Why Does My Baby Throw Food?
5 min read
Many babies love to drop their food. It’s an experiment, a learning process to see what will happen.
Usually, it results in a frustrated parent, a messy floor and a happy dog! It might also signal that your baby doesn’t want to eat the food, is becoming bored or frustrated with the mealtime and is seeking a reaction.
So, what should you do?
The best way to handle food throwing or dropping is to ignore it as much as you can. If picking the food up and putting it back on the plate encourages ‘the game’ it is best just to leave the food on the floor.
You can give your baby the instruction that “we don’t throw food” but try not to react. A grand reaction from a parent, even if it’s a frustrated reaction, can be enough to encourage a repeat performance.
Keep Portions Small
Sometimes, babies can feel overwhelmed when too much food is placed on their plate or tray. This can often result in food throwing.
Try putting small portions of food in front of your baby if they are prone to throwing their food. You can offer more if they are still hungry and want more.
Try a Discard Bowl
If your baby drops or throws the foods they don’t want to eat, try introducing a discard bowl or plate and teach your baby that they can place unwanted foods in here instead. This takes patience and lots of consistency but can be very effective.
Demonstrate what to do with unwanted foods by showing your baby and giving clear instructions such as “no. We don’t throw food. It goes in here.” Praise your baby when they use the discard bowl instead of the floor and ignore any food throwing. They will soon realise they receive attention and praise for using the bowl and get very little reaction when they drop or throw the food elsewhere.
Be a Role Model
Sitting and eating together with your baby is a great way to demonstrate eating behaviours. If your attention is focused on your baby during mealtimes and you are sat eating together, they are less likely to feel the need to throw their food in order to get your attention.
Call an End to the Meal
If you feel that your baby is throwing food because they’ve eaten enough or aren’t interested in the meal any longer, it’s best to call it a day.
Keeping your baby at the table or high chair for longer can result in them feeling frustrated at mealtimes. If your baby has been sat at the table for 15-20 minutes and shows signs that they’ve had enough, call it a day and try again at next mealtime. Even if they haven’t eaten much, it’s ok to move on and avoid the food throwing and frustrations.
Written by Catherine Lippe RNutr BSc(Hons)