What To Do When Your Baby Has Too Much Food In Their Mouth

a baby boy shovels a hamburger into his mouth with starting solids

If you’ve been following along closely, you know that you should refrain from sticking your finger in your baby’s mouth to get food out.

I will admit, though, that I have done it before. The moment I remember the most was when Adie sucked a piece of chicken to obliteration and it stuck to the roof of her mouth. After a minute I couldn’t bear to let her struggle with it any more and I hooked my finger in and swiped it out fast.

Food stuck to the roof of the mouth aside, the best way in my opinion to handle situations where your baby has too much food in their mouth is to coach them to spit it out. In fact, many of you have asked me why my babies spit food out a lot! One of the reasons is because I taught them to. Another is probably more of a leftover reflex/muscle memory from a tongue thrust reflex (young babies’ tongues will almost always push something forward.) 

How to coach your baby to spit out food that is too much for them to chew (see video below):

  • Kneel next to your baby and ideally, below them. (So they don’t tip their head back to look at you)
  • Stick your own tongue dramatically and repeatedly say “Blaaaah” at the same time
  • Gently put your hand below their mouth so they understand you want to catch food
How to coach a baby to spit food out when they have too much food in their mouth.
Adie, 17 months, gets coached to stick her tongue out to spit out a too-big piece of bread in her mouth.

Practice this coaching daily until your baby 100% gets it. As your baby gets older and understands what you are saying more, you can replace the tongue motions with verbal instructions. (“Adie, stick your tongue out…”) Before you know it, your baby will pick it up and be able to independently handle most situations.

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