The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report stating that “toddler formulas” marketed for children aged 6 to 36 months do not provide significant nutritional advantages. Pediatricians like Kelly Henchel have long discouraged their use, with Henchel even recalling a formula representative advising against it in 1998. The report clarifies that “toddler formulas” are distinct from infant formulas and often unnecessary. Instead, the AAP recommends infants under 12 months stick to breast milk or infant formula, while children 12 months and older should consume a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, and cow’s milk.

The toddler formula industry has experienced a significant increase in sales, with sales reaching $92 million in 2015. However, these products can be more expensive and offer less protein but more fat than cow’s milk. Many mothers, particularly from Black and Hispanic communities, believe that toddler milk is nutritionally superior to cow’s milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that specialized toddler formulas may not offer significant nutritional advantages and criticizes questionable marketing tactics used by the companies producing these products. While toddler milk can be crucial for children with specific health needs, most children do not require specialized products after the age of one. Toddler milks may enhance vitamin D and E levels compared to unfortified cow’s milk, but the need for older-child formula diminishes for those who can consume a balanced diet of solid foods. The AAP report also recommends against using toddler formulas due to concerns about their content, often including added sugars.