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.