Toddler Food Milestones 

Toddler food

When thinking about toddler food and what to offer and when can be a little daunting.  However learning to eat follows milestone steps just like a toddlers gross motor skills like walking and running.  Cognitive development of the brain is closely linked to feeding skill development. Feeding difficulties can be a real concern for parents. Feeding our children is one of the most important jobs a parent can do! For more information of feeding difficulties in children see our Infant & Child Feeding Difficulties Clinic.

There are Toddler Food developmental steps that:

  • Relate to the child’s understanding and involvement in the feeding process, AND
  • Steps that relate to the muscle movements and development over time to allow them to try and chew new foods and textures.


What should my toddler be eating at 16 to 18 Months:

toddler food

Child's Role:

Willingness to try new tastes and textures and to understand the changes in their taste perceptions. Increased desire to feed themselves.

Parent's Role:

Continue to slowly vary textures and range of foods and range of tastes to give the child varied food experiences.

What should my toddler be eating at 16 to 18 Months:

toddler food

Child's Role:

To manage their own feelings towards foods and manage non-ideal feeding experiences in order to reduce gag and not worry about it if they do. At about 2 years of age children are becoming more aware of their environment and hence “fears” of new foods can emerge – they may show a preference for familiar or preferred foods. This happens because their cognitive development, their speech and language has a boom and their sensory skills are also having a boost – they are learning that they can “think” and “express” what they want or don’t want.

Parent's Role:

To avoid power struggles from developing by maintaining a positive interaction. To understand the child may not be being naughty for not eating but that they are trying to manage all the new thoughts and sensations around the mealtime experience. Parents need to coach and use words about the foods so the child begins to understand about the new foods. In this way the child can “learn” about them because the parent’s role is more like a coach telling them the things they are doing good. The “coach” encourages their willingness to try to eat foods offered and to maintain routines to help the child have boundaries.

Have any feeding Questions?

We are here to help! Ask a question in the message box below and a qualified Speech Pathologist will personally reply within 24 hours. Book an Appointment today if you would like to stop being stressed about feeding and meals for your baby.

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