Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

Since illness, I’ve had to go back to the beginning of weaning with mixed success

I started weaning Elliot at 5 months, following the Contented Little Baby Book of Weaning. Then, when he was six months old and just after introducing protein at lunch, both Elliot and I suffered with on-going colds, flu, tummy bugs etc. I was too unwell to prepare many different meals for him and introduced organic commercial jars of food instead. When I tried to introduce home-cooked meals again I was met with refusal, tears and tantrums so kept up with the jars. Over the last couple of weeks, we have had more tantrums at mealtimes until he started refusing the jars and even the sweet fruits he used to love. I decided to start the weaning process again from scratch (baby rice etc) in a speeded-up version and we’re now on different mixed veg. The first four or five mouthfuls are a success but then he starts fidgeting in his seat and thrashing his arms about until he refuses any more food. I know he’s still hungry because if I offer him a favourite fruit, he eats it all. I really try and stay calm and try to distract him but I’m at the end of my tether. I can’t see how we can progress. He has also started to wake between 5.30-6am, very hungry.

The way you have already started to solve Elliot’s food refusal is excellent. Keep trying with the vegetables, using the sweeter varieties such as carrot, sweet potato and parsnip to tempt him to eat more. Gradually mix these in with other vegetables he was accepting before illness such as green beans and broccoli so he becomes accustomed to the new tastes. Add very small amounts of chicken and fish to the vegetables and increase the protein amounts slowly.

Giving Elliot a spoon to hold while you are feeding him can often result in accepting more food especially if you encourage him to have a go at loading his spoon. Encourage Elliot to eat more by providing him with a colourful selection of finger food at each meal. Select vegetables you know he accepts. A spoonful of cooked, frozen mixed vegetables often tempts reluctant eaters. Also offer fingers of toast, mini sandwiches and breadsticks. All these are especially useful at teatime.

Until his appetite is better you may need to increase his milk at 2.30pm. Make his last solid meal one of fruit and rice which you know he will accept until he is eating better at lunchtime again. Then begin to offer him a savoury at teatime with fruit to follow if you think he is still hungry. You may have to make this a split feed for a few weeks, offering solids and some milk before his bath and then a further milk feed before bed so he is less likely to wake hungry so early in the morning.

Getting back on track on illness at this age can be quite a drawn-out process. As Elliot enjoyed his food before he was ill, I am sure he will very soon find eating more enjoyable again.