Add complementary foods
After 6 months, complementary foods are added to an infant's diet. It is at this point where infants make a gradual transition to eating family foods.
Complementary foods should be varied and include adequate quantities of meat, poultry, fish or eggs, as well as vitamin A. Cow's milk should not be introduced before 12 months of age.
Advance the texture
As infants grow, the consistency of complementary foods should change from semi-solid to solid foods and the variety of foods offered should increase.
Transition to regular meals
Offer meals 3-4 times per day at 12-24 months of age, with additional snacks offered 1-2 times per day, as desired. This transition from on-demand feeding to regular time-based meals is a slow one, and healthy snacks are important "mini-meals" as this change takes place.
Nutrient dense foods
Growing toddlers and young children are active and their nutrient needs are high relative to their small stomach size. It is advisable to include milk products, as well as meat, poultry, fish or eggs, as well as fruits and vegetables to provide necessary vitamins. Toddlers should consume milk or other dairy products 2-3 times daily, and sweetened beverages should be limited.
Parents play a role
With the introduction of new foods to an infant's diet, the feeding behavior of caregivers is important too. Young children need assistance that is appropriate for their age and developmental needs to ensure that they consume adequate amounts of complementary food.