My 10.5 month-old had a cold last week, just started walking, and may be teething again (ie there's a lot going on in his world). When he got the cold last week, he started refusing any food I would give to him with a spoon. He will take his bottles, and will eat a little bit of finger food (puffs/cereal/cheese/bits of meat, but no fruit/veg), so he's not starving, but I'm worried he's not getting enough food. His daycare provider claims he will eat for her, but with me he clamps his mouth shut and blocks the spoon with his hand. So frustrating.

I don't know if this is just a phase, or if he's just done with me feeding him (I hope not). Has anyone else experienced this?

asked 04 Feb '10, 15:51

BetsyB's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

I remember that when my daughter was a little congested/ or had a mild cold, she would also refuse food on a spoon. It took a while for us to work it out, and we realized that she was breathing more through her mouth during those periods. I wonder whether it could be the same for your little one. Has it improved?

(10 Feb '10, 06:31) Emi

Wow, sounds like your little guy is having a tough week!

My 9 month old has never really been interested in being spoon-fed. For foods that usually need a spoon, like yogurt, I often spead it on a piece of bread and then cut the bread up into baby friendly pieces. Then he can feed himself by picking up the pieces. It is very messy, but he enjoys the independence and his accuracy is gradually improving.

When I am in a hurry and we don't have time for a big mess, he will sometimes let me "finger feed" him. I dip my finger in the food and he licks it off. But like you described, he usually closes his mouth. So I let him feed himself as much as possible and just know that there will be a mess. We are trying to use a baby-led approach to feeding so letting him feed himself is part of the experience.

Just another thought, could you let your baby try to spoon-feed himself?


answered 04 Feb '10, 16:25

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%


+1 for putting it on bread. I forgot that one. we do that with hummus but he'll just lick it off the bread and leave a soggy bite of bread on the tray (or in his pants, or on the floor, or under him on the seat -- seriously the next time I change him enough food to feed an army falls out of his clothes).

(04 Feb '10, 16:37) Anne

+1 for letting him spoon feed himself

(04 Feb '10, 17:38) Phil Seller

+1 for bread and self feeding !

(07 Feb '10, 22:47) Emi

I was at a comedy gig recently where the comedian was describing his baby refusing to eat unless the baby had control of the spoon. He observed that the baby didn't seem to mind food appearing in his mouth while he flailed wildly with his own spoon. so the procedure went one spoonful on face/floor/clothes, one spoonful in mouth, repeat until done then clean up a lot.

This reminded me of doing something similar feeding my baby brother, he was so occupied with playing with his own spoon he didn't really notice the extra food appearing as if by magic.


answered 04 Feb '10, 16:29

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%


+1 for letting baby have control

(04 Feb '10, 17:41) Phil Seller

+1 Brilliant stuff :)

(12 May '10, 06:53) Emi

My daughter has time when she is like this. She is now a little older. I let her feed herself with the spoon or fork (she use to make a huge mess but is pretty good these days) or get her to pick up the spoon and then I hold it to guide it in. As her older brother (nearly four) loves someone else to help him eat his dinner I love her independence.

If you are worried about whether they are eating enough or a if it is variety keep a list for several days of what they have had to eat. You might be pleasantly surprised. I was.


answered 04 Feb '10, 18:02

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

+1 for keeping a list. good idea.

(04 Feb '10, 20:01) Anne

I have 12 month old twin boys, and my one son is very difficult to feed as he does the same thing as your little guy. His favorite thing to do is grab the spoon from my hand and throw it. Whenever he's being difficult, I find singing songs or tickling him to make him laugh, gets him distracted enough to open his mouth so I can get some food in. He's more interested in feeding himself than having me feed him, but I always worry that he's not eating enough also, so I do whatever it takes to distract him enough to open his mouth. I hope it's just a phase, but its been going on with him for a few months while his brother always has his mouth wide open for anything that resembles food.

Someone else suggested to me to let him hold an extra spoon to keep his hands occupied so I could feed him, but this didn't always work for me as he would put that spoon in his mouth instead of my spoon with the food on it! But sometimes, if I let him hold my spoon and I helped him place that spoon in his mouth, he would be so proud of himself that he would eat no problem.

Hopefully you'll find a little trick that works for you! When all else fails for me, I pull out my laptop and play kids music videos on youtube and again he's distracted and will open for me.

Good luck!! And I hope it's just a phase!!


answered 04 Feb '10, 16:14

Shannon%20B's gravatar image

Shannon B
accept rate: 9%

Read about "baby-led weaning" and your mind will be at ease. THey don't have to eat stuff off spoons. At this age, baby should still be getting most nutrition from breastmilk or formula anyways. It's more an exploratory age for solid foods.


answered 08 Feb '10, 06:57

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accept rate: 0%


I completely agree. Somewhere (I'm sure it was a baby-led weaning website, but can't find it now) I found the phrase "until they're one it's just for fun" about introducing solids, and it helped me keep my sanity.

(09 Feb '10, 18:38) Meg Stephenson

My 8.5 month old had a sort of similar phase. At daycare he would eat anything they put in front of him; at home he'd be angry -- it seemed like he wanted to eat just the way we were, with bigger bites and a fork, instead of the little bits we were putting in front of him. Or he wanted to use the spoon himself and would always grab it when we tried to feed him with it. We figured he did better at daycare because there were other babies doing the same thing, and he wanted to imitate them. I don't know if this is your guy's problem, but I suspect so, since you tagged it "independence".

To put you at ease, it WAS just a phase. Now he eats like a champ. One thing I did that may have helped was to start feeding him pretty much the same thing I was eating. For example, he stopped wanting me to cut up a banana for him -- he will only eat the banana if I give him a peeled banana. We have to be super watchful to make sure he doesn't choke (he did a couple times, but coughed it up quickly). He will also eat with a spoon now but I just use the puree as a supplement, not the "main course".


answered 04 Feb '10, 16:13

Anne's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

Crumpets are also good for spreading food on, so they can finger feed themselves.


answered 06 Feb '10, 16:54

Phil%20Seller's gravatar image

Phil Seller
accept rate: 9%

Hmm, "crumpets" isn't in the English to English translation dictionary (http://moms4mom.com/questions/3620/english-to-english-translation). I've heard of them, but couldn't pick one out of a lineup. Are they kind of like English muffins?

(06 Feb '10, 21:19) Scott ♦♦

Less bready than a muffin, closer to a pancake in consistency, full of holes to hold butter and jam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crumpet

(06 Feb '10, 21:53) Rich Seller

Yeah Scott, they're English Muffins here in Manitoba.

(06 Feb '10, 23:16) Neen

Sounds like Pikelets to me, but I was born in the West Midlands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikelet)

(08 Feb '10, 07:22) Benjol
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Asked: 04 Feb '10, 15:51

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Last updated: 08 Feb '10, 06:57