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My 11-month old daughter has, in the past week, become extremely fussy and at some meal times is refusing to eat.

For breakfast, we usually give her weetbix/rice cereal with milk (warmed in the microwave) and she seems to enjoy it.

For lunch and dinner we have been offering her various things:

  • Pureed vegatables/lentils
  • Mince meat with vegetables/potato
  • Finger food (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)

Most of the time she doesn't want to even open her mouth for the pureed/mince food, so it's not like she's tried and and doesn't like it (it's very tasty anyway, at least to our palate).

With finger food she often puts a piece in her mouth and bites a bit off, but eventually she will just throw it on the floor and the dog will eat it.

The only foods she seems to enjoy at dinner time are:

  • Pieces of cheese
  • Yoghurt

But obviously we can't keep feeding her this all the time.

She is still breast-fed 3 times per day (and seems to eat a lot of milk this way), but always after the solids so I don't think it's an issue with her being full. Sometimes she just says "mama" while we're feeding her solids, reaching for my wife indicating that she wants a breast-feed.

She doesn't seem to be showing any signs of pain (e.g. from teething), as far as we can see. She already has 6 teeth.

We're becoming worried about her -- hopefully it's just a phase, but any recommendations?

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I'm going through a similar problem, my son of 10 months used to eat all of his meals. In the last week he has a few mouthfuls then turns his nose up at it. It only seems to be at dinner time. I blend most of his dinner and leave part of it so he can self feed too, I also thought he wasn't hungry but that isn't the case either, he also always has a bottle of water with every meal so doesn't go thirsty. But He just wants a bottle (formula) I try to not give into him as his throws a tantrum and cries. But tonight he got so bad I thought he was fitting. Made me cry, just don't know what to do, yo –  Amy Jan 25 at 20:52
    
@Amy as with the below answer, don't worry about it for a short period of time. Try various things to see if it's something with the food, and if not, perhaps it's just a short phase and will go away. Your child won't starve himself. Also, if you want more specific advice (as opposed to just chatting in comments), feel free to ask a question yourself. –  Joe Jan 26 at 1:26

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Don't worry, children will not starve! Unless other wise directed by your doctor due to a medical condition, don't fight over food. If she doesn't want to eat she won't. I do not recommend giving her just what she wants, this may take on a life of its own and make you into a short order cook. Unless you know for certain your child doesn't like what you are serving to the rest of the family that is what is for dinner, if she chooses not to eat it she will be hungry, a natural consequence. Be very careful not to give her extra snacks after she does this, only serve snacks at snack time, as she needs the natural consequence to learn. As well, you may want to start on more interesting foods. If she has 6 teeth she can eat all kinds of things other than pureed food. She may be revolting because she isn't getting the food you are eating. As well, she is learning alot every day and may have alot on her mind and therefore is not interested in food (doesn't that happen to us all?).

All in all, don't make food a battle, trust her body and trust her. As I said, she will not allow herself to starve, and if you start battling around food you are setting a bad trend which may last long into her toddler years, effecting her relationship with food in general.

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Totally agreed, especially if she's still breastfeeding. My daughter would go through hungry phases where we basically couldn't throw enough food at her and other periods where she pretty much only need the breastmilk. Just keep offering good food and she'll figure it out. –  Nate Cook Feb 15 '12 at 21:58

eating can be a struggle. As long as she is above 5th percentile it is not huge concern. Or if she crossed 2 percentile lines (on the growth chart)

We had good luck with can of mandarins.

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I think Marie Hendrix's answer to this question will offer you a lot of useful suggestions. I have had a lot of luck getting my son to eat foods by following her advice and making eating more fun for him.

One trick that works more often than not is to take turns sharing the food. If my son isn't eating something, I'll take some from his plate, and make a big show of looking at it, sniffing it, putting it in my mouth and chewing it, and then smiling at him while making exaggerated "yummy" noises. I'll then offer him a piece of the same food, being sure to smile the whole time.

Another game is to bring the food close to his mouth, and then veer it away from him at the last minute a couple of times. Sometimes this will convince him that he really does want to eat it.

He also very much enjoys putting food into my mouth, although he sometimes gets too focused on giving me the food and doesn't want to stop to eat it himself. Other times we get into a good rhythm of alternating between us.

I believe my son was a bit older than your daughter, but another trick that worked well was to introduce him to the idea of "dipping". For us it was chips and salsa, and he picked it up immediately. Now he loves to dip a chip (or just about anything else... for a while it was bananas and salsa) into salsa or marinara sauce, although he has a tendency to suck the sauce off the chip and just keep using the same chip to eat the salsa. Fortunately, salsa is actually a pretty good food, particularly if fresh.

I agree with Morah about making sure to not turn it into a battle. The key to success is to make eating a fun experience.

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My daughter is officially the world's worst eater. She didn't start really feeding herself until she was well over 12 months old, and her diet is still pretty minimal (but at least we've moved beyond just yogurt as our primary source of nutrition). Here are some thoughts that I try whenever C is in an especially anti-food stage:

  1. Is she bored? If you realize that you've had yogurt three days in a row, maybe it's time to lay off the yogurt and try something else.
  2. Is she just not hungry? This is always a possibility. Sometimes C will eat almost anything I put in front of her, and sometimes all she wants to eat all day is Cheerios and milk. Keep in mind that your child's stomach at this age is still pretty tiny so it's not going to take much to fill her up.
  3. Is there something else going on that is a distraction? Is the TV on in the other room and causing a distraction? Is there a toy within reach that she wants?

ETA
I just thought of another reason why your daughter might have stopped eating. Is she sick? This just occurred to me because our daughter has had a cold most of the week and her eating her been even less stellar than it usually is. Even a small cold can curb a kid's appetite until he/she feels better (and then he/she will eat you out of house and home).

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I remember being sick worried thinking why my lo wasn't eating at that age, but that was just a phase. We used to think he was the only child who doesn't like to eat, but after talking to friends and reading online, I found out many babies go through the same stage at that age.

Other things I tried at the time and they worked were, change the timings of eating a little bit. I found out that my lo wasn't hungry at the times I was feeding him. Feeding him a little later helped. Don't force feed though.

Offer variety of food. I found that he loved this spinach cheese pasta and these healthy muffins. Let her self feed.

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