To prepare your baby for the growth and development that toddlerhood brings, here are four important tips to keep in mind.
- Provide three main meals and up to three snacks a day – toddlers need a steady stream of nutrients each day. Get into a routine that includes a pause for healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals.
- Offer foods rich in iron – as mentioned above, iron is an essential nutrient during the toddler years. It supports normal brain development, and your toddler’s brain is developing fast! Research has found that almost a quarter of one-year-olds are not getting enough iron. To give your toddler more iron, add iron-rich foods like red meat, chicken, leafy green veg, fish and fortified milks to their daily meals.
- Discourage fussy eating – many toddlers are fussy eaters. This is completely normal; yet it may not happen until later in toddlerhood. To avoid problems down the track, offer your toddler a healthy, balanced diet; make mealtimes fun; and eat together as a family where possible. Let your toddler explore different foods and textures, and accept that they will get messy in the process!
- Cut back on milk – beyond their first birthday, your toddler’s main source of nourishment comes from meals and snacks. Milk no longer plays such an important role – from 12 months, they only need about 400mL of milk per day. You can prepare them for this in advance by gradually reducing their milk intake in the lead-up to their first birthday. And remember, by 12 months old, all drinks other than breastfeeds should be from a cup/beaker and not a bottle.
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