Weaning advice


We’ve started trying to wean little pixie jr onto solid foods, as she is not gaining weight as fast as she should, but without much success. She’s just under 7 months old now, but was 6 weeks prem so isn’t even six months “real” age, but because of the weight issue, the health workers are putting a lot of pressure on Mrs Pixie to get her weaned, and because baby isn’t taking to it, that’s making mum feel like a failure and does nothing for family harmony and tranquilness.

Anyway, I appeal to the doper-parents out there to share their experiences, hints and tips, etc, etc as far as convincing their ankle-biters to swallow solids.

Thanks in advance

Does your doctor realize that he shouldn’t really be comparing pixie jr with the 6 months old?

At least here in Spain, preemies are expected to stay in the low percentiles for their age for a while. If they were incubated, docs give two %: one for birth-group and one counting since the kid left the incubator.

What % is she in? Does she have teeth? Even puréed foods go easier once they have one or two teeth, in my experience (but I’m neither a Mom nor a nurse).

The Nephew was born in October, but he’ll eat anything that’s put in his mouth except veggies (takes after his Da, what can we say). What SIL does as she introduces him to new foods is use mealtimes when he isn’t cranky from having gone hungry; she gives him the new thing first. If he refuses it 5 times (or once he shows he doesn’t want more of that), she gives him whatever had been his usual for that meal. Sometimes he takes well enough to the new stuff that he ends up not wanting his usual, sometimes he flat refuses the new thing.

I believe she is 25% for weight (adjusted to her gestational age), but 75% for height. She was in the 50% range, so I can understand the concern.

No teeth yet, although a few promising bumps.

There is no reason to be wean a baby that young so I would say don’t. Iris knows a lot more then me so I’ll see if I can get her to come here and say something.

I have no idea how to get a baby who isn’t taking to solids to eat solids. This is because if she isn’t taking to solids, she isn’t ready for solids. Or so it seeems to me. Did they check her weight-for-height percentile (as opposed to weight-for-age)? I seem to recall that you have to be under the 10% of weight-for-height in order to be considered underweight, and even at that, you know, somebody has to be the end of the bell curve and it doesn’t always mean anything dire.

If the concern really is underweight there are ways to get extra calories into baby without going on solid foods. Which makes me wonder what really is up. Is Mrs. Pixie nursing by any chance?

Also, what does "not taking to"mean, exactly? Is she just not interested or is she interested and not able?

Swallowing “solid foods” is different from breast or bottle feeding. It is a learning process for the baby and takes time. The swallowing mechanics are different, the taste is different, the consistency of the food is different, and all of those can be stumbling blocks for your little one. (And on the far end of the swallowing mechanics, some premies neurologic and/or muscular systems are not developed well enough to allow easy learning.)

Is she bottle or breast feeding? Weaning should not mean totally stopping either one, just adding food to the process. If she is breast feeding as often as she wants, she is getting exactly what she needs of the best food for babies. Breast fed babies are also sometimes not as “fat” as bottle fed babies, but then the growth chart comes into play.

Growth charts give the ranges of height and weight for many babies over their first years of life. You can see on a chart that the range starts to spread out as they get older. As a doctor, I never cared which line a baby was on (50% = average for age, 95%=bigger than almost all, 5%= smallest ) as long as they followed the line. (Both of my boys were 75% for height and 25% for weight-tall/ thin babies,kids and now adults) When they stopped following that line I called it “Falling off the growth chart”. Falling below the line meant they were not gaining weight as fast as most babies do; going above the line meant they were gaining faster than most. If pixie jr. is following a growth line, tell the nurses to “back off”. If she is falling off her growth line, it may or not be a problem.

Have to go to work.

She’s not nursing - she went back to work two weeks ago, so we’ve been getting Jr used to bottles for a while now. By “not taking to” I mean not interested - either not taking the spoon or taking it and spitting it right out.

We know that learning to eat solids is something that takes time, but how long is usual? It’s been a month that we’ve been trying (once a day) and with little success…


We went through much the same thing with our daughter - she wasn’t being satisfied with formula alone, but was still too small to take to the spoon.

Try this: Add a small amount of rice cereal to her bottle - just enough to thicken the liquid a bit. You may have to take a sharp knife or razor and enlarge the cut in the nipple to allow the thicker liquid to flow.

Take it easy at first, the change can sometime make the kid a little colicky.

As she gets used to it, you can start trying her out on the spoon. She’s going to end up wearing more than she eats at first anyway, so don’t worry if you don’t seem to be getting any down the hatch. :smiley:

Have you gradually introduced solid foods? I’ve heard it’s recommended to start with an iron-fortified baby cereal mixed with formula or breastmilk. No more than a tablespoon at a time for the first few days. Once your baby is comfortable with that, you can move on to other early solid foods. In the meantime, you may want to continue giving your baby bottles, especially if she is taking them well.

Here’s a resource for starting solid foods that you may find helpful. This site offers a lot of tips and may help Mrs. Pixie feel less guilty. Check out the FAQs.

Good luck!

Is he spitting it out or tongue shoving it out. If it is the latter, this is what babies do as a natural reflex as they taste everything. some is getting down there.

A baby will push out a fake nipple ( wouldn’t a grown man?! :slight_smile: ) try to squirt some down his throat to get the swallowing reflex going and when that happens, jam the nipple in. When he is hungry enough, he’ll eat.

Have you tried different kinds of bottles/nipples? If you change too often, it will cause nipple confusion.

Ah well, could be worse. When my little sister was starting solids, she had very specific tastes- banana, liver and parsnips. Everything she ate had to contain one of those three magic ingredients. Apparently my father has never been able to eat liver since having to feed it puréed to his daughter on a daily basis.

Perhaps **pixie jr ** just doesn’t like what you’ve been trying to feed her?

Possibly - it’s been potato and pumpkin so far, next on the menu is banana. Liver - a lot further down the list :eek: We tried the cereal that Iris mentions, but that was even less successful than the potato.

Shirley - she takes a bottle just fine, and we hadn’t planned to start weaning her for another couple of weeks, but her weight % has been slipping, and this was what was recommended…


My daughter is now 19 months. She was in the 50th percentile for height and the 10th for weight for a long time. Mrs hawthorne felt a bit pressured by the child health people too, and the little one was having some breast milk and some formula by around the time you’re at. They didn’t tell us that babies mainly breast fed up to that age tend to be thinner.

But our little one was happy and full of vigour, even if you could see her ribs. We decided that whilst we were keen to shovel food into her if she would take it, we weren’t worried about it. I don’t know what she weighs now, but she eats like a horse. When I took her to child care last year, she was one of three girls who looked tiny compared to the little round majority. This year the round ones look less round and the tiny ones look much beefier. They do regress to the mean. So I’d advise you to look for opportunities to fill her up but not to overestimate the concern of the child health workers. Trust yourselves a bit.

As for introducing food, the iron fortified porridge made with breast milk and/ or (gold) formula is good stuff, albeit dull. Some persistence in offering is good. First thing in the morning when she’s hungry is a good time. Showing that Dad eats it works, too.

Children vary quite a bit. Mine eats figs with blue cheese and prosciutto crudo and asks for more. Others are very fussy. Try her with a variety of things. Don’t make eating a chore or a stressy thing.

And if your daughter is happy and otherwise healthy (doing things that they’e supposed to do at that age), don’t worry or feel guilty. Take the advice that she could use a bit more weight as just an input into your judgement.

Not to be contrary, but I would caution against enlarging the nipple opening this way. I don’t have a cite, as this is purely anecdotal, but I’ve heard of babies choking when pieces of the nipple broke away after doing this. I know, I know, but why take a chance? :slight_smile: I’ll do a search later and see if I can find a cite!

I do agree that it might help to add cereal to the formula, though. There are bottle nipples designed with larger (and even cross-cut) openings and there are also solid food nursers which could help.

My daughter was 4lbs 12 oz at birth, one month premature. It was recommended I start her on solids because she was eating more than 40 oz of formula a day.

How much actually went into her is anyones guess. However, she is now 9 months old and is actively trying to feed herself. From my understanding, solids at younger ages is not for nutritional value, but more as a filler and to teach. I would think they would have her mix the formula thicker (more formula/water ratio) rather than try to beef up the solids long before the tongue thrust reflex goes away. Trying to get the same calories from solids is an exercise in futility.

Kate was in the 3rd percentile at birth. She is now normal except for her large melon head. :slight_smile: It has taken nine months for her to catch up, although she has always shown steady progress, which is what my pediatrician was more concerned about. After she was born, we would go to the doctor 3x a week to weigh her to make sure she was gaining properly. That went on for about a month when it became apparent she really likes eating anything, from any source, any time.

A mom in my librarys reading group has a thin daughter. She is talking to nutritionists, etc to try to get her to gain weight. The thing is, she is happy, healthy, active and reaching her milestones. shrug To me, she is just a lean kid.