Toddler food issues

Is your toddler ready to wean, to go to bed without a bottle or eat what you do? See what our paediatrician recommends.

You asked us: Is my toddler ready…

…to go to bed without a bottle
…to be fully weaned from breast or bottle
…to eat what mom and dad are eating
…to eat with kid-sized forks and spoons
…to eat honey and try the other foods she wasn’t allowed to eat as a baby

Expert: Umberto Cellupica is a paediatrician with a community practice in Maple, Ont. He is also a staff paediatrician at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill.

…to go to bed without a bottle
“It is a good idea to get your toddler used to falling asleep without the use of a bottle or ‘bedtime snack’ as early as she will allow,” says Cellupica. The best time to start the transition is around her first birthday. Try to give your tot her bottle a few minutes before bedtime. Once in her crib, she can learn to soothe herself without relying on the bottle.

…to be fully weaned from breast or bottle
While Cellupica says the decision to wean your toddler from breastfeeding is very personal and is different for every mom, bottle-fed kids should be weaned by 18 to 24 months. Make sure your toddler doesn’t take his bottle with him when it’s time for bed because it can lead to poor dental health.

…to eat what mom and dad are eating
Cellupica says most kids transition from baby food between 12 to 18 months. “As soon as your child is able to tolerate food with more texture, you can start exposing her to foods that you have prepared for the family,” he says. Start with small bites of steamed or boiled veggies and soft, ripe fruit.

…to eat with kid-safe forks and spoons
Some little ones (as young as 15 to 18 months) can start to feed themselves with a spoon or toddler-safe fork, says Cellupica. Allow your tot to experiment with utensils around the one-year mark. “Let her play with a spoon while you use a second spoon to feed her. Encourage her to dip her spoon in the food and bring the spoon to her mouth by placing your hand over hers and guiding it for her,” he says.

…to eat honey and try the other foods she wasn’t allowed to eat as a baby
There’s been controversy surrounding the introduction of honey and nut products to kids for years. “Many allergy experts feel that children should not be exposed to nut products until age two, and even older if there is a family history of food allergies,” Cellupica advises. Honey is not recommended for children under 12 months because there’s a risk of exposing them to infant botulism, which can be a fatal illness.

*Please note that the information provided should be used a guideline. If you’re concerned about a something specific always consult your family doctor or paediatrician.

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