Infant vs. Toddler Formulas

Question

My baby is 11 months old. To make sure that she gets proper nutrition, can I keep her on formula even after she turns 1? Would keeping her on regular formula be better than switching to toddler formula?

Dr. Greene's Answer

For breastfed babies, the nutrition in the breast milk changes throughout the nursing experience. Breastmilk is quite different when the baby is 6 days old, 6 months old, and 18 months old. These changes happen gradually over time. Formulas come in a few different stages to try to address children’s changing nutritional needs as they grow.

Toddler formulas have many of the same vitamins and minerals found in infant formulas. The main difference between toddler and infant formulas is that toddler formulas contain a greater amount of calcium and phosphorus. They are designed to match the higher calcium and phosphorus levels children need as they grow, similar to the levels found in whole milk.

One benefit of formulas over whole milk is that many of them contain DHA, an important omega-3 fatty acid (that you would find in breastmilk). One way or another, getting DHA in the diet seems especially important in the first two years. If you think your child needs formula after the first year, switching to a toddler formula at that time is one way to accomplish this while providing her with the extra calcium and phosphorus she needs..

Toddlers don’t necessarily need formula, even if they don’t nurse. Children who are eating a balanced variety of healthy solids after the first birthday should be able to get the extra vitamins and minerals found in formula from their diets, perhaps with the added safety net of a multivitamin. If there is concern that your child is not eating an adequate amount of solids, formula will provide most of her nutritional needs while she is experimenting with solid food.

It is important not to force your child into eating more solids. For most kids, it’s okay for them to eat as much or as little as they want, chosen from healthy options. It will vary day by day. To encourage solids, offer them at least three times a day, preferably before a bottle.

For most kids, it’s best not to coax them to eat with moving the spoon like an airplane or with music or sound effects. They have an internal mechanism that tells them how much to eat that you want to keep intact. If you suspect it is not intact or there are serious food allergies complicating the picture, then it is usually best to work with a feeding specialist to learn how to encourage feeding while still keeping the child’s motivation strong.

She may be fine with 16 ounces of formula a day now. Or she may want 24 ounces. If she consistently takes more or less than that, run it by your pediatrician to be sure she is getting a good amount for her specific situation. At the one-year physical, you’ll get to see on the charts just how she is growing. And one way or the other, your darling baby is on the doorstep of toddling into a whole new stage of life. Bon appétit!

Last medical review on: July 31, 2014
About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

I agree… I couldn’t breast feed. 2 of mine got breastmilk jaundice. And not the kind from not getting adequate intake. Their labs actually showed increase in bilirubin levels weeks following delivery. And, one I was also formula supplementing with a syringe for sugar levels. With a third child of mine, I went dry at one month. She was hungry and I had to add forumla to her feeding. Another child I just fed formula to. My oldest is 23 and my youngest is one…. I see no difference in their health between the breastfed and the formula fed. In fact, the one that was strictly formula fed did easiest in school and was in superb health throughout his whole childhood. As a mom… just try your best. If you change your mind and want to try something else…. it’s okay! Every child is different. But, they will come out just fine. A child does much better to have a mommy that doesn’t worry so much. Really they do. :) When momma’s happy, the whole family will be happy. :)

Emfamil triggers reflux flares and gas and diarrhea….. a lot of babies do fine and adjust to it. But if your baby is a spitter or colicky or gassy or has loose stools, save yourself the headache and go with Earths Best Cows milk formula. Make sure you get the one that is in the red can. It has no Corn syrup solids in it and it had all the same nutrients as enfamil and it is organic. There is an ingredient in cornsyrup that actually triggers reflux flares. Studies have been done in adults. Save yourself some sleepless nights and try it. A 6 months, the difference was immediate in my little one. And she liked it!

Most formulas have corn syrup solids in them….. Under the disguise of other names. From dealing with reflux and an inability to breastfeed, I have found that switching to organic formulas without corn syrup solids makes all the difference. THe corn syrup has an ingredient in it that has shown to cause reflux flares in adults. It also causes gas and loose stools. My little one always had runny stools until I made the switch at 6 months of age. Sooooo worth it!!!

I bought the same thing and really need to know if this is ok and if so how do I feed like how much

Try enfagrow for fussy ,gassy babies it’s in a purple can. For 9-18 month old. Try gas drops at night and don’t feed big meal for dinner

Most formulas have corn syrup solids in them….. Under the disguise of other names. From dealing with reflux and an inability to breastfeed, I have found that switching to organic formulas without corn syrup solids makes all the difference. THe corn syrup has an ingredient in it that has shown to cause reflux flares in adults. It also causes gas and loose stools. My little one always had runny stools until I made the switch at 6 months of age. Sooooo worth it!!!

Hi, I’ve just started to switch to enfagrow 9-18 months for my 11month old or you can find 12-24 months for toddler. it has more nutrients in it for picky eaters or babies not ready for solids. I wouldn’t give the baby 0-12 month formula for 17month old baby not enough

I accidentally bought 12-24 month old baby milk for my one month old baby and i was wondering the same if anything will happen to him if he drinks it?

I bought the same thing and really need to know if this is ok and if so how do I feed like how much

HI,

My baby boy is 5 months old now, we are giving him S26 Gold (0 to 6months) milk.

Normally me and my wife go to work and bring our baby to babysitter.
The babysitter is also carrying two toddlers with 3yrs of age aside my baby.
One day, we caught that the our baby was fed with toddlers milk S26 # 3 (which is for 2 to 3yrs old).
We are worrying so much because we are suspecting that same milk was fed 3 times that whole day.

Can somebody please explain to us if there will be a negative effect for the development of our baby?
He had fart and pu… but not sure if diarrhea after he had the milk.

I accidentally bought 12-24 month old baby milk for my one month old baby and i was wondering the same if anything will happen to him if he drinks it?

My baby is 3 months old can she have earthbest organic toddler formula

Hy I have twins they are about to turn 12months on the 13april I’ve just changed him from infant formula to Nan(optipro)-milk powder for young children so I was wondering was this a wise decision.