How to stop your baby throwing food: 5 tips fron a dietitian
“How can I stop my baby from throwing his food on the floor?!” This is one of the most common questions from moms feeding babies or dollers.
Throwing food is a stage most babies go through. At least once!
Early on, your baby is learning to open and close her fist and might drop food on the floor while she practices this new skill.
Later on, he is still developmentally learning what happens to food when they drop it. And if your toddler throws food, it’s likely to elicit 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 is still super-annoying. Nobody likes cleaning spaghetti sauce off the curtains!
Here are 5 tips to deal with baby’s food-throwing stage:
1. Don’t react:
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!), 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.
2. Try a “no thank you” bowl:
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 into that bowl.
3. Sit with your baby while they eat:
If you’re across the kitchen doing dishes, maybe she’s throwing food to get your attention.
If you sit beside your baby, you can gently remove the piece of food they are about to fling from their fist. Or remind them of the “no thank-you bowl.” If you’re fast, that is!
4. Take a look at your baby’s set-up at the table:
First of all, buy a “splat-matt” to save your floor if it’s hard to clean. I like the hard plastic computer chairs mats.
If your baby is a “swiper” and just swipes food easily from the table on the floor, 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!
5. Offer smaller amounts of food:
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 your little one from the table if they start throwing half-way through the meal. They may no longer be hungry.
If they are still hungry, 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 below on Facebook.
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 Baby-led Weaning” here.
Founder of First Step Nutrition | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Jen believes raising happy, well-nourished eaters who have a healthy relationship with food doesn't have to be a battle! She is an author and speaker with 18 years of experience specializing in family nutrition and helps parents teach their kids to try new foods without yelling, tricking, or bribing.