Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Question about eating...

I have a few questions for you experienced moms out there regarding feeding your children. First of all, it's my goal to one day gather around the dinner table as a family, but it's very difficult to do that now. I'm trying to figure out a good schedule for Mallory to join us eathing, but I'm afraid she'd be eating too close to her bedtime and won't take her bottle before she sleeps.

So, here's a little sample of our evening schedule:
4:30pm - Mallory usually eats her dinner-time bottle
5:00pm - Mallory eats her dinner
5:30/6 pm - Patrick gets home from work/gym
6/6:30pm - Patrick and I sit down to eat for dinner
6:45pm - Mallory gets her bath
7:15pm - Mallory eats her final bottle
7:30pm - Mallory's bedtime

In the past, I've let Mallory sit at the table with us and eat some Puffs while we're having our meal, but she often doesn't take enough of her bedtime bottle, and thus will wake up EARLY and is a hungry baby. But, if she sits at the table with no food, she gets impatient. I know she's still pretty young to be eating with our schedule, but I was wondering when that will be? What should I do to move toward a family dinner time?

As she gets older and I start to wean her off of formula, how much whole milk should she get? How many ounces per day? When do those start tapering off? What are your suggested meal times/snack times...specifically for 12-18 month olds. I've searched the net for some suggestions but haven't found any that have helped. I figured I'd ask my mom-friends!!!

Bring on the suggestions!


Kelly said...

Hmmm...I'm talking off the top of my head here, so bear with me.

First, you're right, this is a tricky time. When my kids were that old, I felt like I was feeding somebody from about 4 until 7 with no break! It can get a little tiring.

If your goal is to get the whole family eating together, there are a couple things you could try:

1. Feed her a "snack" when she gets up from her nap. Give her a bottle and some finger food at 4/4:30. Then put her down and let her crawl around until Daddy's home. At dinner, have her eat her solids and give her a cup with watered-down juice in it, so she's not full of formula two hours before bed.

2. You could try putting off her bedtime a bit. I know you probably won't like that idea (I never did!), but it's an option.

3. You could try shifting her entire schedule from morning until nighttime so that it aligns better with your mealtimes. I had a friend in California whose husband worked late, so their whole family ate around 7:30, and their (little!) kids went to bed regularly at 9:30 or 10. They slept later than mine did in the morning, obviously, because they made the decision that if Daddy was going to see the little ones, everybody would have to change the routine.

4. You could make her "dinnertime" bottle a smaller one and supplement with water. Then she'll be more hungry for a bigger bottle at bedtime.

I'm not sure how much formula she should be drinking now...ask your ped. I don't want to throw that off! I think she's definitely old enough to start sipping a little whole milk now and then...the transition is easier the younger they are. I had a friend in Massachusetts whose baby weaned himself at nine months, and her ped told her to go straight to whole milk instead of switching to formula for those three months. (Just so you know it won't cause brain damage! :-)_)If you warm her bottles, I would gradually make them cooler and cooler until she'll drink a cold one. That way she'll be used to cold milk by the time she's ready for that.

My all-time favorite book for this stage is Feed Me, I'm Yours. It's full of ideas for this tricky stage! Off the top of my head, here are some table food ideas...french toast, cheese, yogurt, cooked meat finely chopped, lunchmeat, cooked veggies, fruit (not strawberries), graham crackers (not the honey ones!)if she can gum them, oatmeal, cream of wheat, raisins, pasta in shapes she can pick up...

To be honest, by the time they're ten months old, and by the time I had #4, I had thrown in the towel and started feeding them mostly everything we ate (except those things that were choking hazards or highly allergenic).

Hope this helps!

Lisa said...

Try the Super Baby Foods book, I can't remember who wrote it, but I hear it's really good.

Shawnda said...

I just love Kelly : ) She's so HELPFUL!!! : ) So interesting to read this, Melanie!! I know I'll have to face this with Karis, but with Keziah it was SO different!!! We got her at 8 mo, and she was pretty much alredy on our schedule!! She had 3 bottles a day (formula), and at all meals w/ us (pretty much whatever we ate, just all cut up...except (like Kelly said) not the choking hazard or highly allergenic stuff) : ) But by 10 mo, Keziah was definitely on our schedule. We did a bottle first thing in the morning and cheerios (she wouldn't eat mushy stuff like oatmeal!!!). Then she'd have a bottle for lunch and eat whatever we had for lunch (usually noodles and peas or some really small pieces of chicken and peas...I did a lot of frozen veggies at this stage of the game). Then right after nap time (5pm), she'd have her bottle then she'd eat dinner with us (6 or 6:30), and bedtime was at 8pm.

It'll be interesting to see how it goes with Karis!!!! I have NO idea how it worked so easily with Keziah! She just went with the flow with us as we were learning! : )

We didn't wean Keziah from formula until she was 14 mo. That probably wasn't a good thing. I just didn't know how to wean her. But the Lord was really kind - we got rotavirus! :) She couldn't have anything except pedialyte for like 3 days, and after that we just never went back! She started whole milk, then about 2 mo later we went to 2%. Our ped said that 2% is better than whole milk. Not sure if that's true, but that was her thing. But that's what we've done ever since.

I might be coming back here in about 5 mo to see how we are supposed to do this with Karis! : )

I'd love to hear how you transition!!!!

Melanie said...

AWESOME suggestions!!! Thanks for the tips and I'll let you know how we do. Thanks, ladies, and if you think of anything else, let me know!

Nicole said...

I had this same issue with Emma. After her afternoon nap (3:30 or 4), I nursed her and then gave her a snack (cheerios, puffs etc.) This held her over until Jonathan got home at 6 or 6:30. There were days when she just couldn't wait and I just fed her. I figured she would get there eventually and she did. I recently stopped giving her snack because she wouldn't eat her dinner. I also started her on whole milk at 10 months. I stopped the evening nursing and switched to formula because she wasn't getting enough to hold her over until morning. After Kelly got back from Jonathan's 9 month appointment where his doctor said it was OK to introduce whole milk, I made the switch. It was SO MUCH cheaper than formula. So Emma got 1 whole milk bottle a day for a few weeks, then at 11 months I started to completely wean her from the breast.

Here are a few things I wish I had done differently (and will try with subsequent children):
- started earlier with a cool milk bottle rather than warm. Emma still will not drink cold milk. It has to be warmed up.
- started feeding Emma what we were eating earlier. It's a battle to get her to try new things or eat what she's given. In our re-training her, she has missed several meals because she refuses to eat what she is given. (These foods usually are not brand new. They are things she has eaten before, but just doesn't want at the moment - I'm not going to offer a variety of foods until I figure out what she wants to eat.)

Our ped gives us a handout with great information for each age. This is what is said about whole milk for a 12-15 month old:
"It is time to switch to whole milk. Babies need the extra fat in whole milk for brain growth."

Then it says:
"From 1-10 years of age, children need 800 mgs or 3 servings of calcium a day to build strong bones" "One cup (8 ounces) of milk or yogurt supplies 300 mgs, a slice of cheese has 200 mgs, and 1/2 cup (4 oz) of clacium fortified orange juice contains 160 mgs of calcium...Milk is a good source of calcium, but contains little iron. Therefore, do not regularly exceed the 24 ounces of milk needed for calcium intake."

Emma usually gets 12-16 ounces of milk a day...maybe she should get a little more...hummm, I'll have to think about that. She gets milk when she wakes up, after her nap in the afternoon and right before she goes to bed. I think maybe I should give her some more milk at lunch...

Hope that's at least a litle helpful! :-)

Michelle said...

It's great to hear what everyone has to say. What we have done with Vera is quite different from what I've read here.

1. Vera eats very little in terms of "solid" food. She definitely prefers to eat "mush". As a matter of fact, she LOVES to eat mush. Her mush consists of apple, carrots, broccoli, and chicken all cooked then pureed in a blender. Every once in a while if we have something we need to get rid of, we'll add it to the mush. Before serving it, I usually add a little rice cereal to thicken it and sometimes add tofu for added protein. I make a bunch at once, then freeze it in containers (more efficient than ice cube trays) and pull them out as needed and put them in the fridge.

Around 1 year we tried to give her more solid stuff to eat. She would pick at it, play with it, and throw it on the floor. She really wasn't eating much. When we went back to the mush, she started eating much more. We like this because we know that she is getting a good balance of fruits, veggies, and meat.

For breakfast she usually eats a banana with either rice cereal or oatmeal (which I add dried, ground lentils to prior to cooking--again, added protein)

Most days I feed her one day of more solid food. It might be what we are eating, but usually she doesn't like so much texture and spits it out. She is just now at almost 17 months starting to try things with more texture. She really likes grilled cheese and mac & cheese.

2. Because she eats "mush", and we have to feed it to her, she usually doesn't eat with us. It's just not easy feeding yourself and a demanding baby. I figure that when she eats more of what we eat, we'll have her eat with us. She does eat with us if we are giving her a meal that she can eat on her own.

3. Vera drinks milk 3x/day. Morning, before nap, and before bed. She probably drinks about 15 oz a day. We used to give her milk after her nap, but found that she slept much longer in the afternoon if she drank milk first. After she wakes from her nap, I usually give her a container of yogurt for a snack.

Someone suggested the book Super Baby Food. We have it and although it's been helpful, much of the information can be found online. A site I really like is

Haven't answered all the questions, but hope this is helpful.