Q&A: baby not eating during the day

Fran writes:

"This is kind of an odd question, but is it possible for a six-month-oldbaby to refuse food even if she's hungry? Lately I've been having a
horrible time with my daughter Lulu. She refuses a bottle constantly,
or else eats just a couple of ounces (she's bottlefed) and rejects the
rest in favor of playtime on the floor. That would all be fine with me,
she's in the 100th percentile for height and weight, so no health
worries, and I don't want to force her to eat, even if that were
possible. What drives me nuts is that 1) she's grumpy a lot of the time
because she's hungry and won't eat (and yes, she's definitely hungry,
because if I can somehow get her to eat, she cheers up immediately),
and 2) she's started waking up at 2 and 5 am demanding food again, I
think because she's not eating enough during the day. This is maddening
because she was one of those kids who slept through the night early on,
and we're having a hard time adjusting. I've tried giving her solids, tried watering down her formula for those middle of the
night feedings, tried giving her just a pacifier or water, but nothing
seems to work. She's just on the cusp of crawling, but I'm not sure
that's the reason for her not eating; she seems bored by the bottle,
and will only take it if I put her in weird places, like her
exersaucer, or lying flat on her back in the middle of the living room.
I'd like to think this is just a phase, but if it is, it's a very, very
long one.

The pediatrician recommended not giving her a bottle when she cries in
the middle of the night, lest she get used to it, but what can I do?
The girl's obviously hungry. At the same time I definitely don't want
her to get the idea that this is going to be a regular feature of
nighttime. We are so tired that I'm not even sure what I'm asking
here–but if you and the Moxites have any suggestions for any of this,
we would be so, so grateful!"

And here I thought this was a problem that mostly affects breastfed babies. It just goes to show that one of my primary theories may be correct: Everyone's got the same problems, they just manifest themselves differently depending on your circumstances.

At any rate, this does seem to be a problem of this age and stage of development of babies. They get to this age and are just so excited by everything that's happening during the day that they don't want to stop and take the time to eat. It mean, who wants to waste time on milk when you could be looking at cool stuff? Or trying to crawl or scoot or roll? Only suckers waste time eating.

I also think that sometimes at this age babies are teething (either pre-teething or active teething) and that make them not feel like eating. So combine those two factors, and the kids may not eat much at all during the day.

Of course then they need the calories, so they eat at night while nothing exciting's happening, and while they're relaxed enough that the teething might not hurt so much.

So I would NOT try to cut out food at night, since I think the mechanism works the other way around, and that won't entice them to eat more during the day but will make both of you miserable without fixing the problem. Instead, I'd try to help them want to eat more during the day. The classic trick that most breastfeeding moms have tried (notice how I word that–it may or may not work) is to go into a dark, quiet, super-boring room when it's time to eat. Minimize distractions as much as possible, and hope that that lets the baby focus on eating.

You can also try to feed the baby right as soon as she's coming out of a nap, since kids seem to be more likely to eat while drowsy, before they remember that there's all that exciting stuff going on. As many calories as you can sneak in during the day will help with nighttime.

You can also try to alleviate some of the teething symptoms by giving the homeopathic teething tablets (either Hyland's Teething Tablet–they contain lactose–or Humphrey's #3 formula–they contain sugar but not lactose). The pills  are small and will dissolve easily in a baby's mouth and have such teeny tiny concentrations of active ingredient that there's debate over whether they can do anything at all. I've been happy enough with them (even if it is a placebo affect) to use them for both my kids and give a bottle as a shower gift to my friends. A pill a few times a day should take the edge off just enough to help a teething baby more likely to eat.

The good news is that this is a time-specific problem. At a certain point the baby will become more interested in food again and less agog about the environment, and the days and nights will flip back in your favor.

Anyone remember this phase?

76 thoughts on “Q&A: baby not eating during the day”

  1. This sounds just like my 9-month-old son’s playmate. She acted just the way you described at 5-months and on. She is an advanced little girl in many ways (was walking by 9 months). Her parents figured out that she felt she was too big for mushy foods. She didn’t like and still doesn’t like the bottle because it’s too liquid, too easy. So her parents made some more chunky food. I remember them mentioning banana chunks with avocado that went over well. Now they use the little Cheerios things that melt in your mouth. She’s still slender compared with her height, but is eating better.Another friend has been giving her baby solid food since the beginning of feeding (she’s now 7 months). The site she recommended for more information was: http://www.rapleyweaning.com/ or search discussion boards at places like Mothering for “baby-led feeding.”
    Good luck!

  2. I second the post-nap feed. At every feeding strike I went through, that was the only time it worked. Before even opening the blinds or taking DS out of his sleep sac, I sat in the rocking chair and offered the bottle.Also, the “dream feed” worked for me. Picking the baby out of the crib between 10 – 11 (before I went to bed) and popping the bottle in his mouth. He stirred but rarely woke, drank the whole bottle with eyes closed, and went back into bed without a peep. This might at least get you through the 2 am wake up so that you can get some uninterrupted sleep.

  3. Moxie’s advice about the super boring room totally worked for me and the Squirrel. Couple other ideas…feeding her formula through a sippy cup instead of a bottle might interest her. Maybe she’s done with bottles and ready for a cup? In any case, she’ll be interested in the sippy and may end up drinking more out of it. She may also use the lid as a teething device, like the Squirrel.You could also try feeding her some cereal mixed with formula to get the calories into her during the day. Maybe she’s more interested in a spoon and the process of eating than drinking. If those don’t work, just wait it out. She’ll move on and start eating again.

  4. Oh man, I’d somehow blocked this phase out. We definitely did a lot of feeding in the most boring place we could find. And I waited in vain for the magical effect many people said solids would have on the eating & sleeping distractions. Still waiting, here as my girl nears age 2.5….

  5. My baby’s in this phase, too, or maybe just finished it. She’s just turning 7 months old this weekend. In any case, I feel pretty strongly about just feeding her right after she wakes up… she’s grown to expect it, and it makes for a nice predictable routine for her. So when she doesn’t drink anything, I’ll occasionally try again 5 minutes later (as sometimes she’s just too upset to drink and needs a moment to calm down), but mostly just wait until next feeding. It seems to be working, and she has learned that she only gets to eat after naps, so she’d better make it good!As far as teething goes, I just need to make a whole-hearted recommendation for “Gum-O-Mile Oil” by Herbs for Kids. I was a bit skeptical, to be honest, about the natural teething products, but we tried the actual Orajel and it did about nothing for our baby. Then, the “Gum-o-mile Oil,” and presto! Happy baby. It’s got a lot of clove oil (a natural numbing agent, and makes your baby smell like a Parisian postmodernist), and some willow bark extract (pain-killing effect) and chamomile (soothing). I was totally a skeptic when we bought it, but every single time we put the oil on her gums, 5 minutes later she’s the happiest baby ever.

  6. Your baby girl is probably developmentally advanced, Fran. Her sudden displeasure with her old bottle probably means her little mind is working overtime to get ready for walking, talking, etc. Perhaps she could benefit from some variety in the way food is presented to her. You could try to incorporate it into the floor play that she likes — new types of foods – colors, textures, shapes (stimulate her “Seeking” system to borrow from Margot Sunderland), or even a new color & new shape of nipple & bottle. Not to worry.The good news is that she’s off the charts for ht & wt so you need not fret about her not getting enough to eat! (By the way, you might notice at future peds appts. that she begins to slide down the growth charts a bit as other children her age finally begin to catch up to her size-wise.)
    I disagree w/ your dr. that bottle feeding at night is necessarily a bad thing, and I also don’t believe that any permanent associations with eating and sleeping are being written in stone this early in her life. The only caveat to nighttime formula feeding is the potential for getting cavities once teeth come in, so to prevent that, you’ll want to make sure you wiping her teeth & eventually you can start gently brushing them using a rice-sized amount of toothpaste – that is, once she’s used to someone fiddling around in her mouth! 😉

  7. Ugh, my four month old (bottle fed) is exactly the same way. Snacking during the day and then up 3X a night to eat. We feed him in his bouncy seat, in the Ergo, the swing, etc., as he hates being held to eat during the day. We’d feed him right after naps, but he’s also decided he doesn’t need those. So tired.

  8. My son did the same thing. I remember feeding him while walking, singing and watching a ceilan fan turn! Did you maybe try a faster flowing nipple? We did that around 3 months and he started eating like a champ again. Good luck!

  9. Yes! We were so there a couple months ago. I like Moxie’s ideas, but I have to confess that when we had an 8 1/2 month old who was still getting up every two hours to feed…CIO was THE ANSWER.I know it seems harsh, and a lot of parents don’t go that route. But in our case, me being sleep deprived became a much bigger problem than our baby having his meals re-arranged (caveat: we also did not have a child who was underweight or had feeding-growth concerns). As a result of the CIO, our baby started eating more in the daytime.

  10. Oh yeah. It lasted till she was 18 months old, on and off, but mine was (still is) in the 3rd percentile. There were moments she would not have a bar of food, but they did conincide with developmental spurts or more precisely fussy periods which led up to developmental spurts. Other moments there was no filling her, which also conincided with said spurts (strangely). I just gave up actually. I offered her something at every meal, she almost always refused, and then bang one day, she was stuffing herself senceless. Oh, I didi hear success stories of feeding whilst in the bath, making it a game. Might work, although I never tried it myslef. The best of luck.

  11. I second the recommendation for a sippy cup. That way she can take a sip, play with a toy, pick it back up and have another sip, look at a book, etc… it might be that she’s unwilling to stop playing for a chunk of time for a feeding, but might be willing to eat while she’s playing if she can mix the two together. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will pass! 🙂

  12. Six months might still be a little too little, but I wanted to pass this along because if a friend hadn’t suggested it to me, I never would have thought of it. My situation is a little different (breastfed baby who’s always been insulted by the mere thought of a bottle), but the upshot is the same: a cup has worked wonders for us. (You can also use a little bowl or a big cap or whatever you have handy.) For some reason my son loved/loves the challenge of drinking out of a cup so this captures his interest easily. (He’s okay with sippies too, but a regular little cup is the best.) I think we started giving it to him around 8-9 months, and my friend started her child with it at 7 months.

  13. Oh my god, we just got out of this phase. My boy is 9 months, and from about 4-8 months old he did NOT want to eat. Eating was for suckers, and he ain’t no chump!I second the dark room, also if you can get a bottle into her while she’s still mostly asleep, that’s the only way I could feed mine without him sucking for a minute, then RIPPING off to look at stuff, touch things, pull hair etc.
    So, sympathizing, and also it does end, just WAY after you think it should.

  14. I know the homeopathic tablets are popular for teething, but the fact that they contain belladonna scares the heck out of me. I wouldn’t take it, let alone give it to an infant.

  15. I find my daughter much more interested in eating if she sees me and/or her dad eating. My suggestion is to have your daughter join you for mealtimes. Let her see you eating, drinking, and being merry and maybe she’ll want to drink too!If you’re comfortable with it, you could also try giving her small pieces of whatever you’re eating. Pasta, mushy veggies, etc. worked well for us. My daughter’s much more interested in what’s on my plate than what’s on hers. Sigh.

  16. I certainly do remember this phase. When my baby cut his first teeth at six months – the same time that he learned to crawl and then pull up, in quick succession – he refused the bottle so much that he actually lost weight. My pediatrician was very concerned and actually encouraged me to quit my job, so that I could stay home and breastfeed him full-time (he’s at daycare four days a week and thus had to take bottles).Anyway, the phase seemed ENDLESS. In truth it lasted perhaps six weeks. Then he went back to bottles again at daycare.
    The same thing happened at eight months when he cut his second teeth, but it was not quite as much a concern because he was eating a good amount of solids by then. But I still had to supplement him with both calcium and vitamin drops.
    It’s a horrible feeling when they won’t take the bottle, but it WILL pass. Like Moxie I would wager it’s teeth and crawling that are putting her off her feed. Hang it there. It will get better. And I’m glad she’s doing so well, in the 100th percentile. My guy is generally around 50th percentile, so it was very scary when he started to lose a bit of weight.

  17. Oh GOD yes. We are still going through this at 3 years old. So my cautionary tale is to let it go. Moxie’s suggestions are good and solid. Follow her advice. And at the end of the day, if she doesn’t want the bottle, let it go. I would try all kinds of tricks, and I wish wish wish I had just let it go. He would have eaten when he was hungry enough – and yes, even in the middle of the night (we didn’t form any bad habits….calories were the most important thing of all, and really, despite the tricks, he was STILL HUNGRY AT NIGHT)……eating after just waking was another trick, also right before bed (and we decided not to worry about brushing teeth again after a bottle….to hell with it just for the love of GOD EAT).Of all the things I wish I could go back and do over again, the eating power struggle is one that I wish I hadn’t started (or obsessed about…..my god, the CHARTS). It’s her body, she decides what goes into it, how much, and when. We are just now beginning conversations about how food helps our bodies feel better and makes them healthy. (Last night: “I think popcicles help my body feel more caring.” This morning at 5:15 AM: “I’m hungry. I need protein. My body has no energy. I need EGGS.”)
    But it’s been a long long road. Good luck. It sucks.

  18. @ailikate, homeopathic preparations are so super-diluted that there’s practically nothing there. It’s not *at all* the same as taking belladonna only slightly diluted (used as relief from cancer treatments, to treat Parkinson’s, for GI troubles, etc.). Belladonna for those purposes is dangerous and you can easily overdose. With homeopathic tablets it would be hard physically to ingest enough pellets to overdose.

  19. remember it.hated it.
    not looking forward to doing it again.
    also, (ask your ped to be sure) but when pnut teethed she was hell on wheels- we all lived in hell for a while- until her doc ok’ed giving her tylenol for the pain. i know lots of folks don’t like to give any type of anything to their kids (and i’m of the opinion that to each their own) but even i, who has a high tolerance for pain, am taken down by mouth pain- so for me it was a no-brainer to give her some relief from what was so obviously hurting her to the point of misery. and she improved dramatically each time, and got her through it. teething sucks, developmental phases suck, the fact that the bean is waking up and wants to eat again sucks…sigh…miss you guys…

  20. My little guy was like that (still is). My mom came up with that magic solution for us. We hand him something to hold and play with that captures his attention. Then stick the bottle in his mouth and he drinks without noticing – he’s so distracted by whatever we gave him (a shoe, a small bottle with something noisy in it, a piece of crumpled paper, a small toy).Honestly, our bottle of teething tablets has been more useful as a rattle/distraction than for what they are actually intended for. I think it works because he gets to hold things he’s not normally allowed to have when he’s eating (like I obviously would never hand him a whole bottle of teething tablets to shake if he wasn’t securely in my arms).

  21. I also didn’t realize bottle-fed babies did the reverse feed thing, too. My DS would take bottles from my daycare provider, but really saved up his eating until he could have the real thing from the source. Which meant lots of night feeding.He was already a rotten sleeper, so this actually didn’t bother me too much…plus, I didn’t feel as stressed about pumping enough milk to send with him. I knew he would get what he needed at night.
    For the distractions, I bought him a nursing necklace to play with while we nursed (basically a baby-safe necklace with lots of interesting things on it). I’ve also known people to bottle-feed their babies facing out so that they can still see everything while they eat. I second the dark, quiet rooms as well. Hang in there!

  22. El did this only to a small extent. She does get into spots where she has Things.She.Must.Do. which affect her eating and sleeping. (Currently it’s learning to stand without holdin on at 9 1/2 mos.) I like the idea of something that is not a baby toy to play with – socks are good, an empty plastic box, a rubber bracelet, etc. This has also helped keep her from bolting as soon as her diaper is off.El is also a do-it-yourselfer, so holding the bottle herself might make it interesting.
    Also, perhaps a vision of things to come: El has decided that baby food is for babies and her favorite thing to eat is, “I’ll have what you’re having.” This makes it so that if she were to have a reaction, it would be hard to narrow down. Also makes it so that someone needs to order food that can be shared. She fed herself one triangle of La’s cheese quesadilla last night at our local taco stand. She thinks that drinking water from a big person’s cup is the funniest thing ever.
    @Julie – love the idea that popscicles are improving your child’s character. She has a future in advertising.

  23. been there;done that;
    and yes, at most times- still doing it.
    i 100% agree with all of what Moxie said.
    you (nor i) are not alone in this journey. glad you wrote to remind me of that- cause just yesterday the Pediatrician looked at me like ‘what’s your problem?’.

  24. E did this majorly (though it was eating 3 oz of breastmilk from a bottle offered over and over again for a 45 minute period in an entire day at daycare.)I think Moxie’s suggestions are ALL good.
    We had the added issue of dropping >40%tiles over the last half of his first year so getting food into the kid was something of a focus of the doctor. In the end, he dropped nearly all the way down to the bottom and then climbed back up a tiny bit and has remained steady. Back in the day he would go a whole day eating barely anything.
    The big deal for us was to let go of things (and I’m pretty good at that) and, frankly in our house the kid eats better if you ignore him. There is just too much to talk about if we are in the same room or paying attention to him. It seems a little cruel sometimes (not that he seems to care) to have a kid eat by himself, but he certainly seems to focus on food and enjoy himself during meals more.
    So… there is that possibility too. Some kids eat better alone.

  25. They are strange little creatures, aren’t they? Nutmeg, yes. We mostly let our son eat alone. Which causes a lot of guilt about “family meals! family meals!” but the truth is, he eats just fine at a table with us if we’re out to dinner, just fine at a table with his grandparents, but not so great if my husband or I try to sit down at home with him. And if I want to give him something he might be on the boarderline of eating or not eating, I will put it on his tray and then quickly turn away and become VERY BUSY doing something else. Also, not showing a great deal of interest in it….if I give him something I don’t make a big deal of it, and still have to remind my husband not to say “OOOOH!!!! CHEESE!!!!” because then I might as well just dump the lot of it in the trash.strange, strange beings.

  26. No time to read the whole thing.Homeopathic remedies are fabulous, both of my boys were raised on them. Rescue Remedy worked really well when they were agitated and the teething pills seemed to make things better, placebo-who knows, it made mom feel better, so the little seemed to feel better too.
    Tall was 5 months old when he did this. He was breast-fed, but was so active that he wasn’t satisfied with just breast milk. One evening as he was propped up in his infant seat watching us eat he leaned forward and fell into a bowl of spinach. He laughed and shoved some of into his mouth, we have a picture! It was food, food and more food from them on. He was walking at 10 months and he’s very tall now, hence the nickname.
    I mentioned this to my acupuncturist once and he said the Chinese have a saying that a person is born with all the Chi they will have for a lifetime. It’s all there in their tiny body at birth. So some children need to move sooner, eat more, talk sooner than others, they are ruled by their Chi, and their developmental stages, oh the fun!
    Good luck, and hold on to your hat, this one sounds like a mover!

  27. YES, in that stage now! Baby is 7.5 months and doing okay eating solid foods but mostly uninterested in the bottle… until 2:00 am, of course.Thank you all for the recommendations.

  28. Julie… PRECISELY! New / Not LOVED food? IGNORE child and food! Pretend it isn’t there. And it’s often gone when the meal is over.Glad I’m not alone.

  29. I have not read any of the comments, so I’m sorry if this has been said already.My little guy went through something similar to this and a friend (who has been a Nanny for 20+ years) told me to start him on a sippy-cup. (The Rubbermaid ones with a straw that goes up and down – they come in 4 and 8 oz.) Basically, she said that it doesn’t matter HOW they get the nutrients, just as long as they get it. A sippy-cup may be different enough that it is exciting to use. It worked on my son and if it works for you, then it has one advantage that I didn’t realize until MUCH later…….you don’t have to wean them off a bottle later.
    Good luck!

  30. My children have both done the same thing. DD grew out of it. DS did not and since he was maybe 20th percentile for weight to begin with, he eventually fell off the growth chart for weight and has never made it back on. So now he’s 25 months and 22 1/2 pounds. The boy just has better things to do than eat- and believe me he gets free rein per the dietician’s instructions. The good news is that all his calories have gone to growing his little brain and he is on the growth chart for height and head circumference. He’s otherwise developmentally fine and his physical feats of daring on the playground induce gasps and often bring 2-3 parents in addition to myself running. All this to say that it doesn’t take much to survive and thrive. Of course he’s eaten well this week, so I’m feeling kind of positive.

  31. at six months, the baby might just be bored with milk. While continuing with the bottle – or the sippy cup (which I heartily recommend. switching was a lifesaver for us), try some solids. It will be exciting enough – as exciting as playing! – that it will get some calories in.

  32. I remember this – the dark calm room is what worked for us (with breastfeeding). Now child is 14 months and eats like a trooper (unfortunately also during the night, ). Good luck – this too will pass.By the way – fun explanation of Homeopathy by James Randi (ex-stage magician – looks like santa):
    Also, interesting article about the placebo effect – new research – it’s stronger and stranger than previously thought: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19926741.200-placebo-envy.html

  33. Haven’t read the other comments, so don’t know if anyone has suggested this yet–but try to be as neutral as possible on the issue of eating. I went through this with my son at about 8 months with solids. He didn’t want to eat, and I would get so worked up about it (because he is so freaking tiny) and he’d pick up on that and get upset. Even still, we have the best luck getting food into him when I’m neutral about how much he is or isn’t eating. I know it’s hard. When I was pregnant I swore I would never be one of those insane mothers who stressed out about how much her kid ate-after all, kids don’t starve themselves! Isn’t it funny how quickly those high-minded ideals fly the coop when you’re faced with the reality of the situation!

  34. A friend of mine had this problem and mixed 50:50 formula with cow’s milk. Her baby loved the new option (went from 30mls to 200mls in one sitting). Oh, I just realised you call your milk different things – she used the ‘normal’ milk – not reduced in fat or with anything added. We call it ‘full cream’ but I can’t remember what you call it in the states…

  35. Oh hell yeah. My first son, totally, @ 6 months and again @ 8 months was totally this way, exactly, minus the bottles – he was breastfed. (second son had a totally different set of things that stressed us out) This post dug up so many memories of the frustration and worry and stress and sleeplessness and … all of it that goes along with this kind of struggle. Now I’m due with #3 in a month and a half, starting to dread some aspects of motherhood (sleepless nights, mainly) with the added complication of possibly not being able to go into a dark super boring room to nurse #3 with the 3 year old and 19 month old around.Anyhow, back to the concerns at hand, 100% agree with Moxie on this one. AND you are not alone. I love this site because I totally agree with Moxie’s parenting philosophy. At some point, you just gotta do what you gotta do to get through the day and then you look back and the baby is already 3 years old.

  36. We started giving more and more at the last/bedtime feeding. The Munchkin would take 8 oz between PJs and sleep. First while we read books, then while we rocked.The other thing that worked for me was starting to let her (I don’t remember my younger one doing this) “help” by holding on to the bottle herself. We also always did it at the same time(s). Just like anything else, the routine of it can help with any avoidance issues.
    What about a bottle in the car? While you run errands or what have you? There’s not a whole lot else interesting back there.
    I wholeheartedly agree with the advice to not (now or ever, if you can help it) turn it into a power struggle.

  37. Wow…I’m going to look into the ‘nursing necklace’.Mr B gets both bottle and breast. He started being more interested in anything other than either when he was about 6-7 months old. To breast feed him, I have to hold him while standing up, rocking back and forth, in his darkened bedroom, and even then it’s not guaranteed that he’ll nurse. He is a big, big baby, and I’m beginning to wonder how much longer I’m going to be able to do this for him. If he’d tolerate a sling I’d have a better time of it, but he and I have never gotten the hang of it.
    Bottles are a bit easier to deal with, as we can lean him against us facing outwards and give him something to do at the same time, like holding something that’s otherwise off limits (the Wii remote control is a great one for this) or (I know, I know!) watching the tele. He’s pretty good at feeding himself with the bottle now, and so that seems to have helped too, especially as he can now happily suck a bottle down while in the car. Offering a sippy cup, etc, didn’t help with him, but giving him something to do at the same time as taking the bottle made all the difference. Same with eating solids, although he’s now starting to take the loaded spoon from me and put it in his mouth himself, and this seems to have gone a long ways towards helping him stay interested in eating. I do worry, though, that I’m training him to mindlessly stuff his face.
    At any rate, hang in there! There’s been a lot of great suggestions in this thread and I bet you’ll find one that’ll do the trick for you.

  38. I bought some Hyland’s when my daughter was teething (fortunately, not a lot of drama there), and my husband insisted that I get permission from the pediatrician first. She told us not to use them because they had belladonna in them (overcautious, I think, because the amount is really, really small), but that acted as a veto. I’ve never heard of Humphrey’s #3 formula.

  39. for teething, we really liked the Boiron Camilia, single servings in little tubes. although I’ve used homeopathics for ages, I was a bit skeptical about this. There’s a warning on the box that your child may fall asleep quickly with the relief, and as I was scoffing at that, boom, little guy zonked out. They helped us a lot with the early teething, not as much w/canines & molars.I think we went through the feeding problems but I must have blocked it out. seems like good suggestions here, good luck!
    Thanks for the reminders to keep meals/food neutral, I still struggle w/this. DS was 95th for height & weight at birth, and height is still up there but weight, while increasing sloooooowly, has landed in lower & lower percentiles. he eats well & frequently, I’m thinking he has the string bean metabolism of his gramp.

  40. I am so glad to hear this happens with other people’s babies. My baby is not the only one and I am not doing the feeds wrong. Yeah! My baby had a hard time eating as well though she is breastfeed. She always seemed interested in playing but would crab through each activity.Feeding her after a nap works very well. Though if she sees the cats she unattaches herself to look over and smile at them. OUCH!! How cute!

  41. I had this as well with my breastfed, 5th percentile (weight) boy. It started at about 4 months, I can’t remember when it ended, for a long time he was just VERY quick at the boob. I did the dark room and the just-after-sleep feed. I also started nursing him to sleep about that time- it all helped somewhat. He still woke at night, but no longer seemed super hungry.I’m going to suggest caution with the ‘dream feed’. I regret doing it because my boys had been sleeping from 7pm-midnight, then shortly after introducing the DF at 10pm, they started waking up at that time, every night. At 18months they often still do! Could be a coincidence, but I’m not sure.

  42. I agree with continuing the night time feeds. I worked with a “baby whisperer” in Sydney who thought early morning feeds were needed until 9 months old. Around 7 months we cut back to one feed a night, no earlier than 3 AM. The first night was hell – the baby cried for 90 mins with my husband (until 3 AM, when I fed him), but after that night he pretty much slept until 3 or later. We then did the one feed until almost 13 months (so…we went a bit longer than 9 months! : ) )I guess my point is – 6 months seems awfully young not to feed at night, especially as they are busier in the day and harder to feed. Agree with boring rooms and feeding right after naps. You just feed them whenever you can.
    I also let him look out the window when we had the bottle (we did breast and bottle until 10 months, when he rejected the bottle) and that seemed to distract him. I sang a litle song about “what do you see when you look out the window…” It was a struggle though with the bottle for many many months.
    Good luck!

  43. Yes, be careful with any drugs you’re giving your baby. Homeopathic remedies often give us a false sense of safety because people believe they’re “all natural.” Chemically they’re not much different than mainstream stuff, only sometimes they haven’t been tested as rigorously. Don’t trust it!

  44. your pediatrician is a moron! Feed the baby when she cries for food. It is only 6 months old! They have no concept of manipulation. It could be teething, milestone, a host of things, mostly it will pass…BUt refusing a baby food at night ugggg…. some of these ped are just……….uggggg stupid!

  45. Maybe try taking her for a walk in the stroller with the bottle? This means she can’t move around but won’t be as frustrated because there is so much to look at and distract her while she drinks? I find if I have a lot going on in the kitchen my 1 year old eats better then if we just sit down and have nothing else going on.

  46. Couple general thoughts, already mainly covered…1) lactose and sucrose both set off endorphins for infants, which eases pain symptoms. Both proven in clinical study. At a hospital visit for B when he was an infant, they gave a bit of gauze with sugar inside it, dipped in water, as pain management. It seems like it should just be a ‘wooo, sweeeet’ distraction, but further studies show lower cortisol (stress hormone), so… it works. If you like the convenience of the homeopathy tabs, fine, but if you’d rather go straight to home-made, a spoon full of sugar (okay, less than a spoonful) will serve in a pinch. So will actual pain meds, too, though (and they last longer). Talk to the Ped about which one.
    2) Oh, yeah, dark room, booooring nursing sessions, and the ‘what’s-that-what’s-that’ baby. It worked for us, most of the time.
    3) Appetite normally starts to drop after 6 months, and growth curve (especially for kids on the big side) may level off a lot – don’t panic if growth doesn’t continue at the same pace, my uber-big baby was up there on the top of the chart, too, at that age, and then between 6 and 9 months, he gained shockingly little weight (still got taller), and between 9 and 12 months gained something like 3 ounces. Total. With formula (if that’s what you’re using – could be pumping for all I know) being made more and more like breastmilk, you may just have hit one of ‘those’ (that is, mind-warping) growth patterns.
    4) Night feedings can definitely can affect teeth. If wiping isn’t working as well as you’d like, try topping off with a bottle of water for the last sucks (that’s advice from our pediatric dentist).
    5) Faster flow nipple may help with the ‘whoa, this is different!’ engage-the-interest approach. Same with chunkier food (or grind up what you eat in to a rice-like texture – B was un.interested. in baby food, but our food, YES! Better with garlic, black pepper, onion… mmmm.) And sippies – Avent soft-spouts worked for us. Check the bottle brand you use to see if they have a converter/stage type sippy lid.
    6) And Nutmeg et Julie, dump and look away is super important for the kids who pick up performance measures from you – use that as a cue for later, too. All my kids who refused to eat if I was looking also are very uncomfortable with being observed for other things, too. Any whiff of approval meant instant rejection. DO NOT ASSESS ME should have been on their bibs. Or tattooed on their foreheads, maybe. With the twins, at least it was kind of mandatory that I stop caring what, how, or whether they ate, things were just too busy to fret. And you can reincorporate the ‘family meal’ thing later, when their appetite function starts to time up with adult/cultural meal times (after 3 or 4 yrs, usually – sometimes not until K or 1st grade), and can sneak in some by just starting a lively conversation with your spouse, or talking with the toddler about their biggest challenge of the day, etc., with just a few late nibbles as their meal. (And no expectation that they eat at all, because they’ll already have had an earlier meal.) You’ve got plenty of time to get to family meals, by the way! Don’t sweat it – appetite is normally extremely low after 4 PM for toddlers/preschoolers.

  47. I have a 6 monther as well and he had totally reversed his eating schedule so he was eating more at night than during the day. I just kept offering him food anytime he seemed remotely interested in doing something other than playing/was fussy and made him wait longer at night for feedings. He finally switched to a normal schedule but I still offer food a lot, he grazes and it’s really the only way I can pack enough calories into him so he’s not up all night. Good luck!

  48. My baby is almost always like this, though he goes through phases where it waxes and wanes. For us, the issue seems to be that he’s so excited to see, experience, explore, and play, that he has trouble mellowing out enough to sleep and eat even as he gets grumpier and grumpier due to hunger and tiredness.Unfortunately, the solution involves a lot of work. During the toughest periods, I would need to take me for a walk–the most effective way to mellow him out–and nurse him in the Ergo or Moby. Or, sometimes he will nurse lying down in a quiet room with no distractions–but not if he’s too riled up.

  49. Try messing with the bottle. Serve it cold, hot, lukewarm, etc. My daughter likes her bottles hot and would reject cold or lukewarm. Same with her bath water.Have you tried any solids? A bit of banana or avocado might have her singing a different tune.
    I am BFing my son this time and it sounds like I have a lot of “fun” to look forward to 🙂

  50. Ohhh I remember this. I used to talk to Mouse while looking at her and nursing, and when she was fed milk by someone other than me, it had to be a toddler style sippy cup (none of those transitional ones) and she had to be faced away from the person feeding, straddling their leg and sitting up. I don’t really have much advice–it sounds like everyone finds different solutions or just gets through it–but mine is another datapoint for a big gain up to 6 mos and then a much smaller gain in the 2nd half of the year. Mouse gained 10 pounds in her first 6 mos and 3 in her second 6 mos. She was BFed and her pedi wasn’t worried about it, said it was a very common pattern.At 4 1/2, Mouse still goes through phases of eating more and less, and times when she’s too excited to eat. These days it means a bedtime snack rather than a 4AM one, but I think it’s the same concept.

  51. @Hedra – any chance that the kid(s) who didn’t like to be watched eating = the same one(s) who hid to poop? ‘Cause I’ve definitely got one of those.

  52. The one who hid most on pooping actually didn’t mind me watching him eat at all, but he thought food was fascinating, especially ours. He maybe didn’t notice I was watching, though, because he was usually eating while sitting on my lap (off my plate), so I was looking kind of over his shoulder, and I was ‘supposed’ to be there, as I was his chair, LOL! NOT the same as the sensation of being watched from across the table, methinks.But the other one who is iffy about her poop observation also does NOT NOT NOT want to be watched eating. (Or anything else, for that matter.)
    It may have to do with assigned meaning, stress, etc. B didn’t have any distress over intake at. all. LOVED food. Still does. But big distress over poop.

  53. I also have a 6 month old who has recently starting waking up in the middle of the night and I will tell you what my pediatrician said at our 6 month appointment (merely days before Jack started waking up in the middle of the night).She said DO NOT GO IN THE ROOM. Don’t feed him, don’t go in to comfort him, etc. And the reason for this is because at this age they start to figure out that you still exist even when they can’t see you. So when they wake up in the middle of the night and get mad, it is just because they know you aren’t with them and they want you to be.
    She told us that it would last for 3 nights as long as we didn’t go in there and then it would be gone. And she was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. (thank goodness!)
    So maybe you could try not going in her room when she wakes up and making her go back to sleep on her own.
    As for the daytime feeding, maybe just take her to a quiet place in the house where there are not many distractions and see if that works better.

  54. Thank you all so much for your comments! I was starting to get sooo worried about my 4 month old son because he refused to eat during the day and then pigged out at night! I had no idea what was going on and actually got a little depressed because it seemed like he didn’t want to be at my breast any longer… OH MY! Anyway, all of your comments help SO much and it is relieving to know that this little phase will pass… well only to come back again in a few months…. haha. 🙂

  55. my husband just sent me a link to this thread and i am so thankful to know we are not alone. our 8-month-old son max (the smaller of fraternal twins) has decided to give up eating his bottle. he’s been formula fed (i never did make any milk) his whole life and has battled reflux for a long time. a few weeks ago he decided he was just not going to eat any more.max, sadly, has fallen off the percentile charts (though he never really got all that high—just the upper teens) and just yesterday had to move down a diaper size. we are constantly reminded of just how poor of an eater he is because his brother is an awesome eater. i know i’m not supposed to compare, but it’s difficult not to. i really should count my blessings that we don’t have two with eating issues!
    anyway, right now we are dangerously close to being admitted for a feeding tube. i’m beside myself with worry. he is like what many of you describe—too busy and too easily distracted to worry about the bottle. he’s also on the verge of crawling and his gums look swollen, though no teeth have popped through yet.
    after most of his life on neosure, we had to move to alimentum because of a suspected milk-protein allergy. he did ok on that for a while, really until we introduced fruits and veggies. then he just quit. in the past few weeks, we have tried everything. the list is long—
    similac isomil
    similac sensitive
    all of the above with and without cereal
    all of the above with and without sugar
    all of the above nicely warmed
    all of the above chilled
    dr. brown’s bottles
    born free bottles
    sippy cups
    regular cups
    5 mls at a time via syringe
    praising him
    tricking him
    feeding while sleeping
    light rooms
    dark rooms
    in front of the tv
    in silence
    —nothing seems to be working.
    i know this thread is a few months old, but really just writing it down has been therapeutic for me. i hope all that were going through it are past it now and are enjoying healthy and happy eaters. i really, really hope to join you in the near future.
    thanks for reading,

  56. I’m experiencing the same thing, only my baby is only 3 months. It just started. He barely eats until the evening (fussing, crying, pulling away), then eats good before bed. Also, he was sleeping through the night, now he wakes up once usually around 2am. He is breast and bottle (no formula; just breastmilk). At first I thought something was hurting him, as he would pull away suddenly and start to cry. But he eats so well at his nighttime feedings that I figured that couldn’t possibly be the case. If the behavior continures i will call the pedi, but reading all the posts on here has calmed me a bit. I’m just a little concerned because he’s so much younger than the other babies…

  57. my baby started refusing food at 5mnths.awe ve tried everything and she still refuses to eat.all she wants is breast milk nw she’s eigth mnths and still looks like shes five mnths this is giving me sleepless nights.any more suggetions

  58. my 5 month old baby did the same. breast feeding after naps helped a lot. and what really helped (i know now) was starting with solids. she is now 7 month. eats solids for breakfast and lunch and enjoy breastfeeding afternoon, evening and night (still twice…but its much better than before).it is like she got board from milk…i love seeing her holding bread in her little hands… its a nice feeling. and cooking for her actually makes me feel more “mom” than breast feeding. good luck!

  59. There are many babies who just refuse to eat and will not eat even if they are hungry. So dropping the bottle in the middle of the night might not fix the problem.Check out this website http://childrenandbabiesnoteating.com/ . It has a ton of information on babies and kids who won’t eat, some of the reasons why (including testing), and different treatment options. It’s definitely worth a look if you are dealing with feeding issues (like my son).
    Best of luck.

  60. Help! Going through this now with my 6 MO son. . . who was a little tank, but has been losing weight. ACK. He’s teething, and just learned to roll. Won’t take a sippy, only will breastfeed when tired and in a dark room. Not thrilled with solids.

  61. I believe I also need some help here.My baby was born 3.2kgs
    At 4months she was 6.4kgs
    Today at 6months she remains at 6.4kgs
    From observation, since 4 mths, she refused breast fed when she’s awake or conscious. Only way to feed her breast milk is when she falls asleep.
    We began feeding her rice cereal since, but after a week she learn smart by blowing it back out. We also tried many different bottles with both formula and breastmilk on her but she hates and horrified by bottles
    My gal is 6months now but her intake is approx.:
    breastmilk – 480ml per day(24hrs)@80ml/feed
    solid – 90ml per day(3times a day @ 30ml ea)
    TOTAL = 570ml a day @ 6 months old
    We brought her to local doctor who believes it was due to wind and given us wind drop for her. She was given vitamin drop daily also and until now it has not improved.
    From the weight chart she is between 10th and 25th percentile.
    Can I please get some help as I am running out of idea to improve her appetite. She is also getting bony.

  62. IT may be acid reflux and allergies. Go on reflux.org. Our son ended up on a feeding tube because he refused to eat due to pain. Then we found out he had forgotten how to do the suck, swallow and breath.

  63. Hi my son Noah is only 3months and 3wks and is starting to get his first boottm tooth but hes getting 2 at the same time ,we have tried most things like the teething rings frozen washers and so on.He is very good at night and sleeps but the day time is the worst time and my gosh THE DRIPPLING. I have been reading about all the other products like the tablets and ibprofuen (which sounds terribly wrong for the child) but i am scared to use any off those things as he is still young but was wondering if those tablets and other medication products were used on a child under the age of 4mths my little boy is a very active baby and trying to crawl and its very hard to give him teething rings and other things as he just keeps dropping them. Please help me. Was also wondering how do you stop a child from putting their whole hand just about down their throat to the point of chocking them selves?

  64. I don’t get. I just don’t get. How can people atulacly ponder whether or not infections can be passed on to others by sharing injectables?The reason why there is such a high risk for HIV/AIDS and other diseases between drug users is because of sharing. Only a complete dum.bass would share ANYTHING that has contact with bodily fluids with someone else.

  65. Needle sharing is only a risk when you’re using the same neelde from person to person. There is no reason to fear a risk from sharing anything with another person, even steroids, unless the same neelde is being used to inject. Remember that HIV is a fragile virus and requires very specific conditions to thrive and reproduce.

  66. I’ve heard several mohetrs say that the hardest part about being a mom is being sick while your child is sick – it’s so much work to try to take care of both yourself and someone else! Hope you start feeling better soon!

  67. We went thuorgh this with Maggie and we’re going thuorgh it again with Audrey. A is down to 2 bottles- 1 at naptime and 1 at bedtime. There is no end in sight with those and to be honest (for now) I’m totally cool with it. A is flexible with temperature and all of that, and she’s also doing really well with the sippy now (she was spitting it all out for a while, even though she could drink from the cup just fine!) but she LOVES the bottle for sleepytime. She doesn’t fall asleep while drinking, but she’s definitely attached to that bottle before sleeping. But- at least I only have to wash bottles every few days heh Good luck with your opinionated little man!

  68. Oh alh, you are a precious soul! Thank you for being such a brhgit spot in my life and very existence. Look at us! We’ve transcended era after era and still we rise! I love the continuous updates on your life and love the opportunity to connect. Thank you for being a faithful friend. I thank God for your friendship and for the opportunity to see the amy-lynn evolution. You are pure bliss! Love you!

  69. Jessica- I don’t know you. Just your mom and aunt.. But these pics are absolutely gogueors!! I love my Nana more than life too! And I wish she was still around so you could take some pics of her.. these will be your favorites for a lifetime! Great Job!

  70. Mulugeta Posted on Dear Sir/Madami am interested to have a canhce on free scholarship, i have bachlor degree(BA) with the study of Sociology and social Anthropology in july 18,2010, i am from East Africa/Ethiopia, i am eager to have scholarship on social sceince field. for contact use my email address, with many thanksMulugeta

  71. Mulugeta Posted on Dear Sir/Madami am interested to have a canhce on free scholarship, i have bachlor degree(BA) with the study of Sociology and social Anthropology in july 18,2010, i am from East Africa/Ethiopia, i am eager to have scholarship on social sceince field. for contact use my email address, with many thanksMulugeta

  72. Type your comment here.Hi Cousin,This is Sandy Montgomery from California. My ssetir-in-law, Debi turned me on to your blog.The first one I looked at (at the Senior Center in Harrisburg) had references to my parents. We all face challenges with our aging parents.I will check in from time-to-time. Keep up the good work.Love You

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