Breast milk is one of the most important meals that a toddler can get during the first six months of their lives. As long as your child is breastfeeding do not be in a hurry to stop it. Most children can manage with 3 small meals coupled with breast milk and snacks.
In some instances children who breastfeed overnight gets too full to eat solid food. While this is normal during the first 6 months, if the trend continues it can lead to missing out on important nutrients. If this happens, you can consider cutting back on the number of breastfeeds to encourage the food eat more.
Cow milk is one of the other popular foods for toddlers that have been used since time immemorial due to the nutritional value attached to this beverage. Cow and soy milk can be given to children aged 12 months and above.
While formula milk was quite popular in the past, nutritionists have established that it is no longer necessarily as long as the child is eating from all food groups. Children less than 2 years old should be given full cream milk. After two years, a child can drink low fat milk with the rest of the family.
If you do not have cow milk, you can consider using soy milk. Choose soy milk with at least 100mg calcium per 100 grams. This has really great nutrients for your baby. When giving milk to your toddler, offer it in a cup and limit the intake to 500mls daily. If you give the toddler too much milk, it can fill their stomach which means they will be less hungry. As a result you are likely to have fights during meal times since your child will not be hungry.
Drinking from a bottle may be the norm during the weaning period but as the child grows up, it is important to shift to a cup. Toddlers who drink from a bottle for too long are highly likely to get tooth decay or ear infections. Drinking from a bottle may also reduce the child’s appetite which leads to poor nutrition.
Apart from avoiding health and nutritional problems, drinking from a cup is a critical skill for toddlers as it assists them to master the art of gripping or holding objects.
Besides milk clean drinking water is a critical component of healthy food for toddlers. You can give your child tap water since it is easily available, is healthy and assists in protecting against tooth decay. Most children love drinking water especially when they got into the habit of drinking it from a young age. To inspire your child to drink water, you should set a good example and always have clean drinking water available for the whole family.