At this stage of development, children have an amazing amount of energy, so much that it seems they never get tired! Sure, every child is different and some are more active than others, but all children require a healthy diet to keep growing and to continue their active exploration of the world that surrounds them.
Since your baby learned to crawl and walk, access to his surroundings has increased, making it much easier to move to areas that get his attention. With this in mind, we know little ones don’t want to sit still. However, it is very important to keep their tummies full, even though sometimes they might seem to forget they have to eat.
How should I feed my child at this stage?
It is important to emphasize that, despite the fact that your child is still growing; it’s not at the same rate as it was during his first year of life. With this in mind, remember that it is normal for him to lose interest in food or to prefer to play instead of eating. Likewise, it might seem that some days he has a great appetite while others it might seem nonexistent. This is completely normal, as long as your little one continues to grow and is happy then there’s no problem. However, if you notice that your baby is not gaining weight or seems to lack energy, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician.
Moreover, at this stage your baby is probably learning to eat on his own with utensils. This is an excellent opportunity to boost your little one’s adaptability. Small pasta pieces, shredded chicken, or other food that can be cut into small pieces and is easy to hold with a spoon or fork is very good to practice eating by himself.
Now, having your little one try new foods is not the only challenge that may arise. The immense energy that young children have can make it difficult for them to sit down and eat. Therefore, sometimes you can choose to feed your little one while playing or walking around, however it is not recommended. It is important and safer to teach children that we eat on the table. Tell him that once he is finished, he can continue playing. If your child eats with the family, involve him in the small talk and remember to praise him for his efforts so he may be motivated to continue eating at the table.
Also, remember to offer iron-rich food during mealtimes. Legumes, meat, fish, chicken, and iron-fortified cereal are great options. Likewise, limit milk consumption to no more than 3 glasses per day so that your baby is hungry enough to eat other food. At this stage of development your baby’s body and brain require food that contains fat, so don’t give him low-fat choices, unless your doctor advices you to do so. Finally, it is alright to add a pinch of salt to his dishes and give him the same food the rest of the family is having.