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Weaning frustrations.

(16 Posts)
ElfenProsperity Fri 30-Sep-11 10:18:52

I'm not sure if there is a wrong way to wean but we seem to be making very little progress and I need ideas. Also, maybe a little venting as I don't want mealtimes to be stressful because that will probably just make her eating worse.

DD is 7.5 months (my first) and we've been trying to wean her for just under 2 months now. It's proving a little frustrating, especially when I watch my friend's 4 month old gobble down pretty much anything.

We've found about 5/6 things that she will eat - mostly fruit purees, mostly from pouches (she doesn't even like mashed banana if I make it) or fruit pots and if she likes something, she can manage a decent amount of it. We're still trying savoury options regularly (every day, offered at different times), but the only way we've gotten her to eat more than a spoonful of anything savoury is if it's one of the Ella's House pouches which is mostly fruit (and I've had no luck mixing a small amount of veg with a fruit pot myself).

With that said, she's pretty good about trying a spoonful of anything, but then refuses to take any more if she doesn't like it (baby rice, lumps, vegetables, anything that isn't mostly apple or pear). She'll happily play with toast or a rusk but it very rarely makes it to her mouth (unlike toys which seem to live in her mouth hmm) so I don't think BLW is the way to go either.

Her weight is better than fine (25th centile at birth, 91st last time we had her weighed and she's a chunky, healthy baby) and she's still breastfed, but now she's demanding food 4/5 during the night which makes me think that it's not enough for her any more (whole other kettle of fish, but I don't want to night wean her until I'm sure she's not getting hungry because she's getting enough during the day IYSWIM). And it is frustrating (I said that, right?), it doesn't feel like we're making any progress and I'm worried she'll never eat anything that isn't sweet if I get it wrong now.

TLDR questions:
Is she always going to be a fussy eater?
Has anyone got any ideas on how to bridge the gap between fruit and everything else?
Should I give her something she likes if she refuses something she doesn't like or will that just lead to her thinking that she will get something sweet if she refuses savoury food?
Is it more important to get food down her right now or get her to try new things?

Thanks in advance, not a regular here but none of my friends seem to be having any problems like this and the HV just said her weight was fine so I don't know if I'm worrying over nothing and being a little PFB.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 30-Sep-11 11:16:57

To answer your questions, no I don't think it means she will always be a fussy eater, so don't worry about he future, know that's easier said than done but the more you relax the more she will.

Do keep offering food, though I would try to ditch the expensive bought stuff if possible. if she doesn't eat it then I think that's fine. Just try to remember the old saying, food is for fun until you're one.

Personally, I wouldn't be offering anything else if she refuses, your milk is enough.

Yes its important to keep offering her new foods, and keep offering them. Babies often refuse a food several times before they will acutally eat it but no, its not important that you do "get food down her" at this age at all. Many children aren't weaned until later and they do just fine.

As for the waking in the night, are you bfing an hour before offering solids? How many bfs does she have in a day? Have you spoken to a BFC? Have you got the helpline numbers?

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 30-Sep-11 11:20:58

Forgot to say, if you are after a bit of inspiration there are some recipes here and I know that you feel BLW is out for you and she rarely puts the finger food you offer in her mouth but I'd still keep offering finger food. Have you tried giving her some lightly steamed veg from your meal or a strip of chicken? It may just be that she's not keen on rusks and toast smile

ElfenProsperity Fri 30-Sep-11 12:37:44

Thanks for the reply smile

I didn't mean it to come out as "getting food down her" but more "making sure she is getting a balance of solids and milk". I am honestly more patient than this post makes out!

We've passed her the occasional bit of whatever we're eating if it's suitable (stir fried pork the other night for example), so we'll just keep on trying with that and a spoonful of veg every now and then (I have plenty of frozen homemade puree but used the packets because I thought she'd be more likely to eat them).

She has 6/7 bfs when she is up during the day (including offering her some milk after she's had some puree) - the big ones where she has both sides tend to be in the evening before bed and first thing in the morning. Honestly, I think she would latch on all day if I gave her the option though! I'm pretty sure she just wants to nurse to sleep but she is so insistent that rocking and cuddling just won't do that it makes me wonder if she's actually hungry so I thought I'd make sure she was getting enough to eat during the day before tackling night weaning/some sort of sleep training.

I've never spoken to a BFC (breast feeding counsellor?) and didn't know there was a helpline blush

Why do you suggest giving milk an hour before solids? I've always offered her some afterwards to top her up but have never really tried before.

An0therName Fri 30-Sep-11 12:47:17

sometimes at this stage of weaning if they are v hungry then they don't concentrate - thats why suggestion is maybe to give milk before food - I would expect at this age still to be having about 4 biggish BF in the day - so first thing, midmorning, mid afternoon and evening
nightwaking may not be food related
and this a BLW thing but applies to all weaning which is food is fun until they are 1 which always helped me
have you tried yogurt - maybe with fruit puree porriage, and baby pasta with say tom sauce can be nice, small amounts of cheese could good too

Abe99 Fri 30-Sep-11 13:43:58

Just wanted to say you are not the only one. My DD sounds similar to yours so I share your frustration. She is also 7.5 months and on the 50th percentile (which she has tracked since birth) and we started weaning at 24 weeks.

Like you the Ella's stage 1 pouches are better recieved than home made stuff but I rarely get more than a spoon or two of anything in (bar yogurt which she loves).

On the finger food side she loves steak strips (so maybe worth trying plus it has lots of iron) and occasionally bread but most other things get ignored.

It is very frustrating and I go back to work in 11 weeks so really need her to be be eating a bit by then (grandparents looking after her). All my friends babies also eat lots and are down to 3 milk feeds a day. However, I'm told a lot of babies don't really get into food till 9/10months or later and are absolutly fine for it.

lilham Fri 30-Sep-11 16:18:55

Wanted to say you are not alone either. It's so frustrating when I see other babies opening their month eagarly wanting another spoonful of food. In a good day, I can get 1-2 spoonfuls of food into my DD's mouth. Most days, she just turn her face away. I'm going back in a month and I don't think I'll see her improve. She's a bottle refuser as well.

Jules125 Fri 30-Sep-11 23:06:28

My DD (now 9.5) months is still a very small eater (but we are progressing) and ate virtually nothing until the last few weeks or so. It is frustrating but they do get round to it eventually. Just keep offering a good range of different foods - even if she has refused them before (my DD now loves a lentil recipe that she refused many many times - same with mashed potato). I think my DD now understands that food can satisfy hunger like milk can (but that is only recently) and that has helped. But it takes a while for the penny to drop for some. She still wakes twice a night though but I think mainly for comfort

Jules125 Fri 30-Sep-11 23:08:52

My DD would also probably latch on permanently if I gave her the option though :-)

BertieBotts Fri 30-Sep-11 23:27:15

Please, do not worry! At 7.5 months you are still well into the territory of food being exploration. You do not need to ensure a balance between food and milk at this stage, all you have to do is make the food available, and let her explore. Some babies just seem to take to food immediately and some are more cautious - it's fine, they will even out eventually.

Remember, "food is for fun until they're one" - breastmilk or formula should still form the bulk of their nutrition until then. In fact a baby can be sustained on breastmilk alone for far, far longer than you'd realise. I remember reading on here that the "...until they're one" can actually mean 1 year, 11 months. Lots of people worry about iron levels, but actually, the iron stores that babies have from birth only start to deplete at 6 months, and breastmilk contains a very easily absorbed form of iron, so in fact her iron levels would be absolutely fine even if she was eating nothing else for ages yet.

DS didn't really eat until 9 months, despite starting BLW due to his absolute determination to grab food at 5 months, even then, his eating was sporadic. HVs were worried, I tried everything from feeding him crap just to get him to recognise the difference between full and hungry (didn't work and now he's obsessed with crisps... thanks, whoever gave me that idea!) to witholding breastmilk in case it was filling him up, nothing worked, and I didn't want to go down the route my friend did where she stopped feeding him and he still didn't eat. Anyway, DS got there in his own sweet time, and finally, finally he just decided one day at 22 months that food was quite nice, actually, and started eating these massive portions, more than an adult would. He was fairly fussy for a while, but at nearly 3 that's almost gone and he will try almost everything as long as he's not in an uncooperative mood.

If you can get hold of your local LLL group/leader, see if you can source a copy of the book "My Child Won't Eat!" - it's out of print now, but older LLL groups might still have a copy in their library. Failing that the leaflet "Toddlers and food" is great with lots of reassuring information, though it focuses on the over-ones, it might put your mind at rest. There is also one on weaning which I haven't seen but it's very likely that it emphasises that some babies will take to food early and easily and eat huge amounts and others won't, but that that's normal and nothing to worry about.

(Ah! In fact, looks like there is a new edition coming out, which is fantastic news. It might be quicker to see if you can source a LLL copy though.)

ChippingIn Fri 30-Sep-11 23:40:43

Why are you so keen for her to eat solids? Your BM is still the most nutritionally dense food she can have.

Have you read any of the BLW books - they are full of interesting facts about the hows/whys of eating. You don't have to do it just because you've read it, but I defy anyone to read them then to spoon or mix feed.

This one is an easy read & quite informative Baby Led Weaning

ElfenProsperity Sat 01-Oct-11 09:38:40

Thanks for the messages. It's a relief to know that it's normal and it might mean absolutely nothing for her eating habits in the long term.

The most reliably received recipe I've found is the apple/peach/pear/vanilla one (annabel karmel, i can give more detail if anyone wants) - it cooks down to a really nice sweet puree (which is thin enough to fit into freezer bags) and is accepted warm or cold.

I think I'm keen for her to eat a variety of solids now because I'm worried that if I don't try and get a balance of things into her, she will end up refusing every non-sweet thing for all of her childhood. I was a bit worried about the iron thing as well but if that's not a problem, then that's fine.

Also, on a more selfish note, she refuses to take a bottle (although I reckon if I was brave enough to leave her with DH she would take one when she got hungry enough after lots of screaming) and I really hoped weaning would give me a little bit more freedom.

And I'm a little bit annoyed when people give me 'well meaning advice' when they find out she won't eat most things. Armed with information, I can now reply: I did not leave weaning too late/It's not because I still bf her/She won't refuse vegetables forever just because she's refusing them now/etc

ChippingIn Sat 01-Oct-11 10:02:21

Elfen - honestly, what she will or wont eat at this stage wont have any bearing on what she eats during her entire childhood smile Even if she eats lots of things now - she's just as likely to go through a 'fussy' stage later on.

Please try to get a hold of a copy of that book - I'm sure that even if you decide against BLW you will find it very reassuring.

People will give all kinds of advice re your children for the rest of your life - get used to it grin You can choose to smile & agree - and do your own thing, or you can get worried or annoyed by it... you can't stop it, you can only decide how you will deal with it.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 01-Oct-11 16:41:01

Elfen, agree with Chipping its all normal and when you get unwanted advice just smile, nod and do what you want grin.

BFC is a Breastfeeding Counsellor. It might be worth givng one of the helplines a call, the details of the La Leche League's Helpline are here but there are others, if you want to try a different one. Talking to a BFC will probably help reassure you that you are doing everything right. it might also be worth finding out if there is a La Leche League group that meets near you as they sometimes have talks on weaning.

Think that the idea about giving a bf an hour before offering solids is, it will make you baby more content when trying the food. The bm is more calorific (besides all the other stuff it has in). BM should really be your babies main source of nutrition at the moment and if your DD doesn't get enough milk in the day it may increase night wakings. There again though, I'm not trained so it probably would be best speaking to a BFC smile.

If you are worried about giving her a variety of foods now, I think you should have a look at BLW as your DD will get used to eating what the rest of the family eats straight away instead of having "special" meals cooked for her. Think every fussy eater I've ever met was weaned te Annabel Karmel way......

lilham Sat 01-Oct-11 17:35:59

ElfenProsperity, I'd also suggest trying BLW as well. I was originally going down the puree + finger food path. But I couldn't get more then 1-2 spoonfuls into DD, while everyone else's babies love their purees. I nearly cried when I saw a friend's baby wolfed down a whole jar of pre-made food. On the advice of my HV (who's quite pro-BLW), I started offering lunch and dinner of finger food since I started at 6mo and I couldn't even get a breakfast into DD. She really love her finger foods. She probably get no more food in her then that mouthful of puree, but at least she's very very happy at meal times. I understand that weaning is about introducing tastes and enjoying food, and clearly the puree is stressful for both of us. I feel so much better when I see DD happily gumming away a floret of broccoli or a wedge of orange.

BTW, DH tried giving DD porridge this morning and he now fully supports BLW grin. He thought I didn't try hard enough to purees fun!

cantmakecarrotcake Tue 04-Oct-11 16:03:00

Elfen, I feel your pain. My DD is/was(?) just as difficult.

I've gone back and forth with spoons/no spoons depending on her mood, and have only just (at 8.5 months) got her to accept (pureed) food without fruit in.

If she'll accept some of the Ella's kitchen stage 1 pouches then go with it. That's pretty much all DD would eat for weeks (and often straight from the pouch too). It's only in the last week that we've progressed to more savoury stuff - and then only stage 1 purees (Cow and Gate and HIPP organic are really smooth if lumps are an issue)

I hate to say it (and I hated hearing it myself), but she will get there in when she's ready. There's an awful lot of pressure (HV, peers etc) to get babies on 3 meals and the frustration of being the only one whose baby isn't eating beautifully home-prepared mush is awful.

I also dropped BF to encourage her onto solids and didn't feed her too close to a meal as she would just refuse everything (I know that goes against the advice above, but hearing other approaches can be useful).

Good luck, and don't fret, just keep going and if she likes something it's ok to do it over and over again!

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