Feeding and Scheduling Tips for Your Toddler

That first year with your baby really goes by in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, you find yourself with a toddler on your hands, one that’s walking, babbling and ready for more food than you realize. So how do you provide proper nourishment and what time should you feed your child? Well, some of that is up to your own personal schedule and you’ll have to figure out what best meets the needs for your family, but here are some helpful tips on how to transition into feeding a toddler.

There is no one perfect schedule

Every family is different so following the schedule your best friend follows to feed her toddler might not work at all for you and your toddler. Other factors that contribute to what will work best for you is if you are still breast or formula feeding, or if you stay at home or work outside the home.

Starting a solid foundation

By the time your child is 11 months, from there on out he should be eating solid foods three times daily. The time you feed him is up to you, but whenever you sit him in his high chair, make sure you’re serving him all different kinds of foods. This ideally should be the things you serve the rest of the family but cut up into very small pieces and in smaller portions. Your child should also be able to feed himself and drink from his own cup. He will take longer to eat his cubes of chicken and potatoes than the rest of the family, but he will be building a solid foundation for healthy eating.

You can (and should) still give breast milk

If your child still nurses from your breast, don’t worry about weaning right away. He will do so in his own time. At one year of age, you can start introducing cow’s milk to your child but be careful not to give too much. Milk tends to fill up their stomachs and will decrease his appetite for other foods that he should be having.

Sleep plays a part too

Now that you’ve got a toddler, he’ll be sleeping a lot less than he was as a baby. As a result, he’ll be hungrier so watch for his hunger cues and be ready with snacks. But remember, he’s still a little guy. Too many snacks will make him too full at meal times.

Kids aren’t always hungry when we are

For many different reasons, your child might not be hungry when you feel it’s time to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. And that’s very normal. Big snacks, random naps and changes in your schedule can all play a part in when your toddler is ready to eat again.

Let it go

Don’t ever try to force a schedule on your child. The pattern will emerge on its own. If your child isn’t hungry right when he wakes up, don’t force him to eat breakfast. Try 30 minutes to an hour later and you just might be surprised how much he gobbles up then.

Celebrate Toddlerhood: 5 Tips for Parenting Your Toddler

Once a cuddly, sweet baby, when your child enters toddlerhood that can change in an instant. Suddenly that smiley baby is now a shrieking hot mess in the middle of your living room floor because she wants to eat an entire box of cookies before dinner, or even worse, in the produce section of the supermarket. And if this is your first entry into toddlerhood, it can be pretty daunting.

The good news is that this phase doesn’t last forever. And the bad news is also that it won’t last forever. Before you know it, your toddler will be a big kid with a whole different set of challenges so you’ll have to ride the ever-changing toddler tide and enjoy the ride from the ups to the downs and back again. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you stay as sane as possible during this phase.

1. It happens to every parent

Every child throws a tantrum at some point. Don’t worry about what other people think while your kid is screaming away. All the parents around you are sympathizing with you. Try to see the humor in the situation as well and it will be less stressful.

2. Make rules and stick to them

Children need rules and limits in order to be successful and that needs to start in this phase. While the rules need to be kept simple in toddlerhood, they still need to be enforced. So if you’re out somewhere and your child is behaving nicely, simply tell your child that it’s not OK to act like that and warn them if they don’t stop, you’re leaving. Make good on that if they don’t change their behavior. Caving only teaches them they can keep acting like a total jerk.

3. Praise goes a long way

You don’t need to give little junior a new toy every time he does something right. Heaping on the praise for listening or doing what he was asked to do will help reinforce the good behavior. Children love to make their grown-ups happy and when they get positive attention from their good behavior, it makes them more likely to give a repeat performance.

4. Let them try it themselves

It’s so tempting sometimes to help your child with everything but you need to take a step back and let them try things for themselves, particularly with things like eating and drinking, dressing themselves and experimenting with things that could be messy. Messes are all part of life and kids need to know that.

5. Messes can always be cleaned up

And speaking of messes, it can be extremely annoying when your toddler accidentally knocks his plate of food off his high chair and right onto your freshly-scrubbed floor. Accidents happen, as do intentional demolitions of your very best attempts at keeping the house clean. Children are exceptional at making messes of all kinds and while you shouldn’t let them pile up, enlist your toddler’s help in clean up instead. In this way, you’ll begin to lay the foundation to raising a hard-working child who will strive for greatness in adulthood.