How do I stop my Baby from Throwing Food?
Oct 11, 2018
One of the most common questions I get in my online Facebook Babyled Weaning group is: "How can I stop my baby from throwing his food?!"
Throwing food is a stage most babies go through, at least once. Early on, they are learning to open and close their fist and might drop food on the floor while they practice this new skill. Later on, they are still developmentally learning what happens to food then they drop it. And if your toddler is throwing food, it's likely to illicit a reaction from you! Toddlers love your attention - whether it's positive or negative.
While it's a stage that will eventually end, throwing food still super-annoying. Nobody likes cleaning spaghetti sauce off the curtains!
Here are 5 tips to deal with baby's food-throwing stage:
- Don't over-react, as it will encourage the behaviour. You can calmly say: "food stays on the table" rather than screaming: "no throwing!" If older siblings react (often with laughter, egging on the throwing!), try your best to get them to stop. And a family dog might also offer your baby a fun reaction to dropped or thrown food: tail wagging and eagerly gobbling up the morsels of food offerings. Lock your dog up during meals.
- Eat with your baby. If you're across the kitchen doing dishes, maybe she's throwing food to get your attention. And if you sit beside your baby, you can gently hold their harm down or remove the piece of food they are about to fling from their fist. If you're fast, that is!
- Maybe your baby throws away food they don't want to eat. If you think this is true, you can place a "no-thank you" bowl or napkin beside them on the table. Teach them to put food they don't want to taste, or are done with in that bowl.
- Physical set-up at the table may help too. First of all, buy a "splat-matt" to save your floor if it's hard to clean. I like the hard plastic computer chairs matts. If your baby is a "swiper" and just swipes food easily from the table on the floor, they they may do better in their high chair with a tray that has a lip. Other babies will do better pulled right up to the table, without a tray. So experiment. And if they throw the whole bowl, buy a kids bowl that suctions to the table!
- Often babies start throwing food when they're full and getting bored. You can offer them smaller amounts of food to start with. And remove them from the table if they start throwing half-way through the meal. They may no longer be hungry. If they are, this may teach them that the meal ends when the throwing starts! Another thing you can teach your baby, so that they can tell you they're done instead of throwing is sign language. Google baby signs for "all done" and "more" or watch my video above.
I hope that gives you a few ideas to try to curb the throwing food and save your furniture! If you have tried anything else that worked with your baby, please comment below and share it!
Want to learn more about BLW? Catch my free webinar "How to get started with Babyled Weaning" here.