So you have a Messy Eater; no need to worry!

So you have a Messy Eater; no need to worry!

Do you feel like you have a mini Newton testing gravity every time food comes out? Well throwing food is a completely normal part of the starting solids journey. Just like Newton your bub is testing the way food drops, splats and explodes when thrown. And there is usually one of two reasons why your bub has turned researcher around mealtime. 

Messy eating fingers in bowl

​Reason #1 • Cause and Effect

​Bub is seriously playing scientist! They are keen to see what happens when they throw food - does it make a noise? What will gravity do with a piece of soft carrot vs mums pasta sauce? 


This is all part of their sensory development. This could include your child getting pasta sauce all over their face to “learn” about it. This can be messy, but it is important to let your child get familiar with new foods.


Our top tip for dealing with this is a splat mat and an apron that covers the arms. Then get involved get them to dip things in and out, and feel the sauce - it at least makes this stage enjoyable for you rather than frustrating. 

​Reason #2 • Common Issues

​Issue #1 | Bub is just not hungry.

Your baby may be telling you that their belly is full! Is your little one drinking formula & breastmilk just before mealtime? Is there a lot of snacking happening throughout the day?

A good place to start is to treat formula or breast milk as a starter before a solid meal and offer milk after mealtime if they are still hungry. Try playing around with the timing of milk and you may find your little one may be far more interested in food. 

​Issue #2 | Motor Skills

Bub might be having a hard time picking up, grasping and holding onto food.

Check the size of food you are offering bub, is it too difficult for them to take from their bowl to their mouth? Experiment and see which sizes work best.


The motor skills that babies and toddlers are developing during mealtimes include:


  • Handling utensils
  • Picking up food with their pincer grip or pincer grasp
  • Mastering hand-eye coordination when bringing food up to their mouths 

While there are some utensils and plates that can help minimise mealtime mess, toddlers are still likely to get messy while practising these skills. So again look for a splat mat and get involved in the motor skill development and you will find it less frustrating in the long run. 


It can be exhausting the starting solids journey for mum and bub. But just remember we are on your team. Join our village today and let us take the hard part of mealtime away. 

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