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Comments

fiona

My 11 month old daughter has never been a huge eater. She has formula and has never consumed the 'recommended' amount on the label, always smaller feeds, more often. She also has a sensitive gag reflex and still has the odd projectile vomit (it used to be daily, it's now weekly, thankfully). She currently has around 4 or 5 6oz bottles in a 24 hour period (and yes, I feed her during the night if a cuddle and pat won't re-settle her).

Her "small amounts, more often" preference has also applied to solids. After trying all sorts of textures, combinations and even genres of dinner music to coax her into eating more than a few mouthfuls I started giving her food she could feed herself. We are now all much happier at mealtimes and I don’t suffer the rejection that came with her spitting out my lovingly prepared semi-pureed meals. My daughter still doesn't eat a large quantity at each meal and spits out many foods offered. I simply try them again a few weeks later. She has her favorites (small pieces of chicken, toast with tahini, peas, rice) and I make sure at least one of these foods is on the tray of her highchair at each meal. Ultimately, I feel that her experience of solid food at this age is important, not the quantity consumed.

We had a visit with my daughter's pediatric chiropractor today and I raised my daughter’s preference for formula with her. I had been led to believe by friends and books I’d read that I had to cut down her formula intake to 2 bottles in a 24 hour period by 1 year of age – which is in 2 weeks! The chiropractor very correctly pointed out that my daughter is happy, healthy, well attached and reaches all of her developmental milestones at appropriate times. This is what matters, not the amount of formula she consumes. And not some silly 'regulation' that is currently in fashion!

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Heather

My sister was a macrobiotic vegan when both of her girls were born, and she pretty much nursed them exclusively until they were two. I mean, I don't remember EVER seeing one of her kids put food (other than a boob) in their mouth. So, not only did they survive on a diet of only breastmilk, but it was fed to them by someone with a very limited diet.

Now they are 9 and 12 and the older one is mainly attracted to junkfood and meat, while the younger one could happily live on salads and no sweets. It definitely helped me to see how little we shape our childrens tastes .

enu

"If you provide a variety of healthy foods and your child does not have a metabolic disorder, he won't let himself starve."

Not a doctor either, but afaik, there are many medical conditions which can lead to a baby letting himself starve besides purely metabolic disorders. Crystal does not say whether her boy is growing well or not - one assumes she would have mentioned if he were not... But babies/children provided with healthy food options can and do sometimes become malnourished due to a whole variety of medical issues. It can just be that it hurts to eat for whatever reason, it doesn't have to relate to the metabolism of the food. Could bring up the feeding issue at the next well-baby visit - don't they cover that stuff in excrutiating detail at appointments as a matter of course anymore?

Slim

At first I thought, "Nope, my kids love to eat! Always have!" and then I remembered a call to the pediatrician because the baby had virtually no interest in anything other than breastmilk. My pediatrician assured me that as long as your child is still nursing well (or happily taking bottles, whatever), that child will not starve, and that early on the point of giving them solid food is mainly to expose kids to a variety of flavors.
So I kept dumping stuff on his tray, and he kept ignoring it. Until he didn't.

Jennifer

I have three kids, the youngest of which is turning two in a few days. The middle one was allergic to everything (milk and soy were the big ones, there were others we knew about and some we didn't) and had terrible severe reflux until he was three. We had a wonderful ped gastro who also had nutritionists on his staff that we saw with every visit. Their take on the whole matter was that as long as we were getting enough calories from formula (he used neocate with a specific caloric formula so that it was much higher per ounce than normal so that what little stayed down was more nutritious)then solids were not important at all. He didn't have any until about 14-15 months and the only reason he started them then was that he was taking pieces off of our plates. What we did was learn to eat at least a few things at every meal that did not include any of his known allergens (or things that looked like what we were eating but did not contain his allergens - rice cheese for instance) and set him on our lap and make a joke of what he pulled off of our plates. Big surprise - HUH, that's mine, you can't have it. It was not a power struggle and he learned to eat. Fast forward to my daughter who is almost two and we worried about her with allergies, but there were none and there was no reflux. We used the exact same approach to food as we did with my middle son. We never did baby food, cereal, or any of that. The biggest difference between the two was how early she started. She started at about 9-10 months on the self feeding and wanting to eat. They are both great eaters and eat a variety of foods that amazes just about everyone, though there is one other thing that we do with both of them that also stems from by middle son and his vomiting issues is that they can eat anytime they want. There are three shelves in the bottom of the pantry and a refridgerator shelf that they can eat from anytime. I mean anytime for real, they can food from those places 10 minutes before dinner if they so choose, they can graze all morning or afternoon if they wish. I truly believe that it helps establish healthy eating habits, they learn to stop when they are full, and that they don't have to hoard or stock up at dinner time in order to make it through the night.

Joy

NUTS! HA! Love the allergy humor. Though I have little experience with allergies, I have three children, all exclusively breastfed until at least 12 months (so far) who have been introduced to solids in 3 different ways. #1 wasn't even given any until well after 6 months, and then was given very thin, very pureed stuff for an extended period. He took a long time adjusting to chunks and had a very active gag reflex for 2 years, and is now a healthy 7 year old who eats anything. #2 was fed homemade baby food exclusively, beginning shortly after 4 months, which inherently has chunks no matter how well you puree and strain, and was spoon fed for a few months thereafter until she started to pick up things and feed herself. She never had a gag reflex problem, and is now a healthy 5 year old who eats anything. #3 was started on the homemade baby food routine at around 4 months, but all she wanted was to grab the spoon, so I've let her feed herself from about 5 months on, and she now (at 7 months) feeds herself chunks of anything soft and eats anything.

Foods I recommend:
Cheerios (plain, non- sugary), Kix, Chex, any puffy non- sugary cereal

Raw ripe: Banana, avacado, papaya, mango, peach, apricot, grape, cucumber, pear, blueberry, strawberry, plum, cherry

Cooked: carrot, celery, zuchini, yellow squash, eggplant, asparagus, spinach, mushroom, parsnip, sweet potato, winter squash, apple, sweet pepper, brussels sprouts, Broccoli (call it Trees and they'll like it a lot better), cauliflower, green beans, peas, corn, snow peas, egg yolk, brown rice, oatmeal, rice noodles

Also: yogurt, pre- shredded or sliced cheese, cottage cheese, fresh mozzerella or feta and other soft cheeses, tofu

All of the above of course cut into appropriately sized pieces and peeled, if necessary.

A great time saver is canned fruit and veggies (the 'light' varieties, packed in juice, not syrup) which are mostly already soft enough for babies to eat. Pears in fruit cocktail blends, however, are usually nowhere near as soft as canned pears by themselves.

Another tip when cooking foods for babies is to cook quantities and freeze them. If you're in the mashing stage, freeze them in ice cube trays, then store in zipper freezer bags once frozen, and you'll have individual portions when you need them. Microwave for around 30 seconds and presto!, fresh homemade baby food is ready.

Things to be careful of, depending on age: cheese crakers (cheeze-its, goldfish), raisins, wheat products, egg white, shellfish, tomato, some berries, honey, milk products and nuts, of course.

I also wholeheartedly agree with the above poster who said just keep dumping a variety of food on the tray, and someday, they'll eat it.

snickollet

"(lots of times it seems like they only want to eat things they can self-feed, which doesn't work too well if they don't have many teeth yet)"

Just a one data point comment on the above: my daughter is almost one and got her first tooth a couple of weeks ago. At this point, that tooth has just barely poked through the gums. She loves to self-feed and eats any and everything despite her lack of teeth: fruit, bread, Cheerios, oatmeal, eggs, corn, peas, soybeans, tofu, etc. etc. etc. Of course everything is kid-specific, but based on my own experience, I would not let a lack of teeth limit what is offered for self-feeding.

Kelly

#1 was a preemie and had a very strong gag reflex for a long time. It took us ages to get him to eat anything (he wouldn't even consider jarred foods - and honestly I don't blame him), and even still at almost 3yrs old we partly puree (stick blenders are wonderful!) his spaghetti, he won't eat meat unless it's chicken nuggets and refuses eggs (but loves bacon). He was formula fed by the time we were solid-trying and we switched him to the "Next Step" stuff and he had that til he was 18mo or so. He ate solids, somewhat, but never very well and still kinda eats like a bird. I'm going on the idea that he's learned how to photosynthesize.

Food is such a huge worry for parents, especially first time parents. Try your best to remember that he won't starve, no matter what he does or doesn't eat. You're both trying, and you'll both get it eventually. Try not to worry or make meal-times stressful times.

kelli

Whenever I read about mothers having issues with solids, I just want to reach out through the Internet and hold their hand. It can be so stressful and the information is so conflicting.

My kid doesn't have allergy issues. But. He was a horrible eater. When he turned 6 months, I dutifully tried to shovel baby food in his mouth to no avail and thought I was a total failure. And of course, all the Wise Baby Tomes dictated those handy-dandy "schedules" which made me feel like such a creppy mother since all my kid would eat was a real banana and guacamole. Fortunately, my doctor was adamant that a baby only needs breastmilk and/or formula for the first 12 months - solids are a "skill" and she said not to stress about it.

So, I gave up on Gerber and the likes and just went to table food. He's been eating curries, greek, mexican and middle eastern since before he was 12 months old (my husband is indian, so I cook primarily Indian at home). He's 20 months now only recently got molars so until now, I just made sure to cut everything up into teeny pieces. Frankly, I think since he was breastfed, he was used to getting the taste of spicy food from me and just didn't like the bland baby food.

bridget

My son virtually lived on breastmilk until he was weaned at 18 months. He's fine and healthy then and now. I gave him a multi-vitamin with iron every other day or so, cause I'm paranoid like that and had read once about milk-anemia but I don't know that he really needed it.
He's still a big dairy kid, yougurt, cheese, and milk. But at that age we did just give him a little bit of whatever we were eating, some whole grain toast if we were having sandwiches, some chunks of broccoli or fruit, etc. It was vastly easier, and didn't feel as wasteful, so I was never forcing him to eat.
Now, he's still not the greatest eater, but he is really good about trying things at least, and every now and then will gobble down vast quantities of some "good stuff." Hang in there!

hedra

Quick note, gotta run:

1) Calories are first. That's from the feeding clinic our oldest went to. Don't fret anything else after calories, you have TIME to get the rest handled as long as there are enough calories going in.

2) Kids who eat only breastmilk to 1-2 years old tend to be somewhat shorter in stature at that age, but rebound by around 4 years old, and have normal development otherwise. Some may have anemia (especially if their umbilical cord was cut before 3 minutes post birth), but that's still less than 10% of the total pop.

3) Very few kids will starve themselves if you consider junk food, liquid diet, and 'anything goes' as a viable option. Some non-metabolic disorders can cause starvation, though, like FPIES (Food Protien Intolerance Enterocolitis Syndrome). Oral defensiveness and other oral behavioral issues may also cause similar problems with eating.

4) When in doubt, see a specialist. Feeding clinic that works with GI and Allergy specialists is NOT a bad idea if you're not sure how to proceed, or if you are worried. It may only take one visit to get your mind set at ease and your plans established for how to move forward.

5) Following your child's lead when there are multiple issues involved can lead the wrong way, but it is still a little better than trying to follow external pressures. Did both with my oldest - started following the 'rules' and then eventually gave up and followed his reactions, and both were wrong for his health. If I'd listened to him more to start, and had not tried to make him eat based on what was 'normal', I'd have seen the signs of trouble MUCH sooner. :( Learned that lesson, did much better with the other three kids. (and also skipped a lot of the babyfood stage with them, and went to ground table food as quickly as possible, plus mesh bag feeders for those choking hazards - also great for gaggers if they can tolerate the mesh texture, worth a try!).

6) Consider adding probiotics, too - they can help protect the gut from the inflammation reaction with intolerances, reduce gut permeability, help digest poorly digested foods/sugars, produce some of their own nutrients (like folate) for the host, etc. There are ones grown on allergen-free substrates, try Kirkman Labs. Pricey, but very worth it.

7) POFAK.org - parents of food allergic kids. SERIOUSLY fabo reference/resource site for parents with kids with any kind of food allergy or intolerance. There's a breastfeeding forum that can hold your hand, help you identify what needs to be done, provide BTDT experience, etc., etc. This site saved my second son's future - I would not have tracked down the diagnosis for his multiple carb intolerances (right doctors, right tests) without their help. Forums are $25/year for the special forums, but worth every blessed penny a thousand times over.

Jan

I've been super lucky in the allergy department, so can't speak to that at all, but I do have some ideas about good easy beginner foods that are real food. Neither of my kids has ever had jarred baby food (though we did start with rice cereal) because I'm working really hard to break the stupid processed food habit for myself -- why on earth would I start my baby on it? Believe me, it isn't because we're just wandering around in all our free time looking for ways to fill our days. It just doesn't have to be that hard.

Some stuff I bought in regular sized packaging and some required some minimal processing on my part. I froze stuff in ice cube trays, then emptied the cubes into Ziplocs in the freezer.

Here's my reasonably-easy list:

yogurt (no need to freeze)
cottage cheese ( " )
applesauce
canned pumpkin
split peas (cook first)
fresh or frozen vegetables (cook then squish)
fresh or frozen fruit (cook then squish)
meat (cook, grind and add water)

I got one of these:

http://www.mothernature.com/shop/detail.cfm/sku/69999/rfr/FRG

as a gift when my Munchkin was tiny and I used it a ton. I highly recommend it.

There's a bunch of easy stuff for when they start being interested in finger food, too.

cheese (shredded)
canned kidney beans (break in half)
O cereal
veggie booty
oatmeal (cooked, then cooled)

I totally agree, though, that 11 months is one of those ages. Both my kids went through a I'd-rather-have-milk stage around then.

I like the Super Baby Food book for tips on how to cook a lot of stuff, and we've used some of the toddler recipes in there, too. She also has some good tips on what ages are good for introducing different types of foods.

hedra

Oh, and be careful of too much fruit/juice stuff when you do it yourself. Between 1 and 3 years old, there's very low ability to process fructose, and pear, apple, peach, nectarine, plum, cherry, mango, and concord grape ANYTHING (juice, sauce, fresh, etc.) - all can cause diarrhea, GI distress, colicy or IBS-like symptoms, and behavioral problems (suppresses serotonin production and destabilizes mood). Other fruits and some veggies also cause these problems, but those are the typical biggies that kids are given to eat at this age.

I thought I was doing well by using all the 'sweetened with fruit juice not sugar' stuff, but was actually causing some pretty severe trouble. ("Toddler diarrhea" is thought to be due to more fructose and naturally occuring sorbitol consumed at this age than they can handle. One in 3 people has very low tolerance, and it can cause worse trouble in those people. And only half of the people with problems with fructose have diarrhea or gas symptoms, so don't assume based on that, either!) Since most adults don't go quite as nuts on these foods, stick closer to what's on your plate, as an adult. We give kids applesauce with abandon, but we don't really suck it down that much as adults... start out with the diet you'd use yourself, and you'll probably do pretty well.

Crystal

Thank you so much! This is really putting me at ease. Over the last few days my son has been eating more solids, but his eczema rash has also gotten worse so I am at a loss. The POFAK link Hedra provided is going to be invaluable, I think!

hedra

Good luck, Crystal! I'll admit that eczema may be really annoying to track down - One of my twins had (WOO, much better!!) severe eczema, and it tracked back to:

1) dairy, though she skin tests negative to dairy.

2) saliva - yeah, drooling and chewing on her fingers, serious problem source!

3) environmental allergy to cats (we have three).

4) pressure/friction - washing her face with a soft cloth was more pressure and friction than her skin could bear (she has very sensitive skin, can't right now remember what it's called, means 'skin marking' - histamine flares from CONTACT. Basically, allergic to being touched, and to temperature changes. ACK! We were trying to limit her diet, and it turned out to be mainly NOT diet - yay, but horribly hard to track down without help!).

Solution for her ended up being:

a) wash her with plain water and my hand, no cloth, no soap

b) avoid dairy (though she does get some, at times, her reaction is improving with time, she likely will outgrow, WOO!)

c) bathe often, to keep skin irritation down, follow up with lightly applied THIN layer of aquaphor (we're bad on the 'often' part now that she's much better - more spot-cleaning than daily soaks...)

d) thin light layer of aquaphor over inflamed spots, regularly applied

e) don't let the cat sleep next to her

f) try to keep her hands out of her mouth (fingers get nasty if she chews them much), and rinse them often if she MUST chew her fingers

g) keep flares down HARD suppressed for a year (this seems to help reduce the reactivity, per our allergist, and does seem to have worked!) - including using steroid topical treatments for bad flares.

h) avoid friction - long pants, long sleeves, when that won't cause things to get worse by sweating more.

I really thought her issues were diet - like, she always got hives after exposure to lemon. Only, we always brought her to the same place for the lemon exposure, and it was really temperature change that kicked off her hives. And dairy, it takes a significant exposure plus 24-48 hours to get a flare. Hard to track. Sigh.

I highly recommend that you ask on POFAK for a good allergist in your area - some are much better than others, and people are willing to give their opinions pretty clearly there. :)

Fahmi

I wouldn't worry too much about him still prefering breastmilk - he's still a baby and babies do just fine with nothing but breastmilk until he's a year old, and that first-year birthday will have a bit of jump in his maturity.

That said, have you tried sweet potatoes/yams? My son went from 10 months to 13 months eating yams at every meal. I worried he would turn orange!

Yoghurt, cottage cheese, are good alternatives.

Shelley

Hello. I had to write in as my son has/had so many of the same issues. While my friends' children began to eat food at 9 months, R. refused...and he is now 14 months old. He still won't eat most of the foods people have suggested (esp. canned fruit, cottage cheese, chicken, tofu, etc.) I didn't get worried until about 1 year. He was also diagnosed with dairy, wheat, nut and egg allergies at 11 months. Since then we have seen many doctors: allergist, speech and swallow therapists, occupational therapists, etc. who have all been invaluable. R. also won't use sippy cups and will only drink his milk hot (not warm or cold or even room temperature.) The good news is the doctors truly feel that he is fine, though he has a sensory issue, meaning that he is ultra-sensitive to the temperature and texture of table foods. So, what has helped? First, I love Ellen Satyr's Eating with Love and Good Sense. She recommends just putting food in front of children and never pushing it-which lets them have some control. Second, know there is hope: R. grew out of his wheat and dairy allergies (actually a second set of tests argued against the first set) and he is starting to try table food. Third, in terms of food: I keep organic frozen veggies (Edamame have protein) in the freezer. I am still playing around with giving them to him cold, warm and soft and room temperature. The OT's recommended cutting food differently -particularly in strips (e.g. soy or rice cheese in strips). I also find that if I put his food in a bowl (halved tomatoes, grapes) he is sometimes more open to eating. There are a number of rice pastas and alternative breads, too. Frozen organic foods, and non-allergic food are good to and Whole Foods has many options. R. has always loved yogurt (smooth but full of healthy calories). As for snacks, while not organic, Gerber makes some hard "wagon wheels" that are made with rice and Trader Joe's has a oat-only cereal (Cheerios have some wheat) and "Puffins" are also rice only. I have also found that R. is often more interested in food when we are eating, when it is off our plates and when we are out.

Ultimately, I would check with the doctors just to make sure his weight is stable and to keep slowly introducing new foods. But try (and and I KNOW it is so hard) to not worry, to just introduce the new foods and keep eating in front of him and ultimately, he will get there.

pnuts mama

crystal- i would like to send you anti-anxiety vibes and a big hug. food was my #1 crazy-maker issue until i finally had the great relief to listen to the wise people here and let it go. i am in the camp of "put healthy stuff that you eat on the tray and walk away" (ooh- especially frozen organic veggies). eventually, pnut ate things. then she stopped, then started again. sometimes it takes all of my strength to let it go and stop making myself nuts (haha) over it. all i could think was my teeny lowbirthweight preemie was going to starve to death. so far, she hasn't. she's still petite, but we could all be so lucky.

specifically regarding 11 months (and your mentioning not too many teeth)- our experience has been that her nursing increased and eating decreased every time she was teething. and guess how many times i forgot that? every time! even now as she is refusing so much while she cuts more molars. god help me. so that may be a possibility as well- hang in there!!

ikate

I have a 9 month old who can take or leave solids. Some days she eats a TON of food along with 6-7 BFing sessions. Other days, she takes a few bites and is then into spitting mode. I got a LOT of pressure to get her going on solids around 4 months but I felt like she wasn't ready and why start her on some liquid rice when she was getting better nutrition from me?

Around 6 1/2 months she took some interest, but would eat 3-4 jars of food one day and nothing the next 5 days. About a month ago, I gave up on jarred food (expensive and what a pain!) and she gets what we are eating. She mostly loves self-feeding, but will tolerate spoon feeding if she really likes what we're giving her. Still, most of her calories come from breast milk; food is more of an experience right now.

Also, she has no teeth yet, so (even though I know it doesn’t make a difference) it makes me nervous to give her food that’s too hard or chunky. I have a great little hand-held food mill for things like meat, some pasta, etc. We’ve found that she likes bold, spicy flavors the best and she shuns bland foods.

Finally, the thing that is the hardest for my husband and I as new parents to remember is that the reflexes of a child are very strong and they can expel just about anything that they start to gag on. Of course, we are both trained in how to dislodge food, too. However, letting her cough and work it out is best (even if it does get your adrenaline pumping!)

Right now for self-feeding she loves:
Canned black beans sprinkled with cumin, canned pears
Fresh Cucumber, Avocado, Mango, Watermelon, Blueberries (she will eat an entire pint!)
Cooked sweet potato, carrot
Rice with diced roasted peppers
Cherrio's
Roasted cauliflower

She's also had and enjoyed:
Yogurt
Chicken with BBQ sauce (milled)
Whole wheat pasta with red sauce (milled)
Steak (milled)
Tilapia
Perch

michelle

not to much more to add but i'll say that DS refuses food when he's cutting teeth or just generally teething. he looks and acts healthy so i don't stress over it. Itr happens with every tooth. he'd rather drink his cold milk than eat. it probably soothes his gums.

commonplaceiris

I came here and found the link to Moxie's second favourite study when I was gearing up to start my now 11 month old daughter on solids. I'm really glad I did. We waited until she was more than ready (trying to steal food, had teeth, practising chewing while watching us eat). I have done some pureeing and spoon feeding, but also plenty of giving her things she can hold and gum/chew. And certainly we've been trying to follow her lead -- and she definitely lets us know when she doesn't like something and when she's done eating! Of course I'm sure it helps that she hasn't shown any food sensitivities thus far, started teething on the early side and does really well with swallowing (and at coughing out/forward pieces too big to swallow). She doesn't eat vast amounts, but she still nurses plenty.

One thing my daughter loves that I haven't seen mentioned yet - strips of Nori (I just bought a package of the sheets you use to make sushi with after she tried some a playmate was eating), I just tear of little pieces and hold them out and her face lights up. Perhaps she liked it at first because it was like being given paper to eat!!

She also likes steamed spinach as long as it's in bigger strips, chop too finely and she's not interested! Oh, and she likes lentils (the Puy/French/indigo ones) as a finger food.

Also, I noticed there was an article at thse BBCNews website yesterday with the title "Pureed baby food is 'unnatural'". I just finally put two and two together and realised it's actually about the same woman (Gill Rapley) who did that study. It seems to be getting quite a bit of attention (and getting some people riled up, in the UK media at least). I see there's also a wikipedia entry about baby-led weaning now too I think the attention is because there's a 17 minute DVD/video she's made about baby led weaning out.

Cassie

Gill Rapley is indeed the person who did the study that's reported on the Dutch website that Moxie linked to (it was a British study -- it just seems to be a Dutch one because the Dutch website was, until recently, one of the only places you could find anything out about it). Gill was a health visitor in the UK for 25 years, and is now deputy director of Unicef's UK Baby Friendly Initiative. She has been in the UK press a lot in the last couple of days because she spoke out against the behemoth baby food industry.

The study that she carried out was the basis of the World Health Organisation's recommendation that babies be exclusively breast-/formula-fed until 6 months. The study found a number of things, the main ones being:

1) Breast/formula milk is all a baby needs until 6 months

2) After 6 months, babies have the oral and hand motor control to be given whole pieces of adult food to take to their mouths *on their own* -- that is, purees are not necessary, and feeding babies (rather than letting them feed themselves) is not necessary. If you think about it, in the past, when babies were regularly weaned at 3 or 4 months, they would have been on to "finger food" by 6 months -- this research simply suggests skipping the puree stage (as Gill Rapley puts it "There is no longer any window of a baby's development in which they need something more than milk and less than solids").

3) As long as a baby is upright and supervised when feeding itself, there is no need to restrict the baby's diet in any way (other than avoiding salt and "fast food" type foods, and avoiding potential allergens if this is an issue in your family). Babies don't need teeth to chew (as anyone who has had their nipples chomped by a toothless baby can attest to), and babies will suck on anything that they can't chew (a piece of meat, for instance) and get the goodness out of it that way.

4) Allowing the baby to control what goes into its mouth actually reduces the risk of choking, and reduces the incidence of "picky eating". Babies who chose what to eat also tend to avoid things that they are later found to be intolerant to.

Gill Rapley suggests giving babies "chip shaped" food -- this is British "chips", i.e. fat-cut french fries: basically, anything that is the right size for the baby to grasp, and have enough sticking out of the top of the fist for them to put in their mouth. I have found that different foods are better in different shapes -- an eighth of a pear *seems* suitable, but in fact is too pointy at each end and just gets shot across the room when my son squeezes it too hard. Better was a flat circle cut off the side of the pear that he could hold in both hands.

Two British women who started baby-led weaning their babies about 6 months to a year ago have a web site/blog detailing what they did. It's a bit hard to find things on the site sometimes, but it's a very good resource for anyone with questions:

http://www.babyledweaning.com/

Cassie

Oh, and getting back to Crystal's question, I also meant to say -- that magic "window" that health visitors in the UK say you have to catch or your baby will Never Eat Solids? Gill Rapley (in an interview) suggested that that window is as long as your baby is putting everything in their mouth -- that is, as long as they are exploring the world around them by taste -- which I think must take us to at least three years old! Certainly at 11 months, I wouldn't think there would be an issue of them not wanting to try tasting all new toys.

And I forgot the most important part of baby-led weaning, which is that pretty much ALL of the baby's calories should come from breast/formula milk *for at least the first year*. During this period, adult food is for exploring, and for fun!

Cassie

Forgot one more thing (put it down to 6.5 month old baby feeding every 2 hours last night -- but as someone said above, that's a whole 'nother post) -- the point of all my rambling on baby-led weaning is to say, Crystal, if you've established, as people suggest above, that there are no sensory or allergy issues, and your baby is getting all the calories he needs from breast milk, then the baby-led weaning approach would be just that -- let your baby lead as far as the solids go. My son can take or leave solids sometimes, and sometimes (cucumber, or that french fry that he swiped from my plate at a restaurant last weekend -- bad mummy!) he just loves them. Your son will let you know what he wants and needs, and in the long run this should lead to a pretty healthy, happy relationship with food. Ok, this time I'm really done!

Rosemary

My maternal & child health nurse has a saying "Solids before one are just for fun!".

My little guy would not eat solids until 14 months - no matter what anyone did or tried. I just kept offering and one day he tried something and then kept going.

My GP was not at all worried - and told me that she trained in a part of India where food was scarce, and the local tradition was to feed the mother and the mother then fed the baby - until they were around two! Before then, the baby would just play with food and they could not afford to waste food like that.

I quit worrying after that!

Jessica

What you describe sounds exactly the way that my daughter acted at that age with eating. Same gag reflex, same aversion to textures. She wouldn't eat anything mushy of any nature - not even applesauce. Cheerios and freeze dried apples were her thing for a long time. Not only was she also allergic to peas but we later found out she was allergic to:

chicpeas
eggs
peanut

Please be careful. A pea allergy can be potentially scary because it is a member of the legume family (peanut is also a member of the legume family) and sometimes if you are allergic to one legume you will be to others too. Especially watch out for soy. Make sure you don't introduce nuts until at least 2 years or test first.

Anyway, upon my daughters first bite of my peanut butter toast she broke out in hives, threw up and got swollen (an anaphylactic reaction). It was scary. We had no history of food allergies on either side of the family. We didn't introduce solids early and we breastfeed. In fact, I still breastfeed (she's 2 1/2) in hopes of reducing her IgE to peanut. We walk around every day with an Epi Pen.

Good luck. Don't worry about forcing solids. At 2 1/2, my daughter eats almost everything. It was at about 16-18 months where she really took off with solids. And many people purposefully don't introduce any solids until at least a year.

Jessica

Jessica T

I just want to THANK everyone who wrote on this, this has been on my mind a lot because my 12.5 month old hates all fruits and veggies unless they are pureed and loves her bottles (I couldn't breast feed so she gets formula). My dr. scared me by saying she should be weened and on mostly solids by 15mo!! Let me tell you, I was in a panic about how to make that happen. Now, reading this, I will relax about the whole deal, I have been stressing over her eating since the day she started solids - it took her until 7.5mo until she'd take a spoon (that was after 2 months of trying), if only I'd known then what I know now :). I swear, sometimes I feel like everyone out there has a baby who slept through the night at 2 months (try 1 year) and ate everything in front of them at 6 months - being a 1st time mother is HARD - esp. when I don't have people close to me where I could share my "problems" with.
Thanks again!

me

I just wanted to second Jessica's post about the pea allergy concern - many people who are allergic to peas are also allergic to peanuts. The problem with a peanut allergy is that it can get worse with every exposure, so be careful. Next time your baby needs blood drawn, just ask them to take a little extra so they can test for the major allergy groups. I think there's a lead test at around 18mo. Consider getting tested sooner if you are concerned.

I'm lucky, my 2.5yo seems to be outgrowing his peanut allergy. It's not always easy, but it's nowhere near as hard to keep him away from things as I was afraid it would be. Granted, his allergy isn't at such a high level that it's life or death (I remember reading a post about peanut butter at the playground) and I'm very aware that it's harder for people in different situations.

My guy can't eat icecream at parties or parlors, or cakes from a bakery. (could contain nuts) He's o.k. with stuff that I make at home though. Look what I found as an alternative!
http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/content/0,21770,1628426,00.html

Good luck!

Crystal

Thanks again to everyone who posted with comments. I'm going to get more serious about figuring out what is causing the eczema, and lay off the solids. Seems to me that his body is saying, WAIT! :)

ro719ck

m524k

NM

Hi,
have not read the other comments, so this may be repetitive. My son (who is gonna be 2 in a couple of weeks, How time filies!) is allergic to peas as well, and nuts too. He had eczema, and only when he was 13 months I figured out the peas, (after eliminating dairy, wheat and otehr stuff that he turned out to be fine with). He was a fussy eater. yep, u read right, "was"!!! The only thing I did was consistently offer. If he refused, no big deal, if he ate, yippee. I do not think I ever skipped the offering part, and I started solids at 6 months. It was only when he was somewhere around 20 months, he came around and started eating well. He is not a great eater, but eats portions roughly the size of his fist most days of the week, and I am happy with that.

AnonMom

My son is a food allergic kid with eczema and a texture aversion. He will only eat things that are either completely pureed or crunchy. So, since he's okay to eat fruit, but is allergic to wheat, egg, milk, soy, nuts, oats and beef, I have become an expert on freeze dried fruit. It's crunchy, it's fruit, it's been a life saver. If you're looking for kid friendly foods, try allergicgrocer.com, www.crispygreen.com or justveggies.com. A great replacement for chips is Cheecha Krackles -- only potatoes, no oil, no additives! The major drawback is that these are all fairly low calorie foods, so keep up the formula. Also, if corn is okay, Fritos are completely corn based (including the oil they're fried in), so that's a salty fatty snack. If you've got a food sensitive child, I think you need to be prepared to feed them a lot more often than other kids. Mine still cluster feeds (every hour in the evening), but he's growing at a steady rate and that's all I could hope for. I'd also second the recommendation for POFAK and you might want to check out FAAN (the Food Allergy and Awareness Network). Both are great for those times you feel alone...

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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