Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."
Question: My son is 9 mos. old and over the last 2 weeks has begun spitting out his food at every meal, even foods that he has "loved" in the past. He's still on baby cereal and jarred baby foods with a little mix of table foods, e.g., pasta with no sauce, mashed potatoes. He had his 9 mo. checkup today and has only gained 1.2 lbs. since his 6 mos. visit. While the Dr. said he's on track and growing as he should, I'm still concerned about how to get him to eat again like he used to. What other types of foods do you suggest? He still takes a bottle in between meals so I know that he is getting his nutrients. Any guidance would be appreciated.
Answer: During the first year of life, a baby gains weight and grows at an incredible rate. In an otherwise healthy child, the average child will double their birth weight by approximately 4-5 months and triple their weight in about a
year. (More or Less)
An average of approximately one inch will be added each month. As parents, we become concerned when children start eating less than what we are used to observing. Because the rate of growth starts to slow down towards the end of the first year of life compared to the first 6 months, their bodies naturally need less calories. Some children begin before the first year, others not until closer to the 2nd birthday. (Some just continue with large appetites.)
Also remember that when new foods are added to the diet, foods that were previously enjoyed are now refused.
Now is a good time (if not already started) to introduce a cup for liquids. At nine months, an otherwise healthy child should be able to hold a cup while sitting up (back muscles are developed enough). Bottle feeding still has it's role in providing nutrition, but at this stage, more and more solids are taken in with less liquids. Formula or breastmilk is still recommended until at least one year. If too much liquid (milk, juice, water, etc., is given in between meals or to compensate for "not eating enough," the child will not be hungry enough for solid foods.
Your son's pediatrician recorded his weight and growth which are in the normal range. This is a most important part of making sure that adequate calories and food intake are being taken in. Genetics has a strong influence on how fast we grow, timing of growth and weight gain.
If your child seems active, happy and is up to par with his developmental milestones (sitting solo, crawling or pulling up to stand, transferring objects and verbal [Dadadadadadad or Mamamamamamm, etc.)! Enjoy watching him grow!
Teething can be annoying as well as cause a decrease in a child's appetite (temporarily).
If this spitting up continues or your son shows signs of any other physical problems, let his pediatrician know.
Menus at this age, aside from formula, breast milk, juices and water, would include fruits, vegetables and introduction of meats.
If you introduce a food and your child reacts i.e.: rash, vomiting, recurrent spitting up or respiratory symptoms, hold that food and call the pediatrician.
Also see: Breastfeeding when baby isn't hungry?
Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage ADHD medication or is it better suited to a psychiatrist?
Ask Dr. Betti your questions
This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.