Introducing Solids: What to do when it’s not going well

I can’t tell you how many FB status updates and blog posts I’ve been reading about babies Monito’s age who are JUST LOVING SOLIDS! They jut can’t get enough of every food they try. They want to try, they want to eat, they want to revel in everything they taste.

Not so with Monito. In fact, our experience has been the EXACT OPPOSITE.

My son is not at all interested in solids. In fact, he down right despises them. Everything we put in front of him he dislikes–he’s an equal opportunity solid-food-hater.

We’re attempting Baby Led Weaning. I’m reading the baby led weaning book and it’s all about how babies will explore their food and try their food and LOVE THEIR FOOD.

That is not what’s happening for us. When Monito tries his food, he clearly doesn’t like his food. If it ever gets near his mouth (very rarely) he makes an unimpressed face. Most of the time he also gags and dry heaves and many times he’s made himself vomit. A few times he’s projectile vomited spectacularly, all because he got a spec of food on his tongue.

Clearly the sensitive gag reflex that made breastfeeding, and then bottle feeding, really difficult is still around, rearing it’s ugly head. It’s clear that it’s going to take A LONG time for this baby to actually ingest any solid foods.

And it’s not just when we do baby led weaning. I’ve tried (out of desperation) some purees. He doesn’t like them any better. They don’t make him gag any less. Usually he just hangs his tongue out of his mouth until it falls off, or he starts to gag so I wipe it off (or he pukes, whichever happens first).

I know it’s not really a big deal yet, but I have a feeling that if he’s still not eating anything nine months our doctor is going to recommend… I don’t know… something? I don’t know what else we can do. The boy doesn’t want to eat real food.

I guess my question is, do we keep trying, even though we’re getting nowhere? Or do we wait a month or so and try again. We’ve been attempting baby led weaning for over a month and gotten NO WHERE. I absolutely believe we’d be in the same place now if I had stopped after that first attempt at sweet potatoes and just reattempted with a banana today. We’ve made no progress, despite dozens of tries. We’ve tried different foods, different consistencies, feeding him when he’s hungry, feeding him when we’re all eating and he can watch us and copy us. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but none of it has worked. It’s making me tired, and depressed. Again, I know it’s not a big deal, at least not yet, but the more we fail, the more I think it will eventually be a big deal, and the more I want to not try again.

Part of me thinks, OF COURSE WE SHOULD KEEP TRYING! How will it get better if we don’t try?! And part of me thinks, he’s just not ready yet, and driving us all bonkers trying to make him ready isn’t going to do anything more than frustrate all of us.

So I guess my question is, what do I do? Keep trying twice a day with new things? Or just stop for a week, try again, and if it’s still a no go, wait another week, and so on?

Ugh. This sucks. I can’t help but picture years of fighting over food ahead of us. I don’t know how this could end well.

12 responses

  1. Is he a year old yet? Then stop worrying and let it go. My son waited until 8 or 9 months to want to eat solids. Then a switch turned and he ate everything. He hit the regular picky eating period around 3 and snapped out of it a year or so later. At age 7 he eats everything except tomatoes and has the remarkable ability to stop eating when he’s full, even if he’s eating ice cream or cake. My daughter, also baby led started solids at 4 months. Because she’s a different person. But she also seems to be able to regulate her input, even when eating sweets.

    If he is a year old, then see a doctor in case there’s a physical therapy issue. But before then, stressing out about solids only leads to unnecessary angst.

  2. Does he ever grab for your plate? If so, give him whatever’s on it 🙂 Maybe, just keep offering him small bites of whatever you’re eating, whenever you’re eating to hopefully find something he likes. Another thought is that maybe he’s getting too much exposure to too many different foods, so maybe offer him the same thing all the time so that he gets used to the ONE solid he’s being offered. Additionally, it might be something that needs to be addressed with someone in the medical field. We have friends whose daughter needed therapy in order to eat solids, as she had some functional things with her tongue/mouth that needed some intervention before she’d swallow.

  3. I have no experience with this – my kids are both great eaters. BUT, if I were in your shoes, I’d stop for a couple days, and try a puree pouch next. I make my own pouches, but we buy some too. I’m suggesting the pouch because I bet he’ll reject anything on a spoon by now, but he’ll wonder what the pouch is. Bryson gnaws on them for fun. So just open it, give it to him, help him get it to his mouth, and see if he likes it. It will be a mess… But may be worth it if he’ll try food a different way. Bryson feels very empowered when he gets a pouch! I’d try with apples.

    We tried BLW with Bryson and it just led to choking and vomiting for us. If your kid likes it, I think it’s great, but I’m not sold on it. My kids eat better than any kids we know (I’m serious – never have had mac and cheese, grilled cheese, chicken fingers, fries, fruit snacks, chips, etc and live on fresh fruits, veggies, fish, meat, cheese etc) and it’s because of WHAT we fed them, not HOW we fed them. Our pediatrician, who is as crunchy as they get, agrees that our kids are the eaters they are because of diet and not method. Don’t do purees out of desperation… Just do them. There’s nothing wrong with them, especially if you make them.

    Good luck. Feeding issues are the worst. So stressful.

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  4. Mine hated solids for a while too. And he had a super sensitive gag reflex. To this day (28 months), if he coughs too hard we are ready to jump and catch vomit. He outgrew it a little after 1. He never took to BLW, but he did end up eating purees. He was never a big fan of just one food though, so I mixed them up a lot. And I always stressed because he was tiny. I wish I hadn’t. He finally figured it out when he was ready and while picky now, he is a pretty good eater. So I guess my opinion – hang in there and keep offering, he will get it eventually. Or if you really feel strongly about it, take a break and try again in a couple of weeks.

  5. I was eager to ret bunny on solids because of her reflux, and she hated them. I tried BLW and purées and it was all awful. It turns out she just wasn’t ready. I pulled back for a couple of weeks and then started giving her purées again and she started loving the. these days we’re doing a combo of spoons fed and BLW and playing it mostly by ear and she loves everything. I would suggest pulling back a bit, you don’t want to give him too many negative connotations. Give it a week and try again, definitely keep him close when you eat and pay attention when he shows signs of interest. When I was freaking out about this here’s something somebody said that helped more than anything: there’s a reason they don’t hive bottles and forma in school cafeterias. He’ll come around eventually, because they all do. 🙂 hang in there!

  6. Don’t stress!! Seriously! He’s just not ready. No biggie. As others have said, he will be eventually. As far as whether to stop or keep trying…does he like being in his high chair? If so, I’d say put him in there for family meal times with finger food to just play with (no intention of making sure he eats it). Then maybe it will happen naturally. If he doesn’t like even that, then I’ve heard “wait a month and try again.”

  7. I have the opposite problem. Callen (8 months) gobbles his solids and is slowing down on his interest of breastfeeding, or so it seems. He gags and chokes when we tried BLW and it horrified my hubby, so we switched to purees and scrambled eggs, yogurt. Super hard to problem solve why our littles do what they do, but I think you guys need to take a break on solids/BLW for awhile. Let Monito suck on some pouches in a few days like Courtney suggested. I think that since he’s under a year, it’s no biggie if he doesn’t like solid foods. He might have developed a negative associate with food right since all the gagging/choking with BLW. Give it some time, even a week or longer. He won’t starve if he’s drinking his bottles regularly and seems content. 🙂 Raising babies and kids is SO difficult sometimes! You are doing great though mama!

  8. I’m so sorry solids aren’t going well. I think all the advice above is great- and I agree that you should back off/take a break for a few days. Maybe give him some puffs or mum mums that easily dissolve in the mouth just to play with and see what he does. From his picutres, he is obviously a happy, thriving little guy- you are doing a great job. He’ll get there 🙂

  9. My son had trouble at first too, and gagged a few times (including some fun projectile vomiting episodes). I found he didn’t like liquidy purees, or softened solids (baby-led weaning) and if there was something mildly chunky in a mix of pureed food, he would just gag on the one bit that was different (apparently this can happen because babies will basically drink down finely pureed food as opposed to chewing it, so they then get caught up on something suddenly coming up that is a different texture – hence the gagging).
    What worked for us: I tried plain oatmeal/rice cereal for a few days. Then I added finely pureed veggies/fruit to the cereal so that the pureed food would have some texture but still be fairly homogenous overall. Now I can also do some small bits of soft food like bananas or avocado (though he gagged on the avocado a couple of times) and even Baby Mum Mums and Puffs. He also likes bananas or other soft fruit squished in one of the mesh self feeders. He will chew on that like crazy.
    I never had these concerns with my daughter, who ate everything from day one, and had no allergies (my son has food allergies too), so I was pretty shocked when my son didn’t just dive right into eating solid foot. He seemed to hate it, but it was more that he gags more easily and was having trouble making the transition. Now he is loving meal time, and seems more willing to try new things. Hope this helps.

  10. 1) Food is just for play at that age… really.
    2) Some kids – including mine- get really freaked out by mushy things. Other options that are still non-chokeable, that didn’t make my kids gag: freeze-dried banana cubes (Tar.get sells them in the baby aisle), those little puffs, broken up Ritz crackers or saltine crackers.

  11. Looking back, I can see so clearly that E’s problems with solids started the moment she came home and first tried them at 7.5 months. She hated every bite, turned her head and clamped her lips shut, and gagged a lot. She only projectile vomited a couple of times. I would say to give Monito another month or two, and then I’d have him evaluated by a feeding therapist. He could have a physical problem, a behavioral issue, or he could just grow out of it like it’s no big deal. But I FIRMLY believe we missed the prime time to make E’s problems less severe by waiting until she was 1 to evaluate her and 1.5 to start therapy because the naysayers (including our pediatrician) were all “oh it’s NORMAL!” Sometimes it’s just not normal (see my post today). Feel free to ask questions any time.

  12. My babies were completely disinterested in solids until about 12 months old, and they are all 3 strapping teenagers now.

    I felt a lot of pressure when my oldest was young to ‘get with the program’ (BLW wasn’t around much then), it was a considerable source of stress. With the next two I was more confident and just let things progress naturally. My suggestion would be to give him regular opportunities to explore food, but don’t put pressure on him or yourself.

    All the best with it.

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