Introducing your baby to solid foods is exciting! Every parent knows to expect a bit of a mess during this stage. What they don’t expect, however, is crying.
As a matter of fact, one of the most common questions parents have is, “Why is my baby crying while eating solids?”
Keep reading to learn all of the possible answers to that question. You’ll also find a couple of interesting things you’re likely to come across as you introduce solid foods to your baby.
Why Is My Baby Crying While Eating Solids?
Think about all those textures and different tastes awaiting your baby’s taste buds! It sounds so exciting and new, but that’s only because we know how good solid food tastes.
Your baby doesn’t; not yet anyway. Parents see their baby crying while eating solids and they freak out.
We know how important your baby’s dietary needs are, so we compiled a list of all the possible reasons why your baby is crying while eating solid food.
Read on to learn more.
1. Dry Foods
As you begin to introduce solid foods to your baby, remember that they’re still getting used to how food feels in their mouths.
Plus, it starts to coat their mouths and throats after a couple of bites. That’s another thing they’re still getting used to.
Maybe your baby is simply thirsty. Remember that they’ve enjoyed a liquid diet all their lives. Solids can make them feel thirsty even after the first few bites.
Make sure you have some type of liquid nearby so your baby can quench their thirst. This can be breast milk, formula, or water.
Also, find a cup that your baby feels most comfortable with. It’ll go a long way in easing their fussiness, especially when they’re eating solids.
Some babies like sippy cups. Others like cups with a straw. If your baby still wants to drink from their bottle, that’s okay too. Just make sure they’re happy and learning to enjoy their food.
2. Sore Gums
Teething is a time in your baby’s life when their gums will be pretty sore. It could be why your baby has been in such a bad mood lately.
It’s also hard for your baby to swirl solids, even pureed, in their mouths with swollen gums. So, they start to cry to try and get you to feel their pain.
If your baby isn’t accepting of solids because of teething, wait a few more days. If you don’t want to stop offering solids during this time, here are some soft foods you can try:
- Cottage cheese
- Apple sauce
- Pureed carrots
- Cold cucumbers
3. Trapped Wind
Is your baby gassy or constipated? Abdominal discomfort is one of the first things parents should keep an eye out for when their little ones are crying while eating solids.
Stomach discomfort isn’t something babies tolerate well. Heck, we don’t, why should they?
Then, you come and try to add to their pain by offering solids, and they just can’t take it anymore. So, they start crying.
Begin by checking your baby’s diaper. If it’s clean, try reflexology massage (Check the video below) on their stomach area to release any trapped gas. Massaging this area helps move things along to help relieve their constipation.
Remember to give your baby plenty of fluids if they’re constipated. Also, focus on giving them foods rich in fibers, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies.
4. Bonding Time
Why is your baby crying while eating solids? Maybe they miss bonding with you. They’ve spent all of their lives safe and secure in your arms every time they ate. Who’d want to give that up?
If you feel that this is the case, take your baby in your lap and offer a piece of carrot or a spoonful of applesauce.
Do they stop crying? Are they more willing to eat solid foods now that they’re sitting comfortably in your lap? If yes, then, problem solved!
One thing to encourage your baby’s independence is to start feeding time in their high chair. If they cry, then you can put them on your lap. Don’t worry, they’ll grow out of it soon enough.
5. Allergic Reaction
Food allergies are pretty common in babies. The good news is that most children outgrow them by the time they’re five.
If you feel your baby is allergic to a certain type of food, don’t offer it until you’ve talked with your pediatrician. Also, check to see if there’s any history of food allergies in your family.
Allergic reactions in babies come in many forms. They can include the following:
- Mucus in the stool
- Hives, usually along the mouth
- Watery eyes
- General crankiness
6. Sensory Shock
It takes time for babies to get used to the new texture and taste of solid foods. Even pureed solid foods are different from the liquid diet they’ve been used to for so many months.
Experts say that it can take your baby up to 20 times until they start accepting a particular food. So, follow your baby’s pace and just have fun. They’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
7. A Bug
We’re not talking about the crawly, wriggly kind. We’re talking about the bug or cold that leads to your baby crying while eating solids.
Even a stuffy nose can make your baby cranky and fussy. That’s enough to get them to reject food altogether, not just solids.
The best thing to do is wait it out. It’ll be over in a couple of days, a week at the most. During this time, give your baby plenty of liquids, like breastmilk, water, and even warm herbal teas to make them feel better.
8. Right Timing
When you offer your baby solids, your timing has to be just right. If they’re hungry or too full, they’ll start crying when you offer solid foods.
Try to give small amounts of solid foods an hour after you’ve given your baby breast milk or formula.
This is the perfect time to develop their taste buds without relying on solids to be their main source of nourishment.
If your baby is full, chances are they won’t be interested in eating solids. At the same time, if you wait until your baby is hungry, they’ll be too fussy to accept anything new. All they’ll want is their comfort food, which is the milk they’re used to.
9. Cranky Baby
Babies cherish their naptime. If they’re tired after playtime or an outing, chances are they’ll be too cranky to accept any solids.
The best time to provide solid food is between giving them breastmilk or formula and between their naptime.
The ideal time would be in the afternoon or early evening when they’re in a more playful mood. They’ll be more willing to sit down and try new foods during this time.
10. Force Feeding
Your baby crying while eating solids could be because of how you’re handling the whole feeding process. Are you feeling anxious? Nervous? Angry, even?
Without saying a single word, your baby understands exactly how you’re feeling. They read your facial expressions.
So, if you’re frustrated, your baby will also get frustrated and scared. They may even feel pressured into eating. Then, later on in their lives, this negative experience with food can lead to health issues or eating disorders.
Smile a lot. Try not to focus on how much food actually makes it into your baby’s mouth. Instead, make feeding time playful and fun.
What to Expect When Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
Starting on solids should be fun and enjoyable for you and your baby. Our advice for getting through this milestone in one piece is don’t set high expectations.
It can get hectic at times, but it’s a precious time in your baby’s life. Enjoy every moment so you can provide your baby with a positive feeding experience that will last their entire lives.
Also, remember to take it slow. Give your baby’s taste buds time to develop and get used to all the new tastes.
Here are a few things to expect when introducing solid foods to your baby.
- Your baby will make adorable funny faces as they experience new textures and flavors
- You’ll be cleaning your baby’s chair, the table, and the floor a lot! Embrace the mess.
- Introduce one food at a time and wait a week before offering a new one
- Be patient and, more importantly, be consistent at every meal
- Babies usually take longer to get used to veggies because they’re more bitter
- Mixing pureed solids with breast milk or formula, in the beginning, makes it tastier
- Don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of a piece of carrot or pea in their diapers!
When Is the Best Time to Start Feeding Your Baby Solids?
Many babies are ready for solids by the time they’re six months old. Experts recommend giving babies only breast milk or formula for the first six months.
Then, after six months, slowly cut back on the liquid diet while introducing small amounts of pureed solids. This is what their digestive systems are designed to handle.
So, don’t rush it. Some babies are more willing to try solid foods, whereas others will be more reluctant to begin this journey of discovery.
That being said, it’s also not a good idea to wait too long to introduce solids. Older babies may be more resistant to learning to chew and swallow. They’ve gotten used to the much simpler method of breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
Here are a few signs that your baby is ready for solid foods:
Many parents wait until their babies have at least a couple of teeth and can sit up on their own before offering actual solids. It’s called baby-led weaning.
Baby-led weaning is when you skip the ‘pureed solids’ stage and go right into offering solids. These are usually thick pieces of sliced veggies or fruits that your baby can hold in their hands.
This usually takes place around eight months when they can hold out their index finger in a pincer grasp.
Interest in Table Food
You know your baby’s ready for solid foods when they begin to watch you eat. They may even try to grab your spoon and imitate what you’re doing.
This is a terrific sign and parents get excited when they see their adorable babies start to show interest in food. Yet, it can be dangerous because certain foods pose a choking hazard.
If your baby begins grabbing table foods, try not to leave them unattended. If you do, make sure you remove any foods that are choking hazards, such as the following:
- Whole grapes
- Hot dogs
- Hard or sticky candy
- Raw veggies
Tongue Thrust Reflex
The tongue-thrust reflex is when your baby’s tongue pushes the food out. Thrust reflex is normal in all babies, but it’s a sign that your baby isn’t ready to be spoon-fed (Check the video below).
To figure out when your baby’s thrust reflex has disappeared. Mix some baby food with a drop or two or breast milk or formula. Place a tiny bit on a spoon or the tip of your finger and feed your baby.
If your baby takes the food, swirls it around a bit, then swallows, that’s great! This means your baby’s tongue thrust reflex has disappeared.
If the food comes back out as soon as you feed your baby, the reflex is still there. Wait a couple of more weeks, then try the test again.
A Final Note
To have your baby crying while eating solids is a normal part of the process; up to a point.
If they keep on crying, then you have to address the issue early on. It’s the best way to prevent any emotional problems your child may suffer when they’re older.
Remember to be patient and consistent. Your baby needs time to get used to this new type of diet.
Come up with creative ways to present solid foods to get your baby engaged. Also, it’s perfectly natural for your baby to play with their food. It’s their way of familiarizing themselves with the new textures and flavors.
So, relax and enjoy this precious time you have with your baby. It’ll be over before you know it.