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Every parent will experience their toddler spitting out food. You won’t be able to avoid it. The only thing you can do is understand why it’s happening. Then find the source, and work on ways to get your toddler to stop spitting out their food.
Over the last few years, many factors can affect a toddler’s development. Spitting out food might be a sign of something significant or something minor. Although it can be frustrating, yelling, screaming, and upsetting your toddler, even more will not solve the problem.
Sometimes it can be medical conditions that you will have to look into to see if that is the issue. For example, with my son, my husband and I discovered that at six months. He needed to have help with eating solid foods.
I wrote a blog post about my son’s experience with his journey to eating solid foods. Check out my post on my son’s infant frenectomy.
In the post, I talk about my son’s journey with breast milk, my six month old son having to start different types of therapies to help with his oral training, and how we recovered.
This post is about your toddler spitting out food.
Behavioral Problems in Toddlers
When you first notice that your toddler is spitting out food, you might not think it might be medically connected. A lot of times, if you are introducing new foods to your toddler, they spit food if it’s something that doesn’t taste good to them, like crunchy foods, foods with different textures, or even foods with other spices.
While they need to try new foods since they help with oral motor skills, getting your toddler to eat the foods needed for your baby’s diet is not always easy.
If you give your toddler little bites of food and they still start to spit it out, then the first thing to do is see why they are doing it. You can take a firm voice with them, but you never want to yell and scream at your toddler because they spit out the food.
There could be different factors as to why they have decided to spit out the food, so it’s always good to keep those things in mind.
Throwing, playing in, or not touching the food can make you upset. Take a deep breath. Remember that most healthy babies don’t consume all the foods they are given, so it’s normal for them to play with new and “difficult textures” for them.
Sometimes you can have too much food on their plate, and toddlers will shove all the food in their mouths, which is another reason they are spitting out their food.
Always look for different ways of introducing foods to them in small pieces to see if you can correct the behavior. If you find that you are doing all those things and your toddler spits out the food, you need to move to the next step and seek help.
Parent-Child Power Struggles
If it wasn’t discovered when your child was an infant, you might be wondering why your child is apprehensive about trying new foods. If you have taken your child to health care providers to see if they were able to discover what the issue is. You find that it’s not anything medical, then the food refusal might be from something else.
Toddlers will go through a phase where they will be picky eating almost everything. But the goal is to figure out why they aren’t eating certain items. Sometimes toddlers, if they go to daycare, will have their new experience of food with their friends but come home and not eat the same thing.
Sometimes F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) plays a role in why toddlers are picky. It’s a normal developmental stage for toddlers to mimic what they see with their peers but do not feel the need to do the same thing at home.
The age will determine if you should try time outs for your toddler if they are not eating certain foods. Time outs might not be an appropriate method of discipline if they don’t understand why they are being punished. Always talk to your doctor about the best and proper ways of disciplining your child.
Pediatric Feeding Therapist
As mentioned earlier in this post, I talked about how my son needed to have a procedure to fix his feeding issue. My husband and I discovered that my son would not eat solid food at the three-month appointment.
We later found out that our child’s mouth would not open up wide enough for our son to take in even small amounts of food. Which we thought made him a fussy eater. But it really was because he couldn’t put a lot of food in his mouth.
After talking with our doctor, we looked into going to a pediatric feeding specialist. Who works hand in hand with an occupational therapist to get our son to eat. The therapist can further determine if your child has a feeding disorder.
If you find that your baby or toddler is only infant formula, then that is when you need to seek help. You don’t want your child to be suffering.
Often toddlers will have a better chance of eating finger foods which may not always be the healthiest option. At the time, our feeding specialist recommended this baby food for our son, and he really enjoyed it.
You may also find that your toddler is not consuming foods because of a tongue-thrust reflex which prevents them from eating solids. As an adult, I discovered that I have a tongue-thrust that I inadvertently passed on to my son, which caused his feeding issues.
Think about what other possible causes of them not eating that might be something you have and might not know.
Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes
Planning a family meal with a toddler can be stressful. You want to introduce so many different foods to your toddler. But you also want to make sure that you make food the rest of the family will enjoy.
Check out my blog post about meal ideas for toddlers if you are looking for a wide variety of foods for your babies and toddlers.
Start with pureed foods if you have a younger toddler or baby. And want to stop them from spitting out food. Here are some excellent foods that will allow your child to taste new textures.
- Green bean
- Sweet Potato
To graduate to more complex foods, here are a few options that toddlers like and shouldn’t have an issue eating.
- Chicken Nuggets
- French Fries
- Hot Dog
For most of these meals, you will be feeding your child while sitting in a high chair, and if you go to a speech therapist, you will recommend you start feeding your child in them anyway. At the first sign that you notice your child swallows hard, or it takes them a lot of work to finish a meal, that is when you want to seek advice and help.
Sensory Issues in Toddlers
There is a connection between toddlers’ behaviors and sensory issues. Sometimes it’s a big deal that you have a hard time getting your toddler spitting out food to stop. If you find that your two year old is not having any luck eating, it’s a good idea to get them tested for autism.
Having sensory difficulties discovered early can lead to your child having a fulfilling and productive life.
Autistic children participate socially as thriving people in our society, so don’t consider it wrong. It will be good to take your child to a specialist for informational purposes. To see if there is a reason to escalate this or not.
Most of the sensory issues are discovered by the first birthday of an older baby. Sometimes it can be particular foods that cause it. You might have to change your baby’s diet. Or you might have to offer less food to see if that will help them eat.
Growth spurts can also factor in your child’s taste buds changing. So it s a good idea to keep an eye on them.
If you are unsure, at the next meal, look at how your child interacts with food. A healthy relationship with food will only benefit you and your toddler as they age. Good luck in your journey of parenting a toddler spitting out food.