Toddler NutritionYou may now give your baby homogenized whole cow's milk, although if you are continuing to breastfeed your toddler at least 2 or 3 times a day, then he likely doesn't need cow's milk yet.
If switching from breastmilk or infant formula to milk, do not use 2%, low fat, or skim milk until your child is 2 years old though.
Your infant's diet will begin to resemble that of the rest of the families, with 3 meals and 2 snacks each day. You should limit milk and dairy products to about 16 to 24 oz each day (in a cup or bottle) and juice to 4-6oz each day (offered in a sippy cup only) and offer a variety of foods to encourage good eating habits later.
Your child should want to feed himself with his fingers and a spoon or fork and should be able to drink out of a cup. The next few months will be time to stop using a bottle and transition to a sippy cup. Remember that your infant's appetite may decrease and become pickier over the next few years as his growth rate slows. Your infant will probably have given up middle of the night feedings by this age. If not, slowly reduce how much you are putting in the bottle each night and gradually stop this feeding all together.
To avoid having to supplement with fluoride, use fluoridated tap water. If you are using bottled or filtered water only, then your child may need fluoride supplements (check with the manufacturer for your water's fluoride levels).
Feeding practices to avoid are giving large amounts of sweet deserts, soft drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, sugarcoated cereals, chips or candy, as they have little nutritional value. Also avoid giving foods that your child can choke on, such as raw carrots, peanuts, whole grapes, tough meats, popcorn, chewing gum or hard candy.
For more information on your toddler's nutrition:
- Breastfeed a Toddler - Why on Earth?
- Toddler Milk and Calcium Requirements
- Switching to Whole Milk
- Fruit Juice
- Milk Poll
- Picky Eaters
- Fruit Juice
- Nutrition Facts Quiz
- Iron Rich Foods
- Eating Fruits and Vegetables
- Fish and Mercury
- Food Allergies
- Weaning and Sippie Cups
Toddler Growth and DevelopmentYour child has probably tripled his birthweight by now. You can expect him to combine syllables, say mama/dada, walk while holding on to things, take a few steps alone, bang objects together, enjoy reading interactively, and point to pictures. Over the next few months he will start to walk well alone, say 3-6 words, understand simple commands, and begin to use a spoon or fork.
This is also a time that your child will begin to explore and try and figure out how things work and will enjoy playtime. It is important to give lots of praise and many opportunities for exploration. If using a pacifier, it is a good time to start restricting its use (or giving it up all together) to only when your baby is in his crib, so that his interest in it will decrease.
Most toddlers take two naps during the day at this age (length of naps are usually very variable between different children, but naps are usually 1-1 1/2 hours each) and are able to sleep for the majority of the night (at least 11 hours). If not, check to make sure that your child has a good bedtime routine and has developed the proper sleep associations. He may start waking again at times of stress, illness or after learning a new task (such as walking).
If you haven't already done so, now would be a good time to move him into a full size crib, in his own room if possible.
For more information on your toddler's growth and development:
- Sleep Advice
- Thumb Sucking vs. Pacifiers
- Milestones of Language Development
- Younger Toddlers Child Development
- Speech and Language Development
- Early Signs of Autism
- Developmental Delays and Early Childhood Intervention
- Separation Anxiety