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Help, my baby is not eating enough!

Nutrition Month is over, but I am going to continue busting those nutrition myths! More specifically, myths that I hear related to infant nutrition, over and over again. I have many clients come to me, stressed out from a recent visit to the doctor or health nurse, and worried their baby is not eating enough food. This also applies to toddlers and children as well. First of all, you are the parent. You know your baby best. Trust your baby – and you will do a great job! Often recommendations about how much your baby should be eating come from health care providers who are short on time and are just following the standard (and sometimes old) recommendations. Some are not parents themselves, or they may not be very familiar with current infant feeding practices.

Alberta Health Services has a one-page handout with a days worth of food for the average 9 month old. I have had many parents come to me, concerned that their baby isn’t eating even close to this amount. Heck, my 18 month old doesn’t eat this much and some days my 5 year old doesn’t either! I reassure parents that this handout is a guideline as to what you can OFFER your 9-12 month old baby in a day. Whether they choose to eat it or not, is not your concern. Yes, you are the parent, and it’s your job to be worried about your baby…..but it’s not your job to force them to eat a certain amount of solids. Breastmilk is your babes main source of nutrition until about a year anyways. Try to relax, and know there is not a certain amount of food your baby “should” eat in a day. Other than the amount he/she chooses to eat that day…..a little, a lot or nothing at all!

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55 Responses to Help, my baby is not eating enough!

  1. Deanene says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog about baby not eating enough. My 4.5 month old is not consuming the amount of milk that the Alberta health service handout said she should be! I was not concerned because my opinion was that she’s content, active, & happy! I think if she needed it then she would drink it! Then one day a friend of mine got really concerned that my baby was not eating enough & made me a little uneasy. She asked her public health nurse friend who also said my baby wasn’t eating enough. Me being the google queen looked up info on the Alberta health & wellness website. It said the chart was for full-term babies & also that some babies may drink less or more than the guidelines said. My baby was 3 weeks early so I think that should mean if she’s smaller than she don’t need so much as a baby that wasn’t born early or is bigger. Then when I went to get her vaccinated the nurses seemed concerned when I told them. I stated that the website even said all babies are unique & some don’t drink so much. Finally when they seen she was gaining weight at a steady rate they said it was fine! I think sometimes mom knows their baby best! Glad to know theres someone else out there who feels the way I do:)

  2. Fina says:

    I found out your writting while searching for informaion on my baby eating habit. He was 1 year 2 months and started to rejact solid food started month ago. He just ate for 2-3 spoon of solid per day. Do you have any advise on this?

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the question. Is your baby growing well? Have you tried him on all types of food, offered in different ways? He might like table food best at this age (vs baby food). Let him feed himself as well, most toddlers love this. It is likely a phase, at some point he will increase his intake. Just don’t force or pressure him to eat. Offer 3 meals a day and he gets to feed himself and choose how much he eats!

  3. Krystal says:

    I’m a little nervous about the amount of breast milk my child is drinking per day. Upon returning to work her weight gain trickled off and she is only gaining about two pounds every two months now. She will be 6 months this Saturday and we have were at 15lbs 11oz or so. She was born 8lbs 4oz. On a good day she will drink 9oz, on a bad day she will only drink 1oz. We started her on solids right 4 months with cereal, sweet potatoes, apples, pears and butternut squash. She loves to eat solids and she will go to town when I come home – but she so cranky during the day and we’ve TRIED EVERYTHING. Every bottle sold we own it. We’ve seen the lactation consultant or Dr. doesn’t seem too concerned. What can I do to get her to drink more during the day?

    • admin says:

      Hi Krystal. If your doctor and the LC aren’t concerned and your child is happy and meeting milestones, I wouldn’t worry too much either. You have tried different cups, which is a good option. It sounds like she makes up for her lack of milk intake when she gets home. So nurse her on demand, when the two of you are together. During the day she can be offered a bit of water if she is thirsty, and doesn’t want the milk. And hopefully will compensate with solid foods! Once she is 9-12 months, you can try offering full fat cow’s milk, maybe she will prefer this in the cup or bottle. Good luck, you are doing a great job!

  4. Tasha says:

    I have to admit, I’m trying not to freak out about this as well. My LO is 4 months old, and he has been consistently extremely low on the weight/height chart (below 2%). At first it was just that he was extremely tall – over the 98th percentile, while his weight was at the 35th. The last two visits – his two and four month – he’s dropped down to 20th in weight and to 75th for height. I know I’m producing plenty, as when my LO is done eating I can still hand express, and it comes out with great vigor (as in shoots about three feet), and milk dribbles out when he’s finished. He’s far ahead on his milestones – he’s been meeting the milestones of a 6-7 month old, but I still worry a great deal that according to the (2000 CDC) chart he’s so thin. I feed on demand (about every two hours during the day until a flurry right before bed, then two or three times at night depending on him), and only stop when he absolutely refuses to take more. He’s a very happy baby too… I’m just not sure what to do.

    • admin says:

      Tasha, google WHO growth charts. amd plot him on that. It will likely look much better, let me know! The CDC charts are outdated, but still frequently used.

  5. Tasha says:

    Thanks. According to the WHO charts he’s still thin – about the 4th percentile – but better. I’m still trying to get him to eat more, so he doesn’t drop more percentiles. He is very interested in what we’re eating (he tries to grab any food that we’re eating), so we’ll probably be starting him on solids really soon, and hopefully that’ll help a bit.

  6. Liza says:

    My son is about to turn 6 months. He had started eating 6-8oz per feeding. We started him on baby food & 5 months and was doing well. He was finishing it. Now, he doesn’t want anything to do with the baby food and is eating between 4-6 oz, when he feels like it. I am extremely worried, do you think about my son’s eating habits? Should I be worried? Please HELP!

    • admin says:

      Liza, is this 4-6oz solids he is eating, or formula? If it’s solids, that’s more than enough! I wouldn’t worry if a 5 month old baby was not eating solids at all, and remember that milk is their main source of nutrition until 12 months.

  7. Sarah says:

    My 18 month old grand-daughter is 18 pounds. She drinks from a cup now no bottle. she does not like cow milk so she drinks Silk but will not drink it from the cup. She lost 2 pounds and she snacks all day but is not eatting enough to gain weight. I’m really worried about her.

    • admin says:

      Hi Sarah,
      18 pounds is on the smaller side, but fine if that was her normal growth pattern. But losing two pounds is not ideal. Until age 2, I would recommend only infant formula or breastmilk. Soy milk is too low in fat. Also, snacking all day doesn’t allow appetite to build up for meals, so it is best for have scheduled meals and snack times, and concentrate on higher calorie foods. If your daughter is interested in more personalized information, I am able to do phone/email consults if she does not live in Calgary. Her doctor may also be able to refer her to a dietitian in her city.

  8. Kayleigh says:

    my 14 month old is hardly eating, he’s had 2 colds in a row. All he eats is rice crispy and rusks. I’m worried he’s not eating the right food and that he won’t eat properly when he is better. I’ve tried him with sausage and mash, sandwiches and food that he normally likes and he just throws it off his high chair. what can I do to get him to eat properly?

    • admin says:

      It’s though when little ones are sick. At this point, he’s probably increased his intake of milk, do you know if this is true? And with the rice rusks along with the milk, they are easy to eat and digest when he’s not feeling well. I’m sure his appetite will rebound and he may eat even more than ususal for a while to make up for this! There’s nothing you can really do to get him to eat. Just offer him his regular food at regular times, and if he doesn’t eat it, then you can’t do a whole lot about it. Just don’t always bring the rice crisps or rusks out as “back-up.” Good luck, let me know if things don’t turn around when he is feeling better.

  9. CINNY says:


    • admin says:

      Hi Cinny. How is your daughter’s growth and is she meeting milestones? Is her doctor worried? If she enjoys finger foods, try to offer those more. And before the milk, when she’s more likely to be hungry. Continue to offer but don’t force, as that will make her refuse foods even more. Feel free to email me if you need more details or would like a personal consult. Thanks!

  10. shareice says:

    Hi, my 4 month old daughter is not earing nearly enough. she’s only eating 15oz of formula a day. from wake to sleep. i breastfed until 8 wks but got the bc shot and it dried me up. the docs have done test after test and im so sick of my baby girl being poked. all tests are negative but she’s not gainig weight. shes around the 5th percentile amd last week she didnt gain anything. but jumps around. one week 8 oz the next 2oz then none and so on. normally she doesnt gain over 4 oz a week. she recently went from eating 20-24oz formula a day to 15 a day. she wont eat any more no matter how much i try. and i waste a lot trying and its actually breaking us spending so much. her dr is having us concentrate her formula an ive been giving er cereal since about 12wks and still nothing. shes very active and reaching milestones before normal. sea already saying mama dada baba num num and such. im getting really worried tho because shes 16 weeks and shes only 11lbs 9oz and 24 in long. born at 7lb 5oz and 20 in. what should i do? im freaking out and my dr is a quack! ๐Ÿ™

  11. Anita says:

    I’m so glad I searched for this and found this article. I was so worried about my son not wanting to eat anything. I wasn’t feeding him too much, so I know he wasn’t full already. He rarely wants to eat anything. I breastfeed and was hoping that was enough for him I’m glad it is for now. He is 9 months today. Thanks for this article.

    • admin says:

      So glad I could help Anita! It’s our job as a mom to worry about our kids, but it’s nice to be able to save a bit of unnecessary stress!

  12. Pash says:

    Hi, My son is 3 months old. He simply refused to take the bottle when he’s awake. I have to sleep feed him and only takes 90ml – 120ml in a sitting and totally about 750ml in a good day.(needs to drink about 900ml) He is 75% percentile in height & weight and meeting all his milestones. But I’m very worried as everyday is a struggle to get the milk in . What can I do to get him consciously eat his food.

    • admin says:

      Hello & thanks for your comment! Can I ask why you think your baby needs to take 900ml per day? If he is meeting his milestones, and at the 75th percentile, why do you think he needs more? It seems he’s getting what he needs to me! The guidelines I have say that a 3 month old should have about 24 – 39oz (700-1150ml) per day, so the 750ml would fall within this. Just think that if you were breastfeeding, you’d have no idea how much he were taking in, so try not to worry about it. Your doctor or dietitian can give you instructions to concentrate formula, if needed, but from the few details you have told me, it sounds like he’s doing well ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Sleep Feeding Mom says:

    Thanks for your post! I also have a sleep-feeding child. He was breastfed for his first 6 months of life, and gained really well during the first four months. When he was 4 months old, he weighed 17lbs, 14 oz! Since then, he has shown a major disinterest in eating. Due to his low demands on my supply, he is now on formula, and will only take about 20-24oz, all in his sleep. If he awakes, he will not finish drinking his meal–he won’t show signs of hunger if he’s not fed either. He was teething last week, and would only eat 16oz for a few days in a row. Now, he is 8 months old, and 20lbs, 3 oz. He’s gained a little over 2 lbs during the past 4 months. He is also eating solids (fruits and/or veggie purees), but will only eat 2 oz/day, 4oz on a great day. As he gets older, he will nap less, and therefore eat less formula. His doctor isn’t concerned, but I’m constantly worried–should I be? Is this amount of food enough for a boy his size/age?

    • admin says:

      Hello! It appears your little boy is growing well, which is a main sign to determine that he’s getting enough to eat. At 4 months, he was on the 85th percentile and now he’s just below it, but hasn’t crossed percentiles. If you look at the World Health Organization growth chart, you will see it’s normal for their rate of growth (and therefore appetite) to slow.
      The “normal” amounts of formula are 17-37oz/day at 8 months, so he is within this range. Breastmilk supply will go up or down to meet demands. If you are still nursing him at all, maybe you can continue to nurse more so that you are not as worried about the # of ounces he takes in, because you don’t know ๐Ÿ™‚
      As for solid amounts, just offer it 2-3 x per day. You can try different foods, but let him choose if he eats it and don’t pressure. Keep on trying, but just know that he’s getting what he needs.

  14. jermaine says:

    Hi. My daughter is 6 months and doesn’t want to feed at all! She doesn’t want to eat solids, she refuses. And milk she only consume 3 5oz bottle a day. And she’s now lack of energy and seems dull. I don’t know what to do.

    • admin says:

      H Jermaine. How long has your daughter been eating like this? How is her growth? A 6 month old that refuses solids is not uncommon. It could be temporary due to illness. But if she’s been taking in small amounts of formula and no solids for a few weeks, and is listless, take her to the doctor. Guidelines for a 6month old are 17-35 oz of formula, plus some solids.

  15. Kristala says:

    Hi, My son is 9.5mos old, weighs 18 lbs and is 74cm in ht. He still hasn’t taken any solid foods up until now. He only drinks breastmilk (from the bottle) and formula. When he is awake, he can only take in 3-4oz of milk, but when we put him to sleep he can take in 7oz. I am really getting worried because he has no solid foods and he is so thin.

    • admin says:

      Hi Kristala. Your son is plotting at the 15th percentile on the WHO growth charts. Is this his normal curve, or has he fallen some percentiles? If he’s always been small, it’s not a concern. Are you from Calgary, can you see a dieititian about his solid intake? I also do online or phone consults.

  16. niya says:

    hiii dear….
    my son is 19 months already now from the last few month his weight is dropping down and he does not want to eat the food i offer him a plenty of foood but he do not want to eat dunkers, ritz biscuit, sandwiches, cheese.. but he just want to eat the food made of choclate which is not good for his health so his weight is being dropped down so can u tell me how can i gain weight as he constanly wieght falling down so m too worried can u suggest me something….

  17. Sangz says:

    My son is 9 months old at weighed in 16lbs 13 ounces at his check up a few days ago. He was born at 5lbs 11ounces. He is drinking roughly around 24 ounces of formula a day – some days less some days a bit more. He is reaching all his milestones (he is crawling, pulling himself up to stand, saying mama, dada, using te pincer grip, etc) and the doctor says he is healthy. Although the doc isn’t concerned about his weight (he is following his curve) as a first time mom I can’t help but worry about his weight.
    Some days he eats solids really well then some days not at all. He has table food now as he will totally refuse purรฉes. His schedule right now is:
    6:00-6:30 – wake up and have a 6-7 ounce bottle
    7:30 – offer solids
    8:00-8:30 – sometime between this time he goes down for a nap of about an hour to an hour and a half
    11:00 – offer lunch
    12:00 – 6-7 ounce bottle
    12:30-1:00 – between this time go down for a nap of an hour to an hour and a half
    3:30 – 6-7 ounce bottle
    5:30 – offer dinner
    7:15-7:30 – 5-6 ounce bottle then bed

    Foods I am offering include:
    – avocado chunks usually mixed with banana
    Or spread on toast
    – grilled cheese
    – salmon
    – chicken meatballs or small pieces of chicken added to a cheese and veggie quesadilla
    – variety of fruits and veggies
    – pasta
    – yogurt – he really liked at first but now fights to eat it

    I’m not sure if my schedule needs adjusting or if I just follow his cues. So hard not to worry!

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  18. Nadjou says:

    Hi my baby boy does not like eating food at all.ive tried different types of food n he is not interested.he is 11 months old n he weighs 9 klgs.firstly he eats few spoons then he does not want to continue at all.sometimes when i force him he rejects the so worried

  19. Ana says:

    Hi there.. I’m so glad i found this blog, it looks so helpful for new moms like me. My little man will turn 6 month in 2 weeks and i am really worry bc he is not getting the right amount he need for his age and also he is not gaining weight as usual, now he is between 25-50 percentile of weight. He consume like 600-700 ml per day, and only one day in two weeks he used to have 800-900 ml per day of formula and solid together. The problems with feeds habits starts when he was 3 month old and the pedi. says we need to wait… but i am not sure what i need to do…he was born 3 kg and for the first three months he gain 1kg first month, 1 kg the second and 1.3 kg the third … Than he start refuse feeding and gain in the 4 month only 550 gr, so i start solid food like the doctor said. He likes to eat solid but like he usually did those last months he don’t want to eat all the amount, so the 5 month he gain only 350 gr and the last 2 weeks he gain only 100 gr. I dont now what to do bc i try almost everything….so iam waiting for your response….

    • admin says:

      Hi Ana,
      At 5 months old, your son shouldn’t need solids yet. In fact, most infant food is less calorie-dense than breastmilk or formula, and it may be decreasing his milk intake. You can ask your pediatrician what he thinks about that and perhaps ask for a referral to a dietitian if he is worried about your little guy’s growth. I wouldn’t worry too much about the formula amount he is consuming, if the doctor is not worried about growth. The 23th-50th percentile is perfectly acceptable, unless he has dropped multiple percentiles.

  20. Charu says:

    My 22 month old twins (boy nad girl) are hardly eating solid food.They are 5 percentile. My daughter is now completely refusing to eat food even puree. She used to drink milk 16ozs a day. But now she is not drinking milk also.she lost 1.5 pound already in one month. My son can not tolerate more than 2ozs of milk at one time. They are not taking interest in food. don’t want to try new things. no icecream….nothing.
    I am really worried. Please help.

    • admin says:

      Hi Charu,

      Have your twins always been small, around the 5th percentile? Were you and your husband small as children, as some of this is genetic. If so, then I wouldn’t worry about their small size, someone (5% of children!) have to be under the 5th percentile! But we don’t want to see the weight loss you are seeing. And what do you mean by your son can’t tolerate more than 2oz of milk, does he experience symptoms of allergy and intolerance? At 22 months, I wouldn’t offer any pureed foods. But often the more you push food, the more they refuse. If you are interested in a consultation, please email me or ask your doctor to a referral to a dietitian. Good luck!

  21. saleena says:

    Hi There my son weight at the time he was born was 5lbs and 11onnces and now my son is 19months and his weight is 20lbs and height is 32inch.he look tiny…my main concered is abt his weight he is very picky eater he is not eating much solid food i try pediasure too but it din’t workout..i am very much in stress for his weight i ask my docter too he says so far he is activite from the birth weight the weight going up so,nothing to worry he says that so pls need to know what should i do abt his weight gaining..pls need the help

    • admin says:

      Hi Saleena,
      Has your son lost weight? According to the WHO growth chart, he is at the 3rd percentile, but that is also approximately where he was born at. So if he has been following along this third percentile curve, there is no concern with his growth. If that is the case, then he is eating the amount he needs, so you can trust his appetite. While you can offer him higher calorie foods (like avocado, whole fat dairy, nuts) let him choose how much to eat and don’t force it.

  22. Monika says:


    my daughter is 17 months and she weighs 22 pounds. She was a very good eater but has suddenly stopped eating since last 3 wakes. she just eats 5-6 spoons and completely refuses food (every food). I know she is teething and that too multiple teeth at once. Initially i thought it is due to teething but this does not seem to end. Is it possible for her to not eat for 3 weeks due to teething. She is loosing weight too and does not show any other sign of illness. Also does not show any sign of hunger and goes 7-8 hrs without eating anything. what could be other reasons if not teething.Please help!!

    • admin says:

      Hi Monika,
      Your daughter has a healthy weight, but losing weight is not great. Has she increased her milk intake due to teething? Often they will prefer to drink calories instead of eat them when their mouth is sore. If she is still on a “food strike” you can check with her doctor in case he/she thinks there could be an underlying cause. Other than that, you can offer higher calorie foods (high fat dairy, smoothies, nuts, avocado etc) but can’t force her to eat and hopefully it will pass soon!

  23. Michelle says:

    Hi, my son is one year and 2 months. For the past one month he is rejecting any type of food. I give him Gerber cereal in the morning and at night and during lunch I give him mushy rice/veg/beans. He used to eat fine but now he rejects even taking a spoon of anything. He doesn’t eat anything himself. He doesn’t put anything in his mouth. I tried different food but he doesn’t like textured food so he throws up. He doesn’t eat baby food either. I don’t know what to do. Its like he’s afraid of food now. What should I do?

    • admin says:

      Hi Michelle,
      You could have your son assessed by an occupational therapist if you think he has any physical issues with chewing or texture. Did he used to eat texture? You mention this has been going on for a month? If he used to eat well, then it’s likely not a physical issue, but if you are concerned you could take him to your doctor for a referral. At his age, most children will prefer the foods you are eating, so offer him what you are eating and he can feed himself and hopefully it is just a stage. Just don’t force anything on him or he will refuse even more.

  24. natisha veira says:

    hi found this page trying to get info on y my baby isnt eating, i have a 7 month old she is on formula and refuses to take her botle,or food or cereal she is under weight acording to the nurses at my last clinic visit the only thing she eats without a fuss is fruit she weighs 5.7 kg ne advise on what to do? should i take her to the doctor? or try some other type of food? please help this has ben going on for two months now

    • admin says:

      Hi Natisha,
      Yes, I would offer different foods and see what she likes! If it’s fruit, you can try to offer higher calorie dips with the fruit, like perhaps she will take whipped cream as a dip! Avocado? The only thing you can really do is offer her the food once or twice a day at this age and trust her to listen to her appetite. Maybe she will always be small, it’s likely ok if she is doing well developmentally and meeting milestones. Send me an email if you would like further consultation

  25. AISHA says:

    hi, my daughter is 14 months old and she does not eat .some day she will eat a little but someday she will not eat a thing i bf her .she wakes up every 1 to 2 hours at night she is getting pale everyday but she is very active though.i took her to a homeopathey doctor he told me that her iron is low .is it bad for babies.i try so hard everyday to feed her. every day she is cutting food from her diet.worried please help .how can i get her to eat.SHE is below 50 percentile

    • admin says:

      Hi Aisha,
      How did the homeophatic doctor know your daughter’s iron levels were low? Where do you live? Here in Canada it’s optional to vaccinate your child. A doctor could not refuse you care, I think that’s horrible! Could you go to a walk-in doctor and ask for a blood test requisite for your daughter to test her iron levels? If they are low you can supplement, but don’t want to do that if her levels are normal.
      As for the food, it’s not unusual for babies to have varying appetites. Unless he is dropping weight or not gaining, being under the 50th percentile is not a concern in itself. 50% of kids are under the 50th percentile! You can’t force her to eat, cut continue to offer 3 meals a day. Meat is the most easily absorbed source of iron, but is also hard for some kids to eat. You can try meatloaf or ground beef in sauce, meat balls or a crockpot to cook it. It’s likely that she is full of breastmilk, and that’s why she’s not taking solid. From experience I know it is hard to night-wean (or at least cut back from every 1-2 hours nursing) but that would likely increase her solid food intake.

  26. AISHA says:

    ps:i took her to my family doctor and told her to check her iron she said she will not do a iron test until she gets her vaccine .feel like crying help please

  27. Mrs Adeel says:

    Hi my Baby will be 8 month on 19. I m so worried about his eating he is not eating anything no fruit no veg even refuse Porridge in the morning only like to eat flavour yogurt he is not drinking enough milk only 4 ounces 3 times a day I try different way boil veg steam apple nd pear but not successful me so worried. Will be very thankful if any tips r suggestion Icahn get like how much milk he need a day thanks a lot

    Many thanx


    • admin says:

      Hi Rashida. How long has your baby been eating and drinking these small amounts? Is he growing well? MEeting milestones? The ‘normal’ minimum amount of milk a baby his age would take in 24 hours is 17oz. If this is not just a temporary decrease is fluid/food intake, you can check with his doctor. For now, just be sure not to force the milk or food. Continue to try different foods, and he may like finger foods better than pureed foods.

  28. Mrs Adeel says:

    Hi he was ok wen he start weaning he always eat whole banana but not now he prefer only milk I try new recepies but he is not interested he couldn’t sleep enough he wakes at night i thought coz of hungry even day time he only sleep for 20 mints but me only worried his food he doesn’t like any veg I introduce lentils and chicken is well but he doesn’t like one more thing his poo colour is green and black since 4 months before that was yellow he is 8 months today but positive thing he is very active he loves to jump and play thanx

  29. Bola says:

    Help pls,my daughter will be 5months on the 3rd of October. She weighed 3kg at birth but now weighing 6kg 750g,the nurse is worried she should be weighing more than this. She takes formula and I’m worried bcos she doesn’t eat enough. D nurse said she should be taking 700-900ml of milk per day but she takes 300-400ml per day. I’m not happy

    • admin says:

      Hi Bola. I am surprised your health nurse thinks your daughter should weigh more. She was between the 15-50th percentile at birth, and still is according to this chart:
      Her milk intake does seem low though. Have you had a doctor or nurse help you concentrate the formula so that is more calorically-dense? If so, perhaps this is the reason she is taking in less, and it is the amount of calories needed. If not, it is something you could inquire about doing. That is if this is a longer term decrease in formula. If it’s just temporary as in a few days, she will likely up her intake back to normal soon.

  30. surangi says:


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