Introducing solids – What to do when your baby is sick

I’m going to be honest, week 4 of weaning has been really hard work! Joshua, my 6 month old, has been sick and teething, so weaning has taken a big step backwards.

He’s been pretty much disinterested in food and his recent party trick is when I put a spoon in front of him, he’ll blow a raspberry at it!

His intake this week consisted of cucumber sticks, cheese and sometimes avocado. That’s it!

However, I’m very excited to report that tonight, finally after 6 very snotty days we had breakthrough and he happily munched on a piece of broccoli and a green bean. I never knew I could be that excited about a green bean!

And then, when I put a spoon of homemade Grandma’s cottage pie in front of him, he opened his mouth! Even more excitement!

He still only ate 2 small spoonful’s and I think he enjoyed chewing on the spoon more than actually eating, but he’s interested again! And this Mummy is very happy ?

I’d forgotten how good it feels when they turn the corner and their appetite’s return!

As parents, we naturally want the best for our kids, including for them to develop, eat and grow well. And when they don’t, it can bring up such negative emotions. For more about this, read my post titled: Introducing solids – The emotional side!

Unfortunately our kids being unwell is not a one off experience and I hear many of you asking what to do when your baby goes off food because they are poorly. Whilst having a sick little one of my own this week I’ve thought about it a lot and here are my top suggestions:

Top 10 things to remember when feeding a sick baby

  • Don’t be surprised if they don’t want to eat as much as normal. A reduced appetite is common when any of us are sick, including our babies.
  • If they only want to eat a few foods, try get a few healthy ones in there, or the least give the healthiest of what they are requesting!
  • It’s quite common for babies to go back a few steps with their eating and only want pureed or plain foods. This is ok and they should pick up from where they left off when they feeling better again.
  • Your baby might prefer drinking or sucking than the effort of eating. For example, if they won’t eat from a spoon, they may still take the same food if they can suck it straight from a pouch. Please note this isn’t ideal so I wouldn’t encourage it long term. However, if it’s for a few days when they’re sick to help increase their intake. . . that’s ok.
  • Now is not the time to be working on improving their diet! Moving forward with increasing their intake will probably have to wait until they are feeling better, and that’s ok.
  • Continue to offer different foods but remember. . . never force them to eat.
  • They might want to drink more milk than normal. This is a great way to ensure they stay hydrated so go with it! Even if it means they eat less, that’s ok for a short period.
  • Try not worry about what they are or aren’t eating, or how ‘unbalanced’ their intake might be.
  • Hydration is really important! Ideally from their normal milk as they’ll receive nutrients and fluid. However, if they aren’t taking their milk well, then I’d suggest trying some water as well. And remember cool boiled water for babies under 6 months.
  • If you are worried about how little your baby is drinking or think they might be dehydrated, speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Most childhood illnesses only last a few days. So hopefully within no time (though if you like me it might feel like ages!) your little one’s appetite will return and they’ll be eating like before!

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