Why is my baby throwing food?

There’s nothing quite like preparing a delicious meal for your baby, and then seeing it land on the floor, piece by piece. It’s a common frustration for my Baby Mealtimes members, and I can assure you that food throwing is a totally normal stage for babies to go through.

Why is my baby throwing food?

Firstly, this is not about your cooking. Between 6 to 8 months of age, food throwing is more likely to be food dropping (thanks to a lack of skill) rather than a deliberate throw. With more time and practice, less food will be dropped.

After about 8 to 9 months, throwing food often becomes more of a game. At this age, babies start to see the ‘cause and effect’ of their movements. It’s very normal for babies to be curious about things falling and splatting all over the floor. It can be extra entertaining to watch you bend down and pick up each piece.

If that’s not it, perhaps your baby doesn’t want the food. Maybe they don’t feel like it today or perhaps they’re not hungry at this mealtime.

What can I do to stop my baby throwing food?

My number one tip is to remain calm. Try not to show any signs that you find it funny, or annoying. The latter is super tricky when you’ve just cleaned your floors.

Then, be strategic about what you offer and when you pick food up.

  1. Only offer a few pieces of food at a time, and add to this once those foods have been eaten (or thrown).
  2. Offer your baby a plate to pop the food onto, rather than the floor.
  3. Once all the food left has been either eaten, thrown to the floor or put on the plate, pick it all up and re-offer it to your baby.
  4. If everything ends up on the floor again, take that as your cue to finish the meal and pack away.

If your baby is a bit older, say 11 to 12 months or older, and they seem to be deliberately throwing food, start your pack away routine when you notice the food throwing begin. This helps them learn that throwing food will end the meal.

Other tips include:

  • Keep the dog away during mealtimes. Babies can certainly see the fun of throwing something for the dog to gobble up.
  • Use a splat mat or shower curtain under the highchair that is big enough to contain the mess. A high chair catchy also works. This will save you lots of time mopping the floor.
  • Give your baby other opportunities to throw things. Do this during play time, to help stop it happening at mealtimes.

Baby Mealtimes members can also learn the steps to teach their baby a pack away routine, to give easier cues about when to end a meal. To find out more about the Baby Mealtimes membership visit the website, and remember to follow Dr Kyla on Instagram, or Facebook.

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