Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

Despite following the guide, my 6-month-old is cutting back on milk and solids

I am concerned that my almost 6-month-old daughter is cutting back on her milk, and taking less and less solids, despite having been following Gina’s guide for the last 7 weeks.
I started weaning at 17/18 weeks, following the weaning guide. Things had been going extremely well and my daughter was happily sleeping 11-12 hours at night without waking. However, she has begun to cut back on both milk and solids over the last week and, not surprisingly, has started to wake earlier in the morning (although she does not actually cry, neither does she seem to be very hungry). Her eating/sleeping over the last week has roughly been as follows:
7-7.30am 5oz milk (I make up 8 but she will no longer take it) plus a few mouthfuls of porridge and fruit (never the full amount I make up); 11-11.30 am: 3-4oz milk (sometimes as little as 2oz), 2 cubes of vegetables (she was taking 4+), sometimes 2-3ozs diluted fruit juice; 2.30pm: 4-5 oz milk (this is sometimes refused altogether); 5.30pm: 3 spoons baby rice plus 2 cubes fruit (this is the only meal that always goes well) plus diluted fruit juice or a few ounces of milk if she has not taken much at 2.30 pm; 6.45pm 8 oz milk (always finished).
Sleeping generally goes very well during the day: a 30 to 40 minute nap after 9am, between 90 and 140 minutes at lunchtime, and 20-30 minutes at around 4.30, sometimes a little later, depending on how the lunchtime sleep went. She goes down happily at around 7.15pm and was sleeping until at least 6.45am. This can now be as early as 5am.
I am not concerned about her early waking and accept that until solids are really well established she may not sleep until 7am. However, I am concerned that she seems to be eating less and less (and getting much fussier at lunchtime) and cutting back so much on her milk. Her present weight is 17lbs.

Your daughter’s sudden cutting back on both solids and milk could well be due to teething. Babies will often not want to suck so much or have a hard spoon in their mouths when teeth are about to appear. If she continues to not want to take so much solid food or her milk, try offering both at a slightly cooler temperature which will be more soothing to her sore gums. Once teeth have appeared a baby will usually go back to their old eating habits after a few days.

By six months a baby need a minimum of between 18-20ozs of milk if taking solids in the way your daughter is. This includes the milk which is being used for mixing food. At present your daughter is taking that amount (21-23oz). As you will be using milk to mix her cereal, she is getting quite a good amount at breakfast despite cutting back on her milk. Try offering her a different cereal as she may just be bored with the same one each day. Although you feel that she is cutting back, allow for the milk given in her food. In order for her to continue to eat better at lunch, offer her a smaller breakfast of 3tsp cereal mixed with a cube of fruit.

She will cut back on her 11am feed as she takes more solid food. It appears that you offer her diluted juice at this meal as well as milk and solids which could well be filling her up; 2-3 oz or more of juice will take the edge of her appetite as well as make her less hungry for the 2.30pm feed. As she is offered juice in the afternoon as well, cut out giving it to her until she has dropped her milk feed at lunchtime. This should help her increase her solid intake at lunch. Continue to offer her a selection of vegetable flavours making sure you are balancing them correctly, combining a carbohydrate such as potato or sweet potato with another flavour such as carrot or cauliflower.

Use the tier method of feeding for both breakfast and lunch. Offer two thirds of her milk first, followed by solids and then the remainder of her feed. This method will prepare her for dropping the 11am feed completely when protein is introduced at 6 months. Once this happens, then begin to offer her well-diluted juice or water after she has taken at least half of her solid food.

Using the tier method and cutting back on the juice offered at lunch, should see your daughter taking a bigger 2.30pm feed. The fact that your daughter accepts her tea well, showing that she is hungry does point to the fact that she is filling herself up with juice at lunchtime.

If early-morning waking continues begin to cut back on her late afternoon sleep by 10 minutes so it is really just a catnap to get her through to 7pm.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My 8.5-month-old son has started to refuse both milk and solids

My son has been refusing his formula the past few days. First it was only mornings, now its the 14:30 and 18:30 bottle as well. I’m not giving him more solids, and he doesn’t get water or diluted juice when he doesn’t drink his milk. Today he even refused his evening meal. I woke him up at 20:00 to give him milk, but he simply refused it. He normally loves his home-cooked food. What am I doing wrong? I don’t think he’s teething at the moment.
He also started waking earlier and earlier. He cries 3-4 times a night, regardless of how much he slept through the day. He obviously gets less sleep at the nursery [3 days a week], but copes happily with it. At present he sleeps at 8.50-9.25am, 12-2.00pm and 4.30-4.40pm. He is settled by 7pm. Most times he settles himself during the night, unless his sleeping bag restricts his movements as he now rolls unto his tummy and he can’t roll back unto his back. He won’t sleep on his tummy. I normally go into the nursery, and turn him on his back, with the light still off. I never speak to him or pick him up during the night.
We’ve been so proud of him. He’s really doing wonderfully on the routine, even though it doesn’t sound like it now.

As your son has been both off his food and milk for the last few days, watch him closely for any signs of infection possibly in his ear or throat which could be causing this. If you are at all concerned then take him to be checked over by your doctor.

Teething can cause a baby to cut back on their food and milk, especially just prior to a tooth erupting. It seems that there are often three days leading up to the eruption, three days whilst it comes through and three days whilst the baby gets over it. If his gums are sore then sucking and chewing will cause him pain. He may take his milk and solids better if they are cooler than usual as this will cause him less discomfort on his tender gums.

As your son manages to settle himself at night, it does not appear that hunger or discomfort from teeth are the cause. It could either be habit, in which case letting him settle himself is the best policy, or he is very tired and falls into an exhausted sleep at 7pm. The cutback on daytime sleep on nursery days could be affecting his sleep overall. You may need to give him an extras 15 minutes at lunchtimes on his non-nursery days to make up for this.

Many babies do cry out in their sleep as they become more mobile and begin to move around their cots. They will bang against the side and often sleep in the strangest of positions. Their cries are usually when asleep as they move around a bit. Although you are aware he is uncomfortable, try not to go in straight away to turn him back onto his back but wait a few minutes to see if he is able to do this himself. He may begin to grow dependant on you to help him roll back and begin to associate getting back to sleep with your presence. Practice rolling both ways by day to help him be able to do this himself at night.

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.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My 6.1-month-old son is refusing his solids and not really enjoying his milk feeds

My son is now 6 months and 1 week and the last few days he’s been refusing his solids. He drinks 180ml (6.2oz) in the morning, which he takes with no problems, but the solids that follow he just doesn’t seem to want. I have to make him smile and sneak the teaspoons in his mouth. He used to really enjoy his solids, so I’m not sure what the problem could be. For his 11.30am feed he started crying when offered his bottle and only takes about 3 tsp of solids, which is forced in him. I thought it could just be that he’s not hungry so I moved the feed to 12, but it’s still the same. After some fighting he eventually drinks his bottle, but in the process it looks like he’s going to fall asleep, but then when I put him down after this he doesn’t fall asleep for a while. He has his normal 1 hour sleep from 9-10, so it’s strange that he would be dead tired by 12. Last week he got his two bottom teeth and he’s cutting two teeth on the sides at the bottom. Could that be why he doesn’t want to eat? What should I do? I’m worried that he is losing weight.
He presently weighs 9kg. He takes 180ml formula at 7.15am and 3pm, 90 ml 12 midday and 240ml at 6.30pm. He is offered three solid meals a day. Breakfast 3tsp maize cereal with 2 cubes of fruit (but taking none at the moment), chicken risotto at lunch and a blended vegetable meal at tea. He drinks about 80ml diluted juice during the day.
He sleeps at 9-9.45am, 12.20-1.30pm and 4-4.30pm, settles at 7pm- 6.30am.

Teething can cause a baby to not want to feed so much. The feel of a hard spoon against the gums can be painful, especially if a tooth is about to break through the skin. Some babies don’t always want to suck much either as this can be uncomfortable. One idea which can help over this time is to offer food and milk at a much cooler temperature than you usually do. Fruit puree can be offered cold which is soothing to sore gums.

As a general idea it usually takes three days for a tooth to begin to erupt, three days to actually break through and three days for the gum to recover. If your baby begins to get teeth one after the other quite quickly you can see that his gums may well be sore and tender in several places.

Try using a gel for soothing gums or granules, both widely available about 20 minutes before a feed is due. If you feel that your son is in real pain from his gums seek advice from your doctor who may suggest giving a small dose of infant pain reliever before feeds.

If you son is able to hold finger foods, cool some peeled batons of cucumber in the fridge and offer him those to suck on before offering him his solid food. Now he is taking protein at the 11.30am feed he needs to cut back on this feed. Giving milk to drink alongside protein can reduce the absorption of the iron contained in it by up to 50%. Begin to offer him a drink of cooled boiled water once he has taken his solids.

As teething comes and goes, there is often quite a gap from the first few teeth appearing to the next. A few days of not taking so much solid food should not affect him too much as he is still sleeping well at naps and in the night and not waking hungry early in the morning.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My almost 9 month son is beginning to clamp his mouth shut when offered his solids

For about the last 3 weeks, my son who is almost 9 months old has been refusing breakfast solids after being giving most of his milk. I have ignored this and offered him toast of which he eats some.
Over the past 10 days, he is now refusing to eat anything that I offer to him on a spoon. He clamps his mouth shut and goes bright red in the face in refusal. This was just happening at lunchtime but is now happening at tea as well. I did think it might be his teething as he has a 5th tooth coming through, but he goes to nursery one day a week and always feeds well there. His twin brother is a good feeder and consistently eats a good amount. Because there are 2 of them, I do not have the time to spend with him, so if he doesn’t want it, I tend to ignore him and carry on feeding his brother. I am worried that he will be losing weight. I am offering finger foods, which he has a go at eating, but most of it ends up elsewhere!
So far it does not seem to have affected his sleep, but I want to sort this out before he does start waking from sleep hungry.
He takes Ready Brek or Weetabix at breakfast with fruit. A piece of toast is offered. Lunch; 4tbsp lamb mince and mashed potato; he eats 3 spoons, organic yogurt. Tea; 3tbsp leek and potato soup: he eats 5 spoonfuls, apple pieces offered.

Now that your twins are almost 9 months old they will probably not be so hungry for their milk first thing in the morning. Begin to offer it in a beaker along with their cereal. If his disinterest continues try a different cereal as some babies do get bored with the same one or two cereals offered daily.
At meal times offer him a spoon to hold and encourage him to have a go at feeding himself. Begin with easy things such as mashed potato which will stay on his spoon quite well. It may take him a while to get the hang of feeding himself but will keep him absorbed and he will not notice that you are also feeding him.
Continue to offer him finger foods. This is another skill which needs to be learnt. Try with steamed vegetable batons and offer them with a dip. Show him how to dip his vegetables in. Use pieces of bread roll to spread with a casserole dish. Offer this to him while you are feeding him from his bowl. Having something to hold in their hands and to keep them occupied will often help with babies of this age who are on a food strike. When you are giving a thick vegetable soup give him a finger of toast or mini sandwich to dip into it.
Begin to push lunch onto 11.45/12 noon. Now they are older they will be able to wait longer unless they had a very short morning nap and maybe too tired to eat lunch properly.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My daughter of 7.5mths has begun to refuse all savoury food

Over the last 4 weeks my daughter has been refusing savoury food. She had started on fish and chicken successfully for a week and then stopped eating any savoury foods. She will happily eat yoghurt and custard and can be tempted with fruit purees but is wise to any ‘tricks’ I try to sneak in some vegetables or protein. She has had various colds and coughs during this time and the week before last she had diarrhea, vomiting and an ear infection so did not eat any food at all (on GP advice). I am aware she is not eating enough as she has not put any weight on in the last 3 weeks and I know she also needs protein. She has no problem taking her milk or breakfast cereal (porridge or up to 1 weetabix with full fat milk) She weighs 18lbs 6ozs.

My daughter drinks 7-8ozs formula at 7am followed by breakfast. She is offered water and a small snack such as a rice cake at 10am. Lunch at 11.45am is 1-2cubes of fruit and a yoghurt or custard. She drinks 7-8ozs formula at 2.30pm and has tea at 4.30pm. This is toast and butter and/ or 4 cubes of fruit puree. She drinks 6oz of formula at 6.30pm.

My daughter naps at 9-9.45am, 12.30-1.30pm and 3.30-4pm. She sleeps from 7pm to 6.30am.

It can be difficult to tempt a wary eater, especially after a period of illness when her appetite may not yet be back to normal.

To encourage her to try more savoury things and eat protein again you will have to reintroduce them gradually. Begin with the sweeter root vegetables such as carrot, parsnip and sweet potato. Mix a very small amount of vegetable into her fruit puree. Gradually, over a period of days, increase the amount of vegetable and decrease the fruit puree. Don’t try to hurry the process. You will need to make the change from sweet to savoury slowly. In the same way you can begin to add protein to her diet again. Place a teaspoon of pureed chicken casserole into her fruit/vegetable puree at lunchtime and gradually build up the amounts. This method will take time yet it should ensure she begins to eat a far wider range of food. Always offer the food with a happy, smiling face and make encouraging noises to her as a baby will quickly pick up from you any hesitancy that she will accept the food.

At the same time offer her finger food. Cook a tablespoon of mixed frozen vegetables and offer her one or two pieces at a time. The different colours and textures should encourage her to pick up and taste the vegetables. Finger food can be messy and it can take time. Keep offering it to her even if most of it ends up on the floor. Once she is happy to try savoury things you can always spread casserole puree onto pieces of bread roll for her, so she can feed herself whilst you carry on spoon feeding her.

Unless your daughter shows signs of being really hungry at 10am offer a drink only at this time. Until she has a better appetite, giving her a rice cake mid-morning will take the edge off her hunger for lunch. It would be better if she was taking 4 cubes at lunchtime and beginning to cut back on her afternoon milk. This, in turn, would allow you to offer a more substantial savoury tea as her appetite returns. In the same way as at lunch, offer her a fruit puree mixed with sweet root vegetables. As she accepts a more savoury diet her tea can begin to be based around thick vegetable soups, vegetable bakes or pasta with vegetable or cheese based sauces.

Once your daughter is eating more savoury food offer her fruit puree at breakfast time with her weetabix. If she seems hungry after her savoury lunch and tea then offer yoghurt, milk pudding or fruit puree but try not to make this something she expects. If she knows that sweet things are always on offer she may cut back on her savoury intake again.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My 8mth son eats well in the company of other people but is rather fussy when at home with us

My son eats his solids well when he is entertained: e.g. at Nursery – he has other children/people to watch, and he was quite content during our recent family holiday to eat whilst watching everything that everyone else was getting up to (we have a large extended family!). However, at home with just 2 parents, he fusses much more. He is particularly difficult in the evening – logical, because he’s tired (and so are we!) – But it is worrying because he may not take enough food to get through the night comfortably. That said, he hasn’t been waking, except when he had a cold. Do you have any strategies for making this time more enjoyable and less stressful for all of us, please? PS I am gluten intolerant, so my son will not be having gluten until he is 2 years old.

He is breast fed at 7am, 2.30pm and 7pm. He is offered juice and water after his naps and during lunch and dinner.

8.15am, rice porridge and fruit
11.30am, meat and vegetables [including potato], raw fruit given as finger food.
4.30pm snack of rice cake and fruit
6pm rice with vegetables and fruit followed by fruit puree

As your son is tired by his dinner time, this meal needs to be food which is easy for him to eat and will fill him up for the night ahead. Providing he has eaten about 2ozs of animal protein at his lunch there is no need to offer meat again at dinner.

Take a look at Gina’s Weaning Guide which has plenty of suggestions for dishes to make for this time of day. Although your son joins you for his evening meal it may help to give him dishes of food which are more suitable for him to manage at this time when he is tired. Some things to try are jacket potatoes and beans, thick vegetable soups [which you may enjoy as well], lentil and vegetable bakes. As these meals are all high in carbohydrates they will fill him up.

You may have to feed your son if he is getting tired but offering him some nutritious finger food as well should sustain his interest. Offer him sticks of lightly steamed vegetables or some fingers of cheese. You may like to offer a dip with these if your son will eat a little more that way. Encourage him to have a go, using a spoon or fork. Self feeding can be messy but he will soon learn how to lift his spoon if he is given the opportunity to try.

It is good that you are involving your son in family meals as this is the way he learns about the social side of eating. When there are lots of people around the table he is not the centre of attention and so probably eats far better. With just the two of you at the table it is likely that you pay him a lot more attention and are conscious of how much he is eating. He may well sense this and so play up more. Although you will want to involve him at mealtimes don’t always focus on him. If you and your husband want to chat about the events of the day then do so. If your son has enough easy to eat finger foods he will listen to your talk and feed himself at his own pace. Keep the atmosphere light and relaxed with no pressure from you to eat “just one more spoonful”. Try not to discuss within his hearing your concerns over whether he has eaten enough. Babies can very easily pick up on tension and stress. Once your son shows that he has finished his meal then remove his plate. If you are still eating your own meal and your son still seems a little hungry, offer him some fruit or natural yoghurt and fruit puree.

If you offer your son small amounts of a variety of food he is more likely to try them than if he is given one or two foods such as potato and meat mashed up together. Separating out his food into a divided bowl. so he is able to see exactly what foods he is being offered, may encourage him to eat a larger meal.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My 6mth daughter is happily established on solids but does not like home cooked vegetables or jars containing protein

My 6mth daughter has accepted her solids well and has been established on 3 feeds a day for the past 2.5 weeks. This has consisted of baby rice or mixed breakfast cereal and pureed fruit for breakfast, a variety of vegetables for lunch and baby rice and pureed fruit for tea (as per the contented baby book of weaning).

I have attempted to introduce fresh home cooked pureed vegetables but I find she will only take a mouthful or two before gagging and spitting them out. So as not to interfere with her feeding routine I opted to stay with the canned vegetables and fruit as she liked them and it was an easy option.

Now that she is 6 months of age and has been on solids for approx 6 weeks I would like to introduce protein. We tried her on the canned option of chicken and vegetables and she took one mouthful of this and then gagged at the next two before spitting out the third mouthful. I stopped offering her this food and went back to her normal vegetable lunch.

I tried her on fresh mashed banana a couple of days earlier and got the same result so again went back to the canned option.

Have you got any advice on how to get my daughter on to home made vegetables and rice and also how to introduce protein without getting the gag spit response.

My daughter feeds at 7am 200mls, 2 tablespoons baby cereal and 3 cubes of fruit puree. 11.30am 150mls formula or expressed breast milk, 5 tablespoons stage 1 vegetables, varied. 2.30pm 150mls formula or expressed breast milk, 6.15pm 200mls formula, 3tsps baby rice mixed with fruit puree. My daughter weighs 8kg [17lbs 10ozs].

She naps at 9-9.30am, 12-2pm and 5-5.15/30pm. She settles at 7pm.

The taste and texture of home cooked food is different from processed food in cans and jars so your daughter may take a time to adjust.

To help your daughter, make up a recipe similar to that in a jar of vegetables which she likes. When first starting to change over to home cooked food blend it to a very smooth consistency. Then mix one teaspoon of the home cooked food with the processed food and feed it to her As she becomes used to the denser texture and stronger flavour of home cooked food you can gradually increase the proportion of home cooked food to the processed food. Once your daughter is enjoying an entire meal of home cooked food you can gradually begin to blend it less so she becomes used to having food that is more textured.

When you introduce a new food, such as protein, you may find that your baby gags as the flavour is new to her. This does not mean she does not like it. Keep offering it to her over a period of several days, especially at the times you know she is hungry. It can take several attempts before a baby accepts a new taste.

A baby can soon learn that if she gags the food will be replaced by a familiar puree and so she may become a fussy eater. Getting used to lumps and textures can take time but it helps other areas of her development later on. Chewing is one of the early stages in learning to talk, so it is important to keep trying your daughter with more textured food now.

Now that your daughter is six months old the iron supplies laid down at birth are running low. Speeding up the weaning process to include iron rich foods needs to take place, especially as she is taking time to accept protein. Look at Gina’s article Weaning Guidelines on the site. You will need to work quickly through the food groups, introducing a new taste every other day to provide all the nutrients your daughter now needs.

Make sure you offer your daughter a cereal which is fortified with iron. Other sources include broccoli, green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils.

When your daughter gags, remain calm and reassure her, then offer her the food again. Gagging is a protective reflex. It helps get food back to the front of the mouth where it can be repositioned or spat out. Some babies will have a stronger gag reflex than others so you may need to proceed slowly but continue to offer new tastes and home cooked food. If your daughter seems to gag, or coughs, a great deal seek advice from your health visitor or doctor. Look in The Contented Child’s Food Bible, page 96 onwards, where gagging and lumpy textures are discussed.

As soon as your daughter is used to home cooked vegetables make up one of the simple protein recipes from Gina’s Weaning Book, such Chicken Casserole on page 75. To get your daughter used to eating home cooked protein, replace one tablespoon or cube of her vegetable meal with a cube or tablespoon of the protein. Increase the amount of protein cubes by one or two every day and decrease the vegetables until she is taking a full protein meal. This will get her used to the stronger flavours as they are mixed in with familiar vegetables.

Continue to blend your daughter’s food but gradually reduce the blending and begin mashing so the textures become less smooth. Getting used to lumps takes time. As long as you stay close, and don’t over react yourself should she gag, she will become more accepting of home prepared food and protein. Always offer new tastes with a smiling face and encouraging words so your daughter enjoys her mealtimes.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

My 7-month-old has suddenly become a fussy eater and won’t open her mouth

I am an older mother (nearing 40) of a seven-month-old baby girl, and pregnant with our second child (in the first trimester). Our daughter, Cassidy, is generally a very happy baby, and has been a Gina baby all her life. Her sleep patterns, her feeding, weaning etc have all been according to Gina, and this has worked incredibly well for us – if we had a wobble, going back to Gina has always sorted it out.
All Gina’s advice has worked really well for us until the last fortnight, when we were suddenly confronted with an apparently fussy eater. With a freezer full of puréed organic vegetables (as Gina advises) and her diet entirely according to Gina’s weaning book, all had been going swimmingly. However, we now have a prolonged session of pursed lips and spitting at every meal. The most frustrating thing is that if we trick her into taking a mouthful she quite happily eats it. So mealtimes are now a long series of tricks designed to get her to open her mouth.
She seems to particularly dislike mushy foods, and has taken to small sandwiches with gusto. However, we are concerned at how we get vegetables into her, and how we can vary her diet. And how we can make mealtimes a bit easier – like they used to be!
Any advice would be wonderful.

Cassidy is beginning to show her independence. I would encourage her to self-feed in a variety of ways. Try to use her love of mini sandwiches. Make her vegetable purées a little thicker, possibly mashing rather than puréeing. Spread these on small pieces of bread or rolls and serve as an open sandwich. Even something like Chicken Rissotto or casserole can be prepared and spread in this way. This way will encourage Cassidy to try a wider range of food. Begin to mash or pulse her vegetables rather than purée as Cassidy needs to get used to a denser texture. Make sure the food is not lumpy – but it no longer needs to be so smooth.

Cook a spoonful or two of mixed frozen vegetables and offer them to Cassidy on the tray of her highchair to feed herself. The colours and textures should tempt her. Make this a more nutritious meal by grating cheese over them whilst they are still hot so it melts. Offer steamed batons of carrots, broccoli, peas and other vegetables suitable for her age. Until she has teeth all of these need to be fairly soft, but firm enough for her to hold in her hand. If she feeds herself well with these you could try making dips of thick soup or casserole and encourage her to eat this way.

When feeding Cassidy give her a spoon to hold, whilst you feed her. This simple trick often works. Encourage her to push her spoon into the bowl, and try to feed herself. Whilst she is busy doing that you may find she will open her mouth for your spoonful without realising it. This stage of eating can be rather messy so be prepared. Use a bib which covers her well, the kind with arms are best. Roll up sleeves or remove any jumpers which may get messy. Cover the floor with a splash mat or newspapers and have face cloths ready.

Babies can often be tired by teatime, so make this an easy meal for Cassidy to eat. If she has eaten a good lunch, then give Cassidy things you know she can feed herself with. Rather than giving her milk at tea time, I would encourage Cassidy to drink water from her sip cup. She then should have her bath and enjoy a larger bottle before bedtime.

By encouraging Cassidy to feed herself, with some help from you, you should be able to continue offering her a varied diet. This is important at this age, as it is easy to go on serving the same meals you know Cassidy will eat. It might take a little thought as to how to present new tastes in a way that will be appealing to her.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – General Food Refusal

6.5 month Henry refuses any savoury food unless it’s sweetened with apple puree

Help. My son is 6 ½ months old, he weighs 18lb and is extremely happy and contented. My problem, I think, has been self inflicted, but I am desperate to get him back on track. I recently weaned Henry from breast to bottle. He wakes around 6.30-7am and I give him a bottle of formula; sometimes he will take 8oz and others 4-5 oz. He then has a little play for a couple of hours and I feed him his breakfast around 8.30am which typically would be fruit puree with yoghurt or baby cereal mixed with fruit. Again, I offer him the remaining milk after making up the cereal and he happily takes this. I then put him down for a sleep which usually is for about 45 minutes. I give Henry his lunch around 12-12.30pm which is usually chicken or fish with vegetables, and this is where the problem starts. He has a little drink of water first, then he refuses to take anything savoury. I made the mistake of mixing apple puree in with this meal and he then would finish the bowl. After this meal, he takes 2-3oz of milk. He then plays for a short while and I put him back down for a sleep, which is usually for about one hour. Dinner is around 4.30pm and I usually give him a rusk mixed with fruit puree and 2 teaspoons of natural yoghurt which he finishes, followed by a bottle of formula and he usually takes around 4-5oz. He plays and then dozes for about thirty minutes in his highchair and is in the bath with his sister around 6.30pm, and ready for bed at 7pm. He is given a bottle then and usually takes 7-8oz. Henry usually sleeps right through, but he has been waking in the night and playing – I leave him and he goes back to sleep. I feel that feeding times have become a constant battleground with screaming and crying unless the option is sweet. I have been tough and not given in, but I need some help over which way to go. Do I go back to basics again?

Henry definitely seems to have a tendency towards a sweet tooth and he will need to gradually be weaned off having his savoury food sweetened. Begin to eliminate the apple puree very gradually and use sweetish vegetables such as carrot and sweet potato with his protein as you begin to decrease the apple.

Once Henry is taking more savoury food at lunch, I would begin to offer a savoury tea, such as thick vegetable soups, pasta with vegetable sauces and vegetable bakes. Introduce him to finger food such as mini sandwiches, small pieces of roll with savoury purees spread on them and lightly steamed vegetable batons of carrot, peas and broccoli florets. Being able to feed himself may help him get used to more savoury tastes and feeding times should be more enjoyable for you both.

Now Henry is taking protein at lunchtime, I would replace his milk at that time with water. Offering milk when protein is being eaten reduces the iron absorbtion from the protein up to 50 per cent. If you think that Henry is still hungry after his savoury, then give him a piece of fruit or a natural yoghurt with fruit puree afterwards.
If you move his tea/ dinner to 5/5.30pm you may find that Henry is hungrier for it and more willing to eat a savoury meal.