Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My daughter of 7-months-old dislikes milk and refuses to swallow her solids

My daughter has been a sick baby having had surgery on her bladder 2 weeks ago. She has not been a great eater since she first became ill at 8-weeks-old. She appears to hate milk and when offered will not take it unless she is starving and then it is only a few ounces at most. When she refuses she will drink water. She really does know the difference because when I try to feed her at night and she is sleepy she still does not like it. Given her poor weight gain we have to add calories to the milk and food. My problem is not only with the refusal of the bottle but also of solids. She was better on solids at the start but now will not swallow. She holds food in her mouth and refuses to swallow. I am at my wits end – please help. I have tried letting her go without food/juice but this makes no difference at all. I have to dream feed her at 9pm in her sleep as this is the best bottle of the day and she tolerates it – although again refuses milk after first 2 oz.
At present she takes about 8ozs of milk in 24 hrs, she is given SMA High Energy; each feed being 1-2 ozs each. She is offered 10-15 spoons of food such as baby rice, pear and yoghurt. She weighed 7.1lb at birth and now weighs 11.4ozs.
She naps between 9 and 10am and 12-2pm, then settles at 7pm until 6am.

The problems which your daughter have faced in the last few months should really be looked at by a specialist dietician. It is important for her to begin to gain weight, which will help her recover from all the problems she has been facing. Another person who could help you is a speech therapist attached to a hospital who deals with all the problems associated with swallowing. As your daughter has never wanted to drink much, she needs to be fully assessed and appropriate help and advice given to you on how best to feed her so she begins to grow.

Dealing with a very sick baby is very stressful for you but you must insist on receiving help with her feeding problems as soon as possible. Ask for second opinions and referrals if you are not satisfied with the answers being given to you at present.