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Is your baby not eating solid foods? Here’s what could be going on

When babies are first introduced to solid foods, they tend to have a preference for what they like and what they do not like. Some babies like vegetables more than they like fruits, while others prefer the sweet taste of fruit over veggies. They usually take to eating solid foods quite quickly and enjoy them very much, however, what happens when your baby refuses solids? Or, what do you do if your little one begins eating solids, then stops eating them entirely? This isn’t entirely uncommon and there are a number of things that could be going on.

In the beginning

Baby opens mouth at the sight of food

When babies are first introduced to solid foods, don’t be surprised if they automatically try to spit it back out. They may also gag a little bit, which is not to be confused with choking. For babies, it is all about texture. When they feel the texture on their tongue and in the back of their throat, they are not used to it — and thus, you could wind up dealing with a mess.

Typically, parents start introducing solids to their babies between 4-6 months old. If your child is at this stage and spitting out their food, they may just have to get used to the new texture. If your little one isn’t eating solids at all, they may just not be ready for this step.

A little later

baby eating pumpkin

By 8 months of age, your baby should most definitely be interested in eating solid foods. If they are still refusing, it may come down to a sensory issue again. There could also be the problem of coordination. It actually takes a lot of work for babies to eat solids — from opening their mouth to getting the food off the spoon to swallowing the food without any issue. If you notice your baby spitting out the food when you try to feed them, or they are continuing to gag, it may be time to reach out to their pediatrician to see what they recommend.

There is the possibility that your baby could be bored with their food, and your pediatrician may just tell you to move on to finger foods. It gives them a variety to try and pique their interest.

If they stop after starting

Baby being fed with spoon
life is fantastic/Unsplash

Some babies may have had no problem with solid foods in the beginning, but you may have noticed that they are averse to them all of a sudden. There are a few reasons why this could be happening.

If your baby has a slight cold or a virus that makes it hard for them to breathe through their nose, they may literally turn their nose up at solid foods for a little bit. If you remove the mucus from their nose, they may be ready to eat again.

Another common reason they may be refusing solids is they are teething. Teething makes babies feel terrible all around — some even run a fever. They are certainly not going to want to put solid foods into their mouth because they may be swollen, red, and sore.

When it’s time to get outside help

Doctor checking baby's throat

If your baby is still refusing solid foods at the age of 7-8 months, it’s worth giving their pediatrician a call and talking to them about it, and even bring your little one in for a quick checkup. Your pediatrician may be able to tell you exactly why your child is not eating or tolerating solid foods, aside from the reasons listed above. They may end up referring you to a pediatric dietitian with specialized expertise in that field. After that, hopefully, you will have your baby well on their way to eating — and actually enjoying — solid foods!

Oftentimes, the reasons babies refuse solid foods are simple — they’re not ready, they’re not used to the texture, or they’re not feeling great. (Don’t we all prefer soup when we’re under the weather?) But consulting their doctor is always a good approach because, ultimately, they know your child the best, having seen the little one since birth.

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