When my baby turned 6 months old, I thought I was prepared to introduce her to solids.
I did my research and:
- Spoke to different moms about their challenges and strategies.
- Watched videos of moms who filmed their first experience feeding their baby solids
- Read a book on baby-led weaning
Taking all of this information in, I put together a general strategy for how to start solids:
- I would first give her an iron-fortified cereal (mixed with breast milk) to ensure she got the nutrients she needed. I would start with a more liquid mixture and gradually make it more clumpy.
- At the same time, I would put finger foods on the table so she could get comfortable picking up and eating food independently and develop her pincer grip.
I also got some baby feeding tools and other things she needs at 6 months to help with the process.
Related Note: Baby tools can be expensive. If you're looking to save money on baby stuff, here's an article on how to have a baby on a budget.
I had done as much as I could. It seemed like things would go as planned and there was nothing to be concerned about.
The day she turned 6 months, she refused to eat solids. Just flat out wouldn't open her mouth.
This continued more or less for 2 months!
At her 9 month check-up, her weight trend line had flattened. She had gained almost no weight since her 6 month check-up.
But then suddenly, things changed...
Slowly, her weight and height trend lines got back on track. Almost a year later, she's now a great eater! She eats every type of food including all meat and vegetables!
For any moms and dads that are in a similar stressful situation, here are 7 tips that might help you.
1) Switch up the food
The temperature, texture, size of food, amount of liquid, and variety. You could also come back to the same food in case your baby feels differently about it the next time around.
I tried this strategy very early on. I introduced a new food every 3 days in case she got allergies. I thought exposing her to a wide variety of food would also prevent allergies and issues with different textures.
This strategy initially didn't work. She just didn't register the food as food and what she needed to be full. She would be interested in playing with it, but wouldn't want it anywhere near her mouth. However, this strategy started working 2 months later.
2) Let your baby feed him or herself
You can use finger foods. You can give your baby the spoon and guide her or him to pick up the food and eat it.
Sometimes your baby just wants to have control over the process. It also builds utensil handling skills and independence.
This strategy worked for us occasionally whenever she got bored of her food.
3) Switch up where the food is placed
There were countless times when she would take 2 bites and then refuse to eat or start throwing her food on the ground.
When we placed the same food in a different container and gave it to her, she was suddenly interested in eating again. It was the strangest thing!
This was probably one of the most effective strategies for us!
4) Give yourself food first and then feed your baby
My baby has always been oddly suspicious. She went through a period of only eating food when I ate from the same bowl first!
If you also have a baby that constantly raises her brows, this might work for you!
5) Play a game with the food
This is the traditional tactic I tried many times early on. I would make the spoon into a plane or constantly have the food move around on her plate so she would want to pick it up.
This would usually only work 1 or 2 times before she would realize what I was doing and decide not to open her mouth for the remainder of the meal.
6) Be patient
Babies are changing all the time. One day - they're interested in this toy and the next day - they're bored of it. The same thing seems to apply to food.
Repeating the different strategies, being persistent, and just waiting - this is ultimately what worked for us. Sometimes it just takes time for babies to adapt and be open to the situation.
7) Get help
If all else fails, don't hesitate to get help! Contact your doctor. Get referrals to early childhood development specialists. If at all possible, have them watch you feed your baby to give you pointers on what other suggestions you could try.
Every baby is unique. Sometimes it's beneficial to have that additional opinion in person.