Well-Balanced Weaning – For 12 Months Plus
Your baby’s first birthday is a moment you will not forget! I have clear images of an old photo on my first birthday, and favourite pictures of my boys’ big days. You might be making a cake and dodging around balloons everywhere, but I bet you are rightfully congratulating yourself – you made it!!!! At 12 months, your baby is now a toddler, ready to explore. For this last stage of weaning, you might be wondering what vitamins and nutrients are important, how often they should eat, what your toddler is drinking for milk and otherwise, and how to start transitioning them to join in your family meals – at last!
Your toddler is still rapidly developing and starting to change; they are more mobile, their faces will start to change and their personality really comes through. During this time, it is still important each day to offer a variety of foods that are rich in vitamin A, C and D as well as iron. If you are unsure what these are, please read our blog: Well-Balanced Weaning – Beginning Baby-led Weaning from 10-12 Months for some ideas. In addition, your toddler needs an increase of protein in their diet. Protein helps to repair and maintain tissues, which is crucial for bones, muscles and organs. Protein also has important cellular functions that are vital for the growth and development of your little one. From 12 months, your toddler should have about 12g of protein each day. Meat, eggs and fish are high in protein, or double portions of vegetable sources including dahl, beans, chickpea and lentils are great too.
With all the moving around, your toddler may be very hungry! A routine of three meals a day with a variety of foods is recommended and will help set your child to your family’s schedule. Each day they should have at least:
- 4 x servings of starchy foods (potatoes, bread, rice, pasta)
- 4 x servings of fruit and vegetables (including a mix for vitamin A and C requirements)
- 1 x serving of protein (12g)
- 2 x healthy snacks
- 350ml of full-fat milk/dairy products, or calcium fortified non-dairy alternatives to replace formula
- Ensure daily intake of iron and vitamin D
- Offering cups of water with meals
Transitioning your toddler to family meals is important and will make your life easier! Having your toddler eat their meals at the same time as you will allow them to see what and how you are eating. At this stage they should be comfortable with chopped and finger foods on a regular basis, and your meals may often look similar. Keeping their food separate on their plate (as opposed to everything mixed up), is helpful for them to explore individual ingredients and accept individual tastes. Adding flavours and spices that you regularly cook with to parts of their meal will help them adapt to your style as well. For children one-two years, up to 2g of salt a day is recommended, so leaving it out of their meals is best if they are having other store bought snacks.
Having a toddler eating your family’s food does make your life a lot easier. It is still a good idea to have some of their meals frozen for when your family is having take away or something that is high in salt or too spicy for them. Tom Pom Organic has frozen meals that include red lentil dahl with brown rice, a salmon, sweet potato and pea meal and a chicken, quinoa, pea and spinach meal. Each meal is hand-made, packed with nutrients and the rings will also allow you to serve just the right size meal for your toddler. Find out more about the Tom Pom Organic collection here.