5 Tips for Mealtime with a Toddler

I feel like I’m constantly reading “tips” articles or whole books, dedicated to helping me to navigate the hectic, tiring, hilarious and fulfilling job of parenting a toddler. One of the areas that I’ve needed a lot of coaching, is mealtime.

My daughter Harper is a bit of a comedian. When we’re running low on time, it always seems like that’s when she decides that she’s going to do nothing but joke around at the table. At first, I found it difficult to keep her focused, but I’ve developed some skills in the toddler mealtime department- so below are my top 5 tips for feeding a toddler.

1) Offer Choices. I had heard this one before- mainly just in reference to vegetables (and it amazingly, DOES really work for vegetables! See the original article I read on babble here). But when I say offer choices, I mean from meal planning “Harper, do you want waffles with blueberries today or bananas and cheerios?” “Do you want chicken and broccoli or soup (anything even remotely liquid-y is “soup” at this point) to sitting at the table deciding what to eat first (or even which piece of chicken to eat).

I’ve noticed that by actively engaging with her, and making the meal about her choices, she’s more likely to eat than goof around. Of course, not every meal plan is based on Harper’s decisions (I’m not a short-order cook!) and that’s ok- even when the choices are small (like which fork to use today), it works!

Mealtime tips for toddler2) Allow them to experiment. Yes, as adults, we KNOW that broccoli dipped in ketchup MUST taste awful. But for a toddler who’s just learning about food, this combination seems perfectly reasonable, and potentially delicious. I had read somewhere that allowing your kids to be adventurous with their food early makes them more open to trying new things later- so when my daughter decided to dip her broccoli into her ketchup, I decided to let her go for it. To my surprise, she kept doing it… and finished her broccoli. So my new motto is, as long as its not dangerous- go ahead and try it!

3) Hold the milk. My daughter is obsessed with milk. I’m pretty sure she would drink a gallon a day if I let her, so its become increasingly important to only serve water with dinner. If I give her milk, she WILL drink it all before touching her food and she WILL request more because she’s used to having a beverage with her meal. Offering water allows her to focus on the food while still having something to wash down her ketchup-covered broccoli with.

4) Make Healthy Foods fun. We’ve embraced the smoothie bandwagon at our house. We’ve worked everything from kale to soy milk, to blueberries to spinach into our smoothies, and refer to them as ‘milkshakes’. Harper loves them.

Are we lying to her? No. There’s milk in there (soy milk). So they’re sort of “milkshakes”. But the point is, she’s enjoying a treat and we know that she’s getting the vitamins she needs. Its a win-win.

Along the same lines, but another great discovery: it really does help to refer to broccoli as “trees” and play a game where your kiddo pretends to be a dinosaur eating the “trees”. Whoever came up with that is brilliant!

5) The classics are still good. Does every meal time need to be well thought-out and restaurant-quality? No. Don’t put pressure on yourself to win Top Chef at every meal. Sometimes, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich really is the perfect lunch. And sometimes, grilled cheese and chicken soup is just what the doctor ordered. In my opinion, these old standards are necessities in the mealtime rotation- both for my sanity, as well as in the name of being a kid!

Got anything to add? What makes mealtimes work in your house? Do you have any great toddler-friendly recipes to share?

Bebe au Lait at Big City Moms’ Biggest Baby Shower L.A.!

Just got back from a whirlwind trip to L.A., where I attended the Big City Moms’ Biggest Baby Shower. It was so much fun! It was great to meet so many new Moms and Moms-to-be at the event.

What made the night so special was the excitement that everyone was feeling. Pregnancy is such an amazing time in someone’s life, and it was an honor to be a part of an event that celebrates the expectant Mama! I was so happy to chat with everyone about their experiences and share the Bebe au Lait story with them.

Here’s a photo of our table at the event, along with some photos of the attendees. Many thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Bebe au Lait Featured Retailer: March 2012 – Soft and Cozy Baby

Check out Bebe au Lait’s Featured Retailer – March 2012

Store Name: Soft and Cozy Baby

Years in Business: 3

Store Location:  915 W 36th St., Baltimore Maryland  21211

Online at: www.softandcozybaby.com

Phone: (410) 446-4525

Store Hours: Sun 11-5, Mon, Tues, Thurs: 11-6, Wed: 11-8, Fri: 11-4, Sat: Closed

Store/Customer Service Email: bayla@softandcozybaby.com

What Bebe au Lait products do you carry?: Nursing covers, Gift Sets and Lille Throw Blankies

What are your customers’ favorite prints to purchase?: Royale, Jaipur, Chocolat

What is your favorite Bebe au Lait product?: Bebe au Lait Nursing Covers!

What is the best way you’ve found to display the Bebe au Lait line of products?: Hanging on slat wall.

What is the one thing you would like others to know about you?: We pride ourselves on personalized customer service. We’re thrilled to be able to help you choose cloth diapers, try on baby carriers, fit for nursing bras, or help choose the perfect gift.


Bebe au Lait Featured Retailer: February 2012 – Isis Parenting

Check out Bebe au Lait’s Featured Retailer – February 2012

Store Name:  Isis Parenting

Years in business: 9

Store Location:

397 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02474

110 Second Avenue, Needham, MA 02494

The Shops at Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

2053 Washington Street, Hanover, MA 02339

Online at www.isisparenting.com

Contact Info:  tel: 781.429.1500

Hours:  varies depending on location.  Check out our website for specific hours.

What Bebe au Lait products do you carry and why?  We carry the Bebe Au Lait Nursing Covers and, just added, Hooter Hiders.  We are strong supporters of breastfeeding and these nursing covers are an essential part of that lifestyle.  We love that the Nursing Covers provide freedom to nurse your baby anywhere and anytime!

What are your customer’s favorite prints to purchase?  The NEW Jaipur is selling great!  And the Ascot always sells well.  Of course we always love new prints to spice up the assortment.

What is your favorite Bebe au Lait product?  Definitely the nursing cover!  The way the neckline is designed so that mom and baby can see each other is so important to the bonding experience.

What do you think Bebe au Lait should develop next?  Diaper Bags!  There are never enough well-designed options.

What is the best way you’ve found to display the Bebe au Lait line of products?  We display our nursing covers with all of our breastfeeding items (bras, pillows, pumps and parts).  The Bebe Au Lait and Hooter Hider covers are hanging faced out to show off the print selection.

What is the one thing you would like others to know about you?  We carry everything that is needed for new families from pregnancy to preschool. Since there are so many products to choose from, we have a very carefully edited assortment.  All of our products must meet the standards of our experts and have a purpose in our store. We are FUN and FUNCTIONAL!