When babies are first introduced to solid foods, they tend to already have a preference for what they like. Some babies like vegetables more than they like fruits, while others prefer the sweet taste of fruits over veggies. They usually take to eating solid foods quite quickly and enjoy them very much. Let’s face it, once a baby starts on solid food, all they want to do is eat.
When your munchkin seems to enjoy food so much, what happens when they suddenly refuse solids? Or, what do you do if your little one begins eating solids, but then stops eating them entirely? Don’t panic! This is something that happens commonly with little ones and isn’t something to be too concerned about. Let’s go over why your hungry hippo is rejecting solid foods and what you should do about it.
If your baby is just starting out on solid foods
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. All adults have those “texture issue” foods that they just won’t eat, no matter what. Babies are the same, and it’s more normal because it’s their first time trying it. When they feel the new texture on their tongue and in the back of their throat, they’re not used to it — which means you could wind up dealing with a spit-out mess.
Typically, parents start introducing solids to their babies between 4 to 6 months old. If your child is at this stage and spitting out their food, they might just have to get used to the new texture. If your baby is not eating solids at all, they could not be ready for this step yet, and that is okay!
If your baby is a little older and been on solid foods for a bit
By 8 months of age, your baby should most definitely be interested in eating solid foods. If they are still refusing, it might come down to a sensory issue.
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 issues – it’s a whole process.
There is also the possibility that your baby could be bored with their food. You may just move on to finger foods, which might pique their interest better.
But if you notice your baby excessively spitting out the food when you try to feed them, or they are continuing to gag, you could reach out to their pediatrician to see what they recommend.
If they stop eating solid foods altogether
Some babies have no problem with solid foods in the beginning, but then you notice they are refusing them all of a sudden. There are a few reasons why this could be happening.
Baby is sick
If your baby has a 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. If you remove the mucus from their nose, they might try to eat again.
Baby is teething
Another common reason they refuse solids is they are teething. Teething makes babies feel terrible all around — some even run a fever. They’re certainly not going to want to put solid foods into their mouth because their mouth and gums be swollen, red, and sore.
The whole notion of chewing is painful, and they will keep that mouth clamped shut. Offering liquids like smoothies or frozen items like homemade popsicles will help soothe those gums and get food in that tiny tummy.
When it’s time to get outside help
If your baby is still refusing solid foods at the age of 7 to 8 months, it’s worth giving their pediatrician a call. You might even need to bring your little one in for a quick checkup so the doctor can tell you exactly why your child is not eating or tolerating solid foods. They might end up referring you to a pediatric dietitian with specialized expertise in that field.
Oftentimes, the reasons babies refuse solid foods are simple and nothing to worry about. Either 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?)
Know that it’s a natural part of your little one’s development. After you’ve checked all the boxes, you will have your baby well on their way to eating — and enjoying — solid foods again!
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