It’s an exciting milestone when your baby is ready to start eating solid foods, but it may not always seem exciting to your baby. Especially when introducing solids, your baby may seem hesitant at first and even cry when you offer solid food.
There are many possible reasons why your baby is crying when eating solid food, but in most cases, your baby is uncomfortable. Their discomfort may be related to being overtired or overstimulated. They also may not like the taste or texture of a particular food. There is a slight chance their discomfort is allergy related, but in this case, there will typically be other signs.
If you’re wondering why your baby cries when you offer them solid foods, read on to learn what might be causing this discomfort and how to improve the experience for your little one.
Why does my baby cry when eating solid food?
When you’re excited for your baby to start eating solid food, it can be disconcerting when they seem upset about eating. When you’re looking forward to this time in your baby’s life, you may even be disappointed when they don’t seem to enjoy eating solid foods. However, like anything new introduced to your baby, it will take time to get used to eating solids, and they will become more comfortable over time.
If your baby cries when you feed them solids, there are many possible causes. The most likely reason is something is making them uncomfortable. The entire experience of eating solid foods can be overwhelming before your baby gets used to it. It’s common for infants to become overstimulated when you’re trying to help them adjust to eating different foods. There might also be other causes for their discomfort, such as tiredness or gas. They might even be upset because they dislike the texture of the food you’re feeding them.
Although your baby may be crying due to an allergy or other medical issue, there will likely be other symptoms if this is the case. Food allergies in children are becoming more common, and they may include symptoms such as:
If your baby shows any of these symptoms or you suspect they may have a food allergy, seek medical attention and speak to your child’s pediatrician.
Reasons your baby is rejecting solid foods
It’s normal for young babies to throw their food around and make a mess at mealtime. If your baby likes to play with their food, this doesn’t mean they’re disinterested. But what about when your baby rejects solid foods entirely? If your baby is crying while eating solids or rejects them completely, there are many possible reasons, including:
- They’re still adjusting to solids
- They’re overstimulated
- They’re tired, hungry, or full
- They have a food allergy
Baby is adjusting to solid foods
Even as adults, it takes time to adjust to something new. When your baby is still getting used to solid foods, it can be overwhelming for them and takes time to get used to. If your baby seems upset, it may just be that they’re adjusting to something that still feels new.
Baby is overstimulated
Eating solid foods is an exciting milestone, but especially when everyone wants to watch your baby eat during mealtime, it can be overstimulating for them. The texture and taste of the new food, combined with all the extra attention, can make babies feel overstimulated, often leading to a cranky baby.
Baby is tired, hungry, or full
If your baby is uncomfortable, they’ll usually cry, even if they like the food you give them. When babies cry during mealtime, it may be because they’re tired, hungry, or full. If your baby is already hungry, this can often make them cranky and inconsolable.
Baby has a food allergy
Recent studies have shown that about 8% of children have some kind of food allergy. If your baby is crying during mealtime or completely rejecting food, they may have a food allergy. When an allergy seems like the most likely option, check for other symptoms that typically include digestive issues. Be sure to contact your pediatrician if you have concerns about a potential allergy.
When can babies start eating solids?
If you’re wondering when you should start your baby on solid foods, it’s important to know that there isn’t one correct answer. Even among medical professionals, there is still some debate over the best time to start solid foods. However, based on the current evidence, most pediatricians agree it should be between 4-6 months.
Some evidence shows that starting a baby around four months increases their chances of eating various fruits and vegetables. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, six months is the best time to introduce solid foods to your infant.
When your baby is under 12 months old, breastmilk or formula is still their primary source of nutrition. However, the solid foods they begin to eat are meant to complement the nutrients they’re receiving from the breastmilk or formula, and even at six months, they can eat a variety of foods.
Although they can have small amounts in foods such as yogurt or cheese, you shouldn’t give an infant cow’s milk until they’re 12 months old. Introducing cow’s milk too early can lead to iron deficiency and increases the chance of developing an allergy to cow milk protein.
Tips for Helping Baby Adjust to Solid Foods
Like most parenting methods, there are varying opinions on starting your baby on solid foods. The traditional method of introducing solid foods starts with purees before trying out whole foods. In recent years especially, a method called baby-led weaning has become increasingly popular.
When using the baby-led weaning method, parents start their baby with chunks of whole foods instead of spoon-feeding their baby purees. For many parents, it’s a more convenient method since you can usually give your baby what the rest of the family eats, and your baby learns to feed themselves.
When it comes to feeding baby solid foods for the first time, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. But no matter how you choose to feed your baby, here are some of the best tips for helping your baby adjust:
- Don’t force it
It will take time for your baby to adjust to eating solid foods. Every texture and taste is new to them, so if they don’t seem interested in eating certain foods or eating solids at all, don’t force it. You can keep trying a few times a day until your baby starts to enjoy the food they’re eating.
- Stay positive
If you’re trying to help your baby eat and they’re completely rejecting any solid food or crying during mealtime, it’s easy to get frustrated. Staying positive and calm means your baby is more likely to stay calm. Take a break if you have to and try to feed your baby again later.
- Be flexible
Sometimes your baby will want to eat, and sometimes they’ll want to throw all their food on the floor. They may seem to like a food one day and dislike it the next. As your baby continues to grow and develop, so will their taste and preferences, so be as flexible as possible and let your baby try new things to see what they like.