Toddler Spitting Out Food: Why & What To Do About It

Toddler Spitting Out Food: It’s aggravating to feed your child five spoonfuls of food that he or she propels out instead of swallowing (apparently after carefully stashing it deep down the throat beforehand!). It sure does NOT make for a relaxing family meal!

I’ve been quite proud of my little one for not following this pattern of conduct ever since deciding that baby food is the best thing in the world. He does, however, have his grouchy mornings (typically when I’m the most fatigued – it’s something to consider!) when keeping the food in his mouth isn’t as enjoyable for him.

I honestly don’t believe this behaviour stems from children disliking the food they’re provided. When it comes to my son, his well-thought-out tactic is to put my patience to the test. I know this since he only does it on rare occasions, at unexpected times, and even when he gets his favourite foods.

I’ve been working hard to find new ways to deal with this behaviour in a calm and patient manner because I don’t believe in harsh parenting (as much as I want to yell and scream some of the time!). If you believe in gentle parenting as well, you’ll appreciate these suggestions.

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Why Is My Toddler Spitting Out Food?

toddler spitting out food

Your toddler, who used to eat everything put in front of them (I mean, a LOT of food), is suddenly just chewing food and spitting it out for no apparent reason. Here are some explanations that may assist you in resolving the issue:

As they acclimate to a new meal texture, some children spit out new foods. This is usually a transitory reaction, and by the time they reach their first birthday, most toddlers are chewing and swallowing normally – and showing their defiance in different ways!

Give them another week or two to acclimate to the new textures and the realisation that they now have to chew their food if you’ve just started providing items with a little more texture.

Is it possible that they are indulging in food refusal in the hopes of getting a snack? If this is the case, at the first sign of it, consider removing all snacks (save fruit and cheese) to see if this boosts their motivation to consume proper food.

It’s possible that they’re just going through a phase. When you think about it, toddlers have very little influence over their lives. They are told what time they should go to bed, when they should go out, and what clothes they should wear. It’s hardly strange, then, that a child strives to control the one thing he or she has power over: the food that goes into or doesn’t go into their mouths.

It could be as simple as your toddler having had too much milk throughout the day (boobie, bottle or cup!).

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and you should consult a medical professional if you think there are sensory issues, a feeding disorder or other medical conditions (sore throat, inflamed taste buds etc) at play. Funnily enough, a speech therapist was the answer to our 2 year old son and his food issues – who knew!

Toddler Spitting Out Food: What To Do About It

toddler spitting out food

Try Not To React

Believe me, this is one of the hardest things to do – yet acting as if nothing has happened might occasionally send your child the message that the activity is too dull to perform. You’ll have a sloppy breakfast or two, but it’ll get monotonous after a while, and your child will give up – and eventually, less food will end up on your newly mopped floor.

Be Consistent And Firm

Your child may not understand the significance of your words just yet, but if you start practising early, you’ll have an easier time presenting all of your household rules further down the track. Use basic language and keep emphasising that spitting out the meal you served is improper, disrespectful, and cruel. It will take some time for your youngster to understand, but he or she will.

Make Sure They Have ”Their” Spoon

If you’re the one who feeds your child, it might be time they learn something new. Give them a spoon of their own during dinner so they may practise eating. They’ll probably forget about the spitting!

Bite-Sized Serving

Are you giving them too much food? To see whether size is the issue, try chopping it into small amounts – small pieces, combining it with something more “creamy,” or blending it. No one wants to eat a boring whole green bean just sitting on their plate, not even me!

Time-Out Time

Don’t be harsh, but time-out can help your child understand that spitting food is not acceptable. If my son does it repeatedly, I pop him in the ‘naughty corner’ (in the same room so he can see the easy way out is to just swallow his food!) until he complains. That’s usually when he reverts to just eating the food!

Make A Big Deal When They’re Good

Show your youngster how much you appreciate a pleasant, non-spitting meal. Give additional hugs and kisses, say something kind about how wonderful it was, or do something fun like go outside or play with favourite toys together.

Make Meals Fun and Relaxing

When children are uncomfortable and under pressure to eat, they may spit out their food. Make lunch a pleasurable experience rather than a forced one, especially if they are trying a different food or are a notoriously fussy eater.

Avoid Bribery

There are a variety of approaches you may use to convince your child to finish the food without fussing or spitting — get creative with some of them but try to avoid bribery. And remember, in the end – we all move on from pureed foods and start scoffing burgers!

Toddler Spitting Out Food: Essential Resources

The Molar Magician

If teething is the issue with your toddler’s eating issues, the Molar Magician could be your answer!

DinnerActive Dining Set

You’ll be surprised how effective a fun and interactive dining set will be!

Toddler Spitting Out Food: FAQs

  1. How do I stop my toddler from spitting out food? If your toddler is chewing and spitting out food, change her concentration to stop the behaviour. To re-direct her, provide a sip of a drink, set a new item on the tray, or start a discussion. If she keeps doing it, the supper should be over.
  2. Why is my 2 year old spitting? Spitting is a common tactic used by toddlers to gain attention. Spitting on someone will almost certainly result in a reaction. Preschoolers have a tendency to spit when they are angry. When they are unable to express their dissatisfaction verbally, they spit to convey how dissatisfied they are.
  3. How to get my toddler to eat solid food? If you put food on the middle of your tongue rather than the front, you might get some food back! Place the spoon between his lips and let him to suck the food off. A diversion may be required if he tries to seize the food or spoon. Allow him to play with finger foods or handle his own spoon.
  4. I’ve heard that people mix breast milk with food to get their toddler to eat, is this recommended? Whatever works! As long as the milk has been safely stored and brought to room temperature, then it could be a good idea.
  5. Why is my 13 month old spitting out food? As they become used to different food textures, some kids spit out new meals. This is frequently a very fleeting reaction. Frequently by the time they turn one, kids can safely swallow and fully chew age-appropriate table items like spaghetti, fruit cocktail, and small pieces of chicken.

Next step – keeping not only food in their mouth, but HEALTHY food! Fingers crossed that your child swallows their next mouthful – we are thinking of you over there covered in good – good luck!

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toddler spitting out food

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