Feeding an 8-18 month old

Feeding little kids isn’t for the faint of heart. Between the gagging, your fear of them choking, the insane amount of mess, and figuring out how to manage when they don’t want to sit at the table and eat any more their is no shortage of struggles when it comes to feeding kids.

With a little patience, okay a lot of patience, following the advice below will help restock your arsenal of tips to deal with common meal time issues when you’re feeding your busy 8-18 month old. 

Common issues you'll be facing

Throwing or dropping food and untensils

Learning about gravity is fun for little kids. Not only are they learning about what happens to a spoon full of food when it lands on the floor, but they also quickly get to learn how you react too.

If you’re ready to nip this meal time patience, testing experiment in the bud, start with one of these two tips:

  1. Start with more utensils than you need.
    Two or three spoons usually works well. That way if one drops or your little wants to practice playing with a spoon or feeding themselves you have extra to spare.

  2. Make it a rule that what lands on the floor stays on the floor.
    Setting, and staying consistent with  boundaries like this lets your little one know exactly what happens when they repeat the same action. Testing the boundaries will get less and less exciting when the results are consistently the same.
Two tips for when your little one keeps testing gravity.

Milk baby

A milk baby is a term I like to use for babies and young kids, 6 months or older, who would gladly drink breastmilk or formula all day long. They seem to care very little about eating actual food.

Every once in a while kids go on a food strike, where they don’t want to eat solids at all. Instead, the revert back to solely taking the bottle or the breast. 

Is this really a problem? I mean, the old saying goes, “food before one is just for fun.” Right? 

Here's what you really need to know about food before one year's old

The short answer, no! Meal times should be fun, that’s a given. They should focus on playing with and exploring food, learning about new flavours and textures. 

Food before age one serves other purposes too, like:

  • Providing much needed iron (and zinc) for your baby. On breastmilk alone, at 6 months old your baby would not get as much iron and zinc they need for optimal health and development.
  • Exposing your baby to different textures and flavours during a window of time where they are more willing to try new things. In fact, studies show the later you introduce your child to lumpy food (10 months or older) resulted in more difficulties in feeding, along with more definite food likes and dislikes.
  • Reducing the risk of developing an allergy to peanuts, shellfish, or eggs, just to name a few. 
  • A chance to practice and fine tune the oral and motor coordination.
  • The list could go on and on.

One common reason your little one may be sucking back milk instead of eating food:

Teething – you can literally almost blame every cranky moment of the first year on a new tooth coming in. Drinking a bottle or breastfeeding is easy and comforting. I mean who would want to mess with food, when you almost have everything you need in a few gulps?

If your little one is still refusing foods after the 7-8 month mark, it’s time to have them checked out by a healthcare professional. Click here to grab a free consult with me.

Finessing your feeding style

Whether your Baby Led Weaning, Traditional weaning, or doing a combination of both (shhh… don’t tell anyone I said that you can combine BLW with purees or I’ll have an angry mob commenting), no one feeding method is perfect.

Baby Led Weaning (BLW)

The biggest issues with BLW is often gagging or choking actually occurring or you just being terrified that it might happen. Along with knowing exactly how big to cut foods (and yes, with this method their is a “RIGHT” way for safety reasons.)

Generally speaking, first foods for BLW should be cut to be about as big as 1-2 of your finger widths wide. This give your baby something easy to pick up and grab with their whole hand. 

Click here to read more about BLW and see some examples of first foods.

Traditional Weaning (TW)

The biggest issue with TW is that babies love purees so much that parents get stuck feeding them too long, which can cause big issues when you start to offer chunks. Babies needs to learn to manipulate the chunks in their mouth, which takes time practice and usually some gagging.

Without diving into too many details, a traditionally weaned baby should be given lumpier, chunkier foods and soft finger foods from about 7-9 months onward.

Please remember that choosing a feeding method doesn’t mean you need to stick with it if it’s not working for you or your baby. 

If you’re terrified your baby will choke each time you give them a BLW chunk, or maybe you have the baby that swats away any advance you make with a spoon, it’s ok to try a different method or a combination of both. And if you’re really stuck, you can always send me a message.

Honeymoon blues

Have you ever heard that feeding your baby for the first year is like a honeymoon?Everything goes great, you’re all lovey dovey, they eat literally everything you set on their plate, and then all of a sudden it’s over.

It’s like one morning your sweet baby wakes up and decides they literally despise at least half of the food they ate yesterday! No it’s not some cruel joke, your baby just isn’t so much of a baby anymore and so many other things come in to play.

Meal times aren’t going to be quite going to be the same from here on out, or until at least age 5. If you want to learn how to avoid the meal time battles, skip the chaos, and raise a happy healthy intuitive eater be sure to follow BBN facebook page, and sign up for our monthly newletter, Food Talk with Lacey.

That’s all for now 🙂

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