Won't eat solids after bottle (8 months)

I would like to start the weaning process with my 8 month old. She drinks 5 or 6 bottles of formula daily. She will drink less when I substitute solids for a milk feeding. In fact, I had gotten her to a 3 bottle a day routine when her pediatrician advised that I need to feed all bottles and solids after. When I do that she is not hungry for solids. What should I do to help her get more interested in solids while also getting her to drink the needed formula? She only drinks 16 to 24 ounces a day. Is that enough?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Alisha,

I don't like offering advise that counters a pediatrician's, and I certainly don't when it comes to medical issues. I am assuming that your daughter has no medical problems that causes the pediatrician to tell you to feed the bottles first when I disagree with that advise.

Once your daughter has gotten to a three meal a day routine that includes meats or another protein source such as fish, peanut butter or cooked dried beans or egg yolks, it is appropriate that her milk consumption drop. In fact it is a good idea to encourage the drop by skipping the milk feeding before the meal. It is time to encourage her to replace breastmilk or formula with solid foods. Between eight and ten months is a critical time to encourage the acceptance of solids. Babies who delay much beyond this age often have a hard time accepting them later. I equate it to holding them down when they are ready to walk.

So long as your daughter's diet includes iron fortified baby cereal along with her other solids, it is an excellent time to begin the weaning process. By the time she is on table foods and eats three meals a day plus healthy snacks, she will need a minimum of 16 to 24 ounces of milk. Right now you should be sure she gets the upper end of that. If she is eating the appropriate solids she doesn't need as much formula. You will need to reach a balance of encouraging the acceptance of solids, plus making sure she gets her formula.

A good solution for many people is the following schedule:

  1. Early am formula in a bottle
  2. Breakfast of iron fortified cereal mixed with formula plus a vitamin C rich fruit or cup of juice
  3. AM snack of formula plus offer a finger snack such as Cheerios or teething biscuit
  4. Lunch of protein/vegetable/grain/fruit/ with cup of formula or milk
  5. Afternoon snack of formula plus finger food
  6. Dinner same as lunch
  7. Goodnight bottle.

With this sort of schedule, she is getting the formula she needs plus the solids which she also she needs. Formula will certainly provide her with her nutritional needs, but it does not meet her developmental needs, which are also important.

Thank you for writing.

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