Your Fifteen Month Old - What You Need To Know

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Toddler Nutrition and Diet at 15 Months Old

You may now give your baby homogenized whole cow's milk, although if you are continuing to breastfeed your toddler at least 2 or 3 times a day, then he likely doesn't need cow's milk yet.

If switching from breast milk or infant formula to milk, do not use 2%, low fat, or skim milk until your child is 2 years old though.

Your infant's diet will begin to resemble that of the rest of the families, with 3 meals and 2 snacks each day.

You should limit milk and dairy products to about 16 to 24 oz each day (in a cup or bottle) and juice to 4-6oz each day (offered in a cup only) and offer a variety of foods to encourage good eating habits later.

Your child should want to feed himself with his fingers and a spoon or fork and should be able to drink out of a cup. The next few months will be time to stop using a bottle and transition to a sippy cup. Remember that your infant's appetite may decrease and become pickier over the next few years as his growth rate slows. Your infant will probably have given up middle of the night feedings by this age. If not, slowly reduce how much you are putting in the bottle each night and gradually stop this feeding all together.

To avoid having to supplement with fluoride, use fluoridated tap water. If you are using bottled or filtered water only, then your child may need fluoride supplements (check with the manufacturer for your water's fluoride levels).

Feeding practices to avoid are giving large amounts of sweet desserts, soft drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, sugarcoated cereals, chips or candy, as they have little nutritional value. Also avoid giving foods that your child can choke on, such as raw carrots, peanuts, whole grapes, tough meats, popcorn, chewing gum or hard candy.

For more information on your toddler's nutrition:

Toddler Growth and Development

You can expect him to combine syllables, say mama/dada, walk well alone, bang objects together, enjoy reading interactively and point to pictures. He is also probably able to say 3-6 words, understand simple commands, and begin to use a spoon or fork.

Over the next few months, you can expect him to walk backward, walk up steps with her hand held, run, kick a ball, say 10 to 25 words, name 3 body parts, turn pages of a book, remove pieces of clothing and stack two blocks together.

This is also a time that your child will begin to explore and try and figure out how things work and will enjoy playtime. It is important to give lots of praise and many opportunities for exploration. If using a pacifier, it is a good time to start restricting its use (or giving it up altogether) to only when your baby is in his crib, so that his interest in it will decrease.

Most toddlers take two naps during the day at this age (length of naps are usually very variable between different children, but naps are usually 1-1 1/2 hours each). By eighteen months, many toddlers are only taking one long nap.

Most toddlers are able to sleep for the majority of the night (at least 11 hours). If not, check to make sure that your infant has a good bedtime routine and has developed the proper sleep associations. He may start waking again at times of stress, illness or after learning a new task (such as walking).

18 Safety Tips for your 15-Month-Old Toddler

Accidents are the leading cause of death for children. Most of these deaths could easily be prevented, and it is therefore very important to keep your child's safety in mind at all times. Here are some tips to keep your toddler safe:

  • According to the latest car seat guidelines, you should use a rear-facing infant or convertible car seat, and place it in the back seat until your baby is two years old or outgrows the rear-facing weight or height limits, and never place your baby in the front seat of a car with a passenger side airbag.
  • Make sure his crib is safe: have no more than 2 3/8 inches between the bars; the mattress should be firm and fit snuggly in the crib; place it away from windows and drafts; avoid placing fluffy blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows in the crib as they can cause smothering.
  • Make sure that used or hand-me-down equipment, such as car seats, strollers, and cribs, etc., haven't been recalled for safety reasons. Call the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for an up to date list of recalled products.
  • To prevent choking, never leave small objects or plastic bags in your baby's reach.
  • Correctly use a harness when he is seated in a high chair.
  • Avoid exposing your child to too much sun (use sunscreen).
  • Back To Sleep: put your baby to sleep on his back (alternate positions) to reduce his risk of SIDS and never put him down alone on a waterbed, beanbag, or soft blanket that can cover his face and cause choking.
  • Prevent falls by not leaving your baby alone on a bed or changing table.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and use flame retardant sleepwear.
  • If you have a gun in the house, keep it and the bullets in a separate locked place.
  • Practice water safety: Teach your child to swim, do not let your child play around any water (lake, pool, ocean, etc.) without adult supervision (even if he is a good swimmer), always wear a life preserver or safety vest when on a boat, and childproof the pool by enclosing it in a fence with a self-closing, self latching door.
  • Be cautious of certain dog breeds (Rottweilers, pit bulls, German Shepards) that account for over fifty percent of fatal dog bites and closely supervise children when in the presence of animals.
  • Clean his teeth with a soft toothbrush with just a smear of a fluoride toothpaste (to prevent fluorosis) until he learns to spit out the toothpaste.
  • Child Proof the House: Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F, use gates on stairs, covers on electrical outlets and latches on cabinets.
  • Keep household cleaners, chemicals and medicines completely out of reach and always store them in their original container. Know the Poison Control Center number (1800-222-1222).
  • Do not carry hot liquids or food near your child and do not allow your child near stoves, heaters or other hot appliances (especially curling irons), and when cooking, use the back burners and turn pot handles inward.
  • To prevent drowning, empty all water from bathtubs and pails, keep the door to the bathroom closed and never leave your child alone near any container of water.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone, and lock rooms that are not child proof.

Common Toddler Problems

  • Constipation: defined as the passage of hard, pellet-like stools that cause pain or bleeding (groaning or straining is normal). Initial treatment is by giving extra water, apple, or prune juice, increasing the amount of fiber in your toddler's diet, and decreasing constipating foods.
  • Stuffy Nose/Sneezing: very common and usually caused by irritation from dry air, smoke, or dust. Try to eliminate common irritants. You can try using a humidifier or salt water nose drops.
  • Diaper Rashes: very common and usually clear up in 3-4 days with a diaper rash cream. If it is not clearing up or is bright red and surrounded by red dots, your baby may have a yeast infection and will need an antifungal cream to help clear it up. Diaper rashes can be prevented by frequent diaper changes, increasing air exposure by keeping the diaper off as much as possible and using a mild soap only after bowel movements (rinse with just warm water at other times).
  • Upper Respiratory Infections: these are very common and include symptoms of a clear or a green runny nose and cough and are usually caused by cold viruses. The best treatment is to use saltwater nasal drops and a bulb suctioner to keep their nose clear. Call your Pediatrician if your child has high fever, difficulty breathing or is not improving in 7-10 days
  • Vomiting: usually accompanies diarrhea as part of a viral infection. If your child starts vomiting, it is best to give them a break from eating and drinking for an hour or so and then start to give small amounts of Pedialyte (1 teaspoon) every five or ten minutes. Once your child is able to tolerate drinking these small amounts you can increase the Pedialyte to about a tablespoon every five or ten minutes and then larger amounts as tolerated and then change back to his regular formula. Avoid giving just Pedialyte for more than 12 hours. Call your Pediatrician if the vomit has blood in it, if it is dark green, or if your child is showing signs of dehydration (which includes not urinating in 6-8 hours, having a dry mouth and weight loss).
  • Diarrhea: a common problem and is often caused by a viral infection. Call your Pediatrician if diarrhea has blood or pus in it, if it is not getting better in 1-2 weeks or if you see signs of dehydration (which includes not urinating in 6-8 hours, having a dry mouth and weight loss). You should continue with their regular diet but may give 1-2 ounces of Pedialyte each time that he has large diarrhea stool to prevent dehydration.

Taking Your Child to your Pediatrician

You will be making frequent visits to your Pediatrician during the first few years of your child's life so that his growth and development can be closely monitored. Remember to write down any questions you may have for your doctor before the visit so that you don't forget them.

At the fifteen month checkup, you can expect:

  • An examination of your toddler's growth and development.
  • A review of feeding and sleep schedules.
  • Measurement of his height, weight and head circumference.
  • Counseling for injury prevention, dental health, and a proper diet.
  • Immunizations: Hib, IPV, MMR, Varivax, Prevnar, Hepatitis A (if they weren't given at the twelve-month checkup).

The next check up with your pediatrician will be when your infant is eighteen months old.


The Your Child At... articles are adapted from the Your Child newsletter and series of articles from and are used with the permission of Keep Kids Healthy, LLC.