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8 month old weaning disaster!(22 Posts)
My son is 8 months old, we weaned him around 5.5 months but truthfully he has never really been interested in food.
He never took to the single veg purées particularly well (will ALWAYS eat fruit / sweet stuff though). He will often eat fish and sweet potato purées but pretty much anything else he just cries and whinges their entire time he's in his high chair. He either doesn't open his mouth, or he just pushes it out with his tongue. I've even tried doing finger foods which he sometimes will play around with (some goes in but VERY LITTLE) but half the time he just stares at it or again, whinges.
He is still a very good sleeper (sleeps from 7-7:30) and gaining weight, but has never had a huge appetite even when exclusively breastfed. So I don't worry that he's not getting enough nutrition from my milk, it's more than I am concerned that he isn't getting what he needs nutritionally from food - or worse still that he will just never really eat properly.
Help!!!! Has anyone been through this and what can I do to try to encourage him to be a better eater? I'm happy to go full steam ahead on finger foods but what do I do if he's not even bothering to try and pick it up?
It's honestly causing me so much stress and upset as it feels like it's my fault. I used to always end up just giving him fruit if he refused anything else, or hiding vegetables underneath a bit of fruit purée to encourage him to eat it!! But now I worry that I've made him so spoiled that he knows he'll get the sweet stuff so thinks "f your chicken mum I'm here for the mango".
Any words of advice or just someone to talk me off this ledge would be great. For the first 6 months of his life he genuinely was the perfect baby (cliche) but he is happy, healthy and content in every other way and reaching all his milestones early so this is the first thing that I've truly struggled with in motherhood so far.
Thanks all for listening xx
I'd just ditch the purées. My DD was never that keen on veg purées but eats actual veg just fine. If you're worried he isn't getting enough, then just feed him something he does eat after the meal once he's had a chance to play with finger food. At 8mo he can be having all manner of things so try just sitting down with him and him sharing in what you're having, such as a bowl of spaghetti bolognaise, and leave him to it. It'll be a mess but just let him play with it and get used to different textures.
Thank you so much @Dipsydoodle. I know it's pretty common for babies to not really be interested in purées, but it also feels like we've gone backwards in the self feeding too. He did get better at feeding himself and his pincer grip feels like it's improving (marginally) but it does really feel as though with finger foods it's just pretty much played with - or lobbed at my head.
Did you move to entirely finger foods with your DD too? At what stage did you feel like it actually started getting picked up and properly eaten? (I know every baby is different so it's hard to compare, but just an idea of how long it took from when you started regularly offering finger foods to when she started getting the hang of it more?)
@Dipsydoodle for example, lunch time just finished.
Offered steamed sweet potato and some bits of salmon and broccoli. He played with the majority of it (even ate some sweet potato - wow) but his grip is still such that it goes inside the entire fist and then he can't quite work out how to get it out the fist and in the mouth 🤣
And I'm reluctant to do it for him as defeats the object in my eyes.
Then offered sweet pot mashed on a spoon - no chance he was furious.
So my husband offered him a bottle (we have begun combi feeding) and he polished it off.
Eg hungry.....but not for food
I'm not sure my experience is that helpful as DD is a great eater and took to food almost instantly. But there was a huge range in our NCT group - some babies only started really getting the hang of it after a couple of months of full-on baby-led. I'd just try not to stress about it for now. If you get to one year and things haven't improved then speak to HV but for now I'd just let him have access to proper food, still give him fruit purée if you like (maybe after meals as dessert) and just try to leave him to figure it out. If he's otherwise happy and healthy and taking milk then he's not in any danger.
Try not to stress and ideally stop trying to encourage and cajole. He is still very young and babies vary a lot in when they take an interest. I would sit with him at every meal and pop bits of your meal on his tray but just get in with eating your own food. It will soon give him an idea. You could add in a few enthusiastic noises as well but try not to turn it into a battle of any sort. There is no need almost all children get the hang of eating and watching you eat is a huge part of the model.
None of my babies took to solids much before 9-10 months. I would also suggest ditching the purees and offering finger foods. Sit him at the table when you are eating so he sees what you are doing and put some suitable items of your meals on his tray. And above all, don't stress. Or at least try not to show it as babies pick up on that and mealtimes can become a battleground. When my eldest was weaning we frequently both ended up in tears. Once I managed to cultivate a "couldn't care less" attitude things improved a lot.
My advice would be to keep giving milk feeds on demand, and try to make mealtimes relaxed happy occasions where baby is in charge of what he eats. And dont blame yourself. 8 months is still tiny. You haven't done anything wrong. It isn't a disaster. Lots of babies are like this and you are not alone.
My 3 non eaters are all teens/young adults who are busy eating me out of house and home now by the way!
Give milk an hour before hand so he is not hungry. At meal times give him finger food and let him play with it. Look into blw
I remember being told that 'food is fun until one'. If your DS is getting plenty of milk he'll be fine. Just take a step back, give him finger foods, let him play with them, throw them etc - he'll get the hang of it in time.
Up to 12 months babies get most of their nutrition from milk (formula or bm) and food is just a little extra. They do need iron though as this only last 6 months post births, so look at supplements if you can't manage it from food. Some risks are fortified and some follow on milks. If he's happy, sleeping well and gaining wait, stop stressing and keep offering food to play with, finger foods etc. DS2 was a great eater at 9 months, tucking into all sorts of finger food, now (age 6) he is a shocking eater and drives me crazy. Won't eat meat (apart from McDonald's chicken nuggets), veg apart from the odd carrot, and lives on spaghetti and baked potato.
Mine is about the same age. Right now I decide what food I offer, he decides what he wants to eat. Lots ends up in the dog. But he’s thriving and happy so I’m not worried
There is a huge range in when children are ready I think. My son didn't let a single bit of food past his lips until 8 months and then got a sickness big and didn't eat again until 10 months. All he would have was breast milk and I was so worried. He is a great eater now though.
My daughter started just before 6 months as she was literally grabbing it from me and ate really well, very experimental and seemed to get it straight away. She is the fussy one now. I did baby led weaning with both, only difference really was I was a lot more relaxed with dd.
Sounds like your ds is doing well in terms of putting in weight and handling different foods. I don't think at this stage you have anything to worry about. I do know how stressful it can be though!
Can I just say, I am truly grateful for the genuinely helpful, reassuring and kind replies that some of you have given. I think the general consensus is that 8 months is still very young so not to panic if he isn't interested yet.
I am going to power through with finger foods and see how he gets on. Maybe I'll offer a purée afterwards and see if he fancies it, but as @MAFIL mentioned, I think he's picking up on my negativity going into mealtimes thinking "oh god he's not going to eat anything" and it's making it worse. I need to actually not give a toss whether he eats or not and remind myself that he's doing well every other way, he'll eat when he's ready.
He has also cut his top two teeth this morning (I could see them creeping through the past few days) so that could also be a contributing factor to the diabolical mealtimes recently, but I think I'm also maybe just trying to make myself feel better...
Isn't the message "food for fun" before 12 months?
Learning to pick up food, but it in their mouths, chew it and swallow is HUGE developmentally. Some are more interested/co-ordinated than others.
I have 4 DC and they varied greatly in how interested they were in food versus milk between 6 & 12 months.
Try to not stress, offer the finger food when he's fed up of the high chair get him out.
The only way he will learn how to hold food and get it to his mouth is to be allowed to try. The object is for him to explore it and develop his coordination
By 8 months you should be moving on from purees anyway to aid oral development.
If you wanted something to read there’s a book I found helpful called ‘My Child Won’t Eat!’ - despite the dramatic title, I found it actually very reassuring and helpful in talking about the range of normal.
Baby pasta, fingers of toast, banana etc
Peas, sweetcorn and small pincery veg. They love to play and practice with them. To help mine- I spoon fed and gave her finger foods at the same time so she was distracted enough trying to grab them so I could get the spoon in.
Let them make as much mess too. Seems to be part of the appeal to little ones so beans, sauces so they can taste and play.
Make everything positive. Everything is yummy and well done etc etc happy face!
@gothicsprout ordering now!! Thanks so much ￼
@Ohnoherewego62 yes similar story here, I tried that last night, let him play with some tuna pasta and sweet potato sticks then managed to get some bolognese down him! I think he also is just mega fussy, because the bolognese was obviously savoury and that went down ok (ish) but before that I'd tried a fish / potato mix that he's had before and every time a spoon went in he cried. I ended up laughing - whilst remembering this thread and trying to be nonchalant about it, which actually worked as I didn't get stressed and just said oh well, you've gained something from playing with and attempting to eat the pasta at least so it wasn't a complete loss. Ok beans and sauces, gotcha. Beans on the menu today then. His pincer grip isn't quite there yet, should I try to encourage it by giving smaller things eg peas and halved blueberries etc?
This is totally normal. Babies are meant to get most of their nutrition from milk until they are 12 months after which you are meant to gradually transition to solids. My son barely ate a thing until he was 13 months.
Ditch the purées and just share what you’re eating with him.
I think the general consensus is that 8 months is still very young so not to panic if he isn't interested yet.
This is exactly what I would say too.
My DD started weaning at 6 months, up until 12 months she would pretty much eat nothing or be sick every time I gave her solids - even smooth purees to begin with. It was more like 18 months before she as actually eating "decent" quantities of food (compared to her peers). She just has a small appetite. As long as he is gaining weight and healthy/active/developing he is getting enough nutrition through milk and whatever solids he does have.
P.s. my daughter is nearly 3 now and will eat most things. But still tiny portions 🤷♀️
My DD didn't really "eat" until she was around 3 years old. Prior to that she picked and squished and played and refused most stuff. She went whole days where she didn't really eat anything.
She didn't even like milk much. It was stressful but she's now a strapping 13 year old.
I think as long as he is showing some interest and eating something (even if it is just fruit etc) then he's ok and he'll get there!
As said above, still very young and my key advice (and I'm still learning this with my fussy 2yo!) is to remove any element of battle. I would put him in the chair when you are eating a meal and offer him little pieces of yours. Small encouragement is fine but no begging/getting frustrated. He is allowed milk as main intake until 12mo so you still have a long time for him to get going with food
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