15 answers

Baby Constantly Spits Food


My daughter who is almost 1 year old, recently started to spit her food out. She thinks this is funny. She basically will not swallow anything but milk. She has never refused her food before. I am not sure how to handle this problem. I have looked her in the eye and said "No" very sternly on a few occassions, but she laughs or sometimes appears teary eyed, but then continues to spit her food and laugh. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Featured Answers

L., sounds like the baby is ready for solid foods.. Think about it would you want to eat strained food all the time when you know there is other food out there..lol
That's usually the first sign that a baby is ready to put the babyfood down n sit up to the table with the rest of the family. Good Luck

More Answers

Try giving her fun foods. Foods that she likes to eat or characters that she likes. My 21/2 year old use to do the same thing until I found fun finger foods that she likes.


I suggest using the technique of behavioral reinforcement. Only reward the behavior you want to see. She may think that the attention she is getting is a reward, even if you are saying "no". She doesn't really know the difference between positive attention and negative attention.

Here's how it will work:
1. When she spits out food, turn your back to her or turn your head. (only if this can be done safely) Do not turn your attention back until she has stopped laughing or stopped forcing out that bit of food.
2. When she swallows any bit of food, no matter how tiny, say "Yeah, you are eating" or something like that.

It is that simple. It will get harder before it gets better, but you have to be consistent. Let me know if her responses change at all. Good luck!!


my daughter who is one does the same thing. she loves it when i say NO really sternly and just laughs and laughs. i have found that ignoring her (not looking at her, not saying NO, really just not responding) works better. after a few moments of no attention she is ready to eat again. hope that helps.

L., sounds like the baby is ready for solid foods.. Think about it would you want to eat strained food all the time when you know there is other food out there..lol
That's usually the first sign that a baby is ready to put the babyfood down n sit up to the table with the rest of the family. Good Luck

Hi L.,

Mom, babies spit out food. Wait until she is ready to eat, then give her the food.

Good luck. D.

My son did this for a couple days with food I fed him. He's getting his molars in and wasn't hungry much at all. Could be teething!

Hi L.,

I am reading this and cracking up with laughter, because my son is 13 months and does the same thing, but he does it with his water rather than food. He will take a sip of his water and let it drool out of his mouth to soak up his shirt and he thinks it is hilariuos. I also tell him "No" very sternly, but it doesn't seem to phase him. I find myself constantly having to change his shirts because he has drenched his shirt from spitting out the water. He still does it, so i guess i have no advice for you, but just wanted to vent that you are not alone...LOL. Good Luck

I'm with Windy - the way to change her behavior is to communicate, have consequences and be consistent. Sounds harsh in those words, but the same theory applies whether she's 1, 10 or 17.

So, in this case, say 'No spitting your food, food is for eating" (or "food is for your belly") when you start out, then give her one more warning the first time she does it, then calmly take away the food and all the utensils/bowls and take her down from the table. Make sure you say something about if she's spitting then she must be all done eating or not hungry or something. After the first time or two, I wouldn't even give her the second warning, just tell her when you start and then clear everything away the first time she does it.

She'll probably be upset and cry the first couple of times you do it, after all you're taking away something she's playing with, but she'll learn quickly that food is for eating, not for spitting out.

Don't worry, she won't go hungry. The little dickens understand us far more than they can communicate back, so she'll pick it up pretty quickly. The key is to stay calm and deal with it the same way each time, then she learns what to expect will happen next (after she spits). When she does eat well, you can praise her and make a show of checking her mouth and belly to see 'where it went'. = ) Or you can say something like "don't eat MY cheerios (or whatever food)" and pretend you want it when you give it to her, and she'll either race to gobble it up or try to give it to you (sometimes it can backfire, if they are being generous or don't like the food. = ) Make it a little fun and the learning process will go faster. My 4 1/2 year old still tells me at the dinner table "say don't eat it, Mommy" just because she likes the fun of it when we do that - she knows fully well that I want her to eat what's on her plate.

Good luck!

Yeah, this is a weird little phase. It lasts longer for some kids too. Try to ignore the behavior. Once she spits, just calmly clean up and remove her food. She's a year old so she won't starve by any means. When she doesn't get the reaction or the food to spit, she might ge the hint. Plus, when she turns up hungry she will realize, oh I need to swallow that.

If you remain consisent with that for a a few days to a week, and it still persists, you may consider giving her somewhere she can spit. My boys are allowed to spit water in the tub. Then when they see other kids spitting, my three year old tries to remind them, "Only in the tub!" It's actually kinda funny, but it's worked really well.

My daughter did this for a while too. We were able to nip it in the bud by trying very hard not to laugh (and to ask those around us not to laugh either). If she did it consistently, I'd take the food away. That seemed to work Good luck!!! For us, I think she just wanted the reaction our of us and when we stopped laughing about it, she got bored with it!

Try letting her feed herself.
When my one year old started spitting out her food, she also gave us cues that she wanted what we were eating. Maybe she is ready for table food...
Try including her in your meal, and supplementing with the baby food only when you are eating something she won't eat.
Good luck!

I had a version of this with my daughter when she was a bit older than yours - she loved to put her fingers down her throat and make herself throw up. What I would recommend is when you put her in her chair - tell her no spitting - and if she does spit out her food - the meal is over. When she does it, because she will, pick up all food items, including those in her hands and get up from the table, saying "no, no, lunch is over, no spitting" at which point, when you take away her "currency", she'll probably cry. Keep doing that until she gets the point. She won't go hungry, trust me, when she's hungry enough, she'll eat correectly. Good Luck!

My daughter spit out food, but mainly became really fussy about eating solids. Things she had formerly loved she would spit out. The phase didn't last long.

When she would spit out, I would take it as an indication she wasn't hungry. I would clean up the food.

If she was still hungry, I would nurse her.

My daughter is now 15 months and is a mannerly and neat eater for the most part. However, I still need to look for her cues of when she is done. If she is left with food when she is no longer hungry she thinks up things to do with it, such as throwing it on the floor (we bought a clear plastic drop cloth for under her chair).

Dear L.,

This is much funnier for babies than for moms, that's for sure! From my experience, the best way to deal with it is to say 'no,' and calmly end the meal.

If there is fussing, just tell her, "I'm sorry you didn't want to eat-- we'll try again at dinner time." Keep the normal meal schedule, and when she's hungry, she'll eat. The key is not to make it more fun with funny faces and upset voice-- don't let her push your buttons!

Best of luck!

Are you introducing solids? My son started to spit food out when we started introducing solids. It was because of the new textures and he wasn't very trusting of what we were putting into his mouth. Try not to react at all, but keep offering. She will probably outgrow it.

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