Is It OK That My Baby Is 8 Months & Not Eating Solids? An Expert Explains
When you're a new parent, it's hard not to take interest in all of the timelines that tell you exactly where your baby is supposed to be developmentally. After all, as a new mom, you don't really have much to go off of. But, if your baby is ahead or behind of these timelines, it's easy for your mind to race — especially when it comes to baby's eating habits. "Is it OK that my baby is 8 months and not eating solids?" is something you might ask yourself during one of those mental whirlwinds. After all, you started attempting solids at the recommended 6-month mark, and your babe still isn't taking to it, so what gives?
According to the website for Dr. Sears, an 8-month-old baby not eating solids is not typically a cause for concern as eating tends to improve over the next few months. In the meantime, one of the biggest things you can do is continue to offer an appropriate amount of breast milk or formula (talk to your pediatrician if you're not sure how much your baby should be drinking). This will ensure they're getting all the nutrients and vitamins they need until they get used to solids.
Dr. Adam Spanier, MD, PhD, MPH, and Professor and Division Head of Pediatrics at University of Maryland's School of Medicine, agrees with this. He tells Romper, "Usually, solids are introduced at 4 to 6 months of age, when babies show signs of interest and developmental readiness, so most babies are taking in some solids by 8 months." If your baby is not, Spanier says, it's not always a sign of a problem, but it is less common and should be brought up to your pediatrician. If your baby is staunchly refusing, or if you haven't introduced solids yet, talk to your child's doctor for advice on how to move forward. "Sometimes," Spanier adds, "if a baby is refusing solids at 8 months, or is unable to ingest them, an evaluation by an occupational or speech therapist is needed."
More often than not, your baby will likely start eating solids when they're ready. The trick is to keep offering a variety of foods in a variety of ways at a variety of times. Honestly, just changing the way you're offering solids can make a big difference. According to Parents, many parents reported that while their babies refuse purées or being spoon-fed, they are more likely to eat finger foods off of their high chair trays on their own. Having your baby attempt self-feeding with a few easy, first finger foods might prove to be a much more successful route for you, as well. Mashed potatoes, soft avocado, or roasted sweet potatoes are all great first finger foods to try.
As Kids Health noted, if you're attempting self-feeding with your baby, having them eat at the table with the rest of the family can help encourage them during meal times. As they see you eat, they'll likely be tempted to take a bite.
If you're really worried that your kid hasn't started ingesting solids, or if you feel like they're not getting enough nutrition through breast milk or formula, talk to your pediatrician. Chances are, your baby is totally fine, but that doesn't always stop the mom worries from taking over your brain.