Food Strike

Responses to a call for help for a 6 month old on a food strike.

banana

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Original Post:

"My EBF 6 month old is on a food strike. We started giving her rice cereal which she readily accepted. After about 4-5 days, she had tummy troubles (a virus?) which included vomiting and fever. Now she refuses everything. I've tried using my finger, letting her hold the spoon, letting her explore the puree.  She presses her lips together or grimaces and gags at the tiny bits that make it in her mouth. This has been going on for 2 weeks now. Is this normal?"

 

Responses:

 

"I found success after waiting out the strike and then spoon-feeding her milk to get used to being fed something she likes. After a few days, she accepted bananas and milk. Thank you to everyone who offered help and support. Your advice was greatly appreciated. This message board is such a great resource:
If she was ill, you may find that stopping trying for a week or two, and then go back to it I tried different things, and left the pear purees etc to one side, and she never took to baby rice. She liked stronger flavors, and adult food - some homemade soups went down really well around 8-9 mths, but it wasn't until I gave up breast feeding (10mths), and rearranged her milk times that I had any success at all. I found flexibility, trying different times of the day and a whole lot of patience was what was required! Good luck."

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"Generally it's not unusual at all for a 6mo to refuse food. remember that 6mo is the *minimum* time for starting, lots of babies start later - and the solids experience at this age is really for experience and exposure, not for actual nutritional value. We started my older son on solids at 7mo and all we did was offer him a little once a day and just let him do whatever he had to do - it took months before he started truly eating. i have a 6mo now and haven't started yet."

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"I would just keep offering it in a very low pressure way - just offer tastes each day - and not worry about it. it isn't until they're closer to 1y that they start needing the solids.good luck!"

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"I would say don't push it. she may still have a somewhat upset tummy or may have associated the upset with the food and is instinctively steering clear for now. keep offering each day, once a day, but don't force it or have any emotional reaction to her acceptance or rejection of the food. she may just want to EBF for a bit more time before she takes that step again. she may also be enjoying the reaction and attention she's getting from you by not eating--who knows! all babies must become food eaters at some point, there are some who believe that we push food on kids too early and that there's nothing wrong with waiting longer to introduce solids.  until age 1, solids are generally considered practice and not a considerable source of nutrition. you're breastfeeding her, which is great--the most complete meal she can get. so don't worry! all in good time. i bet that in another 2-4 weeks, she'll be into the idea of food. it seems, as soon as we figure out how to deal with one stage, they're onto the next."

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"Is it possible she's teething? My daughter refuses solids when she has new teeth coming in, and I just let it slide until the teeth are out and she is no longer in distress. Good Luck."

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"My daughter did the same thing just a couple weeks after she started solids. She too was about 6 months old. We kept trying (without pushing it too hard) but she never really took to solids until she was able to self-feed. She still refuses quite adamantly to be fed by spoon or by hand, but she eats like finger food like a champ now (at 13 months), and can make almost anything into finger food. Of course, every baby is different - but for us it was very stressful at first, but eventually fell into the category of "this too shall
pass."

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"Sounds pretty normal. I avoided rice cereal because I have a pediatrician who specializes in nutrition. He's actually the only ped I've met who really studies and reads the research on childhood nutrition. He says that babies under one should not eat grains of any kind because they lack the enzyme needed to digest it - amylase. That enzyme is what our body used to do the initial breakdown of grains and other carbs. We avoided grains and fruits until well over age one. Started with pureed strained sweet potatos (with cinnamon). If your child is ready (hungry for more than just breastmilk and interested), she will eat. It's a huge myth that all babies are ready at six months for solids. My lactation consultant who was a nutritionist in her former career also feels that breastfed babies don't need cereal. As she puts it, carbs are not something we need to encourage our kids to eat. They'll want them soon enough. Vegetables on the other hand..."

 

Useful Reading on Park Slope Parents

Refusing Solids