Saturday, May 12, 2012
Here's a letter I sent to a relative earlier that is having trouble deciding what to feed her 13 month old. I know for lots of family this is the hardest time feeding their little ones. As babies transition and grow, it's hard to keep up! It's also one of those areas that isn't an exact science because each child is so very different. "Hey I know you said Monkey has lost some weight. That's really unusual for a baby or toddler. I wanted to send you a list of suggestions for food for him. It's hard to always know how much they need to eat and when. It isn't like they come with instructions! At a year old he should be having 3-4 sippy cups of WHOLE milk a day. It's important he have that and that it's whole because his brain is still developing and he needs that much and that kind. Toddlers can drink water from a sippy cup in addition to milk. Juice is not recommended because it's bad for their teeth and fills them up without providing any real nutrition. He should be eating 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks a day. If you want to give him juice maybe replace one snack with a cup of juice but make sure he still gets all his milk. No soda or tea would be recommended at this age. Caffeine is not good for their developing bodies. A sample breakfast would be 1/2 cup of oatmeal and half a banana or 1/2 cup of dry cheerios with 1/2 cup of applesauce. A sample lunch would be 1/4 cup of cooked peas, chopped up lunch meat, chopped up pieces of cheese, and 1/4 cup of grapes cut in small pieces. A sample dinner would be small chunks of chicken, 1/4 cup of cooked carrots, and 1/4 cup of small pieces of melon. Sample snacks would be things like cheerios, yogurt, cheese, cereal bars, etc. He can eat: noodle soup (drain the juice) small pieces of cut up meat (lunch meat, hot dogs, pork chops, anything without a bone and cut into small pieces) cooked veggies that are mushy (green beans, carrots, peas, etc) small mushier fruits applesauce oatmeal dry cereal without any big chunks mashed potatos spaghetti There are some foods that aren't recommended for kids under 2: eggs fish peanut butter nuts honey Those can cause allergies. Lots of things you wouldn't think about are choking hazards. We were diligent about our kids not eating chips until after 2 and only with us sitting and watching them. Sweets aren't necessary and aren't recommended in high doses. They should really only be given as treats maybe once a week or so. Certainly not everyday. This would be great to pass along to sitters too. Sometimes it's frustrating knowing what to feed them when they stop eating baby food. Ours were off of bottles and baby food by 9 months but only because I was diligent about feeding them from the table while I ate. It's good to start a habit now of only eating while sitting down in a designated place. That helps with choking prevention too." Would you have any other suggestions for this first time mom? What was your toddler's favorite food at this stage?