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 a mostly milk-based diet to a 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.
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 healthily. 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.
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 infant to toddler to share?
Before we know it, we’ll be transitioning to teen!