Kids will often start to walk at this time in life.  When most offspring start to walk (cows, horses, chickens, ducks, etc.), they will follow their mothers everywhere.  Humans, however, will have their mothers following them everywhere.  You will need to know where your child is at all times.  They are going to explore.

Most kids will come off the bottle and switch from formula to cow milk at this time.  Bottles are only a problem if the child takes it to bed with them, or if they get frequent ear infections.  Otherwise, it’s just a social issue.  There is no law that says you cannot give your child a bottle beyond 1 year of age.  You will just have family and social pressure to stop.

The rate of growth automatically slows down about this time.  The child that was an aggressive eater yesterday, may suddenly turn his/her head when the same favorite food is offered.  A big American cultural error at this time is to think that “you have to eat something”.  If you follow this line of reasoning, you will find something that your child will like and it won’t necessarily be what you want them to eat.  This is how they learn to control what they eat.  When the rate of growth slows down, their needs also slow down.  This includes vitamins.  If you allow for this normal pattern, then when they have another growth spurt, they will not have been taught that “junk food” is available and they will go back to their usual good habits.

Another big feeding problem occurs  when the following happens.  I may be out with my child and he/she gets bored with whatever I am doing.  He/she starts to get fussy.  I rush to my diaper bag and pull out the baggie full of Cheerios, Goldfish, or whatever, and I tell him/her, “here, eat this”.   I just pacified my child with food and that was a big mistake.  We all know adults that will eat when they are lonely, bored, depressed, excited, etc.  They were pacified with food as a young child, and it becomes a lifelong habit that is almost impossible to break.  It would have been a better idea, although more difficult, to change the scenery for my child.  Most of the world’s population does not pacify their children with food, and it is well known that Americans are the most over weight humans on the planet.

Another food issue is “the snack”.  If I told you that every morning I went into my office and ate cookies, you’d laugh and say that I deserved to be over weight.  On the other hand, if I told you that every morning we stopped for a few moments and had a snack,  I would have legitimized the eating of junk food when I wasn’t hungry.  I am aware that snacks are frequently given to children in many different settings, but try to recognize what they represent to the child.  It is basically food to eat when you are not hungry.  No child will choose a Brussel sprout for a snack.  It will be the fun stuff.  Again, this is a very difficult lifetime habit to break.  Your teenage boy or girl will be forever thankful when they are not faced with a lifetime of weight issues.

So there you have it.  Food to pacify a child that is bored, and snacks to entertain a child when they are not hungry is a good way to instill eating habits that are terribly difficult to change.

Now that your child is exploring, he/she is going to get into and try lots of new things.  If you see something that might be dangerous (e.g. picking up a pill to place in their mouth, playing with an electrical outlet), try to calmly stop things.  Be upbeat and engaging as you pick him/her up.  If you become excited and your child starts to get upset, one of the things you r child will learn is to wait until you are not watching.  Then, he/she can do what they wanted.  Try to get him/her to want you to be a part of their scheme, so they will always want you to see what they are doing.  Trade the pill for a treat and tell him/her how good it was that he/she showed you what they were doing. Substitute the offending act for something that is liked by your child.