My 11-month-old daughter is underweight, she does not want to eat or drink milk. Usually she drinks water and breastfeeds. If we try to feed her, she cries.


Baby Helpline:

Tips To make Feeding Enjoyable For Baby

Underweight – a Problem or Not?

You don’t say how much your baby weighs, but normally you would expect a child to have tripled their birth weight by about 12 months.

That said, there is often far too much emphasis placed on what is considered normal.

These figures are only averages and there are lots of variables, genetic factors, her birth weight, whether she has had any illnesses, etc. Being skinny might just be how she is – which is a lot more healthy than being obese!

Only if she seems weak, ill, or dehydrated, or if she would be falling rapidly behind her weight and length scales, would be a matter or worry. Check with her health nurse!

Feeding an 11-Month-Old That Doesn’t Want Solid Foods

At her age, breastmilk is still the most important part of her diet, so breastfeeding is the best thing, congratulations on keeping it up!

Solid foods are really just introducing tastes, textures, and different experiences. It only provides a small percentage of her calories.

Babies get interested in solid foods and what others are eating at their own pace. Some babies are naturally interested early and are well developed so they can swallow solid foods easily. For these babies, the solid food introduction may be completely uncomplicated.

Other babies struggle more.

Don’t make a battle out of feeding her solids, just make it fun. You are not in a hurry!

Here are some things to consider:

  • Many babies prefer to feed themselves rather than have a spoon pushed into their mouths. Let her try to feed herself – it is messy, but she will learn lots more and it avoids setting up a battle. Let her explore and play with her food.
  • Lots of finger foods like pieces of cooked vegetables, fruit. Peas were a favorite of my babies, trying to pick them up one by one.
  • Offering visual contrasts, like pieces of tomato sticking up out of mashed potato, or rice and peas.
  • If (when) she does start to try a bit of solid foods, you can add some butter or healthy oil to her food to add calories, if you think she is a bit underweight.

Just relax about it all, she will show more interest as she gets older. Food is something to enjoy, it is a big part of our social interactions so making it fun and exploratory at this age is the best thing.

Here are a few links to finger food ideas, tips on how to avoid power struggles at mealtime, and how to help the picky eater become more enthusiastic about eating.

Have fun with it all and enjoy your little girl,


Sep 26, 2014 baby at 21 months doesn’t eat or drink milk,

by: Anonymous

My daughter is 21 months old and from when
she was first born she’s never had a full bottle of milk, and when she went on to eating she’s
only accepting it smooth, she doesn’t like lumps at all,
pls can u tell me why?

Dec 04, 2014 My daughter is not gain weight

by: Phong kimchhean

Dear Easybabylife,
My lovely daughter now is 6.5 months but her weight around 4.5kg. She has the phlegm and thin bone in her throat since she was born after that she has pneumonia until now her disease always happen to her. I don’t know why she has phlegm every day? And her weight does not gain the same as other kids. I really pity her as she often goes to see the doctor but I have no choice as pneumonia always happens to her when she has the phlegm. Please give me some advice on which way can help my daughter gain weight and recover from the phlegm? One more thing, she can drink soy milk or not? Thanks so much for ur advice………. hope to see ur answer soon.

Baby Help Line: Dear Phong, I am sorry to hear about your baby’s illness. Getting pneumonia on several occasions when so young, should be – and I hope it is – a reason for her pediatrician to screen your baby for underlying causes of recurring pneumonia, such as a weak immune system, asthma, reflux, or other issues. I don’t mean to scare you, but to empower you to seek help for your baby. Get a second opinion if your usual doctor is not listening. Regarding the phlegm, it may very well be caused by pneumonia, rather than the phlegm causing the disease.

Since you are asking about soy milk, I assume you are not breastfeeding? If you do breastfeed, keep it up for as long as you can, as it helps your daughter’s immune system. If you don’t breastfeed, give her formula; any type she likes and her body approves of (soy or not). You can make the formula more high-calorie by adding slightly more powder to the water compared to the directions on the package, but be careful so it doesn’t give your baby constipation. There are also supplements like Duocal (not sure what it is called outside the US), that are specifically aimed at underweight babies that need a calorie boost.

4.5 kg at 6.5 months is not much, I agree. Is she premature? Or is she simply not growing due to being ill? What was her weight at birth? Typically, a full-term baby would double in weight in the first six months, so if she was born tiny, she might actually be following her curve, even if she is small.

Do talk to a doctor! You need help sorting out her health as well as if she is gaining weight as she should and if not, work on a strategy to help her.

I really wish you good luck!


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