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    Why Won’t Baby Eat?

    7 Common Baby Feeding Problems continued...

    If your baby is having a hard time swallowing solid foods, try putting less food on the spoon. If your baby is still gagging, he may not be ready for solids yet. Your child's health care provider can also check for other reasons for persistent gagging.

    Making a Mess

    Sometimes called "feeding the floor," there’s often a messy phase when baby seems to spend more time playing with or dropping food than eating it.

    These classic signs of feeding independence often show up around baby's ninth month, when your little one is anxious to control feedings and interact with his food. Although there's frequently a mess involved in letting your baby wield the spoon, this step is important in helping your baby learn, grow, and become more self-reliant.

    Food Allergies and Food Intolerances

    Food allergies, which activate the immune system, occur in up to 8% of children and can appear suddenly, with symptoms ranging from diarrhea, vomiting, rash, or stomach pain to breathing problems and facial/body swelling. The most common food allergies among children are to milk, soy, eggs, wheat, nuts, and shellfish, although kids (and adults) can be allergic to any foods.

    Food intolerances are more common than food allergies. Although symptoms may be similar, food intolerances involve a baby’s digestive system, not immune system. Common food intolerances include problems with lactose, corn, or gluten. Symptoms of a food intolerance include gas, bloating, diarrhea, and belly pain.

    Spitting Up, Reflux, or Vomiting

    Spitting up seems to be a nearly universal occupation of babies. The good news is that spitting up tends to fade as babies reach their first birthday. You can reduce the chances of your baby spitting up by burping him regularly, avoiding overfeeding, keeping baby upright as you feed him, and avoiding playing with baby immediately after eating.

    Reflux is when stomach contents back up into a baby's esophagus. To help manage reflux, feed baby a little less or more slowly at each meal; change or loosen baby's diaper; keep her upright after feeding for at least 30 minutes (for example, sit her in a swing or car seat); limit active play after eating; raise the head of baby's bed by propping up the mattress (not by pillows or stuffed animals) under the child’s head.

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