1 Year to 2 Years, New Foods, More Choices

A year old! This is an exciting time because there are some big changes ahead. At one year, your baby has begun to take some big steps. She’s growing up! It’s a time of new energy … new foods … and new freedom for you both.

Your child will become very much her own person in the next year. She will develop her own special likes and dislikes. Often those dislikes will change from day to day. She will also explore her world with great curiosity. She will test the limits and sometimes your patience.

You are your child’s guide and teacher. It is your job to encourage that natural curiosity while making sure her world is safe. Have a good time learning about the world together.

New Foods

A big change in your child’s life at this age is switching from breast milk to cow’s milk at around one year. Discuss it with your doctor first, but remember: Children this age need to drink whole milk, not lower-fat versions. At this age, your baby needs the fat calories to grow. Wait until her next birthday to worry about fats. In fact, her whole diet is changing. Her daily menu after her first birthday should look something like this:

  • 3 cups of whole milk.
  • One-half to one cup each of fruits, vegetables or diluted juices.
  • 4 to 6 servings of bread or cereal. One serving = 1/4 slice of bread or 1/4 cup of cereal.
  • 2 servings of meat, chicken, fish or eggs. 1 serving = about 1 tablespoon.

Your Baby Will Begin to Make Choices

Toddlers begin to develop distinct tastes of what they like and do not like, decisions that may vary wildly from one week to the next! They are trying to be their own person – and they want the world to know it. One way they can feel in control is to refuse food. Do not take it personally. Your child will eat when he is ready. And, actually, a drop in appetite is normal around the first birthday. He is growing more slowly than he was as a newborn, so his body does not require as many calories.

He also may focus on one food for what seems like days. Do not worry too much. The important thing is that his diet is balanced over time. Just do not let him fill up on sweets after refusing a meal. This will encourage eating empty-calorie foods. A little sweet now and then is OK. But concentrate on foods such as vegetables, fruits, cereal or crackers for snacks. You want to help your child develop a lifetime of good eating habits.

Eating with the Family

Your child will begin to eat more like the rest of the family sometime after his first year. Do not give your baby foods that are heavily salted, spiced, sweetened or buttered. Make sure the food is cool enough so that it will not burn his mouth.

What is true for you is true for your baby. Too many foods that are high in salts, fats and sugar cause weight problems. Weight problems can cause health problems like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The foundation for future health begins now.

Your baby still has just a few teeth. Parents still need to mash or cut baby’s food into very small pieces. Some foods remain dangerous because they are so easy to choke on. These foods include nuts and meat. Raw or very lightly cooked vegetables like carrots, broccoli or cauliflower are also dangerous.

Hot dogs, if given at all, should be cut lengthwise twice and then crosswise into tiny pieces. A grape should be cut into at least 4 pieces. Some foods cannot be made safe for a child under the age of 2.

Do not give him:

  • Hard candy
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Popcorn

—- from First5 Advice for New Parents

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