Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My 6.1-month-old son is refusing his solids and not really enjoying his milk feeds

My son is now 6 months and 1 week and the last few days he’s been refusing his solids. He drinks 180ml (6.2oz) in the morning, which he takes with no problems, but the solids that follow he just doesn’t seem to want. I have to make him smile and sneak the teaspoons in his mouth. He used to really enjoy his solids, so I’m not sure what the problem could be. For his 11.30am feed he started crying when offered his bottle and only takes about 3 tsp of solids, which is forced in him. I thought it could just be that he’s not hungry so I moved the feed to 12, but it’s still the same. After some fighting he eventually drinks his bottle, but in the process it looks like he’s going to fall asleep, but then when I put him down after this he doesn’t fall asleep for a while. He has his normal 1 hour sleep from 9-10, so it’s strange that he would be dead tired by 12. Last week he got his two bottom teeth and he’s cutting two teeth on the sides at the bottom. Could that be why he doesn’t want to eat? What should I do? I’m worried that he is losing weight.
He presently weighs 9kg. He takes 180ml formula at 7.15am and 3pm, 90 ml 12 midday and 240ml at 6.30pm. He is offered three solid meals a day. Breakfast 3tsp maize cereal with 2 cubes of fruit (but taking none at the moment), chicken risotto at lunch and a blended vegetable meal at tea. He drinks about 80ml diluted juice during the day.
He sleeps at 9-9.45am, 12.20-1.30pm and 4-4.30pm, settles at 7pm- 6.30am.

Teething can cause a baby to not want to feed so much. The feel of a hard spoon against the gums can be painful, especially if a tooth is about to break through the skin. Some babies don’t always want to suck much either as this can be uncomfortable. One idea which can help over this time is to offer food and milk at a much cooler temperature than you usually do. Fruit puree can be offered cold which is soothing to sore gums.

As a general idea it usually takes three days for a tooth to begin to erupt, three days to actually break through and three days for the gum to recover. If your baby begins to get teeth one after the other quite quickly you can see that his gums may well be sore and tender in several places.

Try using a gel for soothing gums or granules, both widely available about 20 minutes before a feed is due. If you feel that your son is in real pain from his gums seek advice from your doctor who may suggest giving a small dose of infant pain reliever before feeds.

If you son is able to hold finger foods, cool some peeled batons of cucumber in the fridge and offer him those to suck on before offering him his solid food. Now he is taking protein at the 11.30am feed he needs to cut back on this feed. Giving milk to drink alongside protein can reduce the absorption of the iron contained in it by up to 50%. Begin to offer him a drink of cooled boiled water once he has taken his solids.

As teething comes and goes, there is often quite a gap from the first few teeth appearing to the next. A few days of not taking so much solid food should not affect him too much as he is still sleeping well at naps and in the night and not waking hungry early in the morning.