Midwife Pip Podcast Episode 86.
Oh Toddlers, delightful little curious beings with more sass than most of us parents
can handle. As our babies grow into toddlers, food becomes increasingly important
and prominent in their lives which may throw us some challenges as we navigate the
next steps in their weaning journey.
Weaning and Feeding Toddlers
Overall, I love weaning and watching my little boy explore food BUT it is also
something I have put a lot of thought into on our journey because I feel the power of
creating healthy habits early is so important in trying to set our little people up for
healthy and nourishing futures.
On this blog I want to share some of the top tips I have picked up on my journey so
far that I hope you will find equally as useful…
Offer variety early on:
There is research suggesting from 6-12 months babies are more likely to accept and
try new flavours and foods so optimising this time with an abundance of variety may
help your child enjoy them as they get older and even as an adult. Let’s face it, we
are all up for raising little ones that are not ‘picky eaters’ so variety gets a thumbs up
Babies are also known to naturally prefer sweet tastes and milk is typically sweet too
so getting in there early with savoury, bitter flavours such as your green
veggies, is a good idea.
More variety of course allows the opportunity for your baby to eat more of a range of
nutrients, vitamins. and minerals which can only be a great thing.
When starting out with weaning you may have begun with very smooth and thin
foods and purees for your little one, it is then important to progress onto different
textures when they are ready. This will vary for each baby or toddler, but a nice
guide is to watch and notice when your child is easily managing to eat a certain
texture and at that point gradually increasing the thickness and texture a little each
time. Offering finger foods is a great way of your baby exploring different tastes and
textures too. Baby led weaning involves your baby leading the way and learning
about their own appetite regulation, some parents opt to only use finger foods in a
baby led approach whereas others will use a combination.
What is the deal with Food Throwing?
At one stage this was probably my most Googled phrase as my son redecorated our
dining room with bolognaise and I am yet to meet a parent whose child doesn’t find
throwing food great fun too.
Charlotte talks about this is more depth on Episode 86 of Midwife Pip Podcast but
she recommends being consistent with how you manage food throwing. So when
thrown, pick it up and repeat the same phrase each time, something along the lines
of “that’s not what we do with food, if you don’t want it, put it on the table” after 3
pick-ups the food is gone, I really like the 3 limit otherwise I feel you could have a
long game on your hands that your little one finds much too fun!
Having a ‘don’t want’ pile on the table or tray for the thrown food to go into may also
help and not giving the throwing action too much attention, in fact as little attention
as possible is recommended.
Taking a step back and seeing if your little one is trying to communicate something
by throwing- perhaps they are just trying to get your attention, are bored at the table,
or are full up.
Managing Fussy Eating:
It may be reassuring to know that around half of toddlers go through a fussy eating
stage at some point.
Eating as a family, the same meal and role modelling haves been shown to help
reduce fussy eating in little ones.
Have a routine around mealtimes so you can ensure your little one is hungry enough
and ready to eat.
Avoid distractions such as having the TV on in the background at mealtimes.
Make mealtimes fun and minimise any stress… this may include more mess but
playing with food is a really important part of eating for babies and toddlers.
How to cope with food allergies:
It is natural that should your little one has allergies to foods that you feel a little
anxious around weaning and feeding. If you have any uncertainties about how to
manage their allergies it is really important to speak with your health care practitioner
for guidance and to ensure all your questions are answered. Understanding food
labels so you can easily ascertain what is and is not appropriate for your baby can
also help to put your mind at ease.
Another consideration with weaning and feeding toddlers is to ensure they are
getting enough of key nutrients to thrive, I really recommend heading over to:
www.aptaclub.co.uk/midwifepip where you can learn more about the importance of
Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium and much more in your little ones diet. It is must know and
evidence based information so check it out.
For more on ‘Weaning and Feeding a Toddler‘ listen to Midwife Pip Podcast Episode 86 HERE.
Available on all Podcast Platforms.
"This week I am joined by the wonderful Charlotte Stirling Reed who you may have
listened to on my podcast before where we discussed the first steps in weaning your
baby on Episode 59. Charlotte is an award-winning expert in the area of weaning
and feeding, as a Registered Nutritionist who has supported thousands of families
with feeding their little ones."
p.s. have you checked out Midwife Pips Courses
The Author: Midwife Pip
Pip is a Mum, Podcaster and practicing Midwife in the UK, currently working as a Delivery Suite Sister she has a wealth of experience supporting parents-to-be through all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum. Pip has trained and worked in some of the leading maternity units, has completed a master's programme and is passionate about all aspects of women's health and wellness.
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