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13 month old won't eat ANY solids

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  • 13 month old won't eat ANY solids

    Hi all,

    I just returned from a Dr.'s apt. for my 13-month-old and am feeling very overwhelmed.

    We started introducing solids at 6 months but our son wasn't interested and would never eat more than a bite. Fast forward 7 months and we're still having the same issue. We've tried every solid food in every form but he's not interested. (the one exception is we got him to eat about 10 bites of yogurt, once-- it was a huge day for us!)

    The pediatrician is really concerned with his weight gain. He is now in the 1st percentile (dropped from 4th) and not gaining weight. I am still nursing him 8-10 times throughout the day and night and the Dr. says I need to drop the night feedings immediately, and cut out all but three daytime feedings. Does anyone have any experience with this? How can I lessen the number of times he nurses without damaging our relationship, and without losing the nursing altogether? I've been trying to let him lead the way with solids, but feel that I am going about it all wrong and perhaps nursing him too often (I've just been nursing on demand since he was born).

    I'm really concerned that I need to get him on solids as quickly as possible, but what is the best way to do it??

    Please help!

  • #2
    Hi sausalitomom,
    I am surprised that the pediatrician has suggested CUTTING the feeds!!! Surely your baby needs as much milk as he can get, it's got way more nutrition than a few carrot sticks!!
    My DS only really started eating solids properly at 11 months and from references that I have read on transition to solids this is perfectly normal. I don't know about the weight gain issue, but doesn't it slow down anyway after 6 months?
    The more pressure you try and put on your DS to eat the less he's likely to! In saying that you could try to spoon feed him and see if he takes to that? We started on baby led weaning and I only started to spoon feed my boy at 10 months as he was getting frustrated with not being able to feed himself - now we take it in turns and I read the cues as to whether he wants to be helped or not - if you're not forcing him then it's not an issue, he'll let you know if he wants it or not.

    If you cut out the nightime feeds too quickly this will decrease your milk supply - it's the night feeds that keep it up - the supply-demand of feeding. The more he nurses the more milk you have, the less he nurses the less you have etc

    I guess the main question is, is he happy and healthy and bubbly? If so then that's a sign that he's doing just fine!


    • #3
      Be a detective

      I'm wondering what his birth was like and what happened in his early life. Is it an aversion or sensitivity to things being put into his mouth? Certain textures? Has he always been on the small side of the curve (4th percentile)? How is his head circumference? Is it maintaining?

      Sometimes babies with allergies tend to avoid food, as well, and this is a self-protective mechanism. (They're so smart!) My son ate very few solids until after 12 months and it turned out that he was allergic to many, many foods. We did NAET and figured out what he could handle, then fed him that. His weight gain increased dramatically. I think he gained 5 pounds in one month.

      It sounds like your own internal alarms are going off at the thought of eliminating night feeds and decreasing daytime feeds. Listen to your intuition and your baby. There's something else going on here that your baby is trying to communicate to you. I doubt that breastmilk is the issue and that depriving him of that comfort and food will solve the problem. I know your pediatrician is concerned and it definitely warrants a closer look.

      When there is a lot of pressure around food, your baby isn't going to eat. Think about times in the past when you've felt pressure or anxiety. Do you feel like eating? Adding stress won't help here. But being a detective will. What else will he put in his mouth? What does he avoid? Does he seem hungry? What do you notice when you're quiet and just observing? Give him some food to play with and see what he does.

      Good luck to you both!


      • #4
        I hope the following reassures you some. My 15-month old still does not swallow solids (although she has recently started putting them in her mouth to chew, she just spits it back out and doesn't swallow yet unless it's banana or yogurt). My doctor is not at all concerned even though she has gone from the 50th percentile to the 1st%. Here's why we are not concerned:

        (1) The growth charts most U.S. doctors use are based on formula-fed babies, which is not at all reflective of the growth patterns for nursing babies. According to the World Health Organization growth charts, which are based on breastfed babies, my daughter is tracking PERFECTLY for the weight she was born at. has links to the WHO charts if you want to take a look at them and learn more about this.

        (2) My baby's doctor is NOT concerned at all. I was more concerned than her initially, but she pointed out that there is more fat, calories, and nutrition in my milk than in any solid food we could give her. Think about that! My doc is so right in my opinion.

        (3) My daughter is alert, happy, healthy and more than meeting all her developmental milestones, indicating to us that there is no reason to panic about her lack of interest in swallowing solid foods (and only recent interest in putting food in her mouth to hold there like a chipmunk

        (4) I have read from numerous sources that it is more the biological norm to not really eat solids until at least after 1 and sometimes after 2, especially if allergies might be an issue. Americans and American docs just tend to rush everything. While many babies are interested in solid foods at an early age, many others are not and that's ok too.

        Let your instincts and your baby be your guide and continue to do your own research as you are doing by posting here. If your baby is happy and healthy, then there's probably no reason to fret. I am still nursing my little girl upwards of 10 times in a 24 hour period - I don't even count anymore. She is VERY active and loves to run and climb, so I figure she does need the nutrition and I am happy to meet her needs. It does not sound like the amount of nursing is an issue for you either, so I would caution you to, again, listen to your gut and not cutback on your nursing sessions.

        Good Luck!



        • #5
          My son started dropping in the weight and height percentiles at around 12 months... possibly related to the fact that I got pregnant at that point, and maybe the composition of my breastmilk changed. He's never been a big eater, and we tried so hard to interest him in different foods without stopping the nursing. One thing we found is that he can be "tricked" into eating a bite or two when he's distracted by something exciting (like a barking dog, an opening garage door, landscapers mowing lawns, and vacuuming).

          The only thing that has really made a difference in his weight, though, was encouraging him to drink boxes of reduced fat UHT vanilla milk at night. He enjoys drinking from box drinks with straws, and the sweet vanilla milk has tons of calories that have helped him shoot up in the percentiles for both weight and height. Plus, the UHT milk doesn't need refrigeration, so we don't need to warm it up for him. What he'll sometimes do is he'll nurse a little, then sit up and ask for the boxed milk, then maybe nurse to sleep again, or even just put his head down and go back to sleep. It's like he's pretending the boxed milk is coming from the breast... but it comes out faster and easier. He sleeps better, too, now that he has his full stomach of milk.

          Now that the new baby is born, and my breastmilk has come in, he still likes to nurse, but also still drinks the boxed milk, maybe because it's easier and faster to get the large volumes he needs to make up for his previous growth slump.

          None of this might apply to you, since you're not going through pregnancy breastmilk changes, but considering all of the anxiety caused by the dreaded diagnosis of "failure to thrive," I figured I'd throw in my two cents!


          • #6


            You can lead a water to horse, but can't make them drink. My daughter was an avid nurser. She preferred breast milk over anything. I tried rice, the oatmeal, the baby food, and even tried making my own; she wouldn't eat it. She too would eat a little bit of vanilla yogurt but that was it. Then one day I sat on the floor (not at a table or high chair) with her and started eating seasoned shredded chicken my husband brought home. She grabbed it and gobbled it up. I knew then she wanted adult food. I started giving her everything I ate. She is 3 now and will eat steak, shrimp, broccoli without problems. I never force feed her or threatened her when she refused to eat. I want her to eat at will.

            She started losing her baby fat around one year old. Around the time when she walked instead of hitching a ride. There are brands of clothing she cannot wear because she is slim and petite. That is just who she is and I get a lot of comments about it. I'm slim and petite too.

            A child will not starve them self.



            • #7
              I'm a mom with three small children and this is one of my pet peeves. I don't know how often I hear from other moms, "The doctor said I need to wean so my child will gain weight."

              Your son's lucky that you've continued to breastfeed. Breastmilk is higher in calories and more nutrient dense than any other simple "food" you could feed. Many nursing toddlers still get the majority of their nutrition from breastmilk and are completely healthy. What are you going to wean your son to? Cheerios? Goldfish?!?! Why would we take away nature's most perfect food to try and force your child to eat less nutritious foods? If you'd like to focus on introducing foods that complement your milk, kellymom has good suggestions:

              What about other indicators of health? Is your son displaying normal development otherwise? Active, engaged, trying to communicate? Starting to use a word or two? Learning to walk? Healthy? These are all just as important as weight gain. Is he GAINING weight at all? Has he had a recent illness (it's normal for weight gain to slow and sometimes even drop during illness) that could affect his current weight? Did your doctor check his iron levels for anemia (a good indicator that he's getting enough nutrients as breastmilk is naturally low in iron).

              Sometimes doctors become preoccupied with one indicator of health. Growth charts are simply that - one indicator. They're easy as well, unlike taking the time to discuss development with you, which might appeal to hurried doctors. Yes, being at the low end of the chart could indicate a potential problem. However, the 1% line means that out of every 100 children, one will normally be at that weight. Your doctor's job is to determine if your child is that one child, or if there is another reason for his low weight. If he's always been small (even if he was born at a larger growth curve & dropped to a lower percentage), this is probably just normal for him, especially if your family tends to be smaller.

              Your doctor should know that the CDC recently issued a recommendation that the WHO growth charts should be used for children under 24 months instead of the CDC growth charts. It's highly unlikely that your doctor is using the WHO growth charts (most US docs use the CDC charts). Breastfed babies tend to grow more rapidly than their formula-fed counterparts at first, then their growth tends to slow down. On the WHO charts, your son's weight might be "fine". You could print them out yourself (as well as the CDC recommendation) by going to the CDC website.

              I would recommend finding a copy of the book, "My Child Won't Eat", by Dr. Carlos Gonzales. He addresses exactly this type of issue in a calm, reassuring way. The book is unfortunately out of print in English, but your local LLL group might have a copy.

              Good luck and keep listening to your instincts and your son!



              • #8
                I agree with the other posters that you shouldn't breastfeed less. For one thing if you do your baby is unlikely to start eating a whole bunch of food right away because he isn't used to it, babies gradually eat more and more. So where is he going to get his calories? Plus that can be really hard on a child to lose the comfort they get form bfing.

                Does he seem to have oral aversions or do you think he just isn't ready yet? If you suspect something is wrong then you need to look into it further, but if he seems happy and is thriving then he probably just isn't ready yet. The fact that he didn't gain any weight is maybe a little concerning, but I would wait a while longer and see if he gains, unless you don't feel like he is meeting milestones and thriving.

                My 2 1/2 year old son doesn't eat much most of the time. He still nurses alot and he's usually too distracted to eat, but he is soooo active and alert and has tons of energy so I just have to trust that he's getting enough food and that he won't starve himself. Once in a while he'll eat quite a lot of food for a couple of days so he knows what he needs. I know that's not the same as your situation, but I just wanted to reassure you that as long as they are healthy we can trust that they know what they need.

                Good luck!