10 month old girl - difficult and impossible to feed solids

(15 Posts)
PriyaMum Fri 06-Jun-14 10:48:04

I have a 10 month old daughter who is now simply refusing to eat. She was born under-weight at 2.67 kgs and was fussy with both formula milk and breast milk at the time she was on milk. I started solid at 6 months and even with that she has been very fussy.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner take about 1 hour each and that too she does not finish the whole bowl. Some of the things she does to avoid feed either by hand or spoon

- she either turns her face away
- push the spoon out with her hand
- if we restrained her she would either turn her face away
- keep her lips tightly shut in case we tried to force food in
- she behaves as if she is being tortured.
- keeps the food in her mouth and then moves from one side to another, often when swallows will cough or gag.
- also being such a happy and playful baby, there is a sudden change in personality during meal times which is unexplainable.
- she usually takes 1-2 spoons of her food and then starts to behave as described above

Gradually this is getting worse in last one month.

The sort of things I have tried to encourage her to eat are

- finger food – after a two bites she loses interest
- playing nursery rhymes during meal times – no joy
- baby Tv at meal times – no joy
- me and my husband eating with her – no joy
- - I make most of her food fresh and is very close to what we eat as part of our family meals, as in its not bland and boring.

She is small and 2-3 kgs behind most other children of her age and is gaining weight at a tiny rate but is doing decently on the height front.

She takes about 500ml of milk over 4 feeds during the day, Health visitor thinks that’s fine.

Health visitor and GP don’t seem concerned but then that’s the NHS.

After speaking to other mums they explain that their babies behave similar on few days though our girl is an extreme case and consistent.

On the upside she is very active and loud than most children of her age does not sit still even for 1 minute. She is teething and can stand up herself with support and walk with support.

We are planning to start nursery for her since I want to go back to work hence a consistent feeding needs to be established, we are not sure if someone else will cope with her attitude.

If you have gone through this, please do share how you have overcome and fought this issue or Is there any specialist/ professional dealing with such issues with babies/toddlers that can help understand what is going on for my girl?

It is not possible for us to find out why is she behaving like this hence someone who is an expert in this area can help us.

This has been very stressful for us, any help, advise and suggestion is most welcome.

ExBrightonBell Fri 06-Jun-14 11:34:08

Well, I would firstly say that any decent nursery will be more than able to handle a fussy eater. They will have come across it many times before.

You may also find that your dd eats much better at nursery that at home. The effect of sitting down with others can be quite powerful, and also nursery will have a set amount of time for meals which will help.

The nursery should have a meeting with you before she attends where they discuss her current routines etc. You should be able to discuss it with them and agree an approach.

In terms of improving the situation at home, I would say that you have to stop making it all such a battle and confrontation. I wouldn't try and restrain her or force feed her as this will make the situation worse. You need to take the pressure right off the whole situation, and let her be in charge of how much and what she eats from the meals you provide.

It might be worth persisting with letting her feed herself. Put the food down in front of her with a spoon and fork and then leave her to it. Let her eat or play with the food with her hands. Don't worry if she plays with the food and doesn't eat it. Decide how long you want the meal to last and then just clear away at that point. It has taken 4 months to get into this situation so it could take a while to sort out. It will help if you eat the same food with her, and completely ignore whether she is eating it or not.

There is a book called "My child won't eat!" by Carlos Gonzalez that is really helpful for how to handle the kind of situation that you're in. I know lots of people on here recommend it.

LindsayS79 Fri 06-Jun-14 21:16:02

Agree with above reply. I think you'll find she improves in nursery as she'll see other babies eating etc.
Has she got tongue tie? That can bother them with solids. My dd has just turned 11 months and she has posterior TT. I had a speech therapist visit and basically told me to make feeding as positive as poss. Since I've done this, she's started eating so much better.
When giving finger foods I just sit next to her eating what she has and I just ignore what she's doing and just watch the TV etc. I can see out of the corner of my eye that she watches me and copies what I'm doing.
By giving your dd so much attention at mealtimes means that she could get used to it and carry on the negative behaviour towards food. I know this happens as it happened to my husband as a child! Hence why I'm so up for being positive at mealtimes, although it's bloody hard!!

CornishYarg Fri 06-Jun-14 22:03:06

When you say she was born underweight and weighs much less than other children her age, has your HV expressed concern about her weight? Or is she simply following a low centile line? If so, maybe she's naturally petite; after all, some babies have to occupy the lower centiles or they wouldn't exist.

I second the recommendation of "My child won't eat" - really good and puts it all into perspective.

Iggly Fri 06-Jun-14 22:08:29

Could she have food intolerances? This could explain the weight and fussibrss especially in respect of not liking formula. I would ask for a paediatrician referral.

CeliaBowen Fri 06-Jun-14 22:11:59

Hi, my DD1 didn't eat a "full meal" until she was about 3. Even now (at 5.5 she very rarely ever clears a plate.

We did baby led weaning in the end (not just finger foods, but allowing her to try all the different food we ate, regardless of whether it would classify as "finger food" or not, e.g. roasts, pasta etc). I'd recommend reading the Gill Rapley "Baby Led Weaning" book. Food for under 1s should come second to milk, and as long as she is having plenty of milk (sounds like she is?) she won't starve herself.

It's easy to get upset, but trying not to let it get you down, and I know there is a very good chapter in the Gill Rapley book about babies that "don't eat" as I re-read it about 199 times to reassure myself!

CeliaBowen Fri 06-Jun-14 22:15:01

Here is the Baby Led Weaning webpage.

The point about it (which I am not very good at getting across) is that if you do BLW, you let your baby set the pace of their transition from milk to solid foods, by following their cues and giving them plenty of opportunities to try. If they don't eat it, don't worry, just let them have their milk. They won't starve themselves.

It is hard to believe that, as a parent, but it really does work. My DD1 was titchy, and she still is, but she is healthy and happy, just with a small appetite.

Trampampoline Fri 06-Jun-14 22:20:12

yes, read about baby led weaning.

as long as there are no health problems or weight loss, the mantra is that before a year, food is just for fun. they get their nutrients from milk up until this time. Then there is a gradual swap over to solid food.

Looked at from a BLW perspective it would mean that all your worries about her eating 'a meal' are not yet an issue.

in any population of children or adults, somebody has to be small, most average, and some are big. Your little one could well just be a smaller one of us.

Keep talking to you HV.

CeliaBowen Fri 06-Jun-14 22:24:57

(although not all HV know about BLW, tramp. Mine thought it was the same as "solids on demand"!)

WhatAHooHa Fri 06-Jun-14 22:40:54

We were in the same boat. At 2 DS is still not particularly interested food but does okay. He has always tracked below the 0.4 percentile line, so is def a skinny little thing.

I used to repeat the mantra 'it's just for fun until he's one' over and over again to myself. Try not to let her see you stressing about food, once she seems to have finished, just happily get her down and clear up, don't make it into a big issue as I think you could cause anxieties further down the line. I know it's hard, especially when other mums show off about how much their kids eat - one mum told me how her son had scoffed a whole weetabix and a banana for breakfast, on a day where ds had managed 4 soggy cheerios! I try to take a weekly overview of how much he eats rather than daily, it's far less depressing! In time, she will prob find some favourite foods so you can just make sure you throw them into the mix occasionally to make sure that she has a good food day once a week or so.

The main thing is not to upset yourself too much. She won't let herself starve. I think sometimes ds has a healthier attitude than I do as he only eats when he's hungry and stops when he's full, whilst I eat when I think I should and am of the 'I must clear my plate' training!

WhatAHooHa Fri 06-Jun-14 22:41:20

We were in the same boat. At 2 DS is still not particularly interested food but does okay. He has always tracked below the 0.4 percentile line, so is def a skinny little thing.

I used to repeat the mantra 'it's just for fun until he's one' over and over again to myself. Try not to let her see you stressing about food, once she seems to have finished, just happily get her down and clear up, don't make it into a big issue as I think you could cause anxieties further down the line. I know it's hard, especially when other mums show off about how much their kids eat - one mum told me how her son had scoffed a whole weetabix and a banana for breakfast, on a day where ds had managed 4 soggy cheerios! I try to take a weekly overview of how much he eats rather than daily, it's far less depressing! In time, she will prob find some favourite foods so you can just make sure you throw them into the mix occasionally to make sure that she has a good food day once a week or so.

The main thing is not to upset yourself too much. She won't let herself starve. I think sometimes ds has a healthier attitude than I do as he only eats when he's hungry and stops when he's full, whilst I eat when I think I should and am of the 'I must clear my plate' training!

Chunderella Sat 07-Jun-14 16:23:23

I don't really have any advice about solids difficulty, as my DD was averse to them until about 8-9 months and then it all suddenly clicked, but wanted to reassure you that 500ml formula is indeed fine. This is the minimum recommended for a formula fed baby under 1, so no problem there.

But 'food before one is just for fun' is unfortunately not accurate, it's just a slogan with no science behind it (anyone who doesn't believe me, try and find a legit source for it. Nobody seems to know where it originated). Milk is supposed to be the main source of nutrition before one, but not the only one. So I do see why you're worried, I felt the same myself until DD deigned to take solids very late in the day. You can't force them to eat, though, and at least she's having something. Even six or seven mouthfuls of good, nutritious solid food will contain plenty of the good stuff. You have to remember as well that the centiles can be a bit confusing because there are a lot more overweight children and babies these days. So a child with an actual healthy weight might be on a lower weight centile than height because there are lots who are the other way round.

CeliaBowen Sun 08-Jun-14 22:33:51

How are you getting on, OP?

chunderella I take your point about "Just for fun..." although in some cultures they don't introduce solids before 1. (Will go and google as I can't remember!) smile

Chunderella Mon 09-Jun-14 08:54:38

Yeah there have been quite a few cultures in human history who've done that, I don't think it's even that unusual. But not optimum, because breastmilk doesn't provide the necessary iron and zinc unless taken in colossal quantities. There are iron rich formulas, but I believe only a small minority use them and also a lot of babies get constipated on them. So they're not really the solution either. Once the stores have been depleted, at about six months, a baby needs iron from food.

Having said that, my DD would have got insufficient iron from her diet between 6 and 8 months, and now at nearly 2 enjoys excellent health. The same is true for many children. OPs child is getting at least some solids, and she could always consider fortified foods or some kind of supplementation if things deteriorate.

oldiemcgoodie Thu 12-Jun-14 15:34:06

Hi first post on MN. I am in the same situation as you OP with a 10 month old ds who seems to hate solids.

It is unbelievably frustrating especially like other posts have stated when you are out with other mums and their dc are just throwing food down their necks. It just brings it home to me how bad (can't think of a better word sorry) he is.

In every other aspect he is a delight. He is at nursery 2 mornings a week were he has improved in what he will eat. So I do think it is something I am doing but don't know how to make it better.
I can go some weeks just thinking ""he'll eat when he's ready" but then I have a week like this one were it really gets me down.

Any more tips are welcome and hope your situation has improved OP.

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