Getting Kids Excited About Food
At 1 year old, your child is learning to eat on their own. They can chew her food as well as you can, so for the most part they can eat the same food as the rest of the family. However, young children tend to reject new foods the first time they are served. The more often a food is served (up to 10 to 15 times or more), the more likely your child is to accept it.
The nutritional value of a food is probably lost on your toddler. However, there are ways (tricks if you will) to get a picky eater on the right path. For starters, you can make the kitchen a fun place. One way to entice your toddler to eat different foods is to include your child in dinner preparations—even if it’s doing something as simple as stirring the contents of a pot. With your guidance, your child can mix ingredients using a wooden spoon.
By age 2, your little kitchen helper can wash down surface areas, stir food in a mixing bowl (or a pot, with your supervision), be a taste tester and more. The more involved your child is, the more likely he or she will eat the food you’re preparing.
Too Old for Nursing?
Having a toddler doesn’t mean having to stop breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding a child throughout the first year of life and continuing beyond that if both mom and child desire. The World Health Organization recommends continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or longer.
Your toddler is getting plenty of nutrients from other foods at this point, but breast milk continues to:
- Provide a nutritional boost
- Strengthen the immune system
- Lower the risks of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol later in life
Both you and your child will continue to benefit from the closeness and calm that breastfeeding provides.
So don’t rush to wean if you and your little one aren’t ready. Enjoy this special time and rest assured that you are still providing an amazing health food for your child.