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How long does it take for a child to learn how to swallow?

I have been trying to feed my child cereal for almost 2 weeks now and he is just not getting it. He is 6 months old and I am nervous that I should have introduced food earlier. I have tried rice cereal, oatmeal and stage 1 peaches but he simply spits it back out. I shovel it back in over and over again, but the food ends up all over him and his chair. How do I teach him to swallow?? Any suggestions??

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Asked by Anonymous at 2:36 PM on Apr. 26, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

Answers (9)
  • Of course he can swallow! The new food just feels weird in his mouth. He's not used to it. He'll get it. You didn't wait too long. Six months is just right. Try mixing it with a yummy fruit. Mine always loved bananas.

    Answer by mompam at 2:38 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I really don't think he HAS to be eating food at this age, this is just when alot of people start to introduce it. Most people will tell you not to force it and let him decide when he is ready. All you can really do is keep trying once in a while. If he doesn't catch on till later, you really don't have to give him oatmeal or rice cereal, you can skip it and go right to stage 1 baby food. Squash was the first baby food I gave my little one and she loved it. Sometimes the fruits are too tart for them. Hang in there, you have plenty of time.

    Answer by moviemom22 at 2:40 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • swallowing is insistent he may just be trying to get used to the taste/feel of t he food.. so just keep trying it is normal for babies to spit some or most of their food out.. he is exploring it so just keep putting it back in his mouth.

    Answer by maiahlynn at 2:43 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • As moviemom said, he may not be ready. There is no magic about the age of 6 months that says a kid is ready. My son is over 7 months and really doesn't have much interest in solids. I give him a few bites now and then and as I've been told, he'll let me know when he's ready. Of my siblings, one wanted solids at four months and one didn't have any interest until 9 months. If you're breastfeeding, he's getting all he needs right now, and even if he's formula feeding, I wouldn't worry about pushing solids until he really wants them. If you want him to get used to flavors, get one of those little net things that you put food in and they suck on (looks kind of like a pacifier). Sorry, I don't know what it's called, but my son uses it. And I don't feed my son rice cereal. I could be wrong, but my intuition just tells me fruits and veggies are best for starters because they are most easily digested. I've read liver enzymes don't....

    Answer by Adelicious at 3:02 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • ... develop until the molars coming (for digesting grains). I don't know what's the final answer, because in doing some reading, everyone has a different take on this.... But I do think the baby will eat when he's ready. There's nothing wrong with him! :)

    Answer by Adelicious at 3:03 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • Mash some banana with a fork and let him feed himself. It will be easier to swallow than cereal or jar food. If he isn't able to do it after several days then try letting him eat off your finger. If your child is breastfed and is still having problems than your baby may have some tactile sensitivity issues.

    The baby doesn't want anything in his mouth. The breast is ok because he thinks the breast is part of him. Occupational therapists can help babies with tactile issues.


    Answer by Gailll at 3:25 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • Some babies don't lose the tongue-thrust reflex (the reflex used for nursing) until after 6 months. It just means he's not ready yet. Give it another few weeks, then try again. If he still just spits food out, wait a little longer. Solids before 1 year are just for exploration, and not for nutrition- or at least that's the way it should be.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:55 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • It sounds like he is not quite ready for solids yet. Not all babies are ready at 6 months. Don't keep spooning it in if he is spitting it out. When they are ready you don't need to "teach" them anything. You did not wait too long! Put aside the solids and try again again a couple of weeks. When they are ready they will gulp it down and beg for more!

    Listen to your baby! Babies with a tendency to allergies may refuse solids until later in their first year. As long as they are growing well and are happy and healthy, there is no need for concern.

    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 5:00 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • My baby was like that, and after a week or two of solids, she is starting to get it. I wouldnt be concerned. It is new, and it will happen. Babies are all different, each learns in their own time.

    Answer by Sillybillymel at 10:54 PM on Apr. 26, 2010

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