Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

At 6 months I can’t seem to get my son interested in solids or taking formula

I started to wean my son at 18 weeks and followed the CLB guidelines to the letter. By 20 weeks he just wasn’t bothered with solids at all. By 21 weeks he wouldn’t take them from me at all. We were travelling a lot and I have to admit that I ended up giving in and most of his feeds went back to breastfeeding with only one feed of solids every day; even that was a struggle. I was back to totally feeding on demand. Now he is 6-months-old I really want to do the right thing for him and get into a disciplined feeding pattern – I also would like to introduce formula for the afternoon feed. Although he took a bottle of expressed milk up to 9 weeks, he has point blankly refused it since; he does take water from a sippy cup though. I just don’t know where to start and I am so confused with it all and desperately need some guidance.
From 3 weeks he would sleep from 10.30 pm through to 7.30am and by 12 weeks it was 9pm – 8am. At 16 weeks he started to wake up during the night so put him down at 7.30, giving him a dream feed as suggested. That worked for a while but now he takes his dream feed and still wakes up at night.
He has never slept much during the day.
At present he breast feeds at 8am, 11am, 2.30pm, 5pm, 7.30pm,11pm, 4am. He is given solids at 11.45am of carrot and sweet potato or baby rice and fruit puree. He eats about 3 tablespoons. At 6pm he takes carrot and sweet potato, or avocado or baby rice and fruit puree (up to 2 tablespoons). He weighs 20lbs.
He sleeps from 10-10.45am, 12.30-1.30pm, 4.30-5pm.

At his present weight, your son is hungry in the night, as he is not taking enough solid food by day. As he is now just over 6 months and still being breast fed you need to introduce a wider variety of vegetables and fruit to him and also some form of protein. As he has been demand fed, he is now beginning to be rather a milk addict and is filling himself up, thus not being interested in taking solid food. As long as he continues to have 7 feeds a day he will not want to take much else.
You will need to cut back on the amount of milk he has so he will be more interested in trying a wider variety of solids. Already you seem to have a routine in place in that give solids at 11am and 6pm. Now you need to begin to cut back on the milk feeds. Beginning your day slightly earlier could help, so your son is receiving his first breast feed by 7.30am. If you wish to continue using 8am-8pm as your “day” then you must push the next feed forward so your son will be hungry for his solids. Use the “tier” method of feeding at 11.30/11.45am. Offer him a small breast feed, no more than one side, then offer him his solids. Use the weaning guide to show you how to introduce new vegetables. Once he has finished them offer him the second breast but don’t be surprised if he cuts back on this. He needs to, as this feed will be dropped and replaced with water once protein has been introduced. You will need to speed up moving through the different foods as your son is now six months and needs protein to be introduced as soon as possible. Introduce a new flavour every two or three days, and watch for any reaction, then move onto another flavour. When you introduce chicken to him, make up a casserole recipe such as the one in the book and replace two of his vegetable cubes with casserole cubes, as they contain vegetables he is already familiar with as well as chicken which will be a new flavour to him. Once he is taking protein well, then cut out the feed he has been having at this time. Offer him at least half of his solids before offering him a drink of water from his sippy cup.

Whilst you are getting your son used to taking more solids so he is able to get through the night, you will need to cut back on the 2.30pm feed. Make this feed smaller so you know he will be hungry by 5/5.30pm. Again “tier” feed. Give him a breast feed from one side and then offer him 3-4 tsps baby rice mixed with 1 cube of fruit puree. Once he has had his bath, then offer him the second side and try to have him settled by 7pm. As he increases the amount of solids he is taking at 5pm, his need for milk in the night should begin to decrease. Continue to offer him a feed at 10/11pm. This may increase in the early days as he has dropped some of his daytime milk and is being fed by 7pm.

Once he is taking at least three cubes of vegetable puree at lunch and 3-4 tsp baby rice and fruit at tea, as well as continuing with 4 milk feeds in the day: 7am , 11am, 2.30pm and 6pm, he should not need the feed he has been waking for at 4am. Try to settle him with cool, boiled water if he continues to wake. If he takes some but will not settle, then offer him a small breast feed. Having had the water he will take a smaller feed.

Once he is onto 4 cubes of vegetables at lunch and 4-5 tsp rice with 2 cubes of fruit at tea, then begin to introduce some cereal at breakfast. Once this has taken place you will know that any waking in the night is due to habit rather than hunger and you may have to consider sleep training.
You will notice also that he may increase his 2.30pm feed a little once the 11am has been dropped with the introduction of protein. When he is feeding and taking solids more in line with the six month plan as laid out in the books you can drop the dream feed at 11pm.