My Six Month Old Baby Girl Wont Eat Or Drink Formula

by Lawrence
(Jamaica)

I have a six months old Daughter who cries whenever I attempt to feed her. We tried the spoon and that has not worked. She only willingly accepts water, anything else is refused. I don't know what else to do.

Please HELP!!!!!!

A worried Father




Baby Help Line Response:

Baby Refuses Any Kind Of Food Or Formula


If your baby is really refusing to eat anything at all but water, she is likely to be ill. A sore throat or an ear infection are common reasons for nursing or bottle feeding strikes. It simply hurts to eat! Water is easier to swallow, which may be the reason why she accepts that. She may also have a stomach bug or a cold on its way to start. You should take your daughter to a doctor to have her examined. Babies can't live on only water for long without losing significant weight.

Once she is not ill anymore, she is likely to have a period with huge appetite, catching up whatever weight she lost, so don't worry too much. But get her to a doctor to find out why she isn't eating.

For how long has this been going on? It is good that she at least accepts water; that will keep her from becoming dehydrated, but you should probably switch to a Pedialyte solution, so that your baby gets the right amounts of minerals and sugars to keep her hydration in balance. Ask in the Pharmacy for a solution appropriate for your baby.

Some babies, when on a nursing or formula strike will still take the bottle or breast when asleep. You can read about how to feed a baby while asleep here.

In addition to spoon feeding, you can also try a syringe, cup or dropper.

I hope this helps,

Paula

Find answers and comments below.


Read more about feeding your baby here:

Comments for
My Six Month Old Baby Girl Wont Eat Or Drink Formula

Oct 10, 2009
6 months old won't drink formula or eat baby cereal please help
by: Anonymous

I have a 6 months old daughter who won't except any formula or baby cereal at all. I don't know if this is normal or not. I'm a first time mom and not very sure of babies eating habits. Every time I tried feeding her she would just cry and spits all the milk or baby cereal out of her mouth. i tired sneaking it in while she's asleep, but it doesn't seem to work. She can go on all day without eating or drinking anything. I'm worried. I don't know what else to do, but just feel very frustrated. Please help me.

Jan 08, 2010
Someone answer!!
by: Anonymous

I need to know this too!! My 6 month old baby girl does the same thing and has for a couple months now. She screams at me almost every time I try to feed her. She did this for breastfeeding, now shes doing it for the bottle. I have to try 5 or 6 times and 6 to 8 hours to get her to finally take it. Then, she drinks the chugs the bottle like shes never eaten before. In the meantime she is in a terrible mood, ummm probably because she's hungry! It is THE MOST frustrating thing I have ever been through to have your child scream at you just because you are trying to feed her. I have tried to ask anyone I can for advice about this but no one knows...

Jan 08, 2010
Getting off the power struggles
by: Baby Help Line - Paula

Hi,

Both of you have a similar problem and I can very easily relate to it! There may be many reasons for babies acting this way; one could be GERD; making it painful for them to eat. Another - especially when trying to switch from breast milk or formula to cereal or solids or even from breast to bottle, is that the baby doesn't want the change. They might not like the taste, the spoon, the nipple or simply the change. In addition, the little person most likely can feel your tension - making everything even more difficult.

So what to do?

Well, as long as your baby doesn't loose weight or seems dehydrated, take a deep breath and try to work on your own stress. Then take a few weeks and serve the baby just what he or she wants; whether it is breast milk, fruit puré, or whatever. Give your baby a little bowl to play with and stick fingers in to lick. Do everything you can to stay away from the power struggle and get a fresh start together. SInce babies develop fast, a few weeks may be all that is needed to be able to start all over.

My daughter absolutely hated cereal and screamed bloody murder until one day when I switched brand. Then she drank a whole bottle. Her younger brother actually did the same. Refusing, refusing and then all of a sudden decided that cereal was great (and together with banana that was about all he accepted until he was 1 year old). I ended up mixing banana with veggies slowly, slowly to make him try other tastes. And it worked with a lot of patience.

If your baby seems healthy, then try to relax. If your baby seems sick from not eating or in pain, definitely seek a doctor's advice.

I hope this gives you a few ideas. Babies really are routine lovers, so any changes need to be implemented slowly and without tension. Easier said than done, I know, but something we all learn from having kids!

I truly wish you good luck!

Paula

Jan 14, 2010
My 6 month old is the same way!!
by: Anonymous

My DD has fallen off her growth curve and I don't know what to do. She's been exclusively breast fed and she's a snacker hence the slow weight gain. I've tried supplementing but she refuses all bottles, sippy cups, cups, and 3 different formulas. You name it, I've tried it. I've consulted with a LC and I'm supposed to feed her for a minimum of 20 per side every 3-4 hrs but the most she'll eat is 5 minutes. She never seems hungry an overall is a happy, active, and alert baby. She's reaching all her milestones wonderfully and we her parents are small genetically. I know she won't be a big baby but I know for a fact that she doesn't get enough milk (recommended 24-32oz/day). She's started solids which I mix with cereal for her iron intake but sometimes even that is a battle. She doesn't spit up, barely fussy, just a happy baby. I'm so baffeled since she's my third child and is giving me so much grief. Anyone experience this? Suggestions? Thanks!

Jan 15, 2010
To the last Anomymous...
by: Baby Help Line - Paula

Hi,

Is your daughter falling off her weight or length curve? Falling off the weight curve is quite normal I would say for breastfed babies in that age, that start with solids. Is she actually loosing weight or just off her earlier curve?

If she is growing in length and not actually loosing weight, then maybe she is adjusting to a new curve. Breast milk fed babies often tend to become chubby during their first months of living, since breast milk is calorie rich and easy to digest. Then when they start with solids, they gain weight a lot more slowly and hence transfer between weight curves.

Is her DR worried about her development?

In some countries, when babies actually loose weight from not eating enough, it is adviced by the doctors and health nurses to add oil (a healthy kind) to their formula. Maybe a tea spoon per feeding or so. In other countries this seems totally "forbidden". But depending on where you live, you can discuss that option with your baby's health nurse.

I can truly relate to breastfed babies refusing to transfer to formula. I've had the same issue with two of my three kids. Have you weaned her off the breast milk yet? If not, consider continuing breastfeeding her for as long as possible, while increasing her solid foods if she likes that better. Maybe she is one of those children who will never totally fall in love with the taste of formula.

Another possibility is to mix formula with a fruit purée or banana if she likes that.

You'll have to be creative here, to make eating fun rather than a big, stressful struggle.

You'll find a few more ideas on how to avoid power struggles around meal times here.

Last, I know this whole situation can be very stressful. But from time to time, try to put it in perspective. Your little daughter is learning a whole new way of eating and she is a bit hesitant. Who can blame her? Since she seems so happy and energetic, she must be getting at lest enough food to keep her moods high. Within a few months, she will have learned this new skill, especially if she is allowed to take her time.

If there is any chance at all that you can adapt to her pace by increasing the breastfeeding, letting her play with a bowl of fruit purée, serve foods she really likes, play with her and let her try to feed you and possible add extra fat to her feedings if tha tis recommended where you live, then do that. You'll have a much more pleasant time a head than trying to force her.

Talk to her Dr if you are uncertain about her weight gain. Also remember that not all babies are created equal. Some will always eat less and others more than the recommended average amounts.

I really wish you good luck!

Paula

Jan 15, 2010
6 month old not gaining weight.
by: Anonymous

Hi Paula, thank you so much for your comment and your bit of reassurance. My daughter started off at the 30th percentile at birth, climbed to 50th at 2 months and now at 6 months has fallen to 5th %. Her pediatrician isn't strongly concerned since she seems to be a happy and healthy baby but because she's aware of her feeding habits she wants to see an improvement. I know all babies will be different and grow at their own rate but it's frustrating that she never seems to want to eat. Her ped has mentioned this could just well be her trend and she needs to take into consideration that this could be genetics but as her mom I know she should be taking in more milk. With her formula I've tried adding a tsp of applesauce and she doesn't like that either. Are there babies that just don't like to eat? Her ped tells me to keep trying, but she literally is done nursing in 5 min. I can't force her to eat obviously. She seems to be withering away.

Feb 08, 2010
My 6 month refuses milk
by: Stacy

Hi, My little girl will be 6 months next week she has never drank a lot of milk since she was born, (roughly 3 once every 3 hours if im lucky)she has not been putting on a lot of weight and the hv moand every week we go to see her saying she is not putting on enough weight. I introduced solids about 3 weeks ago and she loves it she now will eat breakfast lunch and dinner. But the problem i have now got is she really does not take any milk in the day she will have 2 onces in morning and she will take a few sips from her bottles during day but thats it she will have a bottle at bedtime and normally she will drink 3-4 onces. I normally have to give her abottle at 12 midnight and she normally will have 2 onces. I am very concerned that she is not having enough milk but refuses to take it, i dont really want to stop solids!! What shall i do? Stacy x

Mar 14, 2010
it could be worse....
by: anjai

Ive read the comments on this trail and I thought I'd post our experience it might help to calm a few people. Our 2nd daughter is 9 months and weighs 5.36kg. She was never great on the breast and although was Ok initally by bottle she ended up at taking about 6oz per day. At 5 months she was ok weaning but by 9 months was down to 1 meal a day.

Recently she caught a cold (her first) and this seemed to be the tipping point (although not 100% sure).

She now doesn't drink at all and does not eat anything. Not exaggerating!!

Screaming at the sight of a bottle and gagging on the tiniest solid.

It has gotten so bad we ended up in hospital for a week where she had a Nasal-Gastric tube fitted so we can pour the milk straight into her stomach. She wakes 6-7 times a night cos she is hungry? but we cant pour too much in as it would just be vomitted out.

Causes? No idea but here are a few ideas....
1. when she was small she signs of reflux but the last scan didnt these anymore (this usually resolves itself as they get older),
2. the cold? - certainly didnt help but this was an issue before that,
3. teething? - possibly, even the day she was born her front top gum had two big bulges which are now cutting through (her poos are diaorhea now),
4. milk allergy? - possibly she has been moved to milk free diet,
5. coleiac ? she is being tested
6. Behavioural - could be but she was such a happy baby it would be a big turnaround but as I read on this blog it could happen.

Anyway we are at the lowest point but we know she'll be ok in the end, the tube is giving her enough to survive and as other posts have said she'll get there in the end we just need to persevere. She is unbelieveably strong and somehow getting taller, although only in the 2nd percentile me and my wife are short anyway.

I've talked to several healthy adults (all taller than my 5'7" frame) who told me they were on a tube as a baby or the doctors said they might not make it...

Hope this helps particularly if your child is taking either solids or milk but not both...dont worry you'll be fine in the end

....but must say its a very messy kitchen right now!


Apr 10, 2010
We're in the Same Boat
by: Andrea

I came across this website on food aversion and was hoping that perhaps someone could help our family by giving us some advice.

My son, James, was born full-term and got a perfect 10 on his APGAR. Everything was going fine for the the first 9 days of his life. He was breastfeeding and sleeping as he should. Then he began to wheeze during and after meals. We brought him in and they his Pediatrician at the time said that perhaps he needed some more development in his muscles and it would be fine. Then he began refusing bottles and screaming during and after feedings from pain. We ended up with a GI doctor and did a barium swallow. It was determined that his stomach was "extremely slow to empty" and that he had reflux. He was put on axid, reglan (2 days and I took him off), prevacid, and then nexium. None seemed to make a huge difference and he constantly was woken up from spitting up all over the place. At 6 months we finally had to do an endoscopy and the Dr. found that he had a prepyloric web which caused his stomach to stay full. The GI ballooned it in hopes of it not returning. It did return and at 10 months it was cut out through endoscopy. Now that he does not have the web and that my husband and I have had to be persistent with his feedings in order to keep him growing and hydrated he refuses to eat or drink anything. He was born in the 50th percentile and is now in the 5th at one-year-old. He weighs 18.13 lbs. I am trying extremely hard to allow him to try to eat if he would like to and after 2-5 bites of yogurt, sweet potatoes, bananas, or pears he will be finished. Every now and then he will eat one goldfish or one cheerio but that's it. He is on the Kids Essentials Boost 1.5 calories in order to try to keep the nutrition in him that he needs and it is a complete struggle to get those down him as well. My goal is 2 a day because they are 355 calories each but I have to give it to him in a shopping cart while running errands and be persistent in order to get it down him. He only drinks it with major distractions.

I am tired of people telling me to give him what he'll "willingly take" because he won't "willingly take" anything except maybe a piece of dirt on the ground or a leaf. I know my child needs to make his own choices but am scared of the outcome if he doesn't keep up with his nutrition and gain weight.

We are meeting with a speech therapist today in order to begin him on trying new textures and a nutritionist Monday to help with a meal plan but I am afraid in my heart that this is something that won't pass.

Please let me know if you have heard of this or have any suggestions for our family. It has absolutely taken over our life and all I can do is pray for a healthy toddler who will wake up one day and decide to eat and love it. Any advice or any help that you can give us is sincerely appreciated.

Apr 10, 2010
baby wont have formula
by: miss lissi

hi i understand your anxiety when your baby doesnt want formula. I am a nurse and i have spoken to a lot of nurses, dr's regarding my 6 month old son julian as he dislikes formula fron 3 months old. I visited one of the health care nurses and she said to mix custard with formula. I was reluctant to try this mixer , believe or not , it worked. I had spent money visting Dr's , stressing for months and it was that simple. it makes sense a womens breast milk is sweet but formula isnt, so add custard. baby custard or powdered custard. As long as baby drinks and doesnt become dehydrated that is the main thing.good luck ,i hope i helped.

May 01, 2010
5mths son doesnt like formula.... Help
by: Anonymous

Hi my son turns 6 mths in 1 weeks time... But recently he had a vaccines n since than he didnt want to drink any formula... Ive tried for 1 week and he still refused to drink... So i tried to feed him solids food and he loved it because its tasty than formula milk.....

But my biggest worries is he wont have enough calcium in his Body.....

Is there any suggestion or recommendation to change formula or anything else???

Aug 13, 2010
picky baby frustrated mom
by: Anonymous

i'm a first time mom and my baby just turned 6 mos. she was born 4lbs 9 oz, full term. i was told by her pediatrician that she'll never grow big. The first couple of months was smooth sailing until she was 3 mos 3weeks old when she started refusing formula. I phoned her Dr's office and did what exactly what they told me to try.. from changing nipples (coz the hole might be too small for her already), changing bottles (coz she might be bored with the one she's using) to switching formula (and we've tried all available in the market).. unfortunately, they never worked... i even tried distracting her (watching tv, telling stories, singing), or take her to a dark quiet place.. nothing really worked. on our last visit, her weight was almost the same as when she was 4 mos.. i'm really desperate to bring her weight up again..please could someone help us...

Aug 13, 2010
Solid foods?
by: Baby Help Line - Paula

Hi dear worried mom,

I understand that you are worried; of course a baby should increase in weight from 4 to 6 months old. At the same time it is a tricky situation, because your feeling of stress and worrying is likely to be felt be your baby, making it even less likely that she finds eating enjoyable.

So try to take a very deep breath and make up your mind to start all over. Your girl obviously gets enough liquid at least, so she isn't in any immediate danger from not eating enough.

Now that she is 6 months old, maybe you can start trying to make the meal a fun situation. Put her in a high chair and give her a small bown of fruit purée to play with. Hopefully, she will lick her fingers and like the taste. Give her a colorful sippy cup, always let her participate in your meals.

Have you tried introducing solid foods to her? Some children really prefer that to formula early on and even if it isn't ideal to quit formula very early, solid foods (if healthy) are certainly better than too little food all together. Also, since a 6 months old baby will mainly eat smooth purées, you can make your own and mix formula into the foods.

You'll find a number of recipes to try out here.

Also read our tips about baby picky eaters and see if you get some ideas from them.

I think it is good that you stay in contact with your baby's doctor because of course you need to be able to watch her weight, discuss the situation with a doctor and take any action needed if necessary to make sure she gets the nutrition she needs. But at home, try really hard to focus more on the joy around eating and less on the worrying.

I wish you all the best.

Paula

Jan 21, 2011
hope this help
by: Anonymous

hi i breastfeed my baby and i tried to put on formula but she refused it the whole time i tried many different types of formula but she kept on refusing it i went to the clinic sister and asked help she told me i must try first growth milk and it worked she is 6 months old and i have her now on first growth milk and she likes it. and if u have trouble with the bottle try tippy tommee

Feb 27, 2011
TRY HIPP ORGANIC
by: Anonymous

Try Hipp Organic milk. My baby wouldnt drink any formula milk until I tried this. Previously tried SMA, C & G, Aptimil.
I was breast feeding for 6 months previously. Hipp Organic doesnt smell as strong as the others and my baby now loves it!!! Worth a try.

Mar 01, 2011
5 month old not eating
by: Worried Mother

My daughter is in the same situation, she is 5 months and weights only 8lbs! We have tried 7 different formulas (Similac Advance, Similac Soy, Similac Sensative, Nutramigen, Enfamil Geantlease, Enfamil Enfacare, Similac Almentum). She barely takes the bottle, she does every now and then take the baby food. Her thyroid, elecrtrolytes, liver, kidneys , heart etc have all been tested and results came back normal. An Upper GI Series was conducted and acid reflux was the only thing idenitifed. She's on Zantac and Prolisec and they do not help. She still refuses, cries, and freaks out whenever we tried to feed her the bottle. Her not eating is now creating developmental delays she pretty much like a newborn. She was not born premature. ANy advice or suggestions will be comforting.

Apr 04, 2011
My daughter is 23 months and stoped eating and drinking at 8 months
by: Anonymous

My daughter is know 23 months she stoped eating and drinking around 8 months after her first birthday we were sent to childrens we meet up with a lady that was tring to feed her and my daughter would not go for it we would try games bubbles everything u can think of. My daughter would act like she was going to sleep to get out of it ge stoped going and got in with a ent doctor sage has food invison he has gone down and scoped her we find out that her airway was blocked fixed that but she still want eat the doctor said she does have acid reflex but she still should eat we are lost in feb. Her body shut down we were in childrens for 12 days doing all kinds of test everything was perfect they put her on a iv and a feeding tube up the nose that was the worst it killed me seeing that on my baby girl. Where we now when she was in the hospital she had to have the Mickey button it's a feeding tube that is put in near the bellybutton it kills me that she has it but we don't have a choice!!! Hopefully one day the doctor will know why I know what your family is going though in my heart

Apr 04, 2011
Food Allergies
by: Anonymous

UPDATE: I wrote many months ago about my baby girl screaming at me whenever I would try to feed her-breastfeed, bottle, spoon, anything. She is now 20 months old and has we just got food allergy test results back. She is allergic to every type of wheat and dairy (including goats milk) and also soy, beef, honey, and peanuts. It all makes a lot more sense now. She is now on an elimination diet and hopefully she will be much happier. She did start eating many different foods eventually, although she is a very picky eater, but she had SEVERE constipation and still does not sleep through the night. She wakes up crying in pain a few times everynight. We finally saw a pediatric naturopath that wanted to help us fix the problem not just the symptoms (Miralax.) I am very thankful for this diagnosis, hopefully this might help someone else going through what we went through.

Apr 04, 2011
To Anonynous w food allergies above
by: Paula (Baby Help Line)

Thank you so much, for taking the time to come back and let us know about your daughter's diagnosis! I am sure this will help a lot of other parents who are clueless or about to give up trying to find out what is wrong.

I truly hope your girl will feel a lot better soon!

Paula

Apr 24, 2011
My baby won't wean or drink formula!
by: Steph

My 6 month old baby was born at 39+4 at a small 5lb 3oz. She was intitally breastfed for 5 weeks and even that was a struggle. I had to see a LC and had to use nipple sheilds. After getting fed-up with struggling and having no life I switched her to formula milk. She fed fine until 8 weeks. She had a viral infection just after her 8 week jabs and it all went downhill after that. We struggled at home with her for a couple of weeks, she would only take about 8-10oz per day from the bottle. She finally began losing weight and dropped to 8lb and was admitted she hospital. She spent 2 weeks in hospital where she had various tests done and they decided she had a poor suck/swallow technique on the bottle, which was making her work really hard for the milk. They had to insert an NG tube as she refuses to take any decent amounts of milk. We started early weaning at 4 months on medical advice and at 6 months we haven't really got anywhere she will take a small amount and then refuse and scream at me. She refuses bottles completely now so is solely NG fed. We have a ped, dietician and speech and language therapist. It is so frustrating as we don't feel we are getting anywhere, we are both nurse's ourselves and my mum is a midwife and my dad is a DR and we are all totally lost and have never seen anything like this!! They now believe this is behavioural as she's learnt she doesn't have to do it as she gets a full tummy regardless! She is now on infatrini and is currently 13lb 11oz. Any similar stories or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jun 01, 2011
4 month old wont drink all his bottles
by: Anonymous

my son was born a preemie weighing 3pnd and was in hospital for almost 3mnth now he is 4months old and weighs 10p7ounces. when he was @ hospital we would gabbage breastmilk thru a lil tube he had in his nose, sometimes he would nipple all his bottles down he seemed to do better when he was half asleep. 1 week before coming home a GI doc recc he had a peg tube placed in his stomach just to help out w his feedings to help him catch up since he was so lil when he was born, to his this day sometimes he will only nipple 30-80 ccs that is all his bottle. the doc wants to change tube to a mickey button i don't know what to do i really don't want to put him thru anything else they already ran all this test and all have came back normal im thinking he has sucking problems or needs to learn how to control his tongue. I'm thinking he does not like my breastmilk can that be? what if i choose to have it removed? is anybody else going thru this. thanks

Oct 06, 2011
6 months old and still having difficulty with formula
by: Anonymous

Hi since birth of my little one I have been struggling feeding her her formula. Imwe have tried so many different type of formula and still nothing worked! She was born with rashes and had some sensitivity with her lower extremities. She's six months already and still her problem have not been resolved. At 4 months she was put on neocate and even with that formula her rashes were still there. Her reflux problem seemed to have gotten better but I think bec of the prevacid. Since 4 mo old upto now she has not gained any weight. Just yesterday the GI dr told me to yet again switch her formula to similac sensitive bec she refuse to take the neocate. She's been being seen with so many specialists. Hematologist bec of her anemia, genetic and PT because of her leg sensitivity, GI specialist bec of feeding problem, allergy and dermatologist due to her rashes...and then they just recently referred us to developmental specialist bec her development are delayed and also to an occupational therapy for her feeding disorder and suspected eosinophilia esophagitis...so to all of you who are going through some difficulty with your little one I pray that everything will get better and that we all pass this test that we are going thru...

Jan 19, 2012
6 Month old wont Drink Formula NEW
by: Anonymous

My 6 month old son has never really been a great eater.. I started off nursing,and within 3 months he wanted no part of it.. I have tried every type of formula, and finally settled on Similac Sensitive..He was doing not too bad,taking about 24oz daily and then.. here we go again. This time its worse.. He may only take 1-2oz 4 times a day..i can get him too eat solids, but I am worried about his milk intake.. Its so frustrating not knowing whats wrong..Is it ok that he eats more solids then milk... He seems healthy and weighs 16.5 lbs but it doesnt seem normal for a baby not too take formula..Someone please HELP.
Thx. Susan

Oct 29, 2012
My daughter 10 month year olds she not eat food and not drinking a lot of milk so she thin than before ! Which milk powder will help my baby weight gain? NEW
by: Mouy Khim

My daughter never eat food start from 6 month until nowadays and drinking milk is so little , so I want to know which milk powder can help my baby weight gain?

Oct 30, 2012
To Mouy Khim NEW
by: Paula (Easy Baby Life)

Hi,

Is there anything at all that your baby likes to eat? At 10 months, some babies are very busy with moving around and won't have any patience to sit still and eat. Very frequent offers of formula, breast milk or finger foods can then help. (You can find ideas on finger foods here.)

Also try to let your baby sit with you are play or chat at every meal and offer some small bites of your food (of foods that are not harmful to babies). No power struggles, just a friendly offer. Even offering finger foods in bath tub or making it to a game by hiding bits of foods under the toys and ask baby to find them can be a way to encourage eating.

Hope this gives you a few ideas. Also make sure to add healthy fats to your baby's meals. (Read more about adding fat to baby food here.)


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