Every family’s journey is unique when it comes to weaning and supplementing with toddler formula. Research Neuroscientist, Dr. Nicole Avena, shares her insights on the benefits of using a toddler formula for your little one and why you might want to consider a goat milk based option.
Written by Dr. Nicole Avena. Dr. Avena is a research neuroscientist and expert in diet during pregnancy and baby, toddler and childhood nutrition. She’s the author of several books, including ‘What to Feed Your Baby and Toddler: a month-by-month guide to support your child’s health and development.’
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers to continue breastfeeding after 6 months, even up to 2 years, while providing complementary foods. For mothers who don’t breastfeed or choose to stop breastfeeding before 24 months, the WHO states that other acceptable sources of milk exist.
In the US, the majority of infants are fed infant formulas by the time they are 6 months old. Toddler formula is typically given to babies who are between 12 and 24 months of age. Like infant formula, toddler formulas are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, B vitamins, choline, and often, DHA.
Is toddler formula an acceptable source of “milk”?
If your little one is not breastfeeding, infant formula should be used up until 12 months, at which point it is recommended to switch to fortified whole cow’s milk (or goat milk or plant-based milk). However, making the switch to ‘straight’ milk may not be right for all children. Here are three reasons to consider using toddler formula as a part of your baby’s diet.
First, a toddler formula may be helpful to supplement the diet if your child is a picky eater or has a poor diet – cow’s milk may not contain all of the critical nutrients found in toddler formula.
Second, supplemental toddler formula may be beneficial as an extra source of calories to children who struggle to gain weight.
And third, toddler formula may be suitable if your child needs or desires a cow milk alternative (due to allergy or intolerance); in these cases, a plant-based or goat milk-based* formula may be an option and will provide more nutrients than a typical milk substitute.
When it comes to toddler formula, should you consider a goat milk-based option?
Although goat milk and cow milk are similar, there may be some benefits to choosing a goat milk-based toddler formula. Let’s take a look at the differences and similarities between goat milk and cow milk-based formulas.
Digestibility: Digestibility is an essential factor to consider, especially if your little one has had tummy issues in the past. The protein (and the fat) found in goat milk is easier to digest compared to cow milk, and studies have shown that the digestibility of the protein in goat milk is more similar to breast milk.
Tolerability: Goat milk is generally well-tolerated when consumed – it means that it can be a good option if a baby has intolerance or sensitivity to other kinds of milk.
Nutritional suitability: Goat milk toddler formula is more nutritionally suitable (as a cow milk alternative) than, say, almond milk or rice milk.
Plus, goat milk is an attractive alternative because it is convenient, tasty, and comes from high-quality sources. These are all critical factors to consider when you are choosing what to feed your toddler!
So when you finally head to the store, what are some things you should look for when purchasing a toddler formula?
You may want to compare vitamin D, DHA, iron, and calcium content of the products you find. Also, check the ingredients list to look for fillers, such as added sugars, preservatives, colorings, and any artificial additives. You may also want to see for tummy friendly prebiotics, such as GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides), and whether the product is organic or non-GMO.
Aim for a formula that is packed with nutrients, but otherwise has as few ingredients as possible and no artificial additives, flavors, or colors. The rest is up to you. Go with a reputable brand to feel confident that your toddler is getting the nutrients he needs without sacrificing quality and safety.
*Goat milk has often been suggested as a good alternative for children with allergies, particularly cow milk allergy. Although this may be true if there is an intolerance to cow milk, goat milk contains similar proteins, and thus there could also be a reaction to the proteins in goat milk. In this case, a better option may be to opt for a hypoallergenic or plant-based option. Always speak with your healthcare professional to review your child’s unique needs and the available feeding options.
Kabrita non-GMO Goat Milk Formula is designed to maintain the natural comfort of little ones during feeding transitions, such as weaning, supplementing or changing formulas due to skin or tummy troubles*.
Are you curious to see if Kabrita Goat Milk Formula may be right for your family? Check out our free trial kit today!
*Not suitable for cow milk protein allergy