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.