Just so you know…
Should I use a Toddler Formula?
You are a great parent.
You always want what is best for your little one (LO). You picked out the best car seat, the best baby mattress/crib combo you could afford. You’ve also been careful what food you’ve put into your body while pregnant and nursing as well as your LO’s body. Breast milk and baby formula, and perhaps even Homemade Goat Milk Formula have been the nutritional mainstays your LO has been growing and thriving on. Now that your baby is over one year old and is officially on his or her way to becoming a toddler, you may be wondering, should I transition from the homemade goat milk formula to a toddler formula?
Question: “Should I transition from the goat milk formula to a toddler milk formula?”
It’s a great question and one that requires a bit of explanation.
Nutritional Needs of Infants vs Toddlers
When an infant is born, they need the nutritional equivalent of breast milk. Since breast milk is the gold standard and goat milk protein is very similar to breast milk protein, some mistakenly believe that undiluted goat milk is fine to feed babies under one year.
This is not true for infants.
Feeding babies undiluted goat milk can be dangerous. The newly developing kidneys cannot handle the increased protein, sodium, and potassium levels.
This is why we developed the first ever extensively tested, researched, and what I believe is the best baby formula recipe that you can give your LO.
But let’s get back to the question…now that baby isn’t a baby anymore, what should we feed them?
I recommend 3 options each of which should be discussed and implemented under the care of your child’s primary care provider.
Option 1. Keep baby on infant formula.
People are different and this includes little people like babies. Some are slower growing, have less interest in food, and develop later in life. If your LO lacks interest in solid foods and struggles to gain weight, you might consider (with the guidance of your doctor) keeping them on infant formula for the time being and then switching to option #2 or #3 in a few months.
Option 2. Switch them to undiluted goat milk.
This is an excellent option! Goat milk is a fantastic food for your growing LO. It should not be given to babies under 12 months. Goat milk is a great alternative to cow milk because it is easier to digest, resembles human milk, and is less likely to cause allergies. In fact, cow milk allergy is the number one cause of allergies in kids under 3, which makes goat milk a great choice for toddlers.
NOTE: I really don’t recommend UHT or Ultra-Pasteurized goat milk that your local grocery store carries. UHT milk is sterilized and extremely difficult to digest. It can negatively effect the gut microbiome of your toddler. Use only normally pasteurized, raw (only if you trust the source), or powdered goat milk.
Option 3. Use a toddler formula recipe.
Toddler formulas don’t get a lot of love these days. A quick google search reveals several critical articles on page one alone! And for good reason. Toddler formulas are largely cash cows for infant formula companies who are looking to increase the lifetime value of their transitioning customer base. Babies don’t stay babies and parents don’t keep buying infant formula. Enter toddler formula. Pretty genius actually.
Financial criticisms aside, the bigger problem with toddler formula is the fact that they are simply duplicates of their commercial infant formula cousins. They are generally high in sugars like corn syrup and high in cheap vegetable oils. Hardly the nutritionally vibrant foods we ought to be giving our babies. This is one of the biggest reasons I created the goat milk formula recipe in the first place.
Why was the goat milk formula created?
8 years ago, I wanted to give my 3rd daughter formula that wasn’t packed with GMOs, maltodextrin, and corn syrup and that didn’t have cow milk or soy milk, both of which she was allergic too. This formula didn’t exist at the time so I created a recipe that checked every nutritional requirement box I had. Now, 4 kiddos later, my youngest has turned 1 and is now ready to change from the baby formula to toddler formula, which I will now unveil.
Toddler Formula Recipe
- Once per day ingredients
Directions for making an 8 fl. oz. bottle: Fill a clean bottle with 5 fl oz. very warm filtered water. Add ghee and wait to melt. Add milk powder, lactose, Clean Whole Protein, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and any ‘once daily ingredients’ except probiotics. Shake until ingredients are well mixed, then add the additional water to fill the bottle up to the 8 oz mark. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or feed within 1 hour and discard leftovers.
If you compare this to the original homemade goat milk formula you will see two key changes.
- The lactose has been reduced to lower overall carbohydrates. Commercial toddler formulas keep the sugar content (carbohydrates) at infant formula levels. This is important because a toddler’s nutritional needs are transitioning from high carbohydrate needs to higher protein needs. While total carbohydrate needs aren’t really going down, the carbohydrates found in formula (sugar) should be reduced and replaced with fruits, vegetables, and other fiber containing foods.
- Protein has been added to increase nutrient density and promote healthy growth. This is done using a clean **whole** protein, which is a natural combination of whey and casein protein.
These two changes, lowering carbohydrates and raising protein are critical for toddler development.
Now you can get this same effect by simply switching to whole goat milk powder. Undiluted goat milk contains less carbohydrates and more protein than the baby formula. We created the homemade goat milk formula in the first place to address this issue. More carbohydrates and less protein is what baby needed then. Baby is a toddler and needs less sugar and more protein now.
This toddler formula has a specific advantage. It provides a sort of “middle ground” in transitioning from baby formula to undiluted whole goat milk. It could be the perfect formula to use for several months before fully transitioning to whole milk.
Let’s compare the nutritional components of these 3 options. Just for fun, let’s include the the leading toddler formula too.
* These nutrient numbers are based off the USDA Daily Recommended Intakes or DRIs
** Not determined (ND).
Key Nutritional Takeaway
What we see in this chart is that Option 2 and Option 3 actually begin to move baby into further stages of growth and development. It reduces their reliance on carbohydrates (critical for infants and less critical for toddlers) and increases their intake of protein (critical for healthy growing bodies). On the other hand, Option 1 (unless medically required) and the Leading Toddler Formulas, merely contain the same nutrient levels and recommendations found in infancy. They do nothing to develop the growing toddler into nutritional maturity.
Toddler Health in Practice
The health of your toddler is of paramount importance. All three options have legitimate uses. When making an important decision about what foods we eat or what foods we feed our children, it is helpful to remember this one thing that will ease our minds when a stressful decision is in front of us.
Here is the one thing:
The human body is incredible at adapting and adjusting needs in accordance with food supply.
Think about this. Of all the different cultures and different foods throughout the world, our bodies do an amazing job of adapting and adjusting needs based on the foods we consume. Regardless of the choice you make, your little bio-individual child will continue to grow and develop (likely faster than you would prefer) and soon will graduate from the bottle entirely. Once your child is eating the same meals you eat, their health is as simple as your health and you’ll have one less choice to make.