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We've had no problems feeding our 10 months old baby, and in general she eats (almost) all her meals without complaining. However, she figured out a few weeks back that spitting out the food is fun, and unfortunately we thought it was fun too the first time and had a little laugh.

Now she thinks it's a way to entertain us, so she's spitting food in our faces almost every time we give her food, and several times each meal. She has a big smile on her face and is expecting us to laugh. It's not because she's full, she just thinks it's fun. And to be clear: I'm not talking about the way she would spit out food she doesn't like, I'm talking about spraying our faces and bodies with food. She does this with all types of foods, not just one type.

We've tried saying "no", "don't to that" and similar things, and we usually take a short break from feeding her after she's done it (she will continue doing it if we continue feeding her straight away).

Is there a way to make her understand that this is not OK? We have to either cover ourselves with something, or change clothes every time we feed her.

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You could try giving finger foods on the table and standing back. You break the habit by avoiding it. At this age, it will probably only take a day or two. Then you feed something with a spoon and if she spits, do not react. Just walk away and give finger foods. No reaction gives her no reason to act out. Then start again if necessary. I think she will get the message.

This is not in any way a withdrawal of affection or food. It is redirection, not punishment. If she spits, give a firm "no", or say nothing and give finger foods.

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Say it and mean it

As you already said for yourself, you thought her, that spitting food is funny, by reacting very positive to her doing that. To reverse this, you need to show her that it isn't funny.

The first part is to teach yourself that this is bad, because you can say "no" as much as you want if your body language tells otherwise.

Your reaction to food spitting needs to be negative, show open distaste and disapproval, even disappointment. Complain open about the extra work. You don't need to complain to her, you can just nag in general.

It will take a while, because she will need a view "attempts at being funny" to fail, before she will understand that this is not just situational but generally bad. And it is important that you don't teach her otherwise by reacting positive again.

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    I'm not a fan of the "Complain open about the extra work. You don't need to complain to her, you can just nag in general." part of your answer. As a former kid and a husband to a wife who ascribes to this theory I find it not useful in doing much but alienating the person who does the nagging. Just 2 cents to add - I do like the rest of the answer. – Adam Heeg Feb 15 '17 at 21:31
  • @AdamHeeg The core of my answer is, that she needs to know that you as her parents disagree, the more clear that is, the better. Nagging isn't necessary and only meant as a part of doing it, not a solution in itself. If you show disapproval in another way and she gets it, it is enough. – Etaila Feb 16 '17 at 12:10
  • This is it, you need to show her that it will not get her positive attention and laughs anymore. At 10 months, the most effective reaction is probably to look/act unhappy about the mess and immediately put her aside, ignoring her while you demonstratively clean up the mess. – Cyrus Feb 16 '17 at 12:42
  • In our house, we do use the approach of having a sort of theatrical conversation with each other to reinforce pleasure or disapproval about something to do with the kids' behavior. But with a 10-month-old, I don't imagine it would have any direct effect. You could still use it, because it expresses a lot through non-verbal means, it's really for a much more developed kid. – kmc Dec 5 '17 at 18:03

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