Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

I need to get my 6-month-old back on solids after sickness

I need advice how to get back on track after my 6-month-old son has been ill with sickness and diarrhoea for over two weeks. He’s been feeding like a young baby with high fluid intake and totally off solids. He has taken a few spoons of food today, so that’s a good sign, but my health visitor says I should try changing my routine, with milk at 7am, breakfast at 10am, milk at 1pm, then food in the late afternoon. I really don’t want to do this, as Morgan was so happy with Gina’s plan, but I want to get Morgan’s weight back up and stop the two night feeds he has been having, both a full 7oz, one at 10.30pm-ish, and the other around 3am.
Please help as I just don’t know where to start first. Should I start to dilute one of the night feeds now or should I wait? His last weight was 16lb 4oz but should have been around 17lbs according to his growth chart. Will it be a slow recovery? Should I stop worrying? Thanks, Nikki

It is always worrying when your baby has been ill for a while and seems to have regressed in his feeding. It will take a few weeks for Morgan to recover fully and your best option is to progress slowly.

Depending at the stage of weaning you were at when Morgan fell ill, I would go back a little to nearer the first stages of weaning and offer Morgan solids at 11am and 5.30/6pm. Keep the 10pm feed up until his solid intake has increased more in the day but begin to dilute the 3am feed so he will be hungrier at 7am and you can gradually re-introduce breakfast. How quickly you dilute and drop this feed will depend on how quickly Morgan gets back to his old routine.

If he begins to need waking and not being interested in the 10.30pm feed, then reduce and drop it over a period of a few days. You will know how much he is eating in the day so will see when he doesn’t really need it any more. Depending how quickly he recovers his appetite, you may have to give a slightly bigger feed at 2.30pm for a few days until he begins to take more solids at 11am.

At Morgan’s weight, he needs a minimum of 20ozs of milk in 24hrs but some of that can come from fromage frais, cheese sauce and other dairy produce.

Be guided by his recovery and allow him a few weeks to get back to his old routine. If you are at all concerned about his weight gain at the next check, I would seek advice from your doctor.

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.
Zoe

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.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

7-month-old Edward has gone from a fantastic eater to a food refuser

Please help! Edward is seven months old and has been fantastic for ages, we went on holiday and roughly four days after we came back he has been waking several times a night.
His schedule is breakfast of one weetabix with fruit puree and buttered toast fingers at 7.30am and 9oz of milk between 8 and 8.30am; lunch at 12pm of chicken, potato and carrot mixed with fruit puree, 3-4 mild cheese slices and a petit filous with a 2oz drink of well-diluted ribena. He’ll have 8oz of formula at about 3.30pm. His supper at around 5.30pm is something like 2tbs tomato pasta mixed with fruit puree, 3 bread & butter fingers, 2-3 mild cheese slices, 3tbs fruit puree and a drink of 2 oz of well-diluted ribena. He’ll have 9oz of formula between 6.30 and 7pm and then go down for the night. He has a morning nap of 45 minutes at 9.30. His lunchtime nap is two hours or so at about 1pm.
He is refusing his food. I know he is not eating enough but he just clamps his mouth shut and starts blowing raspberries! He will take the first couple of spoons with no trouble but then the only way to get it into him is by putting fruit puree on the front of the spoon, this works for a few more spoons but then he gets wise and won’t take anymore. Meal times have become a real strain, as I am well aware of the fact that if he doesn’t eat enough he doesn’t sleep properly, so I spend ages trying to make him eat his full quota. I have now taken to letting him eat as much or little as he wants because it’s just becoming too stressful spending an hour getting him to eat. He has always eaten fantastically well, so I don’t know what has happened. He loves feeding himself with finger food but as soon as the spoon appears it’s another story. I let him have a spoon of his own but if there is ever food on it, it mainly ends up in his ears or hair . The only meal that actually sees him opening his mouth to take his food without protest is breakfast and even then he sometimes will only eat half a weetabix. I know that he is going down for his lunchtime sleep too late but this is just because he is taking so long to eat his lunch.
The wakings in the night are now catching up on me. I am three months pregnant and desperately need to get a good night’s sleep. I spoke with Gina pre going on holiday and she advised me that he should be having 7tbs spoons of protein at lunch, he was eating that and more on holiday and for a few days when we got back but then suddenly everything went topsy-turvey. I know he is teething but am not sure what I should do. I have on a couple of occasions thought that I should just feed him when he first wakes at around 1am but I really don’t want to start feeding him in the night as I know it can become a difficult habit to break. Even when he was a little baby, he wasn’t waking as many times as this! I am just not used to it. HELP!

Edward does have quite a large intake of milk especially at 8am. If you cut this back by a couple of ounces, he should be hungrier at lunchtime. As he is taking longer to feed, begin at 11.45am so he is having his nap earlier. His afternoon feed should be no later than 2.30pm and a lesser amount to ensure he will be hungry by tea. As Edward is accepting cheese slices and fromage frais, he can cut back on his milk. He needs a daily total of 18-20ozs which includes milk used in preparing his food.
While Edward is being less cooperative about taking his solids, be careful not to offer him his drink until he has taken at least half of his solids and encourage him to only have sips. Too much fluid can quickly fill a baby up and take the edge off his appetite if it’s given at the beginning of a meal. Offer him his lunchtime fluids from a beaker. Try to wean Edward from ribena on to water, if you can, as the added sugars in such drinks also suppress his appetite. Do this by diluting his drinks more and more until he is taking water only.

Edward is obviously beginning to show his independence in wanting to feed himself. He also is teething which can cause temporary problems with accepting a spoon. Use his love of finger food to give him more of his solids this way. You can spread his chicken or other puree on pieces of roll so he is able to feed himself. Make him mini sandwiches with fillings suitable for his age. Pasta shapes can be given with a suitable sauce which Edward can dip into. Lightly steamed vegetable batons can be given with a sauce to dip into or with cheese grated over them when hot. It may take a little more thought to provide him with suitable finger food but will result in happier mealtimes for you both.

Introducing apple puree at each meal may begin a fondness for sweeter food which could escalate into another problem. Depending how good Edward is at feeding himself in this way, you should be able to get more solids into him. Keep persevering with a spoon as well but a teething baby can dislike its feel on his sore gums. This should disappear once the tooth is finally through, so keep trying. Give him plenty of cold finger food if you feel that his gums are sore; peeled cucumber sticks straight from the fridge, frozen fruit and bagels may all help the discomfort and soothe his gums.

At his age Edward will not get much food himself into his mouth using a spoon, but it is a good idea to give him one of his own. By holding your hand over his you can help him dig into his bowl and lift it to his mouth. The action of getting it there is fairly complex and many early self feeders turn the spoon over and lose the contents before it reaches their mouth, but it is only by being given the opportunity to try at each mealtime that they refine their skills. Self-feeding can be very messy. Use all-in-one bibs with sleeves and spread a messy mat or sheets of newspaper under his highchair so that cleaning up is easier. Have one or two flannels ready to clean him up. These should be soaked and washed on a daily basis.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

Since having a cold my daughter of almost 7 months is refusing most solids

I started weaning Olivia at about 41/2 months, strictly following the CLB Book of Weaning. She took solids with no problems and seemed happy on them. About 4 weeks ago she got a slight cold. Since then she refuses to take her solids and is only happy with milk and water. Sometimes she will eat solids (rice cereal and pureed apple or pear) at the 6pm feed. We were at the end of the first stage of weaning when she got the cold.
Olivia is now almost 7 months and weighs 8kg. She has 4 milk feeds a day: 7.30am 240mls, 11.30am 180mls, 2.30pm 180mls, 6.00pm 240mls and 60ml of water at 4.15pm.
She doesn’t seem hungry as she is not looking for feeds earlier or waking in the night. She sleeps well from 7pm to 7am.

It can take a while for babies to recover from illness. Olivia probably found it easier and more comforting to suck rather than eat when poorly. You now need to get her taking more solid food. By this age she really needs to have some protein.
To help her have more of an appetite for her solids, begin to cut back a little on her milk. It would seem that she is filling herself up with milk and just isn’t hungry.
Feed Olivia her milk at 7am, and then offer her a small serving of cereal at about 7.30-7.45am. If she accepts this, then push her lunch forward towards 11.45am.
At 11.45am offer Olivia just 2ozs of milk before offering her some solids. If Olivia refuses the vegetables she was accepting before she was ill, try her with baby rice mixed with courgette puree. This is more like the solids she has been accepting at 6pm. Once she accepts this, replace the rice with sweet potato and gradually reintroduce the vegetables she enjoyed before her illness.
If Olivia still won’t accept solids at 11.45 after a small amount of milk, try giving her 2ozs of milk at 11.15am then a break until 11.45am, when you offer her solids. If she feels hungry, Olivia should be more willing to eat again. Once she is accepting solids at this feed, begin to introduce some protein, as the weaning book explains. Once protein is established at this meal, you can cut back on Olivia’s milk feed and then offer her water to replace it.
Milk can prevent the absorption of protein by up to fifty percent. As Olivia is formula fed she will be receiving some iron from her milk but all babies’ iron supplies run low by six months and they need to be given iron-rich solids.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

My 8 month daughter is uninterested in eating breakfast

My daughter has recently started to refuse breakfast following her breastfeed in the morning. I now only feed her from one side in the hope she will have more of an appetite for her cereal, but this does not seemed to have worked. She is offered Weetabix and half a banana followed by finger food such as toast or a rice cake, but she isn’t interested. Despite her small breakfast she manages to wait until 11.45 for lunch. She eats a protein meal, followed by fruit or yoghurt and has dinner at 5pm with another meal followed by fruit or yoghurt. At both meals she has water from a beaker. She has a breast feed before bed at 6.45pm. Despite eating her lunch and dinner well I find she is not at all interested in finger food and despite my bests efforts eats nothing herself.
She has always been a good sleeper. However she now is waking at around 5.15 and 6.15am, although she settles herself again. When I fetch her at 7.15am she may have been awake for a while but is not crying from hunger. Is this normal?
My daughter is 8 months old and weighs 21lbs 2 ozs.

Not being ravenously hungry first thing in the morning is a perfectly normal stage in your daughter’s development. As she already takes water from a beaker at lunch and tea, begin to offer her milk at breakfast time in a beaker. If you wish to continue with breast milk, express the feed when you wake: this should help her be more interested in her cereals.
If you are not already doing so, begin to offer her something other than Weetabix. Ready Brek is a good choice. Alternate between wheat and oat based cereals as babies can get bored with the same cereal daily and begin to refuse it. Add some grated fruit such as apple or pear to get your daughter used to different textures.
Helping your daughter enjoy finger foods more will take a little thought. She needs to be tempted by different colours and textures. Try offering her a spoonful of cooked, frozen mixed vegetables to entice her. Using simple dips can also work; give steamed batons of carrot or florets of broccoli and a small portion of an avocado dip like Pick up Sticks on p120 of the Weaning book. Show her how to dip and eat. Sharing finger food can help a reluctant feeder who will copy you eating.
Another idea is to make a simple picture on a plate using finger foods, a house or face is easy with steamed vegetables and pieces of toast.
If you sit your daughter in her high chair whilst you get her meal ready, offer a small amount of finger food to keep her content whilst waiting. Her hunger should help her explore a little.
As your daughter is not crying in the early morning and settling herself again don’t worry. As she becomes more active in the day with lots of crawling and pulling herself up on the furniture, this phase will probably pass.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

How can I get my daughter of almost 8 months to take any solid food?

I tried to introduce solids at 5.5 months and things went well for a few days. Then she became ill with rotavirus and the doctor told me to stop weaning until the sickness and diarrhoea cleared up. This took just over 4 weeks. I tried to start weaning again when she was better but now she just clamps her mouth shut and refuses to eat anything. I have tried all sorts of foods, but when I manage to get any food in her mouth she just gags and refuses even more vigorously. I have tried some of the suggestions sent to me via the message boards, but all to no avail. She is 8 months next week and still not weaned.
I have tried solids before, during or after bottles. If I feed her formula first, she throws all her milk back up when she gags.
At present her feeds are 07.15 6ozs, 11.00 8ozs, 14.30 6ozs, 18.30 8ozs giving a total of 28ozs.
She is not putting on any weight and has dropped from the 50th to 25th percentile on her weight chart. At present she weighs 16lbs 2ozs. I am really worried and running out of things to try. She also refuses water. Apart from this issue, she is a perfect contented little baby.

The last few weeks must have been distressing for you, as well as frustrating. There are several more ideas to try to help your daughter become more accepting again of solid food. Firstly, go back to your doctor and ask him to give her a thorough medical examination. Tell him of your worries and concerns about her weight. Ask him to refer to you a speech therapist if her refusal of spoon feeding continues. A speech therapist is trained to understand all the mechanics of swallowing, and can be very useful in cases like this, when a baby has never really had any practise with taking food off a spoon. She should be able to give you some guidelines and exercises to help your daughter accept a spoon more readily.
Whilst waiting for an appointment with a therapist go right back to the beginning of feeding and offer your daughter very smooth, runny baby rice. The consistency needs to be as near to milk as possible, to see if she is more accepting. Offer it mid-feed at 11am. Try to remain calm and detached, although you are so desperate for her to accept food. She will pick up on your tension and resist the spoon. Place her in a baby chair if she has one and keep a happy, encouraging commentary up whilst you offer her the spoon. Keep smiling! Make sure that the rice is warm; it should be the same temperature as her milk feeds are. Even if she accepts just one or two spoons, it is a beginning. Don’t try to make her eat any more, but offer her the same thing again at 5/6pm.
If she begins to accept this really runny rice, add some pear or apple puree to it, but only 1/2 a teaspoon at first. When you have had a problem such as this, it is easy to get carried away and trying to make up for lost time but don’t rush her in these early days. Really advance things very slowly at first, gradually introducing the sweeter vegetables along with rice and fruit puree.
When offering her food on a spoon, make sure you use one with a smallish end; there are special “weaning” spoons available. Don’t place the spoon too far into her mouth as this will make her gag. She needs to learn how to suck off the spoon. Try with very small amounts at first and be prepared for some being dribbled out again. Scoop it up and place the spoon back on her lips for another try. The spoon needs to be angled up towards the roof of her mouth. It is her upper gums which will “suck” the food off.
Sometimes offering a small amount of food from your finger can help. Just dip a clean finger into the rice and see if she will suck on that and then offer it from a spoon.
Another idea is to get someone else, like Grandma to try. As feeding and food refusal is such an emotional thing, sometimes someone who is not so upset and tense about the whole situation is better at starting the process off. Does anyone at your daughter’s nursery try to feed her?

At the same time try to get your daughter interested in finger foods. Try her with bread which you could spread with a puree she accepts. Give her small pieces to gum on, staying with her the whole time. Finding finger foods which are attractive to her will help encourage her to pick things up and put them in her mouth. She may not eat much this way, but it is a good way to get her used to the different textures of food. Offer small cereal pieces such as Cheerio’s, which are very tempting to pick up, as are cooked frozen mixed vegetables. The more involved she is with feeding, the more likely she will accept you feeding her. Let her have a spoon to hold and show her how to dig into her bowl. At first she won’t get much but this is all part of her learning.
Obviously a baby who has gagged a lot can be worrying when they first start with finger food. Gagging is a protective reflex which helps food back to the front of the mouth where she can spit it out or reposition it. It usually happens in babies because they have been given too large a mouthful, or the texture is thicker than that they are used too.
Keep offering her water from a beaker. This can take quite a while for a baby to learn how to do. Have a try with the simplest of beakers. The ones which contain a valve are usually quite hard work and a reluctant baby is better starting with a simple spouted beaker.
Once your daughter is more accepting of a spoon and eating a little more, you can speed up the introduction of protein as she needs this at her age. If she begins to wake in the night through hunger, you may have to re-introduce the 10pm feed temporarily until her solid intake has increased enough to supply her needs in the day.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

Jenna of 6.5 months is beginning to lose interest in her solids

I have started to follow the weaning plan for my second daughter, having had success with it for my first. I began to wean Jenna at 5 months. The first month went really well. She ate a wide range of vegetables and by 6 months was accepting lentils and chicken. However, over the last two weeks she has started to refuse solids. At first it was just lunch and I thought the cause could be tiredness. I moved lunch from 11.30am to 11am but it has made no difference. She screams at the first sight of a spoon. The same thing now happens at breakfast and tea.
I had her weighed this week for the first time in 6 weeks and she has dropped from the 25th to the 5th percentile. Please give me some advice as mealtimes are becoming very stressful.
Jenna weighed 7lbs 1oz at birth and now at 6.5mths is 14lbs 11ozs. She drinks between 20-23 ozs of milk a day.

As Jenna suddenly started to reject the spoon, check to see if her gums are bothering her as she may well be teething. Offering her a cooled teething ring or clean, damp wash cloth to suck on, could help especially just before mealtimes.
Encourage her to become more of a participant at meal times. At this age babies can become quite independent and want to feed themselves. As she is not really able to do this yet let her “help” you. Provide her with a spoon to hold and show her how to dig into her bowl. This can become quite a messy stage but she may accept her food more readily if she can feel it with her fingers. Some babies will happily hold their spoon whilst you carry on feeding them, others prefer to try to get a spoon -loaded by you- into their mouths themselves.
Begin to introduce some simple finger food. Giving this alongside her food will give her something to focus on whilst you get some spoonfuls down her.
Give her some small pieces of steamed or lightly cooked vegetables such as carrot and parsnip batons. Using a spoonful of cooked frozen mixed vegetables is a good way to introduce Jenna to finger food. Very ripe pear can be offered as an alternative. At first you may feel she is not eating very much, but if it offers her a distraction whilst you feed her, then let her experiment with them.
Once Jenna is coping with vegetables and fruit, begin to offer fingers of lightly buttered toast, a rusk, rice cake or bread stick. A useful idea once she is happy to eat bread, is to spread small pieces of roll with some of her solids such as chicken casserole. Again this will encourage her to feed herself.
Whilst Jenna is drinking about the right amount of milk for her age, it may help if you begin to offer her only 2/3rds of her bottle when she wakes at 7.15am. Then offer her the rest once she has had some breakfast. As she is having cereal mixed with milk, this will also add to her daily intake, so cutting back a bit on her 7-8 ozs at 7.15am should help.
Filling herself up with too much milk can lead to rejection of solids. This often happens when gums are sore from teething, as a baby finds sucking more soothing than a hard spoon. Cutting back by a small amount should help Jenna to have a better appetite at mealtimes.
To encourage Jenna to be interested in her tea, offer her a smaller 2.30pm feed. At present 6-7 ozs is probably taking the edge of her appetite at 5pm. Offer her some grated cheese on her teatime savoury, add it to sauces or begin to offer small sticks as finger food. This will all help her continue to keep to her daily milk intake.
Keeping tension out of mealtimes is important for you both, as Jenna will quickly pick up on your feelings, which makes the situation worse. If possible get someone else to feed her at times. Perhaps your partner could give her some solids over a weekend. Try involving Jenna’s sibling at mealtimes. Could they eat tea together? Watching an older child eat can be very helpful, as well as introducing the social side of mealtimes to Jenna.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

At almost 8 months my daughter is refusing nearly all her solid food

Olivia is refusing 95% of her solids. I have tried: self-feeding, spreading veggies on bread fingers, veggie fingers and offering a few ozs of milk then her solids. I have tried to give her a few ozs of milk before solids, but she just grizzles until she gets her bottle (usually after 30-60 minutes of getting her to eat). She has been “teething” for a few months now and I am wondering if that could be the reason, but it could still be months before her first tooth appears. Olivia does not seem to be hungry between meals and is not waking in the night. Mealtimes are becoming quite stressful.
She still has 4 milk feeds a day: 7.30am 240 ml, 11.30am 150 ml, 2.30pm 200 ml and 6pm 240mls. At 4.15pm she has 2-3 ozs water. Her present weight is 7.5 kg.
Her breakfast is: 1tsp yoghurt, 1 mouthful of toast and lunch is 2-3 mouthfuls veggies and /or cheese, chicken or tuna.
She has two naps in the day: 9-9.45am and 12.30-2.30pm and settles at 7pm.

It would appear that Olivia has become rather a “milk addict” which often coincides with a baby who is in some discomfort from teething. Sucking is an easier and more comforting option, but she must begin to have a wider diet and more solid food.
As Olivia is accepting protein, her milk at 11.30am needs to be cut right down so she is absorbing the nutrients from her solid food. Milk can prevent the absorption of protein by up to 50%.
At 11.30am there are two ways to do this: The first way is probably better to suited to Olivia, as she needs to be hungry enough to eat solids. Offer her solids first without her catching sight of her bottle. Babies will clamp their mouths shut if they see that their milk is visible.
Offer her solid food along with some eye-catching finger food. As she should be hungry and accept more, then give her a smaller feed afterwards.
Decrease her milk and begin to replace it with water offered in a beaker.
It is very easy to become tense about rejection of food and a baby will easily sense it. Try to approach mealtimes in light-hearted and happy way, offering her food with a smiling face and words of encouragement.
The other way is, to offer her a feed at 11am, and as she shouldn’t be so hungry she should then take less. Then have a break of 45 minutes and offer solids at 11.45am. This is not such a good option as Olivia needs to cut well back on her milk in order to increase her solids.
At 2.30pm give her a smaller feed and be aware she may be filling herself up with water at 4.15pm which is taking the edge off her appetite at 5pm. Olivia should be eating a vegetarian meal at this time. It can include dishes containing cheese and sauces made with milk which all go towards her daily intake. At her age this needs to be a minimum of 500-600mls a day. As her daily total is 830mls it is easy to see why she is not really hungry at meal times.
In the same way offer her a far smaller feed before breakfast, perhaps having a break between her milk and solids. Give her a couple of different cereals, alternating between oat based and wheat based, so she doesn’t get bored with them. Some milk is used to mix them which again adds into her daily intake.
Introducing solid foods to a reluctant baby, can easily become a difficult issue for all involved. A baby who cries for her milk and refuses a spoon is very difficult and trying. But by structuring the amount and times of Olivia’s feeds, she should be hungrier and more willing to accept a wider variety of food.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

At 7 months my son refuses all solid food and is hungry at night

Samuel is a happy baby and has always eaten well until two weeks ago. Now he refuses everything offered to him regardless of what it is. I have tried finger foods and he just throws them on the floor. I have given him a spoon to hold whilst I feed him; it makes no difference, he just won’t open his mouth. I have tried tricking him by offering water which he will always take and getting a spoon in as he opens his mouth, but he is wise to this now. He is having three milk feeds a day, but because of his lack of food intake is waking once again in the night for feeds.
Last night he woke at 12.15am, I tried not to feed him but he was still crying at 2.15am so I gave in, fed him and he slept to 6.30am. Samuel has been breast fed since birth, he refuses a bottle when offered and has done so for months.
Before this problem began he was sleeping twelve hours a night. Samuel is now grumpy and I am exhausted through lack of sleep.
I have tried teething gel before a feed but that makes no difference. He has had a cold this week but is getting over it, otherwise he is well.
He is taking breast feeds at 7am, 2.30pm, 7.30pm and 2.30am. He takes water at 11.45am. He presently weighs 17lbs 7ozs.
His rejected his breakfast of cereal and fruit puree. He took some pork and apple casserole after being tricked with a feeder cup and the yoghurt. He took some spaghetti and tomatoes with cheese, again eaten by being tricked, along with apples and custard, again taken when tricked into eating. Most of each meal was rejected. He took three cups of water during the day.
He slept from 9-9.30am and 12.30-2.30pm. He settled to sleep at 8pm.

As Samuel had been good about accepting food until his present strike, it would appear that the combination of teething, coming down with a cold and generally a bid for independence have rather affected him.
Teething can cause discomfort whilst eating, and babies usually find it more comfortable to suck.
Giving Samuel a spoon in each hand, may distract him enough for you to feed him. If you place the bowl within his reach, and encourage him to have a go at loading his spoon, he will also be distracted and probably let you spoon more in.
Be aware that filling him up with water at meal times will take his appetite away, especially as it is not that great due to teething and a cold. Try feeding him at least half his meal before you even show him his beaker.
Looking at your notes, it appears that the food he is receiving is ready made although he was weaned on fruit and vegetable purees. When you are exasperated and at your wits end with a reluctant feeder, it is easy to resort to jars as they are quick to prepare and somehow don’t seem such a rejection to you as your own carefully cooked food.
The problem is with commercial food is, that although your baby appears to be eating as much as he would with home-made food, their composition is totally different, so his nutritional needs are not being met in the same way. A lot of prepared food contain sugar, have a high water content and contain starchy fillers to bulk up the ingredients. The protein they contain is much less than a comparable home made meal, and this is what often causes the start of night-time waking again. Samuel is genuinely hungry in the night, as he is just not having enough of the right kinds of nutrients by day.
Now he is over his cold, make up two or three batches of homemade food you know he has enjoyed in the past. A chicken and vegetable casserole and one made with lentil and vegetables would be good to start with. Give Samuel his 7am feed and offer him a small amount of breakfast. As he is still breast fed, you could offer him his breakfast having had one side from you and then see if he wants any more, having taken some solid food. Don’t be in a hurry to increase his cereal too much as you want him to be hungry enough for his lunch.
Make sure he is not too tired to eat at lunchtime. Some babies are ready by 11.30am, especially if eating breakfast at 7am. As stated before, offer him at least half of his solids before he sees his water beaker. Encourage him to help you feed him with his spoons and keep trying with finger food. Make it attractive to look at, so try using cooked frozen mixed veg with its variety of textures and colours. You only need cook a small amount so wont have to feel that all his food is going to waste. Once Samuel is accepting homemade solid food again, begin to spread some of the casserole of pieces of bread roll to encourage him to feed himself.
As Samuel has dropped his milk feed at 11am and is accepting water from a beaker, begin to offer some of his 2.30pm feed in this way too. Having a full breast feed at this time, especially when not eating solids well, will only serve to diminish his appetite at tea, so cutting back on this feed will also help him to eat a good meal later.
Encourage Samuel at meal times even though you may be feeling unhappy about his low food intake. Once he is eating more home prepared food, you can begin to settle him at night with cool boiled water rather than a feed. It may take a few days for him to be eating enough by day to manage to get through the night again. A realistic amount would be about 6-7 cubes at lunchtime, made up of meat/protein and vegetables.
In The Complete Weaning Guide there is a case history on p63 which may help you see how commercial food can affect sleeping through the night.

Feeding FAQ: 6-9 months – Weaning/Solids

At 8-months-old my son gags and chokes on finger foods and lumps

My son will not eat food with lumps of any size nor will he eat finger foods. When this is tried, he gags and coughs until he violently throws up what would appear to be his feed and any previous feeds. As soon as he feels something of a slight lump on his tongue he starts to gag.
I have tried banana in very small pieces, yogurt with small bits, cheese strings, bread and toast with the same result of gagging and making himself violently sick. He has mild reflux and has just been prescribed Ranitidine and Domperidone which he is to be started on. I have been in touch with a couple of baby food manufacturers but neither do food in between puree and lumps.
As I cannot cook, I use jars to ensure he gets the vitamins required.
When he was first weaned he refused baby rice and other mixes, clamping his mouth shut or throwing up. He took to fruit and veg puree (jars) straight away. I am getting to the stage where I am afraid to give him finger foods or foods with lumps as the amount of vomit that he brings up seems excessive. When he has thrown up he is always very hungry at his next feed as if he has emptied his stomach. The nursery staff are also experiencing the same problems with him throwing up, as it was thought that if he saw other children eating things he would copy them. They do try and give him cooked food mashed down without lumps. He has been experiencing problems with being congested and mucus-y for approx 8 weeks and his weight has been up and down with a very low weight gain during this time (approx 5oz), but I have been told that as long as he’s getting fluids in him not to worry too much about food. So I am wary about him gagging and throwing up on lumps at present, if this makes any sense. My son is normally a happy smiley baby and doing very well in all other areas of development.
At present he has a jar of breakfast food or weetabix after having 4-6 oz milk at 7am, at 11.45 he takes a jar of baby food (meat) and a jar of fruit or yoghurt. He takes 3-4 ozs of milk at 3pm and at 5.15pm has a jar of baby food sometimes followed by 1/2 jar fruit. At 6.30pm 4-7 ozs milk.

As your son has problems with reflux, how you get him used to slightly lumpier food and finger foods must be done very carefully. Is there any guidance from your GP or health visitor as the best way to proceed? It may be worth asking them to refer you to a specialist who can help your son to get more used to the feeling and texture of slightly more dense food than jar purees. Possibly a referral to a speech therapist would help as they are specially trained to deal with swallowing, sucking and any problems connected with the mouth and how it develops, as well as actually dealing with “speech” problems. Not only will your son be able to enjoy a wider variety of food, and be able to feed himself but getting him to chew and swallow lumps is linked to his speech development. Some babies may have delays in learning to talk if they are kept on pureed foods for too long. You are certainly doing well to keep trying with him despite the vomiting, which must be distressing for you both, but getting him used to slightly more textured food than first stage jars should be your aim. It would seem that he does not like the feeling of anything slightly textured on his tongue. As he has had jars for several months now, getting him used to the next stage could take some time. It may be best to proceed at a very slow rate, gradually introducing the next stage of food little by little.
One way to do this would be to mix a small amount of a stage two jar in with his stage one. Begin with the smallest amount, about half a teaspoon to a least two or three teaspoons of stage one. Another idea would be to add a very small amount of baby rice or Ready Brek to some fruit puree and gradually add more as he becomes used to it. Try this at the beginning of a meal when he is hungry. At the beginning only offer him one or two spoons of the two stages mixed together before giving him the rest of his meal from his usual jar. Very, very gradually increase the stage two food and reduce the stage one. Although you say you are unable to cook, possibly you could make some home made purees of vegetables and fruit and introduce these to him in the same way, adding a small amount to his usual jars and increasing slowly. The texture of home made food is different to jars as well as the taste. Look in The Complete Book of Weaning for recipes to follow when making vegetable and fruit purees.
Getting a baby used to finger foods takes time and patience. It is important to find food which will easily dissolve in the mouth and have no grittiness, grain or crumbs on which he can choke. It would be a good idea to have a go at trying the foods you wish to offer him yourself, and see how easy it is for you to use your tongue to move the food to the roof of your mouth, then squash it using a jab like movement. As he may only have a few teeth, this is how he needs to cope with food which is not a runny puree. As he has only had purees he will need to be given time to get used to having different textures in his mouth. Once you are sure that what you are offering him does “mush” quite easily when in the mouth then scatter four or five pieces onto his feeding tray or bowl and let him try to pick them up himself. If given too much at one time, babies are apt to swipe all of the food onto the floor, or try to cram too much in. Let him feel the food with his fingers and try to feed himself. Just give him a few pieces before each meal and show him what to do, not by putting them into his mouth for him, but picking a piece up and eating it yourself. If he doesn’t try them don’t worry too much, just clear them away and offer him his meal, but keep trying at each meal. Accept that this can be a messy phase, especially if he likes to pick up the food with his hands and squash it. It is all part of his learning about different textures and perhaps if he tries to feed himself, he may be less likely to gag too much when he feels the texture on his tongue.