Between the age of 1 to 2 years old, a baby is growing at a very rapid pace and they need nutrition to support their growth and development. Food taste in humans develops very early in life. Ensure that your baby’s diet is rich and full of nutrients that
Tips to start introducing new food to your toddler
- Encourage your child to join you when you are having food as a family. After your baby reaches a year in age, you can eat the same food. Just make sure to give them a smaller portion.
- Introduce healthy food options to them so that they feel like they have an option to choose from yet they are still having healthy items.
- Make sure that the food you cook is less spicy so that it is easy for the baby to eat it.
- Give your baby their own utensils that are easier to use such as their own plate, mug, spoons, and fork. The normal size utensil would be too big for the baby to hold. Giving them a smaller size utensil will make it easier for them to learn to hold and grip it.
- Allow your baby to eat by themselves if they want and offer for help when they need it.
- Cook food that can be eaten by hand as it can encourage them to eat by themselves.
- Try to make the food interesting and colorful for your baby. One way to get your baby’s attention is by introducing color. You can also introduce new textures and flavors.
- Be open to the criticisms. If your baby doesn’t like something, don’t force them to eat it.
- Patience is very important while teaching your baby about solid foods.
Food portions and meal frequency
A toddler baby should have about three big meals a day and in between these meals, you can offer them two to three snacks. It is normal for them to sometimes want more than this or even skip a meal or two. You cannot force food on your toddler if they aren’t hungry enough. It is important to remain patient and listen to their needs.
Normally, a baby of 12 – 24 months of age will eat above 1/4th of an adult’s meal portion. Don’t feel worried if your baby’s portion is slightly more or less than that.
Try to respond to their needs and offer them food as they want to have.
- Along with solid food, it is important to ensure that your baby consumes about 8 ounces of water everyday.
- You can also offer your baby fruit juices but do not allow them to eat more than 4 ounces in a day. Encourage them to eat fruits instead of an option for its juices.
Food you shouldn’t let a 12-24 months old eat
- Large chunks of food that aren’t sliced to suit a toddler that can cause choking.
- Chewing gums
- Hard candies and jellies
- Seeds and beans
- Carbonated drinks and caffeine
- If your child is not getting regular sunlight exposure, with your doctor’s recommendation, they might need Vitamin D supplements.
- Babies are supposed to get their iron intake through food. If their iron levels are low, the growth and development of their brain is impacted. So, sometimes it is possible to get a recommendation for iron supplements.
- If your child is at risk of deficiency of any nutrient based on the diet and the environment factors, your doctor might recommend further vitamins and supplements.
Healthy food items
It is important to make sure that your child is eating healthy nutrition rich food from all the food groups. Your baby needs iron, calcium, carbs, protein and all the healthy nutrients necessary for its growth and development.
When you are making food add items from all the food groups. A balanced diet includes vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, cereals, potatoes, rice and so on. Don’t worry if you cannot include all of these foods in every meal, but make sure to give them a varied diet.
Your baby will definitely need snacks in between their meals. Unlike an adult munching on a bag of chips or candies a child needs to have a healthy snack habit. Some healthy snack options are:
- Cut up fruits like bananas or cucumbers
- Sliced or cut up vegetables that you can offer them with healthy dipping options
- Healthy cut up breads as sandwiches.
Breastfeeding in the second year
If your baby has been breastfed for upto a year, you can continue to do so until you decide to wean at your arrangement. As long as both you and your baby are happy, you can continue breastfeeding alongside other solid foods. There is an option to give your baby whole milk. They can get the required amount of calcium and vitamin D from the milk.
- Feeding & Nutrition Tips: Your 2-Year-Old: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Feeding-and-Nutrition-Your-Two-Year-Old.aspx
- Foods and Drinks for 6 to 24 Month Olds: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/index.html
- Feeding Your Baby and Toddler (Birth to Age Two): https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/your-child/feeding-your-baby-toddler
- Nutrition for healthy term infants, six to 24 months: An overview: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276390/
- Feeding your baby: 1–2 years: https://www.unicef.org/parenting/food-nutrition/feeding-your-baby-1-2-years
- Feeding Your 1- to 2-Year-Old: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/feed12yr.html
- What to feed your baby: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/weaning/what-to-feed-your-baby/12-months/
- ABCs of Growing Healthy Kids: 12 to 24 Months: https://extension.psu.edu/abcs-of-growing-healthy-kids-12-to-24-months