Your baby’s now a toddler… YAY! A whole world of milk options opens up, but which milk is the best for your 1-year old? Is it toddler formula, fresh whole cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy milk, or none for that matter?
Toddler Milk: is it necessary or even helpful?
Toddler formula is formula milk that is marketed as ‘essential’ and transitionary for ages 1 to 3. While toddler milk is heavily advertised as a necessary item for healthy and growing toddlers, I have to say it really isn’t. At one year of age, a baby can directly transition from their infant formula or breastmilk to other choices. Toddler milk is a milk you don’t ever need, and here’s why:
Toddler milk is not regulated by the FDA:
Infant formula is monitored by the FDA, so that means there are a lot of restrictions about what companies can and can’t include in the ingredients list. For toddler milk, this isn’t the case, so you’ll often find ingredients like corn syrup and sugar in them. With milk still being offered twice daily at this age, this means that toddlers consume around 60 teaspoons of sugar over a month when drinking toddler formula!
Toddlers don’t “need” this milk to secure their daily nutrients:
If a toddler is eating a well-balanced diet, there is no stress when it comes to securing nutritional needs each day. Keep in mind, too, that most toddlers are relatively picky. This is normal as they discover their independence and autonomy, so there’s no need to be alarmed and offer toddler formula to combat this.
Some toddler milks are flavored:
This indirectly means more artificial flavors and chemicals are used to create the final product. Not much needs to be explained here other than that it’s obvious we’re better off skipping it. Moreover, we could be getting our kids used to a drink that doesn’t taste like milk at all. This could lead to milk rejection later on.
Toddler milk is heavier than other milk:
Compared to other options such as fresh whole cow’s milk or goat’s milk, toddler formula is quite heavy and filling. This means your child is less likely to be hungry for actually nutritious food (which would make picky eating worse actually!)
The AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) specifically states that toddler milk is unnecessary for toddlers:
Why then is it prescribed so enthusiastically? Moreover, the AAP suggests that toddlers should switch to whole cow’s milk at the age of 1. Lower fat milk is optional as of 2 years of age.
Toddler milk can sometimes falsely market:
Many milk brands state that they are “iron-fortified” when in fact, it’s very difficult to absorb iron in the presence of calcium. This is a misleading statement.
Can my 1-year old drink TOO much cow’s milk?
Yes. It’s very important that your 1-year old does not drink too much cow’s milk either. The recommended daily intake at this age is around 2 to 3 cups (approximately 450ml). Drinking more than this amount is not advised because cow’s milk protein in large amounts is hard to digest. Also, it would prevent them from eating to secure the nutrition needed.
What are other milk options for my toddler?
Breastmilk: Breastmilk is still a wonderful choice of milk for toddlers, so mothers can continue to do so!
Goat’s Milk: Goat’s milk is a great substitute to cow’s milk, especially that it is higher in calcium and also easier to digest for little tummies.
Oat milk / Soy Milk / Nut Milk: Such milk options will never equally replace cow’s milk, so a lot of care is needed when making this switch. Speak to specialists about supplements that would be needed.