Feeding Issues With My 8 Month Old
My daughter who is nearly 8.5 months old has always been a very difficult eater. She refused to breastfeed to the point that she lost too much weight and we had to go to the bottle. At that time we found out that she was likely lactose intolerant or had a milk allergy. I cut all milk and dairy from my diet which helped.
At 4 months she went to formula-we had to use Nutramigen, a hypoallergenic formula. She did quite well on this until March of this year.
Between March 2nd and April 1st she lost 2 pounds 2 oz. Our pediatrician put her in the hospital to evaluate what may be going on. She was vomiting very frequently with many watery diapers.
Vomiting has always been an issue along with the diapers, but the frequency really increased. She has been referred to a Pediatric GI specialist. She has been diagnosed with Failure to thrive with a milk and soy allergy. They have switched her to a completely hypoallergenic formula called Elecare. She is doing great on this and has started gaining weight back.
With all of the issues she has had she has always refused to eat baby foods. We have tried literally everything! The doctors have told me I need to get her to increase her food intake significantly. She will only take max. of 23 oz. of formula per day with many efforts to get more in.
I have let her play with the baby food and just explore it. She accidentally gets it in her mouth and spits it out and cries. Do you have any ideas how to get her past this? She does like fruit puffs. I truly think that it may be a texture thing. I don't know what else is OK to feed an 8 month old who has not even gotten the hang of eating baby food. I have a fear of giving her any solids due to choking. She has been referred to a feeding team at Children's hospital, but there is a 6 month waiting time.
Sorry about the long rambling. I wanted to give as much background as possible.
Baby Help Line:
Severe Allergies And Feeding Difficulties
It's always really helpful when people give us a good background, so thanks.
You have had a tough time. Hopefully the new formula will help enormously. It is really tricky with allergies and babies that are not thriving, as the pressure to keep trying to feed them is huge
, and it sets up a negative experience around food.
One good thing is, many babies outgrow milk and soy allergies by 18-36 months, although can still be susceptible to others, wheat, egg, fish and peanuts for example, so for now avoid those. Corn is often used even in hypoallergenic milks and sometimes is also a problem.
I am going to give you more psychological advice
with your little girl, starting with you and your husband.
I know you are being pressured to keep trying to feed your little one, but try to ease up on the anxiety and pressure
. The more you are worried about her and anxious, the more she picks up on it, and will be immediately tense when you try to feed her
. With a sensitive tummy, she will connect food with discomfort and will be tuning into your concern.
You have both been surrounding her with worry, concern and anxiety. Every time you go to feed her, you are probably think, what can I give her she will like? or I'm trying to be a good Mother but my baby won't eat - you are probably holding pictures in your mind of her refusing food, or vomiting, or unhappy.
If you can both build a vision
of your little girl thriving, happy, playing, and smiling and focus on that rather than the worries, you will start to build a new dynamic.
In terms of food - you are doing the right thing, letting her play with it. Tactile experiences
are a great way to introduce food.
At present I would keep things simple and bland - firstly introduce one taste at a time, that way you can keep an eye on any allergy reactions, and you also give her a chance to get used to something. Try apple juice in different containers for three days, if she likes that then try very runny pureed apples in a cup or ice cubes. You could try getting her used to drinking her formula in a cup and then gradually thickening it with rice cereal or mashed potato. So the taste will be familiar but the texture just gradually changes. You can read more tips on how to help picky eater babies here.
Ice cubes are a fun way to introduce foods, you can freeze cooked veges, or fruit pastes or juice. You could try fruit or vegetable juices in a bottle or a cup. My daughter would never take a bottle or Sippy cup, but would drink out of a glass or my cup. You can make soups and broth out of beef or chicken with vegetables if she is reacting to textures, and again, very gradually thicken them a tiny amount with mashed veges or rice cereal.
My babies hated being spoon fed, but would happily feed themselves. You say you are afraid of her choking on solid foods, so your fear is being passed to her. Babies do often gag with a lump or with the unexpectedness of it all, but you have got used to associating that with her vomiting (she might too). She might be happy suck on a small piece of soft meat or banana, or a some green peas. Obviously you would be supervising her, but she has to learn not to stick things down too far, and if you panic and rush to check then she doesn't have any control herself. You can find a list of healthy finger foods here.
Another little trick is food in the bath - minus the soap! Floating peas or containers of boiled carrot slices can be fun.
I know it is hard - I had a son with dairy and wheat allergies but I learned I was making the problem far greater with my worry and anxiety. Just try to relax with it all, build a healthy happy vision of your baby, and most importantly, have lots of fun with her.
More Babies That Won't Eat
Find answers and comments below.
Read more about feeding your baby here: