The breastfeeding versus formula debate is always a hot issue among mums and medical experts. The latest ‘feeding’ debate is now around the need for toddler milk. Experts are labeling toddler milk as a waste of money and it’s claims to benefit your child are ‘clever marketing’.
Toddler milk is often offered to babies after they have weaned from breastfeeding, however medical experts have claimed toddlers can get all the nutrients they require from food and cow’s milk.
Western Sydney University School of Nursing and Midwifery’s Dr Karleen Gribble told the Daily Telegraph there is nothing magic about formula.
‘Toddler milk is powdered milk with a few vitamins and minerals added, there is nothing magic about them and there is no need for a specialised product that is five times more expensive than powdered milk or fresh milk,’ she said.
Sales of toddler milk in Australia have almost doubled in recent years and the toddler and infant market is worth a half billion dollars.
Even the World Health Organisation agrees with Dr Gribble, believing formula is an unnecessary substitute.
Toddlers should be fed a wide variety of foods including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Cow’s milk should also be offered. If their diet includes these items, they will get all the nutrients they need.
Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council recommends toddlers should drink cow’s milk from 12 months of age if they are no longer being breastfed.
Australian National University and lead author of a paper in the Public Health Nutrition Journal Dr Phillip Baker believes the boom in toddler milk sales is due to dire breast feeding rates around the world.
He also told the Daily Telegraph that there are devastating effects on children who are fed toddler milk instead of proper food.
The Infant Nutrition Council Chief Executive Officer Jan Carey disagrees that the marketing of toddler milk encouraged a lack in breastfeeding.
The enriched toddler milk was a good way for parents to complement their toddler’s diet if they were receiving insufficient nutrients.
Not all toddlers will eat what is in front of them. It’s reassuring that if a toddler chooses not to eat their food, they will get necessary nutrients from a toddler formulated milk.
In Australia, the advertising of infant milk is banned under the Manufacturers’ and Importers’ Agreement so breast feeding is not discouraged.
The decision on whether to feed toddlers a formulated milk is up to parents as each child situation is different from the other. But if parents are confident their toddler is getting the nutrients they need from their diet, it could help families save less at the checkout.
Do you feed your toddlers formula milk? What do you think of the expert’s claims?