Ah, the dreaded food-dropping stage. You prepare what you think is your baby’s favorite meal, only for them to drop every single item over the highchair tray and laugh as they watch it hit the floor. It’s frustrating and it hurts to think about the food waste, but it’s a normal part of the exploration process. Let’s talk about what to do if your baby is currently going through this stage.
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WHY IS MY BABY DROPPING FOOD ON THE FLOOR?
Before we get into what to do if your baby is dropping food, let’s talk about reasons why they may be doing so.
Babies are learning everyday and are fascinated by the cause-and-effect relationship. Seeing and hearing food drop to the floor as a result of throwing it is interesting for them! They may want the food but are curious to explore.
They don’t like it
Your baby won’t like everything you make and that’s ok! Don’t let that discourage you from consistently offering that food. Sometimes, it can take multiple attempts of offering a food item before a baby decides to give it a try!
They want to get out of their chair
Sometimes, babies begin to throw food on the floor as a sign of being done. They may also be bored with sitting in the chair or tired, so throwing food is their way of communicating that they want out! They may also simply not be hungry during a particular time.
WHAT TO DO WHEN BABY DROPS FOOD ON THE FLOOR
Sometimes food ends up on the floor by mistake, but other times it’s definitely intentional.
- Don’t react. This is definitely easier said than done. If your baby is purposely dropping food on the floor, try not to react. Babies are so smart and can definitely sense our energy. They love the chance to get a big reaction out of us, and having a big reaction may lead to them re-attempting the behavior in order to keep getting that reaction. Calmly remind them that food stays on the table.
- Eat with your baby. Try eating meals with your baby. Babies want your attention and may drop food on the floor in hopes of getting your attention, so sitting with them and sharing meals with them may help prevent this.
TO REPLACE OR NOT TO REPLACE THE FOOD?
There are different views on whether you should replace the food or not. Some support the idea that you shouldn’t replace the food at all so that baby gets the message that once the food is dropped, it’s gone for good. Others support the idea of repeatedly replacing food in case baby is still hungry but was just exploring how gravity works.
Try a medium between the two and replace the food 1-2 times. They may still be hungry, so try offering another serving to see if they will eat it. If your baby continues to drop the food, it may just be time to end the meal.
Know that it’s ok! It’s likely just a phase as your baby continues to grow and become more aware of their surroundings!
WHAT MY BABY ATE IN A DAY
Below is a sample of what my baby ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a particular day. The after plates look pretty clean, but those photos are only half of the story…
…Here’s the other half.
It can be a challenging time once our little ones discover the power that they have to drop food on the floor. My son made that discovery on this day and I felt like we were officially entering the dreaded food-dropping stage.
He dropped food on the floor during all of his meals and I tried to refrain from having a reaction. Each time, I calmly reminded him that food stays on the table. He may not have fully understood what I was saying, but babies are so smart and pick up on things quickly.
Dropping food is all a part of the process of learning cause and effect. Babies are exploring and learning new things every day, so if you’re also going through the floor dropping stage, just remember, as with many things, it is just a phase! Be patient and it will pass.
- Transitioning meals? Check out this post on transitioning from one to two to three meals a day.
- Have a picky eater? Check out this post on picky eating in toddlerhood.