"My 7 1/2 month old daughter has proven to be a much more distracted, uninterested and fussy eater than I ever imagined a child could be. Lately, she really wants nothing to do with any solid food and really only wants her bottle. Meal time is becoming battle - something I don't want but am feeling pressured (by pediatrician, books and advice from parents and friends) that she should be progressing through the food groups more than she is. What are the guidelines for amount of solids and breast or formula? Should I be worried? Should I just meet her where she is at, keep giving her what she likes and will eat and let her progress in the amount of solid food that she will eat without coercion or duress?
I am completely frustrated and am not sure what to do."
Well, since you asked: Hang back and don't worry. Babies don't need a lick of solid food until they're a year old, at least. If your daughter is breastfeeding or on formula and you feed her whenever she's hungry, then she's getting everything she needs.
When humans are under a year old, "solids" are only practice with tastes and experiences and mouth control anyway. They're certainly not nutritionally necessary (or else you'd have to feed your baby tons more than nothing-but-sweet-potatoes for a week at a time). So don't sweat it. Take a couple of weeks off, and then go back and try some foods and see if she's into them.
There are two truisms about feeding babies:
1) Your job is to provide healthy foods and your child's job is to decide how much s/he will eat of them.
2) Feeding can turn into a huge, hairy control battle that leaves everyone exhausted and feeling like a failure if you, the adult, let it. So let go of your end of the rope in the tug of war, and just keep repeating Truism #1 to yourself, and remember that she will be fine.
Your pediatrician sounds very old-school. Which is fine, as long as you understand that and are prepared to manage the relationship with that in mind. And you can just tell all your friends whatever you want to. Just know that what your daughter is doing is normal and healthy, so you're doing a great job.
Anyone have anecdotes about babies who wouldn't eat solids early on who grew up to be come super-geniuses or Olympic athletes or something like that? Help put this in perspective for Katy.