When your baby won’t eat solids, it can be stressful. Learn why your baby is refusing food and how to get them to eat solid foods with 7 simple steps!
The spoon hits the floor.
Your baby makes a nasty face.
They might even shudder or gag.
All from a bite, or an attempt to feed your baby solid foods. It’s totally unexpected when babies respond with such disdain for baby food or table food. As parents, we’re often excited about this new milestone and it’s shocking when your baby won’t eat solids.
In real life though, it’s quite common for babies to gag on solids, seem uninterested, and outright refuse food.
While knowing it’s “normal” for babies to not seem interested in solid foods, even though everyone else’s baby seems to be gulping it down by the jar full, it still leaves the question, “How do you get a baby to eat solids?”
Well, I happen to know a thing or two about that. First, because I’ve personally helped a lot of families get their babies eating solids as a pediatric occupational therapist with over a decade of experience, but also because I’ve been there with my own son…
Going through it as a mom was a whole different ball game.
Of course, I knew that it was normal for babies to refuse baby food when it was first introduced, and I also knew that some babies didn’t much prefer baby food, but my Momma heart was worried. The worrying got worse when I watched my son act like he could’ve cared less about the delicious homemade sweet potatoes that I whipped up, as he turned his face away and threw the spoon across the room.
Meal after meal.
Day after day.
And, week after week.
With each passing day that he refused to eat solids, I got more worried, and more frustrated as I’d watch the food I’d prepared literally go down the drain. There came a point when I knew I needed to do more, to put some of my OT skills to use in my home, and that’s what I’m going to share with you here, because I know how stressful it is when your sweet adorable little baby won’t eat solids.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know :
- Why your baby is refusing solids
- Why they used to eat solids, but don’t anymore
- How to get them to eat solids and table foods
- Ways to get them more help (if you need it)
*Keep a look out for the free printable at the end too, if your baby is struggling with table foods!
Affiliate links used below. See our full disclosure.
Why Your Baby Won’t Eat Solids
There are a lot of factors that can actually play a role in any baby’s refusal to eat solid food. We’re going to walk through each of them below, but know that the reason your baby isn’t eating solids could be any one or combination of them. With a little detective work, you’ll figure it out!
Also, age has a little do with it, and will help you hone in on what’s going on.
6 or 7 Month Olds That Refuse Solids:
- Baby isn’t ready yet – 6 months of age is the perfect time to introduce baby to solid foods, but sometimes the baby isn’t ready. Actually, this is really common when the baby is closer to 4 and 5 months old if you’re starting a little earlier, but is still totally normal at 6 months of age.
Babies are still learning how to move their tongue and bring toys to their mouth, which helps them get used to having foreign objects in there. Each baby is unique and yours may just need some practice if they are in this age range.
They also may still be developing good trunk and head control, without it, eating is difficult!
Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for introducing food and make sure your baby is ready for solids. You can also find my guide to Introducing Solids with more details on milestones to look for when 6 months old.
- A strong tongue thrust reflex – Most babies usually lose this reflex that helps them not choke if something accidentally gets into their mouth around 4-6 months, but it may linger for some.
If you notice that your baby still thrusts their tongue out every time you touch the spoon to their lips, they may need a little more time. It’s really hard for them to eat when they keep shoving their tongue out of their mouth!
- Doesn’t like the way food feels – Solid food is something so new and unfamiliar to babies, it can take a while for them to get used to the new texture in their mouth. Many babies do in fact get used to the feeling of solids, but some don’t.
Read more about that below under sensory.
8, 9, or 10 Month Olds That Refuse Solids:
- Sensory – By 8 months of age, most babies are ready from a developmental standpoint, and at this age, it’s definitely time to get the ball rolling, but some babies (like my son) still refuse. One of the most common reasons why older babies still won’t eat solids is because they don’t like the texture.
This boils down to the way their brains are thinking about (or processing) the sensory input they feel (aka the food in their mouth).
This isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t necessarily mean they have any kind of diagnosis, but it does mean we need to take some extra steps to help them tolerate the texture of food better. You can head to sensory issues with food to learn more.
Babies that are sensitive to different textures usually gag immediately at the sight, touch, or taste of food.
- Coordination – Eating actually requires a lot of muscle coordination from opening the mouth, pulling food off of a spoon, closing the mouth, and effectively swallowing.
We take this for granted and don’t even think about it, but for some babies, it just isn’t coming natural.
Babies that are having difficulty with coordination, or oral motor skills (find exercises with that link,) usually gag when trying to swallow or after getting the food into their mouth.
Or, the food may fall out frequently, and babies won’t eat solids because they just don’t know how. When they don’t know how to eat, it isn’t that fun, and there isn’t a lot of interest.
If gagging is something you’re concerned about or is happening often, read more in guide on baby gagging.
- Food allergies – Believe it or not, sometimes babies will avoid certain types of foods because they’ve associated an upset tummy with the yogurt or cheese for example. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s something to consider, especially when it’s very specific allergenic food.
The most common types of food allergens are dairy, egg, soy, wheat, tree nut, peanut, fish, and shellfish. Severe eczema is another indicator that food allergies might be present.
Sometimes, signs become more obvious when cow’s milk is introduced.
- Not into baby food – While this is probably the least likely reason your baby is refusing solids, it is possible.
If you’ve consistently offered baby food or infant cereal with no interest from your baby and you don’t see any of the sensory or coordination signs we talked about above, then you might just might want to move on to table and finger foods.
One way to do that is using a Baby Led Weaning approach, before you do that though read my BLW pros and cons.
*Get a seat in my free workshop and learn 5 big feeding mistakes that might be stopping your child from learning to eat. We’ll send you a free workbook too!
Why Baby Won’t Eat Solids Anymore (They Used to?)
- Some teething babies won’t eat – While it’s not as common, some babies start off eating baby food and then suddenly stop. A frequent cause of this is teething, and some babies teethe for a very. long. time. If your baby’s teeth are swollen, red, and seem to hurt, then this is likely the cause.
Try putting some teething gel on their gums 15-20 minutes before a meal. If you see an improvement, this is likely the culprit. Here’s a natural teething gel I like, but check with your doctor first.
- Going through a phase – Babies may get a little bug or slight cold that we aren’t even aware of or have some negative experience with food that seemed too minor to us as the parent, but makes them leery of eating.
If it’s the latter, some sensory sensitivities can develop if a baby goes for a while without eating any food. If this is the case for your baby, you’ll want to follow the steps below and focus on not pressuring your baby to eat. It’s really important that mealtimes are a positive experience.
- They’ve outgrown baby food – If your baby is later in their 7th month or older, they may just be sick of solid baby food and ready for the real deal table and finger foods. That may mean it’s time to change up baby’s diet!
I know that seems scary and makes some parents nervous. Don’t worry though, if you think this is why your baby suddenly won’t eat solids anymore, then head to how to transition to table foods.
How to Get Your Baby to Eat Solids
1. The absolute first thing I do with a baby not eating solids is to put a scoop of baby food or some other pureed food like yogurt onto the tray of their high chair.
I know, the mess. It’s soooo important for babies to get messy though! If you’re skeptical, you’ve got to read: Why Babies Should Get Messy Eating. It will totally change your perspective and give you the inspiration to embrace the mess.
2. Encourage your baby to touch the food, but don’t force. Be silly and keep it light. Demonstrate.
If they refuse, try and try again. In fact, at every single meal, put a dollop of that food on their tray or even in a bowl that they can play with and touch. If they won’t touch after a few attempts, offer a spoon for them to stick into the food too.
This is one of my favorite beginner spoons that makes it really easy for baby to get some food onto it.
3. Once your child touches the solid food, you’re on your way! Allow them to touch, spread, and put it all over the tray and themselves. This is wonderful for their sensory processing and will make a huge difference in helping them get used to the texture of solids.
If they get upset once they’ve touched the food, or that they are now all messy, be very calm and reassuring.
Have a wet washcloth ready and quickly wipe them down. And, if this is how they respond, it’s a sign that you need to practice playing with these foods a lot! The more they touch and interact with the food, the closer they’ll be to eating it.
4. When baby has the food on their hand and they’re at least tolerating it, show them how to take their hand to their mouth, so they can taste it. You may need to demonstrate if baby won’t let you guide their hand.
Repeat this several times. After they eat from their hands several times, offer them some solid foods from a spoon.
5. You can also give them a large whole raw carrot or celery stalk at meals. I mean the whole darn thing. The point isn’t for them eat it (and if they can get pieces of it off, take it away), but for them to put it into their mouth.
When they do this, it helps desensitize their gag reflex and they get to practice biting, chewing, and moving their tongue around. It’s amazingly powerful and can make a big impact in a baby accepting solid foods. Make sure you demonstrate and keep offering at every meal.
6. Be consistent and patient. I can’t stress this enough, even though it’s often easier said than done! Have regular meals and follow the above steps 1-3 times a day for every meal. You can find sample schedules for babies ages 6 – 7 months, 8 – 10 months, and 11 -14 months if you’d like a guideline to follow.
7. Focus on meals being positive experiences for the baby, even if they aren’t eating anything. As parents, we can bring a lot of stress with us to meals, which can be hard to hide. But, this is definitely a “fake it til you make it” kind of situation.
Take a deep breath, put on a happy face, and work on the above steps. Going into the meal with no expectations of them eating anything will also help keep your frustration level down.
To learn MORE, grab a seat in my free online workshop.
In it, you’ll learn 5 big feeding mistakes that are stopping your baby or toddler from learning to eat table foods! It’s an eye opener and will help you take steps to give them the best start with eating table foods well (even if it already isn’t going well):
Strategies to Use Outside of Meals for Baby’s Refusing Solids
There are a few really powerful strategies you can use away from the highchair that will directly impact your baby eating solids during meals. Might seem strange, but if you suspect your baby is refusing because of sensory or coordination difficulties, doing these activities can be total game changers:
- Brush their teeth – If you haven’t started yet, brush their teeth, and when you do, make sure you’re getting all over their gums and the sides, as well as the top of their tongue.
It only takes a few seconds, but it helps to both desensitize their mouth and improve coordination because the tongue gets practice moving in different directions. If your baby doesn’t like it, take it slow, and try often.
The more often you brush, the bigger the effect. Try for one to three times a day, and consider a vibrating toothbrush (yes, even for babies) for more powerful input in their mouth.
- Play in sensory bins – That may be a new term to you or you might be wondering what the heck that has to do with eating, but playing in different textures is super powerful and helps the sensory system understand different textures better.
This correlates directly to eating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a kiddo that plays in sensory bins frequently, suddenly start eating more foods (my son included). Head to Sensory Bin Ideas to learn how to set one up.
- Chew on toys – So many babies that won’t eat solids never put toys or teethers in their mouth, which is really easy to overlook. If this is your baby, pull out a bunch of different teethers and have them around the house.
Demonstrate. Dip them in food or juice. Play with them in the bath. The more often they get teethers and toys into their mouths, the more it will help improve the coordination their mouth muscles need to eat and desensitize their gag reflex and sensory system.
I really love this teether because it gets in the back of the mouth and this one vibrates (all my friends get it from me at their baby shower).
Help for the Baby Not Eating Food
I’m not just talking about solid baby food or purees. You may have a baby that won’t eat any type of food, like puffs, cut up fruit, or toast. They’re getting older and older. You’re getting worried.
Following the above steps will be incredibly important for your babies too, especially the strategies for outside of a meal. But, you’ll also want to use the steps I outline in getting your baby to eat table foods.
That’s a whole different animal all within itself, and there are some targeting tips that can make all the difference in your baby eating food.
You’ll want to focus on small pieces, and by 9 months of life be attempting table or finger foods.
While I don’t want you to worry, I know it’s tempting to keep waiting it out, and unfortunately, some doctors advise this quite often. This often does not help your baby to learn to eat wide variety of foods.
Babies instinctively learn to chew between roughly 8 and 11 months of age, when they move past that, it can be much harder for them to accept foods. It’s not impossible, and the same steps apply for older children, but it’s much better to be proactive then taking a “wait and see” approach.
Puffs, lil cheese curls, and baby mum mum’s are all great for baby’s first foods.
When to Get More Help for a Baby Not Eating Solids
If your baby doesn’t like solid baby food and won’t accept any table foods of finger foods by 9 months old, it’s a good idea to get an evaluation either from the free early intervention program in your state or from a feeding therapist.
You can also read more about typical feeding milestones for babies just to have a reference point. As I said earlier, all babies develop at a different pace and needing a little more help is very common.
Get My Free Printable: Learn to Eat Table Foods Cheat Sheet
There seem to be more questions than answers when you’re under the daily stress of your baby or toddler not eating table foods. Not to mention all of the well-intentioned bad advice that’s often given. Let’s clear that up.
I’ve created a free 5 page guide that clearly lists the steps to teach your baby or toddler to eat table or finger foods, plus a FAQ guide for parents to ease their worries when their babies won’t eat!
Get your free Learn to Eat Table Food Cheat Sheet printable here!
More on My Baby Won’t Eat Solids
How to Teach Your Baby to Self-Feed
How to Teach Your Baby to Drink from a Straw
The Best Mealtime Utensils and Tools for Babies
Click here to Pin This! (You’ll have as a quick reference)
Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 17 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.
Hi! I have an 11 month old boy that will barely eat anything other than purées. He’s had two “phases” that lasted a couple of weeks each where he wouldn’t eat ANYTHING. We chalked it up to having a cold/congestion. Now he only wants purées and with his birthday coming up, I just worry that he should be farther along. He will eat multiple jars of food, fruits and veggies, and yogurt melts, puffs, and graham crackers but absolutely nothing else. We’ve tried other crackers, veggie nuggets, regular yogurt, and even French fries! He turns away or takes the food and smashes it. I’ve started brushing his teeth during bath time, he has multiple teethers, but I’m at a loss now. He constantly smiles and babbles and is starting to bite (he has 5 teeth) but I don’t want to scar him by disciplining him for biting when I want him to eat.
Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for reaching out to us! So sorry to hear about your child’s struggles with eating– we totally understand how frustrating/stressful it can be!! Does he gag when eating other foods? Does he have any issue with touching certain textures? Oral motor exercises and sensory bins may be helpful for this– brush the sides of his mouth with a toothbrush to help desensitize any oral aversions + use sensory bins to get him more comfortable with touching different textures. Continue to offer different foods/flavors/textures without any pressure and allow him to touch/feel/play with his food. In addition, our free table food workshop can help with additional tips/info for getting your child to eat more solids. Save your seat here and let us know if you have any additional questions.
our son three and a half years old. Declines to eat any food, except milk formula mixed with Nestle baby cereals from the bottle. He used to eat baby purees, some finger foods and even chips, but after his younger brother was born, there was an extreme regression in his eating. Sometimes he eats couple of spoons of fruit yoghurt or chocolate pudding with me (his father) but absolutely declines to do that with his mother. He is visiting now a logopedic specialist for several months, but she has as good as no progress. He eats sometimes small candys in her office but that’s all. We have tried to make clarification with the hospital (We are living in Bern Switzerland) but they are wont help us until they find time for clarification with a psychologist. This takes a lot of time though (up to one year). The kids is otherwise really good developed. We are desperate, because we as parents, are completely unable to make him eat based on different suggested methods. Do you have any suggestions? There is a clinic in Austria which is specialized in baby/toddler feeding but it is extremely expensive and not covered by the insurance in Switzerland.
Hi Deyan! Thank you so much for reaching out to us! So sorry to hear about your child’s struggles with eating– we totally understand how frustrating/stressful it can be!! Does he gag when eating other foods? Does he have any issue with touching certain textures? Oral motor exercises and sensory bins may be helpful for this– brush the sides of his mouth with a toothbrush to help desensitize any oral aversions + use sensory bins to get him more comfortable with touching different textures. Continue to offer different foods/flavors/textures without any pressure and allow him to touch/feel/play with his food. In addition, our free table food workshop can help with additional tips/info for getting your child to eat more solids. Save your seat here and let us know if you have any additional questions.
my 10 month old just wont eat solids to begin with. it’s stressful. what can i do? Ive done most of what was mentioned on here.
Hi Elaine! Thanks for reaching out! We understand the frustration. Check out our free table foods workshop for more in-depth tips and information. Save your seat here!
Hi there! Your blog was very insightful. I have a 7 month old who seems to want to skip purées entirely. Has no interest at all.
When giving foods she can swallow, we realize she won’t swallow. She’ll suck and push her tongue forward but no food gets swallowed.
No issues with drinking her milk.
Hello! Thanks for reaching out! Keep practicing and offering table foods with different textures, prepared in different ways. It sounds like she prefers textured food rather than the puréed food. That’s okay! Some babies prefer it that way. You can still offer purées a few times per week, but if she seems to be ready to move on to textured table foods, you can start offering more of those! Also keep practicing with spoon feeding as well as self feeding. Check out our blog post that goes over transitioning to table foods! And, if you need more, sign up for our free table foods workshop!
I just came across your page while searching for how to get my 8months old to eat. She is still being exclusively breastfed cause she turns away from food as she sees me coming with a spoon. She does not put anything into her mouth. How do i get her to be atleast interested in food?
Hi Vivian! Thanks for reaching out! Continue to offer her solids, without any force or pressure. Allow her to touch/feel/play with food and their different textures. Try dipping toys in puréed food or juice. Play with them in the bath. The more often they get teethers and toys into their mouths, the more it will help improve their mouth muscles and help to desensitize their gag reflex and sensory system. Try using a toothbrush to brush her gums and the sides of her mouth 1-3x/day. For more help, check out this post here!
Hi i just came across your page my baby is not eating solid food he always depend on his cerelac food and im pure breastfeeding im worried as my son is already 1yr5mons.i do introduce the food for him but he spit every time nor keeping in his mouth long time and his not swallowing the food can i get some help thank u
Hi Kesia! Thanks for reaching out! Because of his age, we always recommend consulting with your pediatrician to make sure there are no underlying issues or weight concerns. In addition, it sounds like he has some oral aversions related to sensory sensitivities. Utilizing some oral motor exercises may help! Try using a toothbrush to brush the sides of his mouth, or use sensory bins to help get him more comfortable touching different textures. We have an entire blog with different types of exercises you can check out, here! Once he starts doing better with foods/textures, you may want to try decreasing the frequency of breastfeeding, so that he feels hungry enough to try to eat actual food. Hope this helps!
I waited until my baby was 13 months to introduce food, he is exclusively breastfed. I did this with 2 previous children without issue. But when we tried homemade sweet potato he would gag and then threw up. The next time I tried carrot and gave him just a slither the size of 1/4th a pinkie nail and he gagged and then vomited massive amounts. I am now weary but know he needs to start eating food too. He mouths all his toys and everything. But as soon as food touches his tongue he gags. How long is just breastmilk ok? Im worried he won’t eat.
Hi there! Thanks for reaching out! It is definitely a good idea to start offering solid foods now that he’s 13 months. It’s great that he mouths toys, so keep offering solids and allow him to touch/feel/play with food textures as well. The more he experiences these food textures, the more comfortable he will be with food and will stop gagging. Babies have a strong gag reflux that helps prevent them from choking. This gag reflux becomes desensitized the more they practice with foods and other oral motor skills. To help with that, you can try brushing the sides of his mouth with a toothbrush! For more tips on offering solids, check out our free table foods workshop- save your seat here!
So my 7mo old is eating crunchy things like rice rusks very handedly. Her eyes go big, and she does her happy feet dance! It’s just so cute! But after a month and a half of feeding her 1 or 2 times a day, she just spits out anything that isn’t the bottle or a rusk. The one exception is when I mix peanut butter in with her rice cereal/oatmeal and make it stiff like cookie dough. But that’s still a 50/50 chance she’ll eat it.
I have embraced the whole messy eating thing, she plays with her food every meal. I just take her clothes off for meals and plop her in the bath after. Much easier.
I’m not sure if this is a keep trying and wait it out, or a move on and try something else situation.
She’s always been such a good eater, when it comes to the bottle, right from birth. But mushy foods? Nope!
Any advice is appreciated!
My 20 months old baby cries when he sees the spoon.
When he was 10 months old he used to eat but he was a picky eater. Then, he got a flu so we gave him medicaments forcefully in his mouth. He stopped eating any solid food since then.. and now he only wants milk and when i try to give him solids he hides his mouth or cries awfully.. what can i do for him especially that i dont think that i can find a feeding therapist here in Lebanon. Thanks in advance
Hi Rita! Thanks for reaching out! Sorry to hear about your son’s eating difficulties. Try some oral motor exercises to see if that helps him to feel more comfortable with putting food into his mouth to eat. Make silly faces, blow bubbles, sip from straws, and use a toothbrush to brush the insides of his mouth— all of those exercises will help strengthen his oral muscles! For more tips, check out our free table food workshop- save your seat here!
My daughter is 20month old,during his 1st year she ate anything we gave her until she reach lil over 1 year old her appetite change she don’t eat any solid food. I tried giving her different solid and she refuses. She’s only on mother feed now. Please help me
Hi Marina! Thanks for reaching out! Since shes 20 months and refusing foods, we would recommend consulting with your pediatrician to make sure everything is okay! In the meantime, keep offering different foods and textures- allowing her to touch/feel/play with them, without any pressure to eat. Using sensory bins and oral motor exercises can also be helpful. We have a free table foods workshop that can offer more tips- save your seat here!
My son has Down syndrome and is 4 years old. I’ve had him in feeding therapy since he was 8 months old. He used to have purees then he had a surgery and he has since regressed . It’s been almost 2 years since the surgery . He now only wants a bottle. When I attempt to give him the foods he used to enjoy he screams and cries as if he is in pain. Most therapist are at a lost but can’t figure out what to do. He is better with different textures as he now won’t have a meltdown but it hasn’t translated to food. I am thinking of ABA as a tool. Any help is appreciated.
Hi Jay! Thanks for reaching out! It’s great that he’s working with a feeding therapist. Unfortunately, sometimes regressions can happen. Try sensory activities, like sensory bins and food play. You can also try some oral motor exercises, which can help strengthen his oral muscles (which help him chew/swallow) and desensitize any gag reflexes he may have. Check out a list of oral motor exercises here!
My son is currently 8 months old. We began eating solids (purees) at 6 months. At 6 months, he loved his cereal and would eat my purees (simple singular purees).
At 8 months, he will eat his cereal in the morning, loves yogurt but will refuse any vegetable/meat puree in the afternoon. I have tried switching the time the foods are offered, to see if there was a difference (nothing changed … he still denies my food). I have given him my homemade purees and packages .. no difference.
Within the past few days he has been wanting to chew on the bowl that holds the food (now cereal) and then denies the food from a spoon or a spoon offered for him to feed himself.
I have tried to give him small pieces of overly steam asparagus at lunch and he was interested. He picked it up and put it to his mouth but I may have cut the pieces too small. I fed him the pieces by hand and he ate it.
He has 6 teeth and is a well fed boy (EBF).
I am at a loss for next steps. Do you have any suggestions?
Hello! Thanks for reaching out! It sounds like he’s on the right track! Keep practicing and offering table foods with different textures, prepared in different ways. It sounds like he preferred the textured vegetable rather than the puréed form. That’s okay! Some babies prefer it that way. You can still offer purées a few times per week, but if he seems to be ready to move on to textured table foods, you can start offering more of those! Also keep practicing with spoon feeding as well as self feeding. Check out our blog post that goes over transitioning to table foods! And, if you need more, sign up for our free table foods workshop!
My son is 20month old,during his 1st year he is ate anything we gave him until he reach lil over 1 year old his appetite change he don’t even try to eat anything….he don’t have no words yet and all he wants is milk…thats why I added some cereal on it for him to get full…what am I gonna do….I need help
Hi Teresa! Thanks for reaching out! Try decreasing his milk intake, so that he has more room in his tummy to feel hungry for food. In addition, keep offering foods without any pressure, allowing him to choose how much he eats. We have a free picky eating workshop that offers more tips and information! Save your seat here!
Hi Alisha! My 10 month refuses baby foods and table foods. He gags on almost everything except milk. I’ve been trying since he was about 8 months off and on, to give him table food and he always gagged so I just assumed he’d grow out of it. He doesn’t really like baby food anymore either and when I try to offer he now gags occasionally on that too! I‘ve recently began just offering whatever I eat that he can have( mashed string beans, mashed potatoes, tiny pieces of pancake, ) I can’t get him to eat more than half a baby spoon full of pancakes and no more than a taste or two of anything that can be mashed. Is it time to schedule with a feeding therapist?
Hi Jenna! Thanks for reaching out! Consulting with your pediatrician about feeding therapy would be beneficial and can provide you and your child with more hands-on support. In the meantime, try some oral motor exercises to help with his strong gag reflux! Use a vibrating teether or toothbrush to brush the sides of his mouth, blow raspberries and kisses, suck from straws, make silly faces, etc. These exercises can help to strengthen his oral muscles and desensitize his gag reflux. In addition, keep practicing with offering solids without force or pressure. Baby puffs are also great at teaching how to chew and working those muscles! Lastly, we have a free table food workshop that can help with more tips- save your seat here!
My baby is almost 11 months old and has hardly really liked any food consistently She was a later starter to eating as I tried at 6 months and she just wasn’t ready and then at 7 months she ate a little bit. She will chew on some toys and objects but only larger things and will not ever put food into her own mouth and I’ve tried giving her large pieces of veggies or fruit to taste or just putting purees on her tray and letting her play with them but she just won’t put food in her mouth. She has had small phases of a few days at a time where I can feed her something and she doesn’t just refuse it, and when she does actually eat she seems to be fine and swallows good etc, but only wants to eat things that are sweetened with fruit. Then I will try a new food like something savory like a veggie and she will go back to refusing food, turning her head away and crying for a week or so. Then she had the flu and we had to force her to take medications and so now she REALLY does not want to eat anything as I think she has a bad accociation with food. I live in a very small town without access to a food therapist or pediatrician.
Hi Anna! Thanks for reaching out! Keep practicing and allowing her to touch/feel/play with her food, along with feeding herself. Try pre-loading a spoon and see if she brings the spoon to her mouth to eat. Oral motor exercises might also help- things like using a toothbrush to brush the insides of her mouth, drinking through straws, giving teethers- to desensitize gag reflex and strengthen oral muscles. If she’s struggling with purées, start from square one by offering only purées. Then, once purées are accomplished, we can start practicing with puffs, which are great at teaching them to chew. Once puffs are accomplished, we can then move on to those soft, cubed shaped table foods. When doing any of this, make sure to avoid pressure. We do have a free Table Food workshop that will go over all of this and offer even more tips! You can save your seat here!
My baby is ten months old and exclusively breast fed on demand. He is extremely interested in food and has started to almost say “bite” when we have food and he wants some; but, he just holds the food in his mouth and doesn’t swallow. I should also mention that he just got his first tooth and it’s not all the way in yet. Any tips?
Hi Ali! Thanks for reaching out! Sounds like he needs some more help with chewing— find tips here! In addition to practicing chewing, try offering smaller bites and talking him through it. Demonstrate biting, chewing and swallowing with over-exaggerated motions!
Hi, I have a 9 month old that doesn’t like to eat solids. He used to eat purees prior to being 9 months but he wasn’t always taking it when i offered but now he barely takes it when i try. I’ve tried snacks, fruits, eggs, cereal, vegetables he doesn’t like it, he smacks the spoon out of my hands at times. I’ve attempted to allow him feed himself but that doesn’t work either.
Hi Christianah! Thanks for reaching out! We always encourage discussing any concerns with your pediatrician. Keep practicing and allowing him to touch/feel/play with his food, along with feeding himself. Try pre-loading a spoon and see if he brings the spoon to his mouth to eat. If he’s struggling with purées, start from square one by offering only purées. Then, once purées are accomplished, we can start practicing with puffs, which are great at teaching them to chew. Once puffs are accomplished, we can then move on to those soft, cubed shaped table foods. We do have a free Table Food workshop that will go over some of this information and MORE! You can save your seat here!
My 9 month old baby recently refuses any type of solids and I don’t know what to do. I always get frustrated during meal times nowadays. We started with finger foods for texture & puree to feed at 6-7 months then at 8 months she refused the finger foods and only took the puree. She dropped 1-2 bottles of milk from 6-8months. But now at 9 months, she refuses any type of solids. I also noticed more milk intake recently. I tried both finger foods & puree again to see what works and nothing by far. I noticed she likes to “try” and do it herself and i generally let her, even with the mess. But she ends up playing with the food and nothing to eat. She knows how to put the food in her mouth, she knows how to chew, she gags here & there but not too often.. I’ve seen it before. She used to do so good with meal times but now all she wants to do is play. She also doesn’t like being restricted with the seat belt on the high chair but there’s literally nothing I can think of as an alternative. I’ve also tried letting her watch tv or playing with toys while eating and I was able to get maybe 5-6 tsp of puree or 5-6 tiny pieces of solid food until she notices what i’m doing then we’re done. But this worry me of the choking risk. I want her to focus on feeding skills rather than something I sneak in. I really don’t want her to get used of the tv & the playing during meal times. Please advice
Hi Bea! Thanks for reaching out! We always encourage discussing any concerns with your pediatrician. It’s great that you allow her to touch/play with her food and she is eating some bites of solids- just keep practicing! If she’s struggling with purées, start from square one by offering only purées. Then, once purées are accomplished, we can start practicing with puffs, which are great at teaching them to chew. Once puffs are accomplished, we can then move on to those soft, cubed shaped table foods. You can work on the gagging with utilizing a toothbrush in her mouth, brushing gums and tongue as well as teeth to help with the gag reflex. We definitely encourage feeding without any distractions, so that she can focus on chewing and swallowing without risk of choking. Lastly, we have a free Table Food workshop that will go over some of this information and MORE! You can save your seat here!
Hello, My my baby boy is 11 months old.
I try so hard to give him solids but he may swallow it or he may spit it out but in total he’ll have about 5 small spoons/small bites.
I let him play with finger foods and let him make a mess, but most of the time he just throws it on the floor.. I can’t tell if he’s teething or if it’s his motoring skills or anything! His poo is also very wet and I’m wondering if you think it could be because he has more milk than solids? I’m a very concerned mum and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Thank you
Hi Lena! Thanks for reaching out! It’s great that you allow him to touch/play with his food and he is eating some bites of solids- just keep practicing! He may need more help with chewing. Try some oral motor exercises, like using a vibrating teether or using a toothbrush to brush the insides of his mouth. Since he’s throwing his food, try giving him less food at a time. We have a post with more tips for food throwing here. Hope that helps!
Lena, you’re not doing anything wrong! I’m a mum of two girls (4 & 16months) who wouldn’t eat solids & just loved their milk. My 4-yr-old stayed on milk for about two years, only occasionally eating strong flavoured food in tiny amounts, like cheese, salmon and peas. She now eats amazingly including prawns, mussels, broccoli and brussel sprouts! Don’t fret, your son will eat when he’s ready to. Five small bites/spoons at his age is brilliant progress seeing as he’s not a fan of solids yet. Teething is having a big impact on my 16-month-old and she rarely wants to eat solids. Her poo is wet too unless she’s eaten toast or crackers that day. Don’t give up introducing foods, but don’t despair. You’re not alone and you’ll get there in the end! Your son will show you when he’s ready & until then hurrah for milk!x
Our 9 month old has never been the best baby food eater…we started at 6 months…now he refuses, gags and even vomits when we try to feed him! Help! We have purchased every baby food available and when he would eat it he preferred anything with pears or bananas in it.
So glad you reached out, I know how hard it can be! I would make sure that you are still feeding him purees that are smooth with no chunks. You can work on the gagging with utilizing a toothbrush in his mouth, brushing gums and tongue as well as teeth to help with the gag reflex. We do have a free workshop that will go over some of this information to help get you started. You can save your seat here.
My daughter is almost 12 months old. She has not been a big fan of food since we started solids. we feel she has been teething since she was 3 months old but has no teeth yet. She doesn’t like any fruits, no breads, eggs,porridge, no veggies (steamed or raw), no purées, crackers! With a lot of distraction she manages to eat few spoons of lentils and rice. But there is a lot of crying and she fills her mouth with food and won’t chew for 15-20 mins and will then spit it out. Meals times are extremely stressful. I have tried finger food of various variety but she doesn’t even look at food. The health visitor says she’s growing at her birth weight so there isn’t anything to worry! Is this normal? Should I just keep trying and leave it if she doesn’t eat solids. She has formula some days easily some days with a struggle! Any tips on how can I make it better? Thanks
Hi Dia! Thanks for reaching out! It sounds like she may have some oral motor issues or sensory sensitivities. Exercises can help with this! Try using a toothbrush to brush the sides of her mouth, or a vibrating teether- this will help to desensitize her gag reflux and strengthen her oral muscles, which help her to chew/swallow. Allow her to touch/feel/play with her food, even if it means getting messy- this will help with any sensory sensitivities and help get her comfortable with different foods and textures. Since she pockets food in her mouth, try offering her smaller bites at a time. Keep walking her through it and demonstrate when you’re eating. We also have a free table food workshop that can really help! Save your seat here!
Hi I have an almost 11month old daughter. She was never a huge fan of puree during 6-7months, so began more baby led weaning. The major problem is she will pick up food/open mouth for food/accept spoonfuls and chew… BUT then she SPITS it all out.
There are plenty of times that she does refuse to eat certain types of food whether it be spoon fed or finger food. For example she always loves to eat pieces of steamed broccoli or a few spoonfuls of porridge. She always refuses to eat egg (hard boiled/omelette) or spoonfuls of veg puree/soup.
She has good coordination – can pick up the spoon and feed herself. She can pick up small items like peas and feed herself. I don’t think it’s a sensory issue since she does put lots of things in her mouth and chews. I just don’t understand why she spits most things out?? She is always putting things in her mouth – toys, shoes, bark, paper, literally anything she can get her hands on! I have done quite a few sensory activities at home with her, and we attend a weekly baby sensory class. She is very intelligent and stubborn, so pushes my hand away or throws things away if she doesn’t want them on her tray. She is fully breastfed and even wakes 3-4times overnight still for feeds. I’m getting pressure to stop offering her breastmilk until she has eaten solids first and to not feed her at night. But she just gets hysterical when not breastfed. I’m concerned she’s not getting the nutrients she needs (especially as approaching 1) and she is becoming very fussy and not setting up good eating habits.
Hi Chloe! Thanks for reaching out! It sounds like you’re on the right track, and it’s great how much practice and sensory play you’ve been doing with her! We have a blog post that talks about spitting out food. Check it out here, and let us know if you have any further questions!