Tips
Tips

What to Do If Your Baby Won’t Eat Solid Foods

By: Kristen Yarker (‌‌)

Have you tried feeding your 6 month old baby solid foods but they won’t eat it? There can be a number of reasons why babies won’t eat baby food. Here’s what to do if your baby won’t eat solid foods.

Why 6 – 7 month old Babies Won’t Eat Baby Food:

  1. Extrusion Reflex is Present: Babies under 6 months old have a reflex where anything that you put in the front of their mouths causes them to automatically spit it out. Babies grow out of this reflex at about 6-7 months. But, just like any developmental milestone, some babies achieve it at an earlier age and some achieve it at a later age. Often parents interpret babies spitting food out of their mouths as their little one not liking the food. But it’s just that their little one still has this reflex – no matter how delicious the food, baby will spit it out.

    What to Do:
    Keep offering small amounts of solid food at least 2 times a day. One day soon your baby will grow out of this reflex and will eat the food.

  2. Eating Skill Development: Nursing, either from the breast or a bottle, is a completely different oral motion than eating solid food from a spoon. Babies need to learn the skill of eating solid foods. In fact, chewing and swallowing is the most complicated motor skill that we learn as human beings. It’s strange that we celebrate first steps but take eating completely for granted. Just like learning any new skill, some babies pick up faster the skill of eating and some are slower to learn. Often parents interpret babies spitting food out of their mouths as their little one not liking the food. But it’s just that their little one still is still learning how to close their lips over the spoon. And, learning to keep their lips closed while they move the food through their mouths and swallow it.

    What to Do:
    Keep offering small amounts of solid food at least 2 times a day. With repeated practice, your baby will get the hang of this eating thing.

  3. Independent Souls: I’ve worked with thousands of babies learning to eat. Most little ones enjoy a combination of purees and finger foods. But just like any group, there are outliers. Some little ones really resist self-feeding and want an adult to spoon-feed them. Other little ones refuse to take anything off a spoon that someone else is holding – they only will self-feed. Often parents interpret babies refusing to eat purees as their little one not liking the food. It’s not that these babies dislike the food. It’s that they’re little independent souls who demand to do things for themselves.

    What to Do:
    Follow your little one’s lead. Offer finger foods. And provide a baby-spoon for your little one to learn to self-feed. Yes, it will take longer for your baby to get much food actually eaten. But with patience they’ll get there.

  4. No Role Modeling: Babies are incredibly social creatures. And, they’re information sponges. They learn a ton by watching the people around them. A powerful way to help your baby eat, is to eat with your baby. Often parents interpret babies refusing to eat purees as their little one not liking the food. But it’s simply that the people who the baby trusts aren’t eating, so baby mimics not eating. This is also why you shouldn’t pretend to take a bite of your baby’s food. Because, your baby will then pretend to take a bite.

    What to Do:
    Take an actual bite of your baby’s food, for your baby to mimic. Even better, coordinate your meals/ snacks to be at the same time as you are feeding your baby solid foods. Pull your baby’s highchair up to the family table. Eat together.

‌‌About Kristen

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Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD helps moms and dads support your picky kids to get good nutrition today, and instill a lifelong love of healthy eating.
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