Month 12: Meals

At around 1 year, when baby starts drinking milk and should be eating 3 regular meals and about 2 snacks, start trying to feed baby more of what you eat.  It doesn’t have to be every single meal (I eat weird lunches for example and don’t share that with A, they are way spicy), but if you are having eggs, fruit, and avocado for breakfast, give your child the same thing.  Eat together if you can and once baby is old enough, you can give choices like, “Do you want toast or blueberries with your egg?”

Try to offer your child a variety of food all the time.  Just because baby doesn’t want strawberries one day doesn’t mean baby doesn’t like it at all – keep offering foods at different times.  Try to serve at least one thing you KNOW baby is going to eat, along with a serving of whatever you are eating to encourage baby to try new flavors.  That way, baby is going to be satisfied no matter what and hopefully enjoy something new too.

You do not want to get stuck in the habit of making separate meals for every meal, and the habits you instill now, even at a young age, are going to stick.  So unless you want to be making separate meals of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets every single night, try to at least do a combination of food your kid enjoys and food you are eating.  That being said, it won’t be exactly like this at first…kids have way different taste buds than we do, which is why they like simple things like pizza and mac and cheese.  So you don’t need to expect your child to be eating a salad and salmon at dinner at one year old, but at least give them tastes of these foods so that eventually you are all enjoying the same healthy meals together as a family.

Oh, and milk!!!  You get super used to giving breastmilk or formula for so many months, that after a year it is easy to keep giving that amount. Don’t!  I made that mistake and A was constipated and uncomfortable.  4 ounces of milk AFTER baby has started eating his meal (so that he doesn’t fill up on milk and reject the food) 3 times a day is plenty, plus other dairy like cheese and yogurt.

My final thought is do not use food as a reward for the most part.  An occassional treat to celebrate (ice cream for good grades, etc.) is one thing, but bribing your kid to be quiet at the super market with a cookie is another.  I’m not saying this is bad, and from time to time you do what you gotta do, I’m just saying that my personal thoughts are that food should be a healthy part of your kid’s life.  There are plenty of other rewards out there, and food doesn’t need to be one of them.  Also, many grocery stores are offering free pieces of fruit that kids can munch on while shopping now!