Transition from Infant to Toddler

Posted May 16, 2016 by Julie in Parenting, TopPosts / 28 Comments

By the time you have the whole infant thing figured out, your tot becomes a toddler. When my son turned one, I was kind of at a loss. “Now what?” went through my mind. How will things change? What comes next? How do you transition from infant to toddler?

There were quite a few changes happening around the 1 year mark and I wasn’t sure how to navigate all of the transitions:

  • Transition away from bottles and onto sippy cups.
  • Transition away from infant formula and onto cow’s milk.
  • Transition from mostly milk-based diet to mostly solid diet.
  • Transition from mostly crawling to running circles in the house.

It was a big change for us, so I wanted to share how we got through it.


How to Transition from Infant to Toddler

Transition from Infant to Toddler: Feeding changes

At his one-year checkup, the doctor told us Baby H should not be drinking regular milk as often as he was consuming formula and breastmilk. That kind of shocked me because, while he was eating quite a few purees, he was still consuming a lot of formula and on top of that I was still nursing/pumping a little. She did say he should have about 3 servings of milk, so our goal was to change from 6 formula feeds to 3 milk feeds gradually.

I didn’t want to drop all the formula feedings overnight obviously, so what we did was finish off the canister of infant formula by continuing to feed formula every other feeding, and switch out one feed to regular milk. He fought this at first – while he was used to, and enjoyed, the taste of formula, regular cow’s milk was strange to him.  But we started with just switching out one feed, then dropping a formula feed in favor of more purees and some attempts at more solid food, and kept going in that direction until we finished our last infant formula container.

He had a difficult time adjusting to the changes, and at times outright refused any solid food, except for crackers. For a while, it felt like the baby only ate crackers and bananas. Well, sometimes it still feels like he does that. Feeding a toddler is hard. Sometimes he is an amazing eater, but most of the time I struggle to feel like he is getting all his nutrients. That’s why we decided to go back to formula, but this time a toddler formula – we use Enfagrow Toddler Next Step. I only give it to him in the evening if he had a bad eating day. That way, I know he gets all his vitamins.

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Even now at 18 months old he is difficult to feed solids. There may be a few foods he likes, but sometimes he stops liking something he used to eat. So the squeeze packs and pureed foods are how I get him to eat healthy. He loves the squeeze packs since he can operate them himself, for the most part, and I bought some reusable food pouches to make my own purees as well.

What about breastfeeding?

Since my supply continued to drop, I allowed myself to stop pumping at work when he turned one and only nurse him in the mornings and evenings. That took a lot of pressure off me and allowed me to continue giving him some breastmilk for another couple of months. We no longer counted breastmilk as a meal, but more like a snack or dessert since I had so little.

If you’ve been breastfeeding and have no issues with supply, and want to keep on breastfeeding, do. That certainly simplifies all the formula issues and allows that bond to continue.

Transition from Infant to Toddler: Bottle vs. Sippy

In order to transition away from the bottle and get him using the sippy cup regularly, we combined our transitions. He preferred the bottle and preferred formula. So he was given formula in a sippy cup, to get him used to drinking out of the sippy. Likewise, he was given cow’s milk in the bottle. It gave him the opportunity to have the comfort of the familiar bottle, while getting him to get used to the flavor of regular milk. He did fight this at first, but after a while it seemed to work well.

Transition from Infant to Toddler: They walk now!

Baby H started taking his first steps well before he turned one, but it was soon after he turned one that he got walking down and started running circles around the house. By then we had all the big baby proofing things done, like the gates, the bumper on the fireplace, and locks on the kitchen cabinets. We did that when he was close to walking, because I didn’t want to wait until we were in trouble before getting started. Preparing for a walking baby in advance was very helpful. Of course, he’s testing his boundaries and finding new ways to get himself into trouble with things we never even thought of.

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Transition from Infant to Toddler: Tantrum city

Toddlers seem to = tantrums in just about everyone’s mind, and that’s for a good reason. When my little guy gets upset, he turns into a little beastie. He arches his back and rolls around like a little demon-child, and if you try to pick him and hold him he throws his head back so hard that he can fall out of your arms and hurt himself. I’m still working on learning tantrum calming.

While I was still nursing him, that was an instant stop to a tantrum. It was amazing to be able to sit down and nurse him and have him instantly relax. But after I dried up, I had to come up with something else. That is when he really got into pacifiers. He wasn’t all that into them before, but now he craves them and demands them. They do calm him down, and most importantly, they help him sleep, so we won’t be transitioning away from them anytime soon.

Usually what I do if we’re out somewhere and he starts to morph into a monster beastie, is I try to distract or take him to another location. Sometimes holding him makes him more angry, but if we’re out somewhere I can’t exactly let him run off. But if we’re in a safe location where I can lay him on something soft on the ground, I’ll do that so that he stops thrashing his head around. I always carry snacks with me, because food serves as a great distraction and helps calm him down.

Do you have any tips for how to transition from to toddler to share?






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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
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28 responses to “Transition from Infant to Toddler

  1. Sadie

    Thank you for sharing! Once you feel like you have everything settled for your baby, they decide to walk and eat 🙂 just kidding. It’s really a big transition and you have to try out a lot to find what works for your little toddler.
    I’m glad my little girl likes to explore food, but we also had our difficulties. She’s still getting a bottle of formula before bedtime, but we transitioned to the follow-on milk from HiPP, so I can make sure she’s getting the right nutrition. I really love the products from HiPP and I’m glad we can order them here in the U.S. although they are European. I found, where you can find a lot of products for toddlers.
    All the best,

  2. Fab tips – we are transitioning from toddler to preschooler at the moment – life is full of transitions is’t it! The end of one era, the beginning of another. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub and enjoy this new chapter!

  3. Oh I have been through this transition not long ago as Sienna is 21 months. She is definitely a toddler now. I never had the issue of bottles as she still breastfeed so she didn’t take formula. But yes we had to teach her how to drink other liquids from the sippy cups. The walking mielstone happened so early with Sienna. She walked just before she turned 10 months so was really going everywhere at such an early stage. Now she just runs like crazy!! LOL Tantrums!! Mmm what can I say, she is already starting the terrible 2! I can say that since about 2 weeks ago the tantrums are unbelievable. No reason for them and they can last for ever!! It is just so tiring! And yes I agree that snacks always help!! LOL Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I hope to see you again tomorrow, 🙂

  4. Transitioning from formula to cows milk was a bit different here. I actually integrated the milk with his formula starting off with just a little bit and eventual doing a 50/50 mix. My son took to it really well, as well as sippy’s. I never had an issue with it.

    My son didn’t take his first steps until almost 14 months, but yes, once he started walking it was like “watch out world!” It’s so exciting when they start walking. It then the reality of what that means sinks in and it becomes more like “oh $*!# he’s walking!” That’s when all kinds of baby proofing happened.

  5. Julie!

    Great post. I remember when my twins were transitioning. Well, I don’t remember everything! I remember my twins didn’t understand sippy cups at all and gravitated towards straws, so they skipped all that stuff.

    I remember my son didn’t start walking until around 15 or 16 months and that was a struggle b/c my other twin started I think before a year. And my son was the heaviest of the set! I think he just liked being carried 🙂

    Now my twins are three and it’s a whole new ball game! Potty training went well, but still in trantrum city. Socialization is slow and my daughter wants nothing to do with other kids. It’s all a learning process eh?

    • It is absolutely a learning process, for all of us! I can imagine though with twins how these transitions are a lot more blurry. Oh man I am not at all ready for the potty training stage.

  6. All children develop in their own way at their own pace is the best advice I can offer! We’ve been through the infant to toddler transition with SB and it’s a real rollercoaster – bits are amazing, bits are difficult. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the good bits is all I can suggest! #KCACOLS

  7. I have a 13 month old and we are right there with you! She’s not walking yet thankfully but will be running circles around us soon enough…and the tantrums are here in abundance agh. These are great tips. #KCACOLS

  8. I think my main thought on these kind of transistions is to try not to worry too much about what the professionals tell you! Trust that you know your child better than anyone, so if they keep drinking from a bottle for longer than they ‘should’, that’s fine! If they still have a dummy at night, does it really matter? It’s too easy to put pressure on yourself and your child to do things ‘right’. x #KCACOLS

    • You’re so right that these transitions don’t have to go by the books but can be flexible to what each child needs. We’ve got enough pressure on us all anyway.

  9. I love that you’re sharing this! The sippy cup transition with cow’s milk was genius! Great idea to combine the two! I remember with my first son I was very focused on what he should be doing at what age, and stressing over it all the time. Now with the girls, I feel more comfortable knowing that they will accomplish everything at their own pace.

    • Thanks, Samantha!! I wanted to get on top of the bottle/sippy situation because of all the teeth he already had and how everyone says there could be tooth decay issues with prolonged bottle use. But man there are just always changes and things keep getting difficult, huh?

    • Discipline strategies is something I’m really needing to work on. I got a nice lecture at the doctor’s office at his 18 month check up on his behavior.

  10. Do we have the same child? The arching back and rolling around sounds eerily familiar! 😉 My son is 15 months and it is quite sad to think of him as a toddler. But so cute to watch them toddle around! A big thing I would say about this transition is to follow your child’s signs of readiness and don’t worry too much about specific ages that things need to be done by. Takes a lot of pressure off the mom! I’ve actually scheduled a post about that for Wednesday 🙂

  11. Apart of me the transition from infant to toddler is the hardest. My daughter did the same thing. She just didn’t want solids, I was so worried she would starve! LOL. The tantrums are tough too because you can really rationalize with a toddler. Great tips.

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