a measure of Ready Brek, with added apricot and banana, and 1oz camomile tea.
9.45am: 1-2ozs formula
11.30am: a measure of a recipe from weaning book; chicken hot-pot, chicken risotto etc, fruit yoghurt and 1 dried apricot (she has no teeth so she gums on this), 1-2 oz diluted juice from cup after meal (she will not drink all of this)
2.30pm: 1-2 ozs formula
5.30pm: a measure of a vegetarian tea, such as pasta or potato with cheese sauce, 1-2 ozs diluted juice from cup.
6.30pm: 1-2 ozs formula, 1 oz camomile tea
10.30pm: 2-3ozs formula
3.30am: 1-2ozs formula
She sleeps at 9-9.30am, 12.30-2.30pm and settles by 7pm. Her present weight is 13lbs 5oz (6.04kg)

Getting the balance between solids and milk at this age can be difficult, especially as your daughter has never taken a feed bigger than 4ozs.
At her present weight and age she should be having nearer to 18-20ozs of milk a day, inclusive of milk used in cooking, on cereals and given in the form of cheese or yoghurt.
In order to increase your daughters small milk intake, use the “tier” method of feeding her at breakfast; give her milk, followed by solids and then the rest of her milk. You may need to give her a break between the milk and solids, so offer her 2ozs milk at 7am followed by solids at 7.45/8am and then another 2-3ozs after. Banana is quite a filling fruit and although often loved by babies could be filling her up too much. Offer her pear or apple pureed or grated with her Ready Brek as a change.
As she is having milk at breakfast, there is no real need to offer camomile tea as well. The extra fluids could be filling her up, so she is resisting eating her solids and not wanting a full milk feed. This way of feeding should help her take more, and also cut out the need for a top up at 9.45am. This would be a better time to offer her camomile tea so she will have an appetite for her lunch.
Have you begun to offer finger foods at lunch time? Your daughter may enjoy trying to feed herself with batons of steamed carrot and other vegetables while you are spoon feeding her. Also, giving her a spoon to hold at the same time as yourself may encourage her to eat a little more. If she is busy trying to feed herself, you will probably find she will accept more from your spoon without really noticing.
Offering her well diluted juice or water after her solids is an excellent idea, as it is easy for a baby with a small appetite to fill herself up with fluids, if given at the wrong time. Your daughter will also be receiving fluids from her fruit and vegetables. It is quite normal for a baby of this age to take sips of fluid after a meal rather than a larger amount.
The feed at 2.30pm is usually slightly smaller. This helps your daughter have an appetite for her dinner. As your daughter does not take much milk at 6.30pm, push this meal back to 5pm. Again, beware of her filling herself up with the extra fluid from the camomile tea which could lead her to not wanting her milk at bedtime. If she could take nearer to 4ozs at 6.30pm and again at 10.30pm, it would be easier to settle her with cooled boiled water at 3.30am rather than milk.
The 10.30pm feed can be difficult if a baby is sleepy, but it is worth trying to keep her awake for at least an hour at this time.
Some mother’s find it easier to wake the baby at 10pm and offer them half the feed, then let the baby have a quiet kick until 11.15pm when they change and offer the rest of the milk before settling back to sleep. This may result in a bigger intake at this time for your daughter, and also help her not to need the night feed. Trying to settle her with water at 3.30am could help her to be hungrier in the morning.
As your daughter has gained weight quite slowly and never had a very big appetite, keep trying to balance how much solids she accepts with her milk intake. Trying to get her to take too much solid food will only result in her cutting back even more on her milk, which is a situation you don’t want to have. Monitoring her fluid intake and offering her the chance to feed herself with a selection of finger foods, should see some improvement in her intake. Discuss your concerns with your health visitor or doctor, who will want to see that she is reaching her developmental milestones despite her slow weight increase.