Solid Foods: The Battle Continues

Bean has been having regular solid foods twice a day (at least) for the past six weeks.  By now, I expected things to be much smoother.  Everyone said, “Just give him time, just give him time.”  So, I gave him time.  Six weeks of time.  And not a darn thing has changed.

The kid hates food.

I mean, I’ve tried everything. Homemade baby food, pieces of my food, jarred baby food, frozen, warm, with a spoon, without a spoon, in a high chair, out of a high chair, at different times of day.  We’ve eaten fruits, veggies, meat, sweet, savory.  Nothing seems to matter.  Its the same result every time.

Total meltdown.

And if by some miracle there isn’t an actual meltdown, there is the open-mouth.  I’ve seen him eat things.  I know he knows how to do it.  But when I try to feed him actual food and he doesn’t want to eat it, he just sits there with his mouth open, until the food slides out.

Oh, Lordy, how it frustrates me.  But I try not to get frustrated.  I sing and talk and distract him until I am just as irritated as he is and then I sing out, “ALL DONE!” and I go have a drink.

I try not to push him to the point where he’s really upset at meal time.  I want him to think its a positive experience.  I want him to enjoy it.


But Bean knows I’m lying.  He knows we’re not having fun.  In fact, I’m convinced that he does the open-mouth thing as a way to entertain himself because mealtimes are just that un-entertaining.  I know this because when I do manage to get something in his mouth, and he sits with his mouth open and the food starts sliding out, he laughs like that’s the funniest thing he’s ever seen.

Yeah, Bean.  You’re freaking hilarious.

And I know what you’re thinking.  “Don’t laugh!  You’ll just encourage him!” and that might be true.  But at this point in the game, its either laugh or pick up a handful of peas and chunk it at him.  And since I’m pretty sure child protective services has something against throwing food at your child, I’m left with laughing out of frustration.

Under normal circumstances, I would just give up.  I’m a quitter.  What can I say?  But seeing as to how a human life depends on my not giving up in this instance, I’m left to continue on.  I can tell he’s getting hungrier for something more than just his bottles and I know that at any time now, he’s going to have to just get it and when that time comes, you can bet I’ll be there with my rubber spoon and face guard.

But for now, I’m woman enough to admit it that Bean is winning this battle.  But I’ll be damned if he’s going to win the war.

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28 Thoughts to “Solid Foods: The Battle Continues”

  1. I’m not sure if you let Bean watch tv or not, but sometimes when my son wont eat, all i have to do is turn on the tv(Max and Ruby is his favorite) and he will eat ANYTHING!! It’s amazing. I am sure it is a bad habbit, but whatever gets the boy to eat is worth it! Good luck!!!

  2. Toni S.

    Have you tried the Gerber Graduates Puffs? They are great! My youngest was like that, so we tried stuff she could eat by her self. These puffs practically melt once in the mouth. When she wouldn’t eat anything else, these worked!

    1. Katie

      We do use Puffs and Bean LOVES them. But its the ONLY thing he’ll eat. I told Chris if Bean ate any more Puffs, he’d turn into one. And then he’d melt in the bath tub. The kid needs some veggies in his life!

  3. We just started solids yesterday and it was a complete non-event. We scooped it onto her tray, scooped two piles onto our plates, ate it and yummed, let her stick make a huge mess and mmmm, and then she was all, okay that was cool, can I have more milk now?

    So I have no advice.

    BUT the mouth thing is pretty damned funny and I would totally laugh too. That’s awesome!

  4. Toni S.

    At least they are made of fruits and veggies, plus vitamins! If that’s what he’ll eat, I say let him. maybe bribe him. Give him some puffs, then a spoonfull of what you want him to try. Once he swallows what you feed him, give him a few puffs. Or, spoonfull, then put a puff in while his mouth is open, LOL

  5. Mom of 3

    There are a couple of things in life that you cannot make a kid do, and eat is one of them. All you can do is present the food and he makes the choice to eat or not. The bigger deal you make out of it the more control you give him (and believe me, he knows he has the power!) At this age, he will be perfectly healthy with his formula, keep offering a variety of finger foods and spoon foods, be cool!, and he’ll surprise you one day.

    P.S. The other thing you cannot make kids do is use the potty. And that is another thing you do not want to turn into a power struggle…they will win every time!

    1. Word 😉 I absolutely agree – it was the same for us and the Munchkin. Now she is 20 months old and eats almost everything, she’s always eager to try new things. I very much wanted food for her to be something fun, something to enjoy – something not connected to forcing, bribing or anything of the likes. Being relaxed about this whole thing has certainly paid off for us, the Munchkin doesn’t seem to have any food issues at this point. I just nursed her as long as she needed it and she eventually decided to demand something more solid.

  6. I think your Bean and my Boogie Bear are about a week apart and we are having NO luck here either. All I can figure is that Cam just isn’t ready. So we keep trying. And trying. And trying. And I want to poke my eye balls out every time because, like you, I know he needs and/or wants more than just milk. *Sigh*

  7. You could try Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) and see if that works.
    We did it with our daughter when we introduced solids.
    Unfortunately, the time thing is good advice– my daughter’s friend, who is a week younger, had the same food issues when solids were introduced but now, at 18 months, he’s a perfectly normal eater.

  8. We are doing BLW too, and Daisy really only started eating decent amounts about a week ago (she is a week older than Beanie). It was like all of a sudden it just clicked. She woke up one day and ate heaps.
    Once again, time! Maybe give an extra milk feed if you think he’s still hungry. Babies can actually survive fine on just milk for the whole of the first year.
    You’re doing everything right!

  9. Cassandra

    Your oven! Look at your oven! Its so big and shiny! (Bean is pretty too, but oh that oven!)
    Goodluck on the feeding!

  10. I’ve heard a lot of people say that their kids who didn’t like purees and regular baby food, once introduced to regular foods like you and I would eat, all of a sudden became good eaters. Bean may just be one of those babies! I know of at least three in my small mom’s group alone who were like that.

  11. Like the first commenter, sometimes I had to resort to singing a song to Jack in order to get him to eat. It distracts him enough that he eats what’s in his mouth while watching in amazement at his talented Mommy sing silly songs. For some weird reason, my first song is always “why do birds suddenly appear, every time…you are near?!” It’s just wacky enough to work! 🙂

  12. Looking€ oHeaven

    I may have said this on an earlier thread but in case I didn’t here ya go:
    My son (who is now 9 and eats well) never would accept baby food of any sort. He also would not eat any table food until he was about 13 months. He nursed and that was it.
    It was incredibly frustrating until I realized that it didn’t need to be a battle. I would offer occasionally just to see if he was ready to accept it. Mostly he wasn’t so we kept on nursing. I realize Beanie is bottle fed but his formula has all the vitamins he needs.
    I am probably in the minority here but once I quit trying to force him to eat we got along alot better. He nursed and grew and I quit stressing about what he wouldn’t eat.
    Obviously each family is different and I do wish you luck in your feeding adventures.
    God Bless<3

  13. I can’t help it but I totally laughed when I saw the grin on his face!

  14. Cindy

    I can really feel for you. My baby is 15 months old and I still struggle with this. I have 3 other kids (2 stepkids and 1 I gave birth to) and they were pickey eaters too so it really isn’t anything new to me. I just was really hoping that this time would be different. The only advice that I would give is to never turn it into a power struggle. Just introduce foods over and over and over and over again several times a day. Kids will eventually eat when they are hungry. The only other thing is make sure that solids are given far enough away from the liquids so that they will be hungry (1- 1.5 hours since a bottle/sippy cup).

  15. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but my daughter wouldn’t eat from any spoon other than the gerber rubber tip ones. You know, the metal ones with the plastic coating stuff in the spoon part? We tried several other brands and it was a struggle. But when we started using those, she suddenly started eating. Don’t know if it was the spoons or her finally being ready, but I’m not gonna jinx it my trying to switch. So, if it’s not one of the things you’ve tried yet, try switching spoons. Maybe it will work. Good luck and try not to stress. He(and you)are doing fine.

  16. Diana

    As the mom of four grown children I’d like to say 2 things:
    1. People will not starve themselves. Given enough time they will eventually eat. I know it’s hard because as parent’s we want to take care of our kids and part of that is feeding them. Keep offering him different types of food (he may have a texture issue like one of my kids) and really, I promise, one day before you know it, he’ll be eating real food!
    2. In some countries babies don’t eat solid foods until they’re one year old. He’ll be just fine on formula (and puffs!) until he figures it out!
    3 (I guess I had one more)Like several others said…you don’t want to make a power struggle out of it.
    Blessings to you…I’ve really been enjoying your blog!

  17. So here’s what my pediatrician told me. When a baby is breastfed they start to outgrow the nutrients in the milk. My ped was telling me that it’s perfectly normal for a breastfed baby to start losing ground in the percentile weight charts, and when they get low enough their brains start to tell them to eat food. They never starve, it’s not that drastic, but it makes sense to me. So he said that right now my son’s just playing around with tastes until he starts to realize that he NEEDS food. I wonder if, since Beanie’s taking formula, he’s just not at the point where he needs food. I don’t know if you’ve started transitioning him in terms of letting him outgrow his formula just a bit. And I don’t even know how that works, honestly. But in any case, there aren’t any two-year-olds on formula, right? He’ll get there.

  18. Babies need breastmilk or formula until they are a year old, so Bean is not old enough to be “outgrowing” his formula at this point (and neither are BF babies, for that matter.) Like someone else mentioned, babies can and do subsist perfectly fine on formula or breastmilk for their first year. And they do make formula products for toddlers, because let’s face it, kids can be picky eaters and so a lot of parents opt to continue to toddler formula to make sure their kids are getting nutrients.

  19. Oh goodness, I was in no way advocating stopping formula or breastfeeding! I want to keep breastfeeding til at LEAST a year has passed. My point was more that it’s likely that Bean is probably just not needing the extra nutrients yet, so that might be why he isn’t eating. I only mentioned the outgrowing formula because I have no idea how formula weaning works. I know with breastfeeding you get to a point where you just can’t make as much milk as your growing child needs or milk supply naturally declines, but you can keep giving formula as needed. I don’t know if formula weaning is also a natural thing or if it’s something the parent has to initiate. But I agree, Beanie is fine with his food sources right now. He’s growing and putting on weight and the rest will come with time. Just trying to give a potential reason he’s not as interested in baby food right now. My own mother wonders why I started my son on solids and he’s seven months! She apparently didn’t start with us until about 9.

    1. Katie

      That’s a really good point about the BF weaning versus the formula weaning. I hadn’t thought about that. Maybe I’ll talk to my doctor about if/when that is necessary and how to do it.

    2. Not to beat a dead horse here, but I also wanted to add that as long as a baby is nursing, the mother will have enough milk (there are some cases where milk supply is a real issue for mothers but that’s not the norm). Milk supply declines when the baby stops nursing.

      Katie, formula weaning is not something you have to think about until Bean is at least a year old, so I wouldn’t stress about it and as hard as it may be, I also wouldn’t stress about him not eating as long as he is thriving on formula. Diana up there is absolutely correct, and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and heartache if you follow Bean’s lead.

      And if you’re making your own baby food, you can try seasoning it a little, if you’re not already. A little seasoning goes a long way– plain old baby food is pretty bland, especially since there’s no salt or anything in it. Alice loves cinnamon in her oatmeal (way better than rice cereal!), and all her other food is seasoned the same way mine is since we share all our food– I tend to go light on the spicy stuff and my husband will add hot sauce to his plate if it’s not spicy enough. She also likes greek yogurt with maple syrup or jam (I started using honey when she was a year old).

  20. Sarah B

    I love how Bean looks like The Exorcist with the green peas shooting out of his mouth. hee hee.

  21. lauren

    Have you tried letting him hold the spoon?

  22. Janiia

    My third child was really fussy when it came to starting solids. She didn’t want anything to do with me feeding her she just wanted to do it herself. So I turned everything into finger foods. It made for a very messy baby at meal times, but that is what baths and washing machines are for! Good luck!

  23. Sonya

    Oh I feel for ya! My first son was the same way and I could just picture him with a baby bottle at his college graduation.

    What I ended up doing, out of complete frustration, was just putting a bit of food (a couple tablespoons) on his tray and just let him play with it. It was a ginormous mess, but he played with it and tasted it and wanted more. In his mouth!

    Ten years later the kid will eat anything and in fact loves fruit and vegetables more than candy. I think there might be something wrong with him.

    Good luck and hang in there!!

  24. Oy, I’m right there with you, sista! My babe’s just the opposite, though. She won’t open her mouth, even to protest, because she knows food will end up in there by sneak attack! She’ll just fuss with her mouth clamped shut. I just did a post about it, too, as a matter of fact.

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