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If you have tried starting your baby on solids and they have refused to take it or spat it out, don’t be discouraged. There are a number of reasons why your baby might not be interested in solid food.
First, we suggest having a look at our article on 5 tips for starting solids and making sure your baby is showing signs that they are ready for solids.
Showing all the signs but still rejecting solids? Check out some of the reasons your baby might be refusing solids below.
The time of the day is wrong
There are always going to be times of day when your baby is cranky and less open to trying new things. If your baby is fussy, it might not be the best time to give them solid food. Save yourself the hassle and wait until baby is happy and you have plenty of time so baby can progress at whatever pace they need.
Plunket1 suggests starting your baby on their first solid food, such as iron-fortified baby rice cereal, around lunchtime or early afternoon. Breast milk or formula is still your baby’s most important food, so offer milk before solids.
Baby is already full
Starting solids is a tricky balance, as you are introducing a new meal while trying to ensure your baby is still drinking the same amount of breast milk or infant formula. It is often recommended1 that you give your baby solids sometime after they have had their breast milk or formula, to ensure they don’t start rejecting their main source of nutrition. This is a tough balance to strike. Keep in mind that if baby rejects food, they may already be full of breast milk or formula. Next time, leave a little more time between the milk feed and solids, and see if that makes a difference.
Baby’s tongue reflex is still too strong
Babies are born with a sucking reflex2, which they need for the first few months of their life as they breast or bottle feed. They are also born with an extrusion reflex, where anything placed on their tongue will be pushed out of their mouth. Until this reflex eases, babies are not able to move food to the back of their throat. The extrusion reflex also helps keep foreign objects out of baby’s airways – it is amazing what our bodies can do!
Watch your baby carefully when you start giving them solids. If you place food on their tongue, do they let it sit there or do they immediately push it out of their mouth? If it’s the latter, your baby’s tongue reflex may still be too strong, so they are not yet physically able to eat solids. Know that this is just part of your baby’s development and they will start on solids in their own time when they are able.
If you are concerned that your baby’s extrusion reflex isn’t going away, seek help from your doctor, Plunket nurse or WellChild provider.