Toddler Food Guide at 18 Months

by Emily Weller
Children at 18 months old are learning to eat on their own.

Children at 18 months old are learning to eat on their own.

As your baby grows into a toddler, you can be begin to feed him more solid foods. An 18-month-old toddler will most likely begin feeding himself using both his fingers and utensils. Give your toddler healthy foods and avoid salty and sweet snacks. Keep in mind that choking on foods that are easy to swallow or hard to chew is still a risk at this age.

Milk and Bottles

By the age of 18 months, your baby should be drinking whole milk each day. Some 18 month olds may dislike the flavor of cow's milk compared to breast milk or baby formula. One way to work around this is to mix breast milk and cow's milk or formula and cow's milk and feed that to your baby, according to Kid's Health. Slowly increase the amount of cow's milk you are giving him until he is drinking only cow's milk. Transition your toddler from a bottle to a sippy cup by the age of 18 months. Drinking out of a bottle will increase his risk of tooth decay. Give your child whole milk until he's about 2 years old, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.

How Much Food to Give

Your 18 month old needs plenty of protein and carbohydrates as well as minerals such as iron to grow healthily. Strive to give your toddler about three 1/2 cup servings of milk or dairy products daily. An ounce of cheese is as a serving. Give her six servings of grains, such as pasta and bread. Half of a bread slice or a 1/4 cup of pasta is a serving for toddlers. To make sure your toddler gets enough iron, feed him cereals fortified with iron as well as beans and meat. Two tablespoons of ground meat or 1/4 cup of beans is a serving for a toddler. Also strive to serve 6 tablespoons of vegetables daily and three servings of fruit a day. To combat the common toddler aversion to vegetables, try serving them with a dip, such as ranch dressing.

Skip These Foods

Some foods can choke 18-month-old children. Always cut baby's food into small pieces before serving it to him. Don't give your toddler whole grapes, chunks of cheese or uncooked vegetables. Candies, nuts and popcorn are also choking hazards, as are gummy foods such as marshmallows. While you can spread peanut butter thinly on a small piece of bread, don't feed peanut butter directly to your toddler, as it can lodge in his throat.

Food Concerns

Talk to your doctor and take care when giving your baby new foods if you are concerned about allergies. Wait a few days after feeding a new food to him to make sure he doesn't have a reaction. Use care especially if food allergies run in your family. Set up a regular feeding schedule of three meals a day and two snacks. Don't panic if your toddler doesn't want to eat during a meal. It's perfectly healthy for toddlers not to be hungry at some mealtimes.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.

Photo Credits

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