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I've just started feeding my daughter solids, and I would like to teach her to not blow raspberries while there is food in her mouth (which is cute, but messy.)

Is it possible to communicate to her what it is she shouldn't be doing, or is she too young to understand? If she is old enough to understand, should I make an issue of this?

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I suspect this may be beyond her understanding at this age, but it's a good question and I look forward to seeing some of the answers. This will be very applicable for me soon. –  William Grobman Sep 3 '11 at 3:44
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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Raspberries are sounds that babies begin to produce between 4-6 months of age and can be made by blowing air through lax lips (bilabial) or by placing the tongue between the lips and blowing (lingua-labial). Raspberries precede the developmental stage of babbling and result from a child's efforts to gain oral motor control needed for later speech development.

As such, raspberries are a milestone to be celebrated. Granted they are not very appropriate when eating.

I suggest that you have times during the day when you give your full attention to the raspberry play with lots of smiles and encouragement, but during mealtime, discourage the behavior through stark contrast.

Focus on refusing to reward the behavior by turning away and waiting until the raspberries stop before resuming feeding. Be consistent and if necessary use words and facial expressions to increase understanding.

Very young children respond to tone of voice and facial expression even when they cannot understand speech. Saying "no" firmly with a matching "no fun" face helps a youngster to understand that this behavior is not appropriate at this time. Smiling or saying "no" in a playful voice sends mixed messages and the word becomes meaningless.

Be consistent and know that this too shall pass all too quickly.

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Thank you for explaining what raspberries mean! As a non-native English speaker, the word seemed totally out of context. Is there really no other word for it? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 3 '11 at 20:25
    
The professional term really is bilabial and lingua-labial raspberries, at least that is what I was taught. I see some related professions call it a "trill". –  Marie Hendrix Sep 3 '11 at 20:52
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In theory you can teach many things, even to very young kids, just by pure repetition and patience, but here the time you would spend teaching her to not do that, she would have gone to something else anyway.

should I make an issue of this

I would not. I made an issue of my kid bitting his mother, which happened a bit later, mostly because there was a bit of violence testing in it. But your baby's raspberries are very innocent.

My advice: Keep your patience and energy for more important things, you will need both.

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This would be my tactic, I've found that my kids respond to actions that I respond to, if I find it funny or act in an approving manner I will more than likely see that behavior again. If I ignore it, then it lessens the chance of that behavior repeating. Raspberries during eating are minor, you'll have larger items coming once mobility arrives. –  MichaelF Sep 6 '11 at 10:07
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Does your daughter have the chance to watch you eat (sitting in a high chair, swing, exersaucer, etc during meal times)? She will try to copy how you eat because she wants to be just like you.

Another possibility is that she just doesn't like the food you're giving her and wants it out of her mouth.

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