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Encouraging to eat when weaning?

(10 Posts)
Thistledew Sun 26-Mar-17 04:46:53

DS is 8 months. We started weaning just a couple of weeks before he turned 6 months using mostly BLW with some spoon feeding. He is breast fed.

It had been going well, and we progressed quickly to 3 meals a day, with a whole range of foods. Unfortunately, for the past couple of weeks DS has been cutting one of his upper teeth (the bottom ones came through at 5 months). He has obviously been quite uncomfortable and has had a cough and temperature along side for a couple of days. When he was ill he understandably lost his appetite and I just offered him some of his favourite and easy to eat foods such as yogurt and banana. However, he is now over the illness but is still being fussy about eating and is often still refusing all but a tiny taste of foods he previously ate with gusto.

Sometimes, if he is refusing to eat and I can persuade him to have a little taste then he will eat well, but other times this just leads to me holding food in front of a squawking, grizzling baby who is protesting that he doesn't want to eat.

I know the mantra 'food is for fun before we are one' and really don't want to turn mealtime in to any sort of battle ground especially whilst he is still so young, but I am worried when he doesn't eat well because he is a skinny baby. He has always been very active and despite feeding on demand approximately every 3 hours (8-9 feeds in 24 hrs) he is dropping down the centiles. He is over the 90th centile for length, yet at 6 months had dropped from the 50th to the 10th for weight. At 7 months, after 6 weeks of weaning he was back up to the 25th, but I'm sure he will have dropped right down again when I take him to be weighed on Monday, as he is looking skinny again. I do really worry that if he gets another bug and is off his food then he doesn't have the fat reserves to tide him over until he is well again.

I am worried that by trying to encourage him to eat rather than just taking the food away when he protests I will create a conflict situation that ultimately will mean he doesn't want to eat. Equally, I am worried about his lack of weight gain if he doesn't eat.

Any advice?

Thanks for any suggestions.

IJustWantABrew Sun 26-Mar-17 06:07:35

My baby is the same age and hasn't actually ever really eaten anything. (Not from a lack of effort on my part), one of the MANY things our hv suggested was instead of trying the normal bland baby foods, try something with a bit of flavour, if he's had a cold it might just help. Try stuff like a mild curry, or a bolognaise.
Also try letting him feed himself with the spoon, pop some food on the end and let him try.

Thistledew Sun 26-Mar-17 08:21:50

Thanks IJustWantABrew. He had been eating a good range of 'proper' foods. He loves fish and had previously wolfed down impressive portions of things like fish pie and kedgeree, or bolognaise and orzo, but even his favourites have been rejected recently.

He does like to feed himself but hasn't got to grips with a spoon- he likes to turn the spoon every which way and inspect it from all angles, which means the food falls off! I'm torn between puréeing stuff to make it easier for him to eat when his mouth is sore and giving him stuff that he can feed himself, which at least doesn't incur protests, even if most of it is just played with rather than eaten.

My instinct is that his mouth is just very sore from the teeth erupting, but it has been two weeks already in the cutting of the first tooth and could be another week or so until the second one follows. He already has a waist line that many adults would envy, although he does appear to have plenty of energy to crawl and play all day.

Thistledew Sun 26-Mar-17 20:23:36

Any ideas? This evening I kept it simple - he fed himself a couple of slices of griddled courgette, which he loves, then grizzled and protested at the sight of a spoonful of scrambled egg, which is another of his favourites. I practically had to force him to taste some, after which he did decide he wanted some and had maybe 4-5 spoonfuls. Previously he would have eaten most of an egg's worth. He then happily ate some yogurt, which is his favourite thing ever.

For breakfast he ate a few spoonfuls of porridge with blueberries, but again much less than normal. For lunch he fed himself some slices of avocado, a small bit of cucumber (he usually loves this and eats loads) and a few tastes of bread with salmon pate and buttered water biscuit. In total a fairly reasonable lunch but not a big one by his normal standards.

I hate that I practically had to force some egg into him at dinner time, but he would not have touched it otherwise, and once he had had a taste he did seem to positively enjoy eating some.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 01-Apr-17 09:17:09

I know you are worried about his weight but 3 meals a day is an awful lot at this age. The current NHS guidelines say to offer 3 meals between 8 and 9 months.

Having said that, it's still ok to carry on as you are but try not to stress if he isn't too keen on eating at least one of the meals.

Also, if he is skinny is that ok if he's shooting through the length centiles? My BF DS has always been very skinny but never seems to stop getting taller. What's his predicted adult height? If you are concerned, could you bf more? Have you tried offering a feed after 2 hours instead of one?

As for the self feeding, I think he's a bit too young for a spoon. Try him with things like blueberry pancakes, sweet potato wedges, fishcakes, avocado on toast, sausages cut lengthways with baked beans, even spag Bol. Just put it on the tray of his high chair and let him throw it on the floor and at the walls try some for himself whilst you eat yours. A frozen banana is supposed to be very good for teething as is gnawing on big chunks of cool cucumber.

As for the pain have you tried applying a teething gel like Dentinox just before he eats and have you tried a dose of Ibruprofen rounghly half an hour before the meal you would like him to eat most?

Rubytuesday2980 Sat 01-Apr-17 09:31:08

Morning, I saw this post and I could've written it! My DS completely ent off food around the same time, also some teeth bit maybe a bit of general baby stubbornness as well. After getting myself into a right state about it (seriously, I swear weaning is the most stressful thing I've had to deal with so far), I just stopped giving him food for a few days. After that, I went back to casually putting a bit of lunch (blw) in front of him and for a week, I was literally staying the other side of the kitchen and leaving him to it. Once he'd started showing more interest in that, I found that he was getting hungry at teatime, so started tea again. Two weeks later and he is eating more than ever, both finger foods and from a spoon, and is even eating breakfast - which we always struggled with. Looking back, I honestly think he was picking up on my stress and mealtimes were becoming a battle, and he was just too little to understand. So... don't worry, it will come back, but these babies, they're getting a bit independent!!

ipswichwitch Sat 01-Apr-17 09:38:42

We used to put anbesol on their gums just before meals, and sometimes a dose of calpol too. From about 6/7 months both of mine liked holding the spoon, so I gave them a spoon and let them try to scoop food, or pre-load it and give it to them. Yes, most of it ended up on the floor or in their hair, but I'd also have a spoon and feed them a few mouthfuls in between the carnage. They soon got the hang of it.

They always are better if I ate with them, so I'd go for a one spoon for me, one for you approach. I'd just offer it though, and if they refused I'd just carry on with mine.

DS1 had some health issues that caused him to lose a significant amount of weight at 9mo. We were worried about his reduced food intake at first, but realised we were making too much of an issue of mealtimes by trying to encourage him to eat. When we stopped stressing about it, he started eating better - we just put the food in front of him, and let him get on with it while eating ours, helping with the spoon when he needed it.

ipswichwitch Sat 01-Apr-17 09:39:43

I should add the anbesol and calpol were only when teething, not before every meal!

Thistledew Sat 01-Apr-17 21:29:42

Thanks for all the replies!

I took him to the HV clinic last Monday to be weighed and was lucky to see a good, pragmatic HV. He had gone down the centiles again for weight to around the 15th. We didn't measure him but just judging by his clothes he has grown again so is around the 95th- which will give him a predicted adult height of around 6"4!

We had been advised to go to 3 meals a day and to proper food rather than fruit/veg purées because he was dropping down the centiles despite hungrily feeding every two hours day and night. I and still feeding on demand now.

The advice from the HV was not to worry about his weight. He is alert, very active and exceeding his milestones. She said to focus on him enjoying his food rather than how much he is having, and if he didn't want to eat, then don't be fussed about it.

I have followed the advice and gone back largely to finger foods, with any spoon food being a small part of the meal.

I don't know if it is just down to this or to the fact that DS's second tooth is nearly through, but it seems that his appetite has returned. In fact, today he ate loads! I don't know where he put it all. He had:

Breakfast- 1 1/2 fingers of toast with cream cheese.
Lunch- couple of inch chunk of cucumber (well gnawed), couple of slices of avocado, several spoonfuls of lentil and veg purée, water biscuit with butter, bit of pizza crust (blush not every day food, he wanted some of what I was eating).
Dinner- half a courgette griddled, 7 pieces of gnocchi with tomato/celery/mushroom/courgette/onion sauce, half a dozen extra spoonfuls of sauce, taste of sausage, and half a pot of Greek yogurt! He didn't quite wipe the plate clean but less than 1/3 ended up on the floor.

I hope this continues, but I will definitely try the suggestions for using some sort of pain relief before meals if he loses his appetite again with the next teeth.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 01-Apr-17 21:40:37

So glad your HV is being sensible about this smile

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