You may have noticed that there are a number of formula products designed for toddlers.
These are designed to be given to children who are leaving breast milk and infant formula behind.
Do these toddler formulas, as they are sometimes called, offer something your child needs, or are they just the product of clever marketing?
When a mother breastfeeds her baby, the composition of her milk changes to match her baby’s needs.
As long as she keeps breastfeeding, her milk will continue to change to reflect what her baby needs. Your baby should receive only breast milk or formula until she is one year old.
Formula, being a manufactured product, does not change and adapt. However, there are now baby formula brands that are being marketed for toddlers who are age 9 months to 24 months.
The nutritional content of these baby formulas varies. Some contain added calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, and essential fatty acids DHA and ARA.
Some contain probiotic cultures which are designed to promote digestive health and the immune system. But are these formulas with their added ingredients really necessary?
The short answer is no, there is no reason you must use toddler formulas rather than transitioning your one year old from formula or breast milk to a regular milk product. However, there are some circumstances that might make toddler formula a good choice.
Children are different when it comes to eating solid food. Some children love solid food and make the transition well, while others are more reluctant.
If your child is one who is making the transition slowly, you might feel more comfortable using a toddler or second stage formula for a while until your child is consuming more of their nutrition in the form of solid food.
A child who is eating a properly balanced diet is generally consuming enough nutrients for optimal health without the need for supplements.
If your child was born premature, you might feel more comfortable keeping them on formula longer to help provide an additional nutritional boost.
If your child has food allergies, or other conditions which limit their dietary intake or variety, you might feel more comfortable transitioning to a toddler or stage 2 formula before you move on to milk.
One other consideration is that cow’s milk is not designed for growing baby humans; it is designed for growing baby cows. Obviously human babies have different nutritional needs.
Toddler formulas are especially designed for the nutritional needs of children between the ages of 1 and 2. Perhaps the most significant supplementation they provide is the essential fatty acids DHA and ARA, which are known to help with the development of a child’s brain and eyes.