Your Baby At Fifteen Months

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There are two periods of adolescence in life: One is the teenage years which we all know is a stormy and uncertain time; the other is the teenage months which can be equally as trying.

As you’ve probably seen, little Rufus has probably learned what a temper is by now and has dutifully decided to demonstrate his capabilities and finesse to his parents and anyone else who will watch and listen. They are really becoming little individuals with distinct personalities and characteristics.

Nutrition At Fifteen Months

If it’s true that you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink, the same goes for feeding a toddler. About the best you can do is offer them food and leave it as a “take it or leave it” situation for them.

It’s a fruitless effort to try to force something in their mouth if they don’t want it. They have a way of rejecting anything no matter how tasty and delightfully prepared it is if they set their mind against it. They should be able to eat any type of food by now, but they usually at this age begin to try to put you into the catering business.

It’s amazing how the natural drive from hunger is still the most powerful motivator for getting a child to eat. If you will place the food on the tray in front of the fifteen-month-old and let them have the choice of eating or not eating, their hunger and appetite will allow a perfect balance of quality and quantity of food.

Offer them what you’re having for supper and do not cater to their whims and wishes. If they don’t want what is prepared then they have the individual option of not eating. If they don’t eat by choice they will be hungry by the next meal, and no child on earth will starve to death between two meals. They may try to make you think they are, but they aren’t, so don’t fall for their crying and whining and pitching a fit wanting a cookie fifteen minutes after they have refused their supper.

Also do not substitute milk for food; calorie for calorie, milk is just as filling as solid food. They can, therefore drink themselves out of that hungry desire to eat by consuming large quantities of milk.

A recently distressed mom approached me with a two-year-old who would not eat and it was found he was consuming nearly a gallon of milk per day. Who would be hungry! While on the subject of milk it should be maintained that they drink somewhere in the neighborhood of sixteen ounces per day at this point and preferably whole milk.

Let me stress again, do not cater, they will not starve! And do not let them become large consumers of juice.

Pacifiers and Bottles

These are not necessarily taboos, but your child should not be allowed to wander about with one (of either) in the mouth all day. This leads to tooth decay with the bottle (bottle mouth or bottle caries) or leads to unnecessary ingestion of germs with the paci (it’s always on the floor and then in the mouth!). No wonder these guys are always coming home with a new cold.

90% of infectious illnesses are transmitted by hand-to-mouth contact and the paci is a great vehicle. So are the fingers, but there’s not much you can do about that one except frequent hand washing.

Temper Tantrums

Most babies are pros at temper tantrums by fifteen to eighteen months. Your little sweetie may not have pulled one on you yet, but just wait – your turn is coming.

When they do, it is best to completely ignore the temper tantrum. If you concede and give them what they want, you have just been whipped and the baby will try it again more and more often and more and more intensely.

No child has ever cried itself to death by pitching a fit and yours is unlikely to break this record. If the tantrum occurs in a place where you can walk off and leave the child on the floor screaming, please do so. Within a few minutes they will have worn themselves out and moved on to more fun things.

If it is happening on the kitchen floor and supper will burn if unattended, gently remove the child, place him in another room in the floor without speaking to him and return to the kitchen. Or, if possible, leave the scene yourself and go to another room. They will freak out when they realize that you have left them in the middle of their fit.

It is usually fruitless to spank or punish the child during a temper tantrum. That just acknowledges their quest for power.


You will set the stage for the next twenty years of behavior during the next few months. Please do not be afraid to be in control of your child and discipline them when necessary.

Discipline is an art with no right answers, but must be carried out with gentleness and love but also with firmness. It is not yet necessary to expect your child to behave as an adult in this regard.

By the way, potty training should be a forbidden word in the house for the next 3 months, so don’t worry about that one yet.

Fifteen Month Shots

The first MMR and the 4th DTaP as well as the oral polio vaccine will be given today. There may be a fever and generalized rash that appears about five to ten days from now from the MMR. Treat the symptoms as they appear. The MMR does not produce a contagious rash or fever.

What's Next?

See you again at 24 months (no 18 month visit is necessary). The next immunizations will be at entry to kindergarten.

Boy, how time flies! Good luck. Raise them right!