Feeding habits in the first year are generally established by the pediatrician and parent. The infant?s individual characteristics will further shape the feeding experience. For example, one baby might take a bottle quickly while another has a slower approach. Solid foods will be introduced around six months old according to the nutritional needs of the infant, the preferences of the parent, and the doctor?s advice.
From 12 to 24 months, the young child experiences a change in how she thinks. Now that she is walking, the world takes on a new dimension, and she can see and reach for food on counters or other people?s plates. Being an egocentric being, your food is her food, and her food is her food! New information and new skills are flooding into the toddler?s experience, and it can be great fun and overwhelming at the same time.
At age two, the toddler?s use of the word ‘no’ is like a slap for some parents and child care providers. If we listen to the infamous ‘no’ with the understanding that the child is learning to identify how to establish a boundary between herself and you, then ‘no’ isn?t so negative. Asking a two-year-old, ‘Do you want some milk?’ brings a ‘yes’ or ‘no, I want juice’ response. Many child care providers will find that offering the toddler milk or orange juice allows the toddler to make the choice and reinforces her independence. Too many choices are frustrating as the toddler lacks the experience to evaluate; choices are more sensory.