Like all parents, you are excited because your baby has reached another milestone. Your baby sits up, has good control of his neck muscles and his head. At the age of six months, babies are ready for solid foods. The scenario starts with making cereal and giving baby a spoonful. Baby spits it out. After a few more tries with mostly the same result, you want to give up. There could be some reasons that the baby has not accepted the cereal or solid foods. However, as a parent, this is not the time to give up completely. First, let’s determine if there was a reason for the reaction you received. All parents must remember to continue breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Your baby will still receive most of the nutrition from your breast milk or formula until they do begin with more solid foods. So continue those important feedings. While doing so, other reasons may be a cause for the baby, not eating solids. Let’s go over some of the reasons, some tips, and maybe some tricks you can try to have success with solid foods and your baby.
Not surprisingly, the first few tries will be rejected.
Due to the texture being so different than what your baby is used to, those first few bites, or more, will be rejected by the baby. Don’t take it hard. This is normal for babies. You can put a few drops of breast milk or formula on the spoon and see if the baby will accept that. If so, then mix the cereal with a little more breast milk or formula. Your baby may or may not take it this way still. This will tell you if it is the consistency or if your baby is not sure of the spoon.
Do not force the feeding.
If the baby still refuses the cereal even after you added more liquid, stop for this time. You can make another attempt for lunch or dinner time. The important thing to remember is that if your baby is forced to take the cereal, this could be traumatizing to the child, and they will get upset each time they see you with the spoon.
Continue the normal routines of bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. Your baby needs to continue to receive this nutrition.
Copycat, you can hope.
Hold the baby while you are eating at the dinner table. If the baby can sit very well, go ahead and put him in the highchair at mealtime. This allows your baby to see you eating, and they will begin to understand the method. You can have a little of the baby cereal at the table and give it another try while you are eating. Just a few tries to see if the baby will use his tongue to push some food back and into his throat.
A little flavor
If, after a few days of attempting the plain cereal, you could add some pureed vegetables or fruit into the cereal and see if that makes any difference. The added flavor may surprise your baby and get him wanting more.
This is also a great time to introduce finger foods to your baby. Follow the guidelines of safety, though. Make sure the foods are super soft and cut into small pieces. Speaking from experience, I did put a couple of spoonfuls of baby cereal on my child’s highchair tray. I did have it a little thicker so that when she grabbed it, it would not all run right off her fingers. Yes, this did work for my first child, but not my second. Other finger foods can be very soft pasta, long strips of cooked vegetables. Long strips of soft meats that the baby can gum and suck on.
If you see your baby push his tongue out repeatedly when you bring the spoon to his mouth, he may not have gained control of this reflex action yet. This tongue reflex is what helps your baby to not choke on foods. However, if they keep pushing their tongue out, it is a sign they may not be ready for solids. Believe it or not, we adults take this for granted when it comes to eating. Being a baby, this work is something they need to learn and develop over time.
Allergy or not?
To determine the baby’s reaction to the foods, do not attempt multiple foods at a time. If your baby did not accept the plain cereal, try adding a vegetable or a fruit. Stick with the same meal for a few days to see if there is a reaction. Each time you add something new, give it a few days to determine if there is a reaction to each one.
Finicky and Choosy
This thought will inevitably cross your mind each time your baby spits out food. Again, this is not guaranteed that they do not like it. It is likely a new flavor or a new texture that your baby has not had before. If it is something new, they will likely reject it. Try it a few times throughout each meal to see if your baby will accept it. You may be surprised at how many foods your baby will like.
Teething, ear infection, or tummy upset
Most people, adults included, tend to avoid food when they do not feel well or are in pain. If you know that your baby is not feeling well, wait with the feeding attempts until they are feeling better. As you can see, there could be any number of reasons that your baby is not willing to eat solid foods yet. As a parent, do not give up. Sometimes all it takes is a second effort. You can also mix the cereal with other food items such as vegetables, fruit, or meats that have been pureed. Just like you, the baby will not like everything right away, but you are better for trying the same food multiple times.