getting over the hump

(A fitting title for Wednesday, don’t ya think?!)

I was hoping to have a nice big post on starting solids and Baby-Led Weaning for you this week, telling you how MacKenna was loving eating solid food and things were going great.  However, that is not the case.

We started MacKenna on solids 2 weeks ago, just a few days before her 6 month birthday.  I had read 2 books on solids – 1 traditional (Cooking Light First Foods) and 1 non-traditional (Baby-Led Weaning).  After reading both books, I decided to start Mac with BLW since I just felt it made sense.  The gist of it is, you give your baby soft finger foods (such as sweet potato, avocado, or banana) and they feed themselves (the pieces are roughly 2 inches long so they are able to hold it but not too big that they would choke on it).  This teaches them the chewing motion and how to move the food to the back of their mouth so they can swallow it.  It also allows for baby and parents to eat as a family:  you can pretty much give them the same food that you are eating for dinner (obviously, there are some restrictions to this, especially in the beginning).  There is a lot less prep involved and mom + dad are actually able to eat their own food instead of having to spoon feed the baby between bites.  They also claim that this makes for less picky eaters since the baby is essentially choosing what and how much they eat.


While this was the way I wanted to start Mac on solids, I was still open to the option of feeding her with a spoon.  I mean, that’s the way I learned how to eat and I don’t think I was I that picky of an eater (right, Mom?).  If she didn’t do well with BLW, we would spoon feed her but still give her finger foods for practice if she felt like it.

What I wasn’t prepared for was her not doing well with either option.  Matt + I are huge foodies and I don’t really think either of us are that picky (yes, I am a vegetarian, but that has nothing to do with being picky).  So, I just figured she would love to eat as much as we do.


Nope.  Not so much.  The first few times we attempted BLW, we were able to get maybe a bite or 2 out of her.  Really, the first few weeks of BLW are all about learning – they don’t really expect there to be much eating going on.  So, I was satisfied with her few bites of food.  But, after those first few times, there wasn’t even an attempt to put food in her mouth on her own.  I even tried to trick her by putting food in a mesh feeder, only for her to realize what was in it, and start swinging the feeder around like a toy.

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Since BLW wasn’t working and we found out that she wasn’t gaining weight, we decided to go ahead and try feeding her cereal.  I decided not to do rice cereal and start her on ground-up oatmeal instead.  I made it a little bit thicker than what you would normally start with so she would still have to go through the chewing motion.  We fed her at the table with us during our dinner last Thursday and managed to get a few bites in her, although more came out of her mouth than went in.

After that one time, all H. E. Double hockey sticks, broke loose.  She would cry when we tried to feed her with the spoon but get mad when we took the spoon away.  She even started screaming when we put her in the high chair (luckily, that only lasted a day).  We would give her the oatmeal and also put a few slices of banana on her tray, but she just wouldn’t have it.  I finally got the most food in her on Monday night after putting a banana in the mesh feeder and letting her suck on it that way.

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All this solid food drama brought me back to my first few weeks as a parent and learning how to breastfeed.  I remember being in tears in the hospital, trying to get MacKenna to latch and being completely unsuccessful.  I had nurses helping me every time I fed her while I was in the hospital, but I was on my own after we came home.  I dreaded feeding time those first few weeks.  There were times it would take me an hour just to feed her because every time I would get her to latch, she would fall off a minute later.  So very frustrating.

But, I kept on trying.  My aunt had called me while I was in the hospital – someone I consider a pro at breastfeeding – and told me to give it 6 weeks.  After 6 weeks, it would be a piece of cake.  Luckily, right around 4 weeks, breastfeeding became easily.  I actually started to look forward to spending that time with MacKenna and now I simply can’t imagine that time being taken away from me.

Breastfeeding had a learning curve to it.  It started off slow and was extremely difficult, but eventually it go easier and easier, and I finally got over the hump and now it’s a breeze.  I think that learning solid foods has that same learning curve.  Right now, 2 weeks in, Mac just doesn’t get it yet.  She’s still learning.  We’re at the bottom of the hill trying to make it up until we eventually get to the other side.  It’s going to take time and massive amounts of patience, but I know eventually the struggling will be a thing of the past. 



Note:  We cut the banana smaller now after she bit off a huge chunk and I freaked out that she was going to choke on it.  This was just a little too big for her to handle.

She’s continuing to learn more and more every time she has the chance to practice.  Until we get over the hump where it becomes a breeze, I’m working on practicing patience and trusting that she will eventually be the amazing eater I hope she will become! 


  • jen

    aw, i know it’s so frustrating. our daughter wanted nothing to do with food until she was about 10-11 mths old. i mean, nothing. it didn’t matter what form it was in i couldn’t get her to eat anything. her pedi told me it was really fine and that all she really needed for the first 12 mths was formula/breastmilk so i just didn’t worry about it. eventually she got interested and is the least picky child i know. she literally request broccoli and carrots everyday. it will happen-you are doing a good job!
    jen recently posted..mid-night thoughts

    • Kristen

      I honestly am not too worried about it, except that she didn’t gain weight last month (and I have people telling me that she needs to be eating). Hopefully, we’ll go back and weigh her in a few weeks and we’ll see some improvement in her weight, despite the fact that she’s not doing well with solids.

    • hilary

      My thoughts exactly. Some kids just aren’t ready for solids till they are older. And no matter what you feed her, nothing comes close to being as good as breastmilk! The absolute best nutrition for the first year.

  • Lee

    I’m sure she’ll get it! Hang in there.
    Lee recently posted..Not in Training

  • Yes, Practice practice practice!! 🙂 Have you let her babysitter practice with her yet? Sometimes babies will do things for me at school that they won’t do at home, either because they see other kids doing it, or perhaps because I am more relaxed than some first time parents when it comes to feeding. Babies are very observant and intuitive, so try not to approach mealtime with any kind of tension or anxiety about it. It’s definitely stressful, but you’re exactly right that staying calm and patient is the key, so that she doesn’t pick up on your own hesitation. What do you mix the oatmeal with? Try using breast milk or formula if you haven’t yet, since it’s a familiar taste. Sounds like it’s an issue of the new textures though, which means the more she tries it, the better she will get! Try making it thinner. A LOT of it will run out of her mouth and be messy (this is normal for all babies learning to eat!), but she will be more likely to know what to do with it if it’s closer to the smooth, liquid texture of formula/b. milk that shes used to swallowing. Good luck! 🙂

    • Kristen

      The babysitter said something about practicing with her, but we’re just doing one feeding a day – dinner time right between her afternoon and nighttime feedings so she’s not overly hungry or tired. Since she’s getting frustrated, I don’t want to try pushing it with more than that, but I guess I could have Stacy do it with her instead of at dinner. I know she’ll get it eventually!

  • Eleanor

    I so appreciate this post, along with all of your wonderfully honest posts. My son is about to turn six months, and seems to be developing by the minute – but he, like M, has not yet seemed interested in food. It’s getting better, but a few times he’s gotten frustrated/started crying when we’ve tried to spoon feed him, just like M. I find myself disappointed when I see countless posts from other bloggers proclaiming their babies’ triumphs with solids and showing pictures of the little ones munching happily on sweet potatoes. This post helped remind me that it’s a process! And they all develop at their own pace. Also, our pediatrician has also pointed out that “there is nothing magical about solid food.” Our babies could have nothing but breastmilk/formula for the entire first year, and be just fine. And really, why speed along this wonderful process of watching them develop any more than necessary? Sometimes it’s just nice to go with the little one’s pace.

    • Kristen

      It’s so frustrating to hear other bloggers say how much their kids have loved eating solids. It is definitely a process though. They’ll get there – they are just learning at their own speed!

  • Katie

    I know it’s easier said than done but try not to worry. Liv is the same age as M and she doesn’t do a lot of the things she should at 6.5 months. But those things are all guidelines and babies are soooo different! Some babies only have breastmilk or formula well past 7 months. You and her will figure it out! You are doing wonderful mama!

    • Kristen

      Thanks Katie! I’m not really worried about it because I know she doesn’t necessarily need solids, but I know we are concerned about her gaining weight as well. I don’t think she’s behind, just developing differently!

  • ErikaMC

    I thought I was the only one! Everybody else seems to start solids and then never says anything about it so I just assume it was easy. Wrong! We have waited until our son is 8 1/2 months – we’ve been at it for about a week and he just doesn’t seem to like it (doing both spoon and blw). I was starting to think we waited too long (he hasn’t ever really shown interest in wanting/needing more food and was sleeping great and we had our doctors permission to not give him anything if we didn’t want to). I’m not giving up yet but right now my struggle is scheduling his feedings. Our daycare won’t feed him breakfast so he has to eat before he gets there (which is 6:45 in the morning – not a lot of time for that) and then figuring out when bottles will be if/when he starts eating and how many ounces (bottle fed at daycare). I’m just glad to know I’m not the only one struggling with it – so thank you for sharing!

    • Kristen

      Wow, that makes me feel better! My hubs has been really pushing solids because he thinks it will help her sleep through the night, but she definitely hasn’t shown any interest. We are going to keep trying both spoon feeding and BLW, hoping that she’ll continue to learn and eventually just “get it”.

  • Just FYI.. The whole “solids helping with sleeping through the night” thing did not work for us! My five year old son STILL wakes up at night sometimes, and he’s a great eater and always has been! It was probably around 18 months before he slept “through the night!” And to think we’re about to start all over!!! Sheesh! Everyone develops at his or her own pace for sure. 🙂 Can’t wait to go through all these “firsts” again… The good & frustrating!

  • Rim

    Im not allowing myself to think of solids yet, my lo is 3.5 months and I’m still struggling with breastfeeding. She latches on very well but struggles with my strong flow. I love your confidence and patience, I was very close today to giving up breastfeeding and just offering the bottle, reading this made me realize that a lot more than presistance is required.

  • Brenda

    Does Mac show any interest in your food when you eat? My babe would sit on my lapreaching dinner, reaching for my food, and watch every bite I took. That’s how I knew he was ready for solids. Also, for a week before starting solids, we let him sit in his high chair and play with toys and his spoon to build a positive attitude towards them.

  • Jen

    Awww…I will be praying that your beautiful little girl starts eating & putting on some pounds very soon! Sounds to me like you are doing a wonderful job (and I love that you are willing to try different approaches), but know that this must be so stressful. Hang in there- she’ll get it!

  • Jen

    I’m so sorry you’re having a rough time Kristen! It seems like you have a great attitude though. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Mac will be eating well soon.
    We’re starting W on solids tomorrow and while I’m excited, I’m also really, really nervous. He has such a sensitive tummy so we’re just trying a little bit of brown rice cereal.
    Jen recently posted..By the numbers

  • Keri

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I just wanted to say that I think you’re doing a great job! Being a mom is hard. Thanks for being real about what’s going on in your life. A lot of blogs I used to read (I’ve since stopped) seem to be very idealistic–come on, it can ALWAYS be that way!:)
    Anyways, my baby (6.5mo) didn’t love solids at first. I have to grind it up, cook it, then whirl it through the food processor again. Sheesh! He still doesn’t love it but will eat it if I mix in apricots, prunes, or pears (so far). His first food was actually avocado, and he loved it! (thank goodness, he’s a small fry too and I wanted to bulk him up a little).
    FYI: organic canned pumpkin works great and it’s already pureed! Also, check your store’s frozen food section–mine carries pureed butternut squash (way cheaper than baby food). Happy eating!:)

  • Keri

    **the food I was talking about grinding up twice was the oatmeal.