Feeding your toddler

Struggling with a fussy eater? Not sure what a toddler's portion size looks like? Our expert advice gives you straightforward answers to these questions and lots more.

As you've probably already noticed, these days your little one is probably more inquisitive – and decisive - about everything, including food.

This might lead to a meltdown from time to time, but you'll also have the fun of discovering some new tastes that are a big hit! At this stage, your toddler needs plenty of healthy food to supply energy for that growing body – and fuel all the exploring they’ll want to do!

10 to 12 months

Your growing baby is no doubt starting to show a real interest in food now – and little fingers dabbling in bowls (or trying to grab the spoon) are likely a regular feature of mealtime.

This can get quite messy – let's face it, we've all been tempted to pop the baby straight from the high chair into the bath, haven't we? However, it's also a great opportunity to help your baby learn the skills necessary for self-feeding (and it does eventually get a bit tidier, we promise!)

Another silver lining: at this age, babies are usually willing to try most foods, so it’s an ideal time to offer as much variety as possible. You can also introduce more finger foods now to help encourage self-feeding and chewing.

More lumps, please

Giving your baby foods containing soft lumps will encourage chewing - which really helps develop the muscles involved in learning to speak.

Not all babies and toddlers like lumpy foods, and they may spit them out or appear to gag on them. It’s important to persevere, and although it may take them a while to control the process perfectly, don’t worry if they spit some lumps out or cough them back into the mouth for more chewing. This is perfectly fine and doesn’t mean they are choking.

Keep on trying with any foods your little one doesn't like, too. Some babies need to taste a new food 10 times or more before they decide they like it.

Tasty food ideas from 10 months

From now on, your baby's food will start to look more and more like what you're eating. Chopping or mincing foods that are harder to chew, like meat, will help with the chewing practice. Finger foods like cooked pieces of veg, cubes of cheese or slices of banana are often a hit, too. And if you're having a hectic day or are heading out and about, we're here to help! Why not try:

  • HiPP Organic savoury jars from 10 months, such as our vegetables with noodles and chicken.
  • Our stage 2 tray meals take the flavour up a notch, with delicious recipes like creamy vegetable lasagne and garden vegetable risotto with flaky white fish.

Make that snack a healthy one

A snack between mealtimes is a good idea - but make it a healthy one! Cheese cubes and toast fingers are great portable finger food, or what about a few cooked carrot batons dipped in hummus?

Top Tips

  • Babies need to learn to feed themselves, but they're not very efficient at it yet - so try having one spoon for the baby and one for you at mealtimes. It's an important developmental step - messy, but necessary!
  • Out and about? If you're taking food along with you, HiPP Organic jar or tray meals are a healthy, convenient choice

From 12 months

By now, your toddler’s old enough to join the rest of your family at the dinner table - in fact, they might even insist on it! Eating together – whether it's at home, over at friends’ or in restaurants – is perfect for some extra family bonding time.

Eating for energy

Of course, every child is different, and appetites can change from day to day, but aim to give your toddler three small, nourishing meals a day (with a savoury and sweet course at the two main mealtimes), plus healthy finger food snacks in between. (Of course, our HiPP Organic range of yummy meals are a great choice!)

Introducing family meals

Mealtimes are a chance for the family to get together and will help your toddler develop social skills. If your little one is keen to have “grown up” style food, but your dinner isn't suitable, try pulling the high chair near the table and offering them one of our HiPP Organic meals from 12 months.

How much milk?

At this stage, most babies are eating three meals a day and drinking 500-600ml of milk. Milk still makes up an important part of their daily nutrition, and if you can gradually switch to serving it in a beaker, this will help your baby move on to drinking out of a cup.

Even though your little one’s now eating more grown-up food, milk still matters. Of course, the amount will have decreased, but most toddlers still drink around 350ml of milk a day. From 12 months, you can use whole cows’ milk in place of formula if you wish, or you can choose HiPP Organic's specially formulated Growing Up milk, which was designed with toddlers' specific nutritional needs in mind.

A note about drinking: After 12 months of age, it really is best if your little one learns to drink from a cup or beaker. It might be a challenge to step away from the beloved bottle, but a cup is a much better choice for babies' teeth - and their development. One way to make the transition easier: start with a feeding beaker that needs to be sucked, then switch to a free-flowing one.