Will & i

Category: Eat

Charts and More Charts Continued…

Each stage of  child development seems to bring a whole new series of questions and concerns. Is my child eating right, drinking right, growing right, talking right, playing right…? I know I should ask my doctor these questions first, but instead, who do I turn to? Friends, family, books, and good old trusty Google. Check out my latest questions and answers now that Will is officially a toddler.

p.s. click here to answer many of your baby questions.

(click pictures to enlarge)

How much should my toddler be eating?

Daily toddler needs


What kinds of food should I feed my toddler?

toddler food ideas

 How much cows milk should my child be drinking per day?  

My doctor says 24 ounces, but I’ve been giving Will 18 ounces a day. This chart says 16 oz. per day, so depending on the child I would aim for 16-24 ounces a day.  How much cows milk do you give your toddler?

milk chart


How many ounces of water should my toddler drink per day? 

water consumption chart


When can I turn the car seat to forward-facing?

The website states, Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness” 

Car seat regulations


How much should my toddler be sleeping?

sleep chart for toddlers


What sounds should my toddler be able to make?

Speech sound development

What are the developmental milestones for toddlers?

milestones chart

When do toddlers get their molars?

teeth chart


What signs can I start working on with my toddler to help him communicate?

sign language for babies


When is time to start thinking about potty-training? 

potty training chart 2


What immunizations will my child have in his upcoming appointments? 

immunization chart


Dropping the Bottle AND Formula

milk junkie sippy cup

It’s a double whammy to say the least. Just like the shots at the doctor’s office, they never see it coming. One day your kid is enjoying their bottle full of beloved formula, and overnight it’s replaced by a sippy cup full of milk. I’d be upset too!

To say Will is obsessed with his bottle would be an understatement. As soon as he spots it, his eyes narrow in on the target, his bottom lip begins to quiver, his arms and legs start wagging, and little grunts of desperation are repeated over and over until he has that lifeline in his hand. You would think the kid hadn’t eaten for days, when in reality he just took down a plate of ravioli. He loves his bottle, and I love how it comforts him.

So, what’s the rush? I know many people who push it past 3, and even Suri Cruise was sucking on a bottle until she was 4. What is the harm in continuing the bottle after the age of 1? Well, ABC news reported that children who continue the bottle after 1 are at a higher risk for “a number of illness including speech problems, tooth erosion and deformation, and, not surprisingly, trouble letting the bottle go”.

suri cruise drinking a bottle until she was 4

First time, worried mother here, who really doesn’t want her son to experience any of the above side effects, but how do I drop his favorite thing in the whole wide world?

Parents.com lists a couple of steps you can take when transitioning from a bottle of formula to a sippy cup of milk: 

1) Let your child pick out their favorite sippy cup at the store.

2) Offer formula in a sippy cup when he or she is most hungry, usually in the morning. 

3) Offer milk in a sippy cup with daytime meals. 

4) Each day, slowly substitute one bottle with a sippy cup of milk.

5) If you continue to offer a bottle of milk before bed, make sure to brush babies teeth afterwards to prevent decay. This is usually the last bottle to go. 

6) Model drinking milk out of cup, speak positively and without pressure. This process could take weeks or even months. 

Will’s 1st birthday was this Monday, so here goes nothing…Goodbye bottle AND formula, Hello sippy cup, and milk.

What techniques or strategies did you use when transitioning your little one from a bottle of formula to a sippy cup of milk?

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Restaurant Etiquette

cartoon image of child at a restaurant

There is a whole new dimension to restaurant etiquette once you become a parent. Everyone seems to follow their own set of rules, and no one can seem to agree on what is appropriate and what is not appropriate when you eat out with a child. This topic is completely subjective, so here is my side of the story…

1) What types of restaurants are suitable for children?

The majority of restaurants are suitable for children if you go at the right time. Billy and I have started calling it happy hour, because telling people you are going out to dinner at 4:30 sounds a little strange. My rule of thumb is that if they have high chairs or booster seats, then you are good-to-go.

2) When is the right time to eat out with a child?

It depends on their age, and the restaurant. Newborns and school-age children can eat out past 7, but with a baby or toddler I like to eat anywhere from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Anything later and you are getting into the adults only crowd, and pushing it with bath and bedtime. If you want to go fancy, eat early. If it’s casual, go when you please.

3) Who should clean up after my child? 

You! Especially, if you have a child like mine, who thinks it’s hilarious to throw food on the ground (he also likes to laugh when I say “no”). Just give it your best effort, and pick up the big chunks on the floor. The servers and busers will be very grateful (trust me…I used to be one). My new favorite accessory for easy clean-up when you are eating out is a table topper.

4) How much noise level is appropriate? 

Once again, it depends on the restaurant. If the hums of the restaurant can mute your child’s shrieks then stay put, but if your little one starts to draw attention from other tables, do yourself and everyone else a favor and take a walk. A little distraction usually does the trick!

5) How long should dinner last? 

Unless you’re at McDonalds, Chuckie Cheese, or some other restaurant with a play zone, I wouldn’t go longer than an hour. If you can get your child to sit in a high chair for an hour, then give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t make them sit forever. They are kids, and they need to wiggle!

6) How can parents prepare for taking their kids out to dinner? 

Don’t assume the restaurant will have what you need. Be prepared! Always bring a sippy cup, snacks, and a pouch (just in case). Also, bring the essentials for keeping your child and the restaurant clean, to the best of your ability: bib, table topper and wipes. If your child eats off of a plate, then you are in a whole different league.

What restaurant etiquette do you follow when you eat out with your child?

P.S If you haven’t read this story about the crying baby at Alinea. Check it out!

(cartoon image from washingtonian.com)

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Back-up Baby Meals

The fridge is empty again, and I really don’t want to go the grocery store for the 3rd time this week. What am I supposed to make Will for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Luckily, I always keep non-perishable back-up meals in the freezer and pantry. I know, I know…they aren’t as healthy as fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins, but they are perfect when you are having “one of those days“.

(Will started eating the foods below at 7 months old, but I didn’t get him on a 3 meal a day schedule until he was 8 months old)

Dr. Praegers Broccoli Littles

1) Dr. Praegers Broccoli Littles – Will loves these, and so do I! They are gluten-free, taste great, and take a minute to microwave, or if you really want to go all out, broil them in the toaster oven or heat them on the skillet. I cut them in half, but they are really soft, which is comforting for us moms who worry about choking. Mix it up and try all five flavors!

Annie's Rotini Pasta

2) Annie’s Organic Pasta Meals – Don’t get me wrong, Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese is delicious, but Will has some chubby little fingers, and those slimy, skinny macaroni noodles slip right through. I prefer Annie’s Pasta Meals because there is a better chance that the Penne and Rotini noodles will end up in Will’s mouth rather than on my floor. Cook one box and you’ll have leftovers for days!

Nature's Path Buckwheat Wildberry Waffles

3) Organic Buckwheat Wildberry Waffles – Toast these waffles on low, and pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds to make them nice and soft. Will loves these with a little butter on top.

Vitatops Wild Blueberry

4) VitaTops Wild Blueberry – This was my daily grab-and-go breakfast when I was teaching, and now it’s become a breakfast favorite for Will. These Vitatop muffins come in various flavors, but blueberry seems to be the safest bet for little ones. Just pop one in the microwave for a couple of minutes and you are good-to-go!

amy's black bean veggie burger

5) Amy’s Veggie Burger – I’ve been eating Amy’s veggie burgers for years, so I always clean Will’s plate if he can’t finish. I prefer to cook these on the stove with a little olive oil. They are soft, and almost mushy, which is perfect for a baby.

Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs

7) Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs – These yummy puffs are basically a healthier version of the traditional tater-tot. These puffs, as well as the sweet potato fries have always been a family favorite. I give these to Will as a side dish with a veggie burger, or rotisserie chicken. Just pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, and I know your child will love them!

For pantry snack ideas, check out this

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Starting Solids

Starting solid foods has been a process of trial-and-error. It began with mashed bananas when Will was 4 months old, and by 6 months we were trying a variety of pureed baby foods and snacks. Around 8 months, Will started to eat what we’re eating, and snack on the items below.

Here is a list of Will’s favorite pantry snacks to get you started on this fun journey. They are in the order in which we tried them.

PuffsI broke these in half  at 6 months (I was so scared of choking), by 7 months he had the hang of it and I gave them to him whole. They are great for developing fine motor skills.

Super Puffs for babies

Baby Mum-Mum – No need to fear these snacks, because they dissolve so quickly. They are a great distraction when you are out and about, and they aren’t as sticky as the Plum Little Yums. Will tried these at 6 months and still loves them!

Baby Mum-Mums

HappyYogis – These yogurt chips are also great for developing fine motor skills. Plus, it’s nice to mix it up and give them something besides carbohydrates. Will tried these for the first time at 6 months.


Sunny Days Snack Bars – I break these up into bite-size pieces and use them for breakfast when we are having a food shortage. I started this snack at 7 months.

Earth's Best Sunny Days Snack Bars

Pirates Booty – My friend, Meredith, suggested this easy snack. I still break these in half, but they are great because they dissolve quickly. I started this snack at 7 months.

White Cheddar Pirates Booty

Cheerios – I waited until Will was 8 months before trying this snack. My doctor recommends Cheerios over Puffs because they are more nutritious, but I still give him both.


Kirkland Real Sliced Fruit – My friend, Katie, introduced me to this easy on-the-go snack from Costco. It was an instant hit with Will around 8 1/2 months. I break these slices in half, but they do dissolve slowly in your mouth.

kirkland real sliced fruit

What snacks does your baby enjoy? What age did you start feeding these foods to your little one?

Charts and More Charts

Reading a baby book is not the most thrilling thing. The author usually spends a whole chapter explaining his philosophy on child rearing, then another providing scientific evidence to back his belief, and another listing numerous examples of families who have benefited from his method. Jeez. JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO, AND MAKE IT EASY!

That is the purpose of this blog post. To answer all of the questions I’m constantly asking myself, my family, my friends, and my doctor. I hope you find these charts helpful! (Click on each chart to enlarge)

P.S Every child is different. Some of these charts may not apply to your baby or your parenting style. For me, the napping chart says Will should be at 2 naps a day, but he likes his naps (just like his daddy!).

How much should my child be sleeping? 

sleep chart

How many naps should my child take a day? 



How many feedings should I do per day and how often? 

milk feedings


How much formula or breast milk should I feed my baby? 

amount per feeding

What solid foods are age appropriate? 

feeding chart


How much Tylenol can my baby take when he is sick or teething? 

What vaccinations does my child need, and when will he receive them? 


What should my child be able to do by this age? 


I Quit

Clear bottles with colored nipples

“I think I’m going to quit breastfeeding,” I told Billy last Monday morning.

“It’s not quitting, Julie. You have to stop eventually,” he responded.

“Yeah…I just really wanted to try for a year,” I said, feeling sorry for myself.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when Will was being fickle about breastfeeding. Then he got sick last week, lost his appetite, and breastfeeding became more of a challenge with a congested nose. I wasn’t ready to give-up, so I spent the whole week pumping. I even pumped during our trip to NYC, but I was starting to lose enthusiasm (and so was Billy).

Monday morning I tried again to nurse Will, and he cried, and squirmed, until I gave up. “That’s it” I thought to myself, “He’s over it, even though I’m not”. It was time to close that chapter of motherhood, and I needed to stop beating myself up about it. Will was 7 months old, and I had nursed longer than I ever expected.

I was already down to breastfeeding/pumping 3-4 times a day, so on Monday and Tuesday I pumped twice, Wednesday and Thursday once (I couldn’t even hug Will because I was so painfully engorged), and by Friday the breast pump was in storage.

How did you make the emotional and physical transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding?

Starting Sippy Cups

Will drinking water from a Nuby sippy cup

At Will’s 6-month appointment, my doctor suggested I start using sippy cups. A couple week later, I decided to give it a try. It took us 1 week to learn this fun, new skill, and this is how we got there:

1) Let your baby explore –Anytime you give a child something new, whether they are 6 months, or 6 years old, they need time to play and manipulate the new object. The second you set that cup down on their tray,  they are going to want to touch it and put every part of it in their mouth. Let them do it! It’s part of learning.

2) Test it – I don’t know about you, but I have three different brands of sippy cups: Nuby, Munchkin and Playtex. All of these sippy cups have handles, but the way the liquid flows from the nipple is different. Try it out for yourself, so you can see what your baby is working with.

3) Model – Show your little one how to drink from a sippy cup. Babies love anything that you like, including cell phones, keys, jewelry, and so on. Let your baby watch you test out their sippy cup (holding both handles, and tipping the cup and your head back to drink).

4) Use Guided assistance – Day 1-3, you are basically going to have to hold the cup for your baby, while they learn how to suck, and swallow from a different size plastic nipple. During these first three days, put your babies hands on the handles, or as close as you can get, while you hold the bottom of the cup. Day 4 and on you can slowly give your child the reigns.

5) Practice – Let them practice without your help. If you see them struggling for a few minutes, give them minimal assistance-just tip the cup back slightly, gently push their shoulders back so they are tilting their head, or adjust their hand positioning. The hardest thing for parents is letting their child make mistakes, but that’s how they learn!

6) Patience, Persistence, and Praise – At first you are going to think your baby is not ready for a sippy cup, because they have no idea what they are doing. Don’t give up! Make sure you use the sippy cup at least once a day, so they become familiar with it.

How did you teach your little one to use a sippy cup?

Who’s in Charge?

Will posing on the couch

Lately, it feels like Will is in charge of determining how long I will breastfeed. Some mornings he wakes up, pushes me away and cries. “Alright, alright, I’ll get you a bottle,” I say to him. He sure knows how to break my heart. It feels like being chosen last for capture the flag 😦 or like the bottle is better than me.

When I first started breastfeeding, my goal was 4 months. Slowly but surely, we both caught on, and 4 months turned into 6. Now, Will is almost 7 months old, and I figure, why not try for a year? I never thought I would make it that far, so a year would be a big accomplishment for us. But now, Will is being fickle. Somedays he likes me, other days he prefers formula, which means I have to pump. Unless I’ve had a few drinks, that pump stays hidden at the back of my closet. I really don’t want to go back into the daily pumping routine.

So, what do I do if Will’s favoritism for the bottle continues? Is this the end? Is that a good thing? When did you know it was time to wrap-it-up and close that chapter of motherhood?