According to a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), toddler formulas marketed as healthy drinks for older babies and preschoolers are unnecessary and potentially lacking in vital nutrients. The report highlights that these formulas, often referred to as "follow-up formulas," "weaning formulas," or "toddler milks," give parents a false impression that they are necessary or equivalent to infant formula.
One of the concerns raised by the AAP is that these formulas tend to contain excessive amounts of added sugar, making them more palatable to children. This raises concerns about tooth decay and the development of a preference for sweet tastes, as well as long-term implications for obesity. Additionally, the report notes that toddler formulas are often expensive and provide no additional benefits that cannot be obtained from a well-balanced diet.
The AAP report recommends that babies under 12 months be provided with breast milk or infant formula, while toddlers 12 months and older should consume a varied diet with fortified foods to ensure optimal nutrition. It suggests that pediatricians should review children's nutrition and help caregivers adjust their intake of solid foods or vitamin supplements as necessary.
The report also emphasizes the need for clear marketing distinctions between toddler formulas and standard infant formulas. It highlights that there are no federal regulations governing the ingredients in these drinks, and manufacturers often make health-related claims without scientific review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Medical professionals further advise that children over 12 months can safely consume cow's milk or plant-based milks. A balanced diet for toddlers should include fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and whole grains.
Parents and caregivers should understand that it is normal for a child's appetite to vary from day to day, and there is no need to supplement their diet with a toddler formula unless there are concerns about growth and development.
In summary, the AAP report sheds light on the unnecessary and potentially unhealthy nature of toddler formulas marketed as healthy drinks for older babies and preschoolers. It emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and provides recommendations for pediatricians and caregivers to ensure children receive optimal nutrition.