Archive for the ‘toddler feeding’ Category

My son Cooper is a big eater. I have never worried that he is not eating enough for long. He has had moments of eating like a bird, but he quickly returns to having a healthy appetite. My twin girls don’t eat as much and it started to stress me out. They are getting about 20-24oz of breastmilk or whole milk currently so I know they are not drinking too much. The girls just don’t eat a ton. So I start to research a little more about how much they should be eating. What I found helped me calm down and realize they were just fine.

A toddler should eat a tablespoon of food per food group for their meal. A one year old portion size is 1 tablespoon, while a two year old portion size is 2 tablespoons. And furthermore, a 3 year old’s portion size is 3 tablespoons per food group. But please remember that every toddler is different and has a different appetite. It is okay if your toddler eats more than the allotted tablespoon amount. My son defiantly eats more than his recommended amount and his pediatrician confirmed that toddlers cannot overfeed themselves under the age of 3.

So a typical day of eating for a one year old might look like this:
~ 20-24oz of breastmilk, formula, or wholemilk is the norm for this age
1 tablespoon fruit
1 tablespoon grain (bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeals, etc.)
1 tablespoon protein (yogurt, egg)
Mid-Morning Snack
1 tablespoon grain, veggie, or fruit
1 tablespoon of grains (bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeals, etc.)
1 tablespoon of veggies
1 tablespoon of protein
Afternoon Snack
1 tablespoon grain, veggie, or fruit
1 tablespoon of diced fruit
1 tablespoon of grains (bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeals, etc.)
1 tablespoon of veggies
1 tablespoon of protein

So a typical day of eating for a 2 year old might look like this:
~ Check with your pediatrician on how much milk you toddler should have at this age. Many pediatricians will advise to switch to 2% milk at this age and to continue to keep milk consumption under 24oz.
2 tablespoon fruit
2 tablespoon grain (bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeals, etc.)
2 tablespoon protein (yogurt, egg)
Mid-Morning Snack
2 tablespoon grain, veggie, or fruit
2 tablespoon of grains (bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeals, etc.)
2 tablespoon of veggies
2 tablespoon of protein
Afternoon Snack
2 tablespoon grain, veggie, or fruit
2 tablespoon of diced fruit
2 tablespoon of grains (bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeals, etc.)
2 tablespoon of veggies
2 tablespoon of protein

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My daughters Anna and Molly have quit eating Baby Cereal. This would be okay if they ate enough iron, drank formula, and ate plenty of grains in their diet- but they are not. They eat very little iron, are still breastfeed, and are still not eating a ton of finger foods that are grains. So I went on quest to find some recipes that utilize iron fortified baby cereals that I felt like my daughters would eat.

Baby Cereal Pancakes
These pancakes were a big hit with my twin girls! They make a lot so I just freezed the batch of pancakes after I made them in individially wrapped cling wrap inside a freezer bag. Then in the morning, I just take one out and pop it in the microwave for just a few seconds. A quick and easy breakfast.

Baby Cereal Cookies
This was a very simple recipe and easy to make. The girls like them. I made the cookies about the size of a quarter. They work great as a finger food at breakfast time with some chopped up fruit and a yogurt. Then the girls also have enjoyed having two of these cookies during their afternoon snack time. My 2.5 year old even enjoys these. These cookies have very little sugar- they actually only use molasses. My only recommendation is to add 7T of whole milk instead of 3T. They turn out better and more moist with more milk. They freeze well too. So if you make a double batch, you can freeze a batch to be used for later.

Baby Banana Oatmeal Muffins
I use apple sauce instead of oil, whole wheat flour instead of regular flour, and 2 mashed bananas instead of babyfood jars of banana. They turned out great! The twins loved them and so did everyone else, including daddy!

Baby Cereal Muffins

Orange Minimuffins

Wholesome Babyfood- Link to various recipes using babyfood

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Here is a link to a chart that lists what portion sizes toddler should have and the various food group types they should eat. I found it very helpful so I thought I would share it with you all!


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Eating with a spoon requires fine motor skill development, as well as hand eye coordination.  My personal experience has been that my son was ready to try using a spoon around the age of 15 months old. Prior to 15 months, I worked on a lot of fine motor skills with him- such as holding a paint brush, writing with chalk, drawing with crayons, stacking rings, and putting buttons through a small hole. Many of these skills also require good hand eye coordination. Once I notice that he was able to many of these tasks with more ease, I began the process of introducing the spoon.

I should add, that I have allowed my son to play with a spoon during meal times since he was much younger- maybe around 9 months old. I would lay a plastic feeding spoon on his high chair and let him chew on it and play with it. I also made sure that I ate with a spoon in front of my son and occasionally showed him how to hold the spoon and bring it to his mouth. So by the time he was 15 months old, he understood the concept of what a spoon was and its function.

Start by giving your baby a small bowl/ cup of tick food. The thick consistence will keep the food from running of the spoon. Here are some good first foods to use to introduce self spoon-feeding:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed Butternut Squash
  • Yogurt mixed with baby cereal or baby oatmeal to make it thicker

The mechanics of self spoon feeding a kind of rough at first. You may find your little one just poking the spoon into the food and then bring it to his or her mouth. That is a good first step. You will have to show your child how to “dig” into the food and lift it up so that more food collects on the spoon. Model how this is done by guiding his or hand and allow your child to bring the spoon to their mouth. This is a hard skill to develop, so be patient. Self feeding with a spoon also takes a longer time to do, so if you are in a rush to go somewhere do not allow your child to self feed during that meal or you will never get out of the house on time. I usually save self spoon feeding for dinner since I usually am not heading out anywhere anytime soon, he will get a bath after dinner, and I don’t feel like I have to rush him.

Make sure you are prepare for there to be a mess. If the weather is warm, you can take you child’s shirt off. If you want to use a bib, make sure it is wide and covers a lot of surface area. I have found some really good toddler bibs at walmart that pull over the toddler’s head. They seem to help keep messes to a minimum (sort of, haha). Also I know that bumkin makes a bib that actually has long selves if you care to try that out too. I also keep a wet washcloth handy to wipe my son’s mouth, hands, and face when he is done eating. He is usually caked in food by the time he is done.

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My son is 14 months old and I have been giving him a bottle at bedtime now since he was 10 months old. Prior to that, I was breastfeeding him. I have been reluctant to give up the bedtime bottle of milk because I feared that he would not sleep through the night or he would wake up super early. Well, it has been three nights with no nighttime bottle, and he has slept his normal 11 hours of sleep.

Reasons I decided to drop the bedtime bottle:
1. He was not eating a good breakfast anymore. I think that his bedtime bottle was filling him up to much and he was not hungry enough to eat breakfast.
2. His diapers were becoming soaked over night and leaking through his clothing. I was even using a larger diaper at night and he still leaked.
3. According to Kim West in the book Good Night, Sleep Tight, at one year old they no longer need the milk to help them sleep through the night.

How to drop the bedtime bottle or breastfeeding:

Option #1: Try reducing the amount of ounces that goes in the bottle every night or the amount of time you breastfeed.

  • With my son I was giving him 8 ounce of milk at night. He would happily drink this. I slowly reduced the amount of ounces every few nights until we were down to almost 2-3 ounce of milk. Then I decided to go cold turkey, and just not offer him milk. I made sure he was drinking at least 16-24 ounce of milk during the day before I did this.
  • If you are breastfeeding, you can reduce the duration/ length you breastfeed at night. So if your child normally breastfeeds for 15 minutes, than try reducing it by 2-3 minutes every few nights until you are down to only nursing for 2-3 minutes. I did this when I was weaning my son of his early morning feeding (4am) when he was 4 months old. It helped my body adjust to not feeding him during that time and it helped my son to adjust to not needing that feeding.

Option #2: Try moving the bedtime bottle/ breastfeeding further away from bedtime.

Let’s say you feed your child dinner at 5:30pm and bedtime is at 7:30pm. You would try to move the bedtime bottle/ nursing further away from bedtime. So the first night you might give the bottle/ nurse at 7:15pm. Then 3 days later, you would give the bottle/ nurse at 7:05. Then 3 days later you would give the bottle/ nurse at 6:55… and so on and so on….until you reach dinner time.

Important things to keep in mind:
1. Always check with your child’s pediatrician to make sure they are getting enough formula, milk, or breast milk before you drop the nighttime bottle.
2. If you child is dependent on a bottle/ nursing to go to sleep at night, you will need to work on replacing that bottle/ nursing with a bedtime routine that will help sooth your child to sleep. A good replacement for bottle/ nursing is reading books, cuddling, rocking, and signing to your child. Your child will probably still desire closeness with you so go ahead an offer an alternative.
3. If your child still needs something to drink, try offering a sippy cup of water. That way water will not fill them up, but possibly satisfy their need to suck. Just a warning if you use water, it will still lead to a very heavy and wet diaper in the morning. If you are potty training, try to limited liquids at least an hour before bedtime.
4. If you are breastfeeding, you might need to leave the bedtime feeding to maintain your milk supply. If you decide to stop the bedtime feeding and see a dip in your milk supply, please add back the bedtime feeding.

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In the book Touchpoints, Dr. Brazelton wrote a minimal daily diet for toddlers. During toddlerhood, many toddlers will be very finicky when it comes to food. One day they may like apple and the next day refuse to eat it. I know this is true of my son. He was loving oatmeal and then one day out of the blue he just decided that he was not longer going to eat oatmeal. This is frustrating for moms and dads when they feel like they are running out of options to feed their toddler. Parents might also worry that they are not getting their child to eat enough nutritious food. This minimal daily diet is what toddlers should at least eat if they refuse everything else. This has been my saving grace on days when my son hardly eats anything and refuses almost everything.

The minimal daily diet for toddlers includes:

1. One pint of milk (sixteen ounces) or its equivalent in cheese, yogurt, or ice cream

2. Two ounces of iron-containing protein (meat or eggs), or cereals fortified with iron

3. One ounce of orange juice or fresh fruit

4. One multivitamin, which I use to cover for uneaten vegetables

This does not mean we should allow our children to be picky eaters! I first offer the food my son hates the most. I expect him to take at least one bite of it. I keep offering him the food he least likes until he stops eating it. Then, I move on to a food that he will eat without complaint (usually). I try to hide the food he likes, keeping it out of sight. If my son can see the food that he likes while I am offering him the food he does not like, he will stop eating the least desirable food. I also offer him the food he refused to eat at snack time or when he signs that he is hungry to me. He will usually eat the less desirable food if he is plenty hungry. Even still, I find that I have problems getting him to eat. On those days, I make sure we have met the minimal daily diet for toddlers.

Resource: Touchpoints p. 141

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My son will be almost one in about two weeks. I decided that we would start the switch to whole milk from formula before he turned one. He is currently getting 4 bottles a day of formula. I plan on switching one bottle with a straw nuby cup every week. So far, this switch has been great and painless. Here are some suggestions to make the transition to whole milk easier.

Suggestion #1: Introduce a sippy cup or straw cup prior to their first birthday. I tried to put formula in a straw cup, but he would not take it. I think at that point, my son had associated formula with bottle. I gave up and just started to offer him water in his sippy cup. He was drinking 5-10oz of water from a straw cup. I gave him a take-n-toss straw cup to learn from. It is not spill proof so it make sipping from the cup easier. I also offered my son water from a nuby straw cup, but it is spill proof. I took a knife and enlarged the opening making the nuby no longer spill proof and easier to drink from. My son’s pediatrician recommended that I do this.

Suggestion #2: Do not give juice until your child is successfully drinking whole milk from a sippy or straw cup. You don’t want your child to associate that juice is the only things that comes out of the sippy cup. My pediatrician and trusted friends also confirmed this for me. I was told it is okay to put water in the sippy cup, just not juice. I stopped offering my son juice and I think that has really helped us with the transition from bottle to sippy with milk in it.

Suggestion #3: Gradually introduce whole milk. Don’t just stop giving breast milk or formula one day. Your child’s digestive system needs time to get use to drinking whole milk. You can do what I am doing and replace one bottle or sippy with whole milk a week until you are totally on whole milk. Or you could give your child a mixture of whole milk and formula starting with 25% whole milk and 75% formula. Then slowly increase the amount of whole milk and decrease the amount of formula every few days.

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