Nine Months - By nine months of age your baby should be ready for finger foods. You may start with teething puffs and/or cheerios. You may also start introducing the food that you are eating, being very careful not to give anything that could be a choking hazard, i.e. hog dogs, grapes, or larger pieces of apples. Nine months of age is also a great time to offer a sippy cup so they can be experts by twelve months when the bottle is no longer recommended.

That's it, there are no other rules. If your family has a strong history of allergy or it is thought your child has eczema, discuss advancing solids and even formula changes with your pediatrician. The pediatricians of Pediatrics East strongly recommend that fruit juices not be given. There is no nutritional benefit in giving juice at any age. The juice can cause cavities, obesity and a long term craving of sugar.

The Second Year - By the second year there are many changes to be made in your baby's diet. Bottle-fed babies are ready to switch to a cup and many breast-fed babies are weaning themselves. At one year of age formula is relinquished in favor of high fat whole milk with one dropper of infant multi-vitamins per day offered by cup. There is a tendency for babies to decrease their milk intake at this age. If that does not occur be sure to limit your baby's intake to less than 24 oz. If your baby refuses milk, then just be sure to introduce calcium in other forms such as cheese, yogurt and spinach.

Finger foods are a large part of a toddler's solid intake as many will not be fed by mom or dad. Feed your tyke until he is not hungry and stop. Don't attempt to feed a child who is not hungry. Again, juice is not recommended. At your baby's third birthday the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends changing to skim milk with the RDA of a multivitamin per day. During the toddler years, you will find that grazing will dominate over 3 good meals a day. Just make the snacks healthy, limiting any sugary snacks. Ideas: grated apple, cheese and crackers. You may find you get one good sit down meal a day. This would be normal for this age group.



The School Years- As your child is growing, so is their schedule of things to do. This age group is more about planning than anything else. The pit falls in the diet at this age may be too many fast food stops, too many sweet drinks (sodas, sweet tea, Gatorade, Sobes) and too little time at home. Try to balance the on-the-run meals with at-home meals around the table. Another pitfall at this age are the choices during school lunch time. Recent studies show an increase in obesity among students that eat from the cafeteria vs. the ones that bring their lunch. So if obesity is a concern you may consider packing your child's lunch.

Teenagers - During this time of increasing freedom, the best choices may not be made. We hope by making healthy choices for the whole family the teenager will have 80/20 philosophy. 80% good choices and 20% not-so-great choices. Again looking at the cardinal rules, the hope is to have a parental shift from leadership to mentorship.