Happy feeding: feeding your toddler

View more feeding resources or download a PDF of this resource.

Is it okay for my toddler to still be breast and/or bottle feeding?

  • Continue to breastfeed your toddler until 2 years of age.
  • If your toddler still drinks from a bottle, wean to a regular open cup by 1 year of age.

What should my toddler be drinking?

  • Provide breast milk, formula or full fat (3.25%) cow’s milk until age 2.
  • Follow up or Stage 2 formulas are not necessary.
  • Fortified soy, rice, almond, coconut, pea or oat milk do not contain enough fat, protein and nutrients and should not be used before 2 years of age.
  • Limit juice and sweetened beverages between meals. These will decrease their appetite for food.

Continue to offer your toddler regular meals and snacks while sitting at a table. Let them leave the table when they are done eating or start misbehaving.

Focus more on how your child feels and behaves at meal times and less on what they eat.

Toddlers are emotional. Do not use food to calm them down.

Consider your toddler’s likes and dislikes when menu planning. Do not short order cook.

Tips for happy toddler meals

  • All meals and snacks should be eaten sitting at a table.
  • Keep mealtimes pleasant and about family time, not about how much they eat.
  • Limit grazing. Focus on meals and snacks.
  • Offer food for meals and snacks and let your toddler decide if, how and how much they want to eat.
  • Do not just feed your toddler. Sit and eat with them and let them feed themselves.
  • Involve your toddler in preparing meals and let them serve themselves.
  • Plan for snacks in between meals. Snacks should be smaller portion of healthy meal options. Think cheese or peanut butter with crackers, eggs, fruit cups, yogurt.
  • Let your toddler eat the foods offered in any order; even if that means eating dessert first!
  • Toddlers’ appetite, likes and dislikes will change almost daily. Keep trying new foods and listen when they say they are full.
  • Minimize distractions; do not eat while watching TV or other screens.

Raising competent feeders takes patience and consistency. Don’t give up!!

Children will be picky eaters. They will learn to enjoy the foods they see others eating.

Does my toddler need any additional vitamins?

Vitamin and mineral supplements are rarely necessary, and can be dangerous, for toddlers who eat a varied diet.

Vitamin D

  • Recommendations: for children 1-3 years of age: 600 IU/day Vitamin D
  • Provide supplement of 400 IU Vitamin D/day
  • If your toddler follows a special diet or has a medical condition, they may require additional vitamins or minerals. Please consult your physician or dietitian.


  • Recommendations: for children 1-3 years of age: 7 mg/day elemental iron
  • Iron rich foods: meat, fortified cereals, eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter and beans.
  • Your toddler should not be drinking more than 16 ounces (320 mL) of milk per day. Larger quantities of milk may interfere with iron absorption and place your toddler at risk for iron deficiency.

The amount of food your toddler eats is not as important as them learning to feed and enjoy mealtimes. Keep mealtimes pleasant and have fun!

View more feeding resources or download a PDF of this resource.

Based on Ellyn Satter’s philiosophy for feeding. For additional resources, go to ellynsatterinstitute.org