messy eater...

Amy - posted on 04/04/2014 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My son tends to be a bit messy when i feed him solids. I guess all babies are prob pretty messy, but I'm thinking since we do not have a highchair for him (will be getting one in a couple weeks) that maybe that is a big part of the problem. I currently have to feed him in his bouncy chair which only has a small restraint strap which really doesn't do much good because he likes to move forward a lot and won't sit back and sit still. He also likes to grab his feet and try to suck on them and he just moves around way too much and he usually ends up getting his bib, or clothes, or the chair fabric or all of the above dirty/stained every time!!! I'm seriously thinking about stopping giving him solids until we get the highchair. It makes me so angry every time he makes a mess and stains his clothes or whatever else because he likes to drool all the time and of course some of the food comes out with the drool! Why does he have to be so messy??? Will it get better once we get the highchair??

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Kayla - posted on 04/04/2014

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It won't get better, kids are always messy. My kids take ONE bite of pudding and somehow it's all over their face. I really don't understand how that happens, but I don't really care!
Your life will be a lot less stressful if you relax a little about the messes :)
Side note: If anyone ever commented on my kids (sometimes) stained clothing while they are at home playing, or even out for that matter, let's just say they would get a mouthful from me!

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/07/2014

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Unfortunately, Amy, they do store these types of things in their brains. Not that you've done irrevocable damage, because you have not at this point, but if you were to continue, you would see more signs as he grows up.

Never fear, though, because you are an intelligent young woman who is striving to do your best at being a mom. We all do things (especially at first) that we may realize later wasn't as beneficial as we'd thought it may be. Nothing wrong with that at all, it just means that we're human.

I'm more concerned that you'll stress yourself out to the point where you won't be an effective mom, or spouse. You'll learn as you go that being able to relax about things makes it easier on all of you. Hang in there, continue to modify as needed.

You ARE a great mom. I can see that, simply by virtue of the research and questions that you're willing to undertake!

Amy - posted on 04/07/2014

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thanks for the feedback/advice everyone! well I know it's only been 2-3 days since I originally posted, but I have not gotten angry/frustrated with his feedings since then per advice from all of you and the feedings seem to be going well (not that they weren't going well before--minus my getting frustrated of course). but it's a work in progress...

do you guys think he remembers when I get angry about these things? i know his memory isn't extremely lengthy, but do you think he stores these sorts of things away in his brain? I hate for him to see me (or anyone) get so angry and I don't want to screw him for when he is older and/or have him turn out to be a bad/misbehaving kid because he saw his mommy get angry for stupid reasons when he was little... :(

i know i need to relax, and i'm working on it, but it's hard when you're an extremely clean and organized person as i am.

and patricia, i'm going to work on letting him eat in just his diaper more often (I never let him just play around in the house or anything in just his diaper---he's always clothed!). can't wait for the highchair!

and firebird, i mean i guess i really shouldn't be too mad when the messes happen cuz i can be pretty clumsy sometimes and i drop/spill my own food more often than i'd like to admit! well i have been waiting for the 6 month mark so i could get these solids started--if for nothing else, to get him used to using a spoon and becoming a big boy. i want him to learn/become acquainted with everything he can as soon as he can.

Firebird - posted on 04/07/2014

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Ah ha ha it doesn't get better. Just last night my 9 year old daughter dropped a bowl of pudding onto both her feet and my carpet! You really need to lower your expectations. btw just because your kid is six months old, it doesn't mean solid food is mandatory. My daughter was at least 8 months old before I gave her solid food.

Patricia - posted on 04/06/2014

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How about undressing him and keeping him in just his diaper during feedings? He's going to make a mess regardless, so at least this way he won't dirty a fresh set of clothes. Then wipe him down afterward. It will get a little better once he's in a high chair, but not completely. Kids are messy! Good luck to you!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/04/2014

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I promise, Amy, no one else expects a baby to be perfectly unstained all the time, either. ;-) Especially if they've got kids of their own.

The thing is, you can either have everything perfect, be more stressed about perfect, and eventually drive yourself crazy, (Thus my 'full body bib' comment) or you can learn early in your child raising days how to find a compromise that will satisfy your 'neatnik' desires, while still allowing your kids to be kids without fear that momma will be angry because they got dirty.

Right now, even though your son is only 6 months old, he's learning from your reactions. You get angry when he gets messy. He knows this, and as he grows up, if you continue to be angry at every bit of dirt, he'll start obsessively trying to please you, possibly even going to the extent of hiding something that may possibly upset you because he accidentally got it dirty.

Everyone is human. No one is perfect, nor should we be! Could you imagine what a boring existence it would be if everyone were?

You, by the way, are doing just fine with your research and your questions. Continue! But, always remember that you'll want to adapt any advice to fit your particular situation. There's never going to be a 'one size fits all' solution to anything!

Most of all, honey, ENJOY this time, as messy as it is, because you will soon miss it. Mine are almost 20 and 16. They passed the 'cute little kid' stage long ago, and now, I sometimes wish that I'd been a little more lenient about one or two things. I definitely miss them being messy little boys. Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely ecstatic that they've matured into well rounded young adults, but every once in awhile, I'll look at my oldest, realize he's almost a foot taller than I am, and really miss the cuddly times...

Amy - posted on 04/04/2014

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2. well no i don't plan on hand feeding him forever, but i figured it would prob be awhile before he's doing all that on his own--messy or not--but we'll see i guess...

3. ew, no full body bibs! yeah i suppose i could just have him only in his diaper for the feedings, but i've always had him clothed no matter what. he's never playing around in just his diaper. i'll prob try the 'just diaper' route for feedings now though.. well i consider all his clothes 'public' clothes--they're all very nice and very clean. and what if someone stopped by our home unexpected? I don't want them to see him in stained clothes (all be it they are prob freshly laundered, just permanently stained). plus, what if he's doing something super cute where i want to take a photo and he's in these stained, 'around the home' clothing items? can't take a photo in that kinda stuff.....

4. well i suppose my compromise is going to have to be having him in only a diaper during feedings and me keeping a close eye on him while he figures out what all this 'fun food' is.....

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/04/2014

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1) Great. I'm glad you recognize that.

2) so, you're planning on hand feeding the child until he's the age that you determine he will never, ever drop anything, or make a mess? Good luck with that. They don't learn unless you let them do. If you are so afraid of a little mess that you "didn't plan on giving him a bowl of food and a spoon and letting him go at it himself---i would be holding the bowl, i would control of the spoon "...how do you expect him to learn?

3) If you're that obsessive about clean clothing on your child 24/7, I suggest you get some full body bibs that you can put him in each time his clothing has the slightest chance of becoming dirty. Either that, or you can take the simple route of taking his clothing off before feeding, eliminating the 'time consuming' routine of stopping in the middle of feeding...etc. He should already have a different set of 'public' clothes that you put on when going out so that he's 'perfect' all the time...save some of the stained ones for use at home. Stains don't stop just because kids get older. That's a full time deal.

4) If you cannot afford to invest in an inexpensive carpet cleaner, then lay out plastic sheets under the high chair. If you insist on 'replacing' every single item that gets stained every single time it happens, you're going to drive yourself nuts, as well as into the poorhouse. Learn to compromise.


What is more important to you: A perfectly kept house, with letter perfect family, or A HAPPY, WELL ADJUSTED family? Because sometimes, those two things do NOT coincide, and one must learn how to bend.

Amy - posted on 04/04/2014

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1. i understand babies are going to be messy. and i do know that most of the nutrients up until 12 months comes from breast milk or formula and that these solids are mostly used to help the baby learn how to eat off of a spoon and so on so i am trying to get him to understand how to eat off of the spoon and keep all the food in his mouth

2. well when i put him in the highchair i didn't plan on giving him a bowl of food and a spoon and letting him go at it himself---i would be holding the bowl, i would control of the spoon unless he wanted to help hold/feed himself... is that what parents do? once their little one is in a highchair they just give the baby the bowl of food and let them do whatever they want with it??? if that's the norm, count me out.

3. it's just very time consuming to have to stop in the middle of a feeding to take his clothes off all the way down to his diaper because he's dropped food onto his clothes, soak those clothes/bib in cold water so the stain doesn't set in and then put him back in the bouncy chair in his diaper and continue feeding. ...then rinse out the clothes a bit later and let them dry and add them to the laundry basket and then when he finishes we'll have to go back in his bedroom and pick out a whole new outfit. i wish i had tons of money to be able to just let him stain his clothes, throw them away, and just go buy something to replace it but i don't.

4. i never expected him to be perfectly behaved (but i always hoped), but for example, i just cannot afford to have a stained carpet because he's thrown pureed strawberries onto the carpet (we currently rent and do not own our home so we need to be careful of stains and so on), or go replace every onesie or pair of pants he stains while eating. i'm working on being more lax about it, but i gotta say, it's pretty tough for a mom whose a very tidy person and rarely leaves toys laying around.

Unfortunately, messes and unorganization do not sit well with me. a messy house can totally ruin my day/mood so i'm always on the go cleaning up the house, cleaning bottles/filling them up, doing dishes and so on....

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/04/2014

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1) at 6 months, solids are 'fun food' they are not necessary, they are for getting used to eating. Yes, they're messy. Every kid is messy. You were messy, your husband was messy, your parents were messy. Its not going to get 'better' until he is old enough to understand how to use utensils, napkins, and table manners. A child from birth to the age of 12 months or so gets most of his nutrients from breast milk or formula. Solids are not necessary at this age, which is why they call them 'fun foods'

2) Once you set him in a high chair, food in front of him, let the projectile throwing commence. In other words, no it won't get less messy for a bit.

3) Anyone who gets upset at messes and children having stained clothes needs to step back and realize that your idea of perfectly clean will need to be adjusted if you have children. Never once did I say I was a perfect parent. Why? Because I'm not. However, I learned early on, well before having my own kids, that you cannot be perfect and have kids too. It doesn't work that way. The more relaxed you are, the easier being a parent will be. Getting angry at a 6 month old for messy eating is what gives me the indicator that you are perhaps not quite ready! Do you get pissed when he shits his diaper too?

I've known a plethora of women who expected their infants to be prissy perfect from day one. The ones who learn early that kids aren't perfect, they're messy little people who need to be enjoyed and taught as they grow tend to be happier, both as parents, and as full families. Those who stress out and get angry with a 6 month old because they are messy eaters and staining their clothing (for example) tend to be the same ones who, later on, don't understand why their kids are behaving in a manner contrary to how they want them to behave.

In other words, honey, RELAX. Learn to live with a mess here and there, and how to enjoy your life with your family.

I'm not perfect, and my house is a friggin mess. BUT My kids can tell you that they've always been happy, healthy, well adjusted (if slightly messy) people, and I've enjoyed my time with them a heck of a lot more than I would have had I been a perfectionist.

Amy - posted on 04/04/2014

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hey. maybe you could be just the tiniest bit nice... just a thought. we do not know each other and i THOUGHT this was a place for mom's to go and vent/get advice/help/suggestions and so on and not a place for mom's to bash one another.

yes i have a lot of questions and i'm sorry, but i don't think there's a darn thing wrong with that. so in regards to your lovely responses:

1. he's 6 months old, so he is plenty old for solids. he loves them and eats them like a champ---he's just messy! he's been reaching for things and playing with his feet for months and i don't think he's going to stop anytime soon.. so would you prefer i wait to feed him solids until he stops doing those things? what if he continues reaching for/'eating' his feet until 10 months? am i supposed to wait until he's 10 months old to feed my son solids? and i'm pretty sure he'll be reaching for things for the rest of his life so does that mean i never feed him solids? i mean come on...

2. i figured it would be messy, but i'm hoping it will get better when he gets the highchair because at least the mess will be in a confined space (tray) and he won't be able to move around quite so much...

3. i actually have a lot of understanding about my child's development as i am always reading articles, books and so on about babies. i also always google any questions i have, post questions on here/look up other peoples questions and the responses, always have pages of questions for his pediatrician and am just always in general looking things up and researching things baby-related. i suppose maybe that is my downfall---i'm looking up too much and have too much information---there's so many different opinions out there about what's right or wrong for babies and i never know what to believe. thanks, but i don't need a parenting class.

And lastly, who are you to say i am not set up to be a parent?! I would almost bet you are not the world's #1 mom, so you shouldn't be saying such a rude comment. I just have tons of questions and always want to find the right answer and do the right thing and it can get very frustrating trying to find exactly the right thing to do. and since you don't know me you would not know that i am a VERY clean and organized person and no, i do not like messes/dirty or stained clothes and so on.

but thanks for your comments.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/04/2014

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Oh good grief! HE'S A BABY!!!!! Babies are messy! Did you seriously think that they pop out, knowing proper table etiquette and everything?

First of all, if he's still at the reaching, and eating his feet stage, he's NOT ready for solids. Stop.

Second, when he IS ready for solids, high chair or not, it's going to be messy. To kids, food is fun, and it's to be played with before eating.

Third, if you have this little understanding about your child's development, may I suggest that you enroll in a parenting class NOW!

You are not really set up to be a parent. Not if you get angry because an infant is not perfectly clean 24/7.

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