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14.5 months still exclusively bf, REFUSES all solids... HELP

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

I posted about 2 months ago about my dd who is still ebf. .. well, we are no further ahead. We've gone to see the feeding clinic twice, they are pretty sure theres no physical reason, no sensory issues.. they aren't all that helpful.

DD loves to play with food, she gets excited and points to our plates, I give her access to everything we eat, but none of it ever goes it. If I try to feed her she screams, turns her head away, arms flailing, feet kicking... its not enjoyable. If I do manage to get something in, she immediately spits it out.

DD did have a very strong gag reflex, but it seems to be almost gone. At 9 months we had what we assume is an allergic reaction to avocado (severe vomiting for 3 hours, started 2 hours after eating the avocado). Allergy tests came back neg, but that doesn't mean much...

She wasn't interested in purees at 6 months, we tried around 8 months, zero interest, I pushed it at 9 months due to pressure from the ped. 

Im starting to feel like she will never eat. We wanted to try for baby #2 soon, but I cannot risk my milk supply going with a pregnancy, seeing as thats all shes eating...


post #2 of 37

Wow mama, sounds rough. I made a thread about my 18M almost not eating, but not eating anything would worry me. How's weight gain and growth? Will she not take bites at all even when you let her feed herself? Have you tried maybe letting someone else feed her? DP or a grandmom, spending a couple hours with someone else and seeing if she'll take food from them?


I don't really have much advice, in the thread I made a mama here suggested trying a multivitamin and said that helped her little one eat a bit more solids, so that could be something to look into.



post #3 of 37

My son (now 15 months) is also a very reluctant eater. He preferred to bf, from the source i.e. no expressed milk in sippy cup or bottle all his life. Similar to your daughter, pureed foods were a no go. The only thing that has worked to date is to allow him to feed himself bits of real table food. We started off at around 8 months with crackers and things that would break apart easily. Even with this baby lead feeding, he at very little solid foods until probably the last month or two. 


I'm now 3 months pregnant with our second baby, and have nearly lost all my milk supply. DS isn't happy about the change, but is slowly, slowly ramping up his solid intake. He still doesn't like to be fed purees, but will eat fruit, crackers, some meat, etc that are placed on his tray at meal and snack times. We're still having difficulty finding an alternative drink for him to help supplement my lack of milk, but I'm happy to say... they will begin eating if they get hungry enough. smile.gif


My only two-cents would be to let your daughter play with food until she decides to stick some of it in her mouth like she sees mommy and daddy do. She might eventually find that she actually likes some of what she tries!


post #4 of 37

how much is she nursing?  With both of mine I had to actively reduce nursing so that they were actually hungry and then they would eat.  It wasn't a big dramatic 'starve them into eating' thing or anything.  I just made nursing a predictable part of our day (like a lose schedule) and then offered food in between.


As long as they had unlimited access to me, day and night they weren't weren't pushed to eat.  But I was pushed to have them eating smile.gif   

post #5 of 37

We are in the same boat.  DS is 14.5 mos and he still mostly nurses.  I say MOSTLY because, magically, in the last week he has started putting more solids in his mouth.  This might sound crazy, but I think that a switch just gets flipped one day and suddenly it's more appealing to them.  DS was just like your DD before - showed interest but never ate anything.  I know how you feel...it was super frustrating.  Hang in there!

post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 

Im not overly concerned about her growth, she's small, but healthy. At 12 months, she was just under 18 lbs, and last week she was about 19 lbs. She's hitting milestones, happy, active, smart.. 

She nurses a lot, not even sure how many times a day, somedays it could be every hour or two, other days its more like every 3 or 4 hrs. We also co sleep, and she is attached all night long. She uses me as a pacifier, but obviously gets some food at the same time. I was trying a few weeks ago to reduce the all night nurse-a-thon, she can fall asleep on her own, but wakes up anywhere from 5-45 mins later looking for me. I'm too exhausted to fight her at night. 

Any time I attempt foods, its always a while after her last nursing session, and she always wants to nurse afterwards. I dont think hunger is the problem. I try to wait about 20 mins after attempting solids before nursing her.

She won't eat for anyone. DH has tried, my mom, a friend.. she fights everyone, turns her head away.. She knows what food is and where it goes, she tries to feed us, the dog, a toy. It's like she thinks everyone and everything eats, just not her.

I really do not know what to do, with the very little sleep I actually get, I have very little patience for this eating issue. 


post #7 of 37

At 14mos DS ate about 3 bites of food on a good day. He's now 21 months & we're finally up to about 30% solids / 70% breastmilk on a good day. Check out Auraji's thread, there were some ideas myself & others posted in there that *might* help you, but I'm wondering -- does she truly eat NOTHING? Or is it just that the amounts are so trivial that you consider it basically nothing? If she is occasionally eating bites here & there, I wouldn't worry about it. I would just continue to offer her a big variety of foods & try not to force anything into her if it's going to make meals a power struggle... but if she will not even eat a bite of food, I'd try to get a second (or third?) opinion, have her re-evaluated by someone else.


Also I know how you feel about TTC while your DD is still EBF... I wanted a second child so badly but I was also terrified of getting pregnant for fear that my milk would dry up. Hmmm also I just noticed your update about her sleep, I went through the exact same thing with DS, I felt horrible because I couldn't even sleep for 5 minutes straight & I couldn't nightwean because I was too tired. But somewhere around 14-16 months his sleep just magically got better & he started sleeping 2, 3, even 4-hour stretches. He still has phases where he wakes every 5-30 minutes but more nights than not, he only wakes every 90mins - 2 hours (which is still frequent but way more bearable!!) So big hugs to you, I know how hard that is, hopefully she'll have a similar miraculous transformation in sleep patterns like my DS!! Also, have you looked into food allergies -- allergies to things that are crossing into your milk?

post #8 of 37

only advice I can give is to offer frequently. I have yet to hear of a kid who never started solids, but I have heard of a few who didn't start until 2.

post #9 of 37

That's what I figured.  That's where my son was, too.  He had access 24/7 to me and I'm not sure he really understood that he was supposed to eat!  If she's nursing like 12 times a day then she's just not going have any real hunger. 


For DS the first thing I did was to stop nursing outside the house.  And I'd offer snacks all the time.  Like crackers, goldfish etc.  Just something quick and tasty so he'd get into the habit of eating. 


I didn't nightwean until later but that really tipped the balance so that he was in a normal eating pattern of eating food during the day and sleeping at night. 


So for us it was really a matter of me adjusting my expectations and our daily patterns to support that.  The all day/all night buffet just wasn't working anymore.  Not to say that he wouldn't have found his way there if I had let him take the lead, but it was just no longer appropriate for us.  I needed him to be in a different place.


Originally Posted by Carolyn_mtl View Post

She nurses a lot, not even sure how many times a day, somedays it could be every hour or two, other days its more like every 3 or 4 hrs. We also co sleep, and she is attached all night long. She uses me as a pacifier, but obviously gets some food at the same time. I was trying a few  

post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 

Yup, actually eats NOTHING :(

Maybe 3 times in the last 2 months she's taken a breadstick or arrowroot cookie and scraped her teeth with it, shaving off miniscule amounts, all of which were then spat out. 

I will try to spread out her nursing, I'm just worried that it will affect my supply. If she were sleeping decently at night, I could better handle the no eating, or if she was eating, I could handle the no sleep.. ugh.


A good friend of mine has worked with children with developmental or sensory issues, and she has come over to try and help with the eating. She also agrees DD has no physical or sensory problems. 


So is it agreed that I should just let her play with the food and not try to force any in? 


Thanks for your input everyone!... if you have any more ideas I'd love to hear them.


post #11 of 37



I would totally ignore the fact she's not eating for awhile (a week or two?) and try one of two things- either just have meal times without her (so she's running around while everyone else is hanging out at the table enjoying themselves) or bring her and put her in her high chair with some bits and then just ignore the fact she's not eating.  It may be that it's become a power struggle thing and it needs to be her idea.


good luck!



post #12 of 37

I just thought I'd add that maybe she's picking up on your stress over her not eating solids.  She's perfectly fine with simply breastfeeding, so she doesn't see a need to try "real" food...that coupled with the tension at meal times is probably making her resist it even more.  It also sounds like she may have experienced some emotional trauma over the allergic reaction to avocado, so that could be increasing the resistance as well. 


My son was also very attached to breastfeeding for a long time, he didn't eat much of any solids until he was a little over a year old.  Even then, it was only a small amount a few times a week...it didn't become a daily thing until he was 15 or 16 months old.  But, again, it was usually only one small snack a day, maybe two.  I didn't stress about it because I knew he was healthy, he was growing just fine, and the fact that breastmilk is so nutritious made it feel like a non-issue. 


There seems to be a lot of pressure in our society to get them on solids after the 6th month mark and if they're STILL not eating anything by a year old then there must be something wrong.  This is based on the belief that breast milk has very little value once they're passed the infant stage, but I'm not sure where this belief originated.  I feel that it has tremendous value in terms of their health well past the infant stage...it's basically a safety net for little ones who are slow transitioners to solid foods. 


I suggest relaxing a bit, embracing the value of breast milk, and making eating more of a fun activity rather than a stressful one for her.  Maybe make up silly games to play while eating that will make her laugh and enjoy herself.  I can't think of any off-hand, but you know your daughter and what makes her smile and laugh, so let go and have some fun with her...that might do the trick thumb.gif

post #13 of 37

Also, she is just about old enough to try cooking with you -- if you're reluctant to have her help with a whole meal, pick something simple, like putting toppings on her own mini pizza. We do this with DS when we have the time/patience, and although he's not any more interested in the final result than if I'd prepared it, he's very involved in the process -- he'll spread the sauce on the pizza and then dip the mushrooms into it & lick the sauce off the mushrooms, for example. He taste-tests as he goes along, so maybe he's still only getting a few small bites in but that's better than nothing, and he has so much fun doing it! Also try to make sure eating is a family affair (even if it's just the two of you). Sit down together, put her in a booster or something rather than a traditional highchair which would leave her a bit separated from the table. Serve her small amounts of whatever you're eating, and talk about how yummy the tomatoes are (as well as non-food conversation of course!) Let her mush the food around or whatever she wants, a variety of colors/textures in the meal would be great. Don't stress about the food actually going in her mouth or anything, just make the mealtime fun & enjoyable & show her how much you're enjoying your food (and resist the urge to hold the spoon up to her & say mmmm don't you want to try it?) Let her think it's HER idea to start trying foods....

post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 

Thank you all!

I'm going to relax a bit over this eating thing, I know nutritionally she is fine.. my ped was SURE she would be iron deficient at our 1 yr appt, I agreed to the blood test, and of course, her levels were great. 

She just seems so interested in the food, but then won't try it, I wish she could talk to be and tell me why! I guess Im stressing mostly because all my friends babies are eating everything, and we had wanted our children within 2 yrs of each other, which would mean getting preg NOW... and I definitely cannot risk my supply.


Oh, and this totally drives me CRAZY, she chews on everything non-food related, toys, straps, cardboard... but not food! She also has a ridiculous number of teeth, not sure what average is, but she has 12. .. maybe all the teething is related to not wanting to eat?


post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 

I also wanted to add, whenever dd plays with food, she tears it apart and really examines it, but the funny part is, she looks as though she is chewing. Her mouth is closed, and if I wasn't 100% sure there wasn't any food in there, I'd think she was eating. 

post #16 of 37

Hmmm...this might sound really weird, but it just came to me while reading your recent replies to this thread.  Maybe you could try exaggerating the act of eating...really show her what it is in a graphic sort of way (bonus is it might very well make her laugh, too!).  You say she's very interested in food, likes to break it apart and stare at it and enjoys chewing on other things...maybe she could use some help putting two and two together.  I know that you eat around her all the time, but maybe she needs a dramatic display of eating to help with her understanding it better and getting her motivated.  When you chew, REALLY chew...maybe make sounds, too, that show how much you enjoy it.  When you swallow tell her how yummy that bite was, that it makes you want to eat more.  I suggest getting into it and see how she reacts...doesn't hurt to try thumb.gif

post #17 of 37

I just posted a thread like this over in Bfing Beyond Infancy.  My dd is 13mos today.  She eats basically nothing.  We put her in the chair for breakfast and dinner and give her bits of food.  It all goes in her mouth and then she spits it all out.  Like your dd, mine has a *really* strong gag reflex.  When we first gave her bits of food (10mos old or so) she gagged so much and then started vomiting from the gagging.  We took a little break from the solids and then came back to it and now she no longer gags, thank God.  But she still has the gag reflex it just isn't as sensitive.  If she has any mucus drainage she will vomit from it.  It's all very lovely :)  My dd also has a ton of teeth.  She has all 8 up front and all 4 of her first molars are coming in.  My dd was also 18lbs at a year :)  It sounds like they are almost twins :)  My dd is very happy, obviously bright (understands directions, etc), very fun loving, has been walking since just before 11mos, etc.  


You are a first time mother.  I remember with my first I spoon fed her and meals were unpleasant for me (and probably for her).  I stressed out if she didn't eat as much as I thought she should or if she refused to eat some of the delicious food I made for her, etc.  With my second I vowed not to make that mistake again and never spoon fed her.  I just put food in front of her and let her have what she wanted.  She started eating some solids at 11mos.  I am doing the same this time.  No spoon feeding, just letting her feed herself.  I think, as a first time mom it is hard not to stress about food, but I have to say you are way better off than I was as a first time mom.  It is great that you let her experiment with her food.  


I will just throw this out there because of some of your comments...are you sure she doesn't have any food allergies?  My middle dd has a slew of them. She had to be latched on or right next to me all night or she would instantly wake up.  She woke at least every hour until I finally figured out all her allergies and eliminated them from my diet.  The frequent night wakings at her age (frequent meaning every hour like you are describing) makes me think that something is up.  Also, you mentioned a reaction to avocado, but that she tested negative to it.  What kind of test?  My doctor always uses both skin and blood test and actually the only test that is 100% accurate is the food challenge.  Does you dd have sensitive skin?  Eczema?  I am not trying to scare you, just trying to help you get to the bottom of this.  I went nearly 2 years waking at least every hour with my dd, I know how exhausted you are.  And it isn't just the sleep disruption, it is the lack of down time at night while your child sleeps.  You have to be next to her the whole time she is sleeping.  It wears on a mama.


Good luck!  You are doing a great job!



post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 

Wow, Beth, maybe they are twins.. lol...


I've continued to let her play with food, not putting any pressure on her, and she actually chewed on some arrowroot cookies and cheerios, all of which was spat out, but at least she put it to her mouth on her own.


We actually had a follow up appointment last week with the allergist, both blood and skin prick test for avocado came back negative. I'm not 100% convinced. What else would have caused severe (bile, full stomach contractions ect) vomiting in an otherwise perfectly healthy 9 month old, came on out of no where, lasted 3 hours, started 2 hours after eating avocado (3rd or 4th exposure)? Maybe she is "intolerant" but not allergic? Also, I used to eat avocado almost daily until that happened, and EVERY time she would poo, she would have a horrible rash anywhere her poo touched, and since then, I've been avocado (and banana) free, and she hasn't had any rash... 


I'm vegan, so I dont eat most of the super common allergens, aside from soy I guess,.. I haven't had her tested for anything other than avocado and banana, both neg in both types of tests. She doesn't have eczema or any other signs of allergies, although, she is very gassy, especially at night. I assume because she eats all night long?


Thank you for all the ideas, and for letting me know I'm not alone! We go back for appointment #3 with the feeding clinic on Tuesday, maybe they willbe a little more helpful this time.

post #19 of 37
Originally Posted by Carolyn_mtl View Post

Oh, and this totally drives me CRAZY, she chews on everything non-food related, toys, straps, cardboard... but not food! She also has a ridiculous number of teeth, not sure what average is, but she has 12. .. maybe all the teething is related to not wanting to eat?


This sounds like oral aversions to me.  Do you brush her teeth?  When you do, does she gag?  What type of birth did you have, did she spend time in the NICU?  Hopefully, if that is the case the feeding clinic will see it and give you exercises to do to work on her aversion.  It could just be a power struggle, but those lines above make me think it is something else.


Does she get vitamins?  I think at the very least you should be supplementing with Vitamin D to prevent Rickets.  I'm not surprised her iron is fine, breastmilk has less iron, but it's more bioavailable, however it is very low in Vitamin D, and in the winter especially she won't get out side as much (well, not here in Oregon, anyway).

post #20 of 37
Thread Starter 

She has a tooth brush, doesn't seem to bother her, although she doesn't like me putting it in her mouth, but she will, and she'll chew on it / impersonate me brushing my teeth.

Labour and delivery were textbook, 39+4 weeks, 1st contraction - delivery was 6 hours, 100% drug free :)

And she gets vitamin d :)

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