Q&A: Is it normal for a 9-month-old to refuse to eat solid baby food?
My son just turned 9 months old. He loves his bottle but will not eat solids. I have tried every type of food from jarred to homemade baby food to simply rice cereal. He will take one or two bites, spit them out, and scream. The only way I have found to put any solids in him is by adding some to his formula. He isn't gaining much weight anymore and I'm getting worried. Any suggestions? Is this harmful to him?
Well, if your son isn’t able to keep up with his expected weight gain with liquids only, even if he is taking plenty, then, yes, it becomes an issue that needs to be addressed. Most babies are ready to begin solid foods between 4 and 6 months and are not only eating, but finger feeding themselves by nine months.
Not only do solids provide calories and nutriton, but the process of eating is learned—taking a bite, maneuvering food withing the mouth, swallowing, stopping when full—which sets the stage for tougher textures later on.
While it is still possible that your child is just at the extreme end of normal in his readiness for solids, other issues need to be considered. Is he drinking so much and so often that he’s never hungry enough to accept solids? Is he very sensitive to sounds, touch, or textures? Is he developing normally in other ways? A 9-month-old should be sitting well, interacting, reaching and grabbing small objects, babbling, and he should know his name.
Try withholding the bottle for two hours before a feed to allow him to get fairly hungry, and start with rice cereal mixed with enough formula or breast milk to make a thin oatmeal consisitency. You might also ask someone else to try to feed him if the situation is making you anxious, since infants are very sensitive to stress around feeding. If these efforts don’t jump start the feeding process, I recommmend a visit to his doctor to assess his growth and development and to look for other problems that may effect his ability to feed.