Baby laughing with spoon in mouth.

Essential nutrition for your older baby

A guide for transitioning to solid foods for babies

Balanced toddler nutrition begins with your guidance

Transitioning to table food is a learning experience for your baby and for you. Your baby gets to explore new tastes (and motor skills), and you get to learn new meal preparation and feeding skills. But with your baby’s new independence can come the concern that he might not be getting the right nutrition.

You can help your older baby transition to fruits, veggies, grains, and meats, and help make sure he gets balanced nutrition — including the right vitamins and minerals — with these tips.*

Baby at 9 months: new tastes and textures

You will want to continue feeding your baby breast milk or formula until he is 12 months old. Check with your doctor to identify the right time for your baby. However, now is a great time to start introducing a variety of finger foods and table foods. You also might want to:

  • Offer your baby fruits and vegetables at every meal (and as snacks).
  • Make sure any juice you offer him is 100% fruit juice (in a sippy cup). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 4 to 6 fluid ounces per day.
  • Remember, you might need to offer a food more than 10 times before he accepts it. Remain patient — you will get through this transition in time.

It is important when introducing new foods to watch for signs of allergy. Want to learn more? Visit The Truth About Food Allergies in Babies.

Want to learn more about trying new foods? Visit Introducing More Flavors and Textures to Your Baby.

Baby at 12 months: three squares a day

At 1 year, your baby will probably be eating on your family’s schedule, with three meals a day and two to three planned snacks. Also, keep in mind:

  • Your baby might be closer to moving off the bottle completely; weaning might begin as early as 10 months old. Serve drinks in a sippy cup.
  • Eat together as a family and allow your baby to feed himself.
  • Your baby will eat less some days than others — do not force-feed your baby.

Baby at 18 months: healthy snacks

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends weaning your baby between 12 and 15 months. So by 18 months, your toddler should be totally weaned off the bottle. They also recommend continuing to offer whole milk, from a cup, in four 4-fluid-ounce servings a day (no more than 24 fluid ounces). Also, consider:

  • Trying new foods at the start of each meal (when your toddler will likely be most hungry)
  • Offering the same kinds of foods you would serve at mealtime as snacks (and giving water when your toddler is thirsty)
  • Making snacks fun and nutritious

Baby at 24 months: deciding on favorites and providing a variety

Often, toddlers want to eat the same foods repeatedly. Keep with your feeding schedule of three meals per day with snacks. If your toddler refuses food at one meal, he probably will eat well at the next. Try not to fight about food, and remember:

  • Toddlers' appetites will fluctuate. This is normal.
  • Baby food portion sizes should be around 1/4 of an adult serving.
  • Continue to offer a variety of colors, textures, and flavors.

Similac Go & Grow: a simple way to fill nutritional gaps

You can be confident about your baby’s nutritional intake while transitioning to table food.

Similac Go & Grow, for babies 9 to 24 months, helps provide the balanced nutrition your baby needs for strong growth. An 8-fl-oz sippy cup can help fill nutritional gaps for your new eater. Each serving includes 25 vitamins and minerals to help your baby stay strong and healthy. It also includes at least 30% of the recommended daily value for calcium, iron, and vitamins C and E.
Similac Go & Grow also has DHA and ARA — nutrients important for brain and eye development.

Find Out More About Similac Go & Grow

*From "Ounce of Prevention" (a collaboration of Healthy Ohio, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio; Ohio Department of Health; Ohio Dietetic Association; Children's Hospital; Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council Mid East), and the makers of Similac®

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