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My child is one+ years old, can I still provide formula?

My child is one+ years old, can I still provide formula?

What is toddler formula?

Toddler formula is a powdered milk drink supplement with added nutrients or formulations specifically for toddlers 1-3 years old, as labeled on the food package. Most are primarily composed of powdered milk, corn syrup solids or other added caloric sweeteners, and vegetable oil, and contain more salt and less protein than whole cow’s milk.

Why is toddler formula not recommended?

The American Heart Association recommends against serving added sugars (including the sweeteners in these products) to children less than 2 years of age. Experts' express concerns that these products may increase young children’s preferences for sweet tastes, negatively impacting weight outcomes. Other health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also discourage the use of toddler formulas.

If it is not recommended, then why do stores sell it?

There are many things sold in the stores that may not be recommended for our health, however, the decision is left to the consumer to decide what to purchase. Being informed will allow you do make the best decision.

Toddler formulas are not required to meet any labeling guidelines or requirements to validate their claims, this means you may not be purchasing exactly what is being claimed on the label. Since toddler formulas are labeled with the term “formula”, it gives the perception that they may be appropriate substitutes for infant formula or breastmilk. Marketing is a big part of toddler formulas. Visually, infant formulas and toddler formulas look alike, which increases the likelihood of customer confusion. The reality is that formula companies do not want to lose their customers and want to keep them for as long as possible.

How can toddler formulas be harmful for my child?

  • Prolonged Bottle use: Toddlers are more likely to request their formula in the bottle
  • Speech milestones: May be delayed due to prolonged bottle use
  • Dental Caries: Added sugars in formulas can lead to dental caries
  • Selective eating behaviors: Drinking toddler formula limits exposure to a variety of tastes and textures

What can my child eat?

If breastfeeding, you may continue for as long as you and your baby desire to do so. Formula should be discontinued at this point. By one, your child should be able to eat all foods you eat at home. Of course, we want to provide toddlers with foods, textures and portions they can tolerate. It is recommended to offer foods from all food groups— fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. By now, your child can also be introduced to whole milk, which will be included in your WIC package. If you continue to have any concerns about your child’s eating, do not hesitate to address them at your next WIC visit, or call your local WIC agency.


  • Stevens, Emily E et al. “A history of infant feeding.” The Journal of perinatal education vol. 18,2 (2009): 32-9. doi:10.1624/105812409X426314
  • Pomeranz, Jennifer L., Maria J. Romo Palafox, and Jennifer L. Harris. "Toddler drinks, formulas, and milks: Labeling practices and policy implications." Preventive medicine 109 (2018): 11-16.
  • Palafox, Maria J. Romo, and Jennifer L. Harris. "Toddler formulas: Nutritional value and marketing claims." The FASEB Journal 31.1_supplement (2017): 169-5.
  • https://wicworks.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/document/Infant_Nutrition_and_Feeding_Guide.pdf

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