Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

My 8-month-old is refusing solids

Please help, I’m desperate! I’ve followed the routines since Ben was around one month old and we’ve not been doing too badly but for the last month, things have been going from bad to worse with feeding solids. He is now eight months old and has started to clamp his mouth shut when I try to feed him solid food. As soon as I put the spoon near his mouth, he starts getting very angry. As a result, he wants more milk feeds and is waking earlier. If I put the TV on, I can sometimes get a few spoonfuls down him but he is getting wise to this now and I don’t really want to depend on the TV distracting him to get food down him anyway. My HV said to offer him finger foods but he has no teeth and just throws everything I offer on the floor. I’ve always given him homemade food. In the last few days, I’ve tried jars in desperation but he refuses them as well. He drinks 18-20oz of milk each day. He will take sweet foods slightly better but in the last week I have cut these out, so he hasn’t had any fruit at all. I thought that might work but it hasn’t!

As I don’t know when your son has his milk feeds during the day, it is hard to say whether his food refusal is due to having too much milk at the wrong times. In order for your son to be more interested in eating his solids, make sure he is really hungry at his mealtimes. Offer him his solids first and a drink only after he has eaten at least half of them. Try to limit how much milk he drinks at 2/3pm so he will be really hungry for his tea. You may have a discontented baby for a day or two but once his food intake increases, this should pass.

Give him a spoon to hold and show him how to dig into his bowl. He won’t really be able to feed himself yet but he may well become so interested in what he is doing that you are able to get a few more spoons down him.

Make his finger food as interesting and eye-catching as possible. Make sure you offer him things he can easily eat even though he has no teeth. Try a spoonful of cooked frozen mixed vegetables to entice him with the different colours and textures. Once he used to vegetables, offer him a finger of toast, lightly buttered, or bread sticks which most babies love to suck. Some babies will accept small pieces of bread roll spread with a puree such as chicken casserole.

Try to keep calm at meal times and if Ben refuses his food after a few mouthfuls, remove the food rather than endless cajoling. Offer him a few finger foods and then finish the meal and only offer him food at his next snack time.

Babies of this age can become difficult about solids if they enjoy their bottles more. You must keep persisting daily to get him more interested in solid food but without making mealtimes battlegrounds. Begin to cut his milk intake slightly at the feeds you feel may be affecting his appetite most. Lots of mothers find their baby’s eating habits improve once they are using up lots of energy with crawling and cruising.