One common worry of all mothers is when baby refuses to eat. From day one, we look forward to feeding baby solids and we get worried when it’s finally time and baby just wont eat.
There are a few reasons why baby will refuse food. Baby could be distracted, sick or teething, or just being a picky eater. And then there is the case where baby refuses food because she just doesn’t want to be spoonfed and that was my case.
When my baby girl was around 5 months and could sit up, she started showing interest in food and would try to reach for food from your plate when you are eating. So I always thought when it was finally time for her to eat, she will be so happy to eat.
Imagine my disappointment when she turned 6 months old and I tried feeding her and she just won’t eat. This wasn’t the case with her big sister. For her first meal she ate almost everything and I thought it would be the same with the little one.
When she refused to eat I thought may be she didn’t like oats so let me try something else later in the day. I tried pureed bananas and she wouldn’t eat it. I kept trying different meals but baby wouldn’t just eat. And yet when I was eating she tried to eat my food.
But when I try feeding her what I’m eating, she would reject it. That was when I realised that my baby didn’t want to be fed. She wanted to feed herself. She was ready for solids. She was ready to eat. She just didn’t want to be fed.
One common reason why babies refuse food is that they want to feed themselves. But when you think of the fact that baby wouldn’t eat much and would rather feed the floor, it makes you want to feed them yourself to make sure she actually eats.
What to do when baby hates purees
So what do you do when baby hates purees and doesn’t want to be spoonfed?
When baby hates purees and doesn’t want to be spoonfed no need to worry. It’s time to introduce them to finger foods. It’s called baby led weaning. At 6 months old, baby is ready to eat whatever you eat, so long as it is healthy.
I know many parents are worried about baby choking on finger foods but baby won’t choke on food. You can even give your baby finger foods alongside the pureed food if your baby like purees.
What if baby just plays with the food?
Don’t worry about baby not eating much. Don’t worry about baby playing with food and all the food that are going to end up on the floor.
Babies actually know when they are hungry and they know when they are full. So trust that when your baby stops eating and starts playing with the food, then your baby is full. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t eat much.
Don’t force your baby to eat purees if she hates them, just because you want to make sure baby eats enough.
With my first baby, she ate pureed food until she was around 8 months old and started refusing it.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have immediately started her with finger foods and let her feed herself.
I did try but watching her play with the food, some end up in the high chair, on the floor and in her hair. That bothered me that she wasn’t eating much. So I forced her to feed her. And guess what, she didn’t learn to feed herself.
She’s almost two now and for her to actually eat, I have to feed her. If you give her a plate of food to eat by herself, she won’t eat at all and would still cry for food. So I feed her all the time. I’m still trying to get her to eat by herself but the truth is I took so long to let her eat by herself.
It’s okay to let baby eat by herself
So when my second baby was 6 months old and ready for solids, I tried pureed food and for her she didn’t like it at all. She would cry the whole time and scream on top of her lungs like you are hurting her.
And when you force it into her mouth as she’s crying, she wont even swallow the food. She will spit it out and keep crying.
She wants to feed herself. And she’s happy when she is feeding herself. So I decided to let her be. Stop with the purees and let her feed herself. And she actually eats until she’s full and then she will start playing with it.
What I learnt was that, babies don’t really need food until they are 1 year old. Everything you feed your baby alongside the breastmilk or formula is meant to be a supplement. So it’s okay if she doesn’t eat much.
With this, she is going to learn how to feed herself. She’s going to learn different textures of food. And as she grows, she will learn to eat more and play with less amount of food. This will also help her to improve her motor skills.
I was worried that because she was no longer a newborn, the breastmilk wouldn’t be enough for her. If this is your worry, then try out some lactation meals and smoothies. Eat right. And your milk supply will be enough for your baby.
As you keep letting her feed herself, eventually, you will realize which meal she likes best. And you can give her more of that.
Baby will eat, eventually. So don’t worry. Just let them be. Let them feed themselves. Let them play. Let them be babies.
Some finger foods you can give to baby as young as 6 months old include banana, apple, avocado and also vegetables like broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes. You can also give them teething biscuits.
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