What should Toddlers Eat and How Much?
It is important to offer your toddler a range of foods. Children, less than 2 years of age should have full cream milk and milk products. They need the extra fat for their growth and development.
After 2 years of age, children can drink reduced-fat kinds of milk with the rest of the family. Do not give whole nuts, seeds or other similar foods to young children as they are at risk of choking.
As long as you and your toddler are enjoying breastfeeding, don’t be in a rush to give it up. Most toddlers can manage three small meals and snacks and breastfeed.
A toddler should not need to be breastfed overnight. If your toddler is not interested in eating food, it may be because they are filling up on too much breastmilk. This can lead to them missing out on important nutrients. If needed you can cut back on the number of breast-feeds. Start by skipping the feed your toddler seems least interested in.
Plain cow’s milk can be offered as a drink from one year of age. Toddler milk (also known as toddler formula) is usually not needed. A toddler who is eating from all the food groups does not need to drink toddler milk.
Toddlers less than two years of age should have full cream milk. After two years of age, children can drink reduced-fat kinds of milk with the rest of the family. Your toddler should not need milk overnight.
It is best to offer milk in a cup. Limit milk to 500mls per day. Too much milk can fill toddlers up and make them less hungry for food.
Tap water is healthy, freely available and helps protect against tooth decay. Most children enjoy water if they get into the habit of drinking it from a young age. Start by setting a good example yourself and always have water available for the whole family.
Toddlers need to learn to drink from a cup. Water, breast milk or a small amount of cow’s milk can be offered in a cup from six months of age.
Fruit juice, cordial and other drinks
Fruit juice, cordial and sweetened drinks are not needed. Only offer them on special occasions and resist having them in the house. If you are giving your toddler juice, always offer it in a cup, not a bottle.
Coffee should not be given to children.
When should you use a cup instead of a bottle?
Children who drink from a bottle for too long have a higher chance of tooth decay and ear infections. It may also reduce their appetite for foods. This can lead to poor nutrition.
Drinking from a cup is an important skill for babies and toddlers to learn. Babies can start practicing drinking from a cup from around six months of age. Offer small amounts of tap water in a cup.
When your child starts drinking normal cow’s milk at 12 months of age, use a cup. They do not need a bottle.