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A Closer Look At Toddler Formula

Doctors recommend that parents start introducing solid foods at around 6 months. By 12 months, your toddler's diet will be expanding quickly—and yet it may be totally inconsistent. What's loved one day may be rejected the next. For that reason, some parents will turn to tried-and-true formula to make sure their toddlers get the necessary nutrients. And the necessary nutrients, of course, will be different for a toddler vs. a baby. Toddler formulas are designed to meet the nutritional needs of children from age 12 months to 24 months; most importantly, they contain higher levels of calcium and phosphorus to support bone growth and development.

Gaining Weight: With toddlers who are picky or poor eaters, it can be hard to know if they're getting a balanced diet every day. And during the transition to solid foods, these toddlers may have trouble gaining the adequate amount of weight if their intake of solids is ever changing. Toddler formula can be a helpful supplement in these cases.

Dealing with Allergies: Toddler formula is a good alternative to whole milk, which is generally introduced at 12 months, for children with allergies to cow's milk. An added benefit is that these formulas usually include DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid found in breast milk.

Special Diets: If you're a vegan family, a soy-based toddler formula may be the go-to alternative to cow's milk. Diets are a personal choice, but it's always wise to consult with your doctor about a toddler's nutritional needs and how best to meet them.

  1. Mom Tip:Many parents add a scoop of toddler formula to cow's milk to help with their transition. This gives milk an added nutritional boost as well as a familiar taste for some toddlers. But Christa Gress also found that Enfagrow Toddler Next Step Milk Drink provided an added level of convenience for life on the go.

    My 12-month-old drinks cow's milk fine, but it is hard to take it on the go when it needs to stay cold. I ended up coming across this and my son loves both the regular milk and vanilla. It's great for when we are spending a good bit of the day out and you do not have to worry about keeping it cold. Just take a couple bottles of water and two of his sippy cups and we are good to go.

How to Prepare Formula

If you're using a power or liquid concentrate formula, the FDA recommends boiling tap water for one minute, letting it cool, and then mixing it for feeding. If you're not feeding it immediately, it will need to be refrigerated. Some babies prefer warm bottles, so if you're taking it out of the fridge, use a bottle warmer or put the bottle in a bowl of hot water. This is important: Don't put a bottle into the microwave. Microwave heating can cause hot spots, which could burn the baby.

Doctors also say there's no reason not to give your baby a room-temperature or even chilled bottle, so give it a try. You may find it to be far more convenient when you're out and about (and don't have easy access to a heat source for your bottle). Plus, it may actually help your baby when it's time to switch to cow's milk, since that is usually served cold.