When it comes to your infant, your little one has been able to grow and thrive with infant formula. It has been with them from birth and throughout solids. But your little one is still little to you even if they already blew out that one candle on their birthday cake. Is it important to wean off of infant formula to toddler formula?
Babies who have formula during their first year of life have it because breastfeeding was not in the equation. Breast milk is the perfect food for infants because it gives them the nutrients they need as they grow. That is because breast milk changes as your baby's nutritional needs grow.
Infant formula can also change, but not in the same package. After six months, for example, your baby may need follow on milk or a different stage milk after ten months. Your baby's nutritional needs change as they try solids and get nutrition through cereals, purees and other foods.
Toddler formula is similar to infant formula because it has the same vitamins and minerals that help your baby grow and develop. It also has the omega-3 fatty acid DHA which is still important for brain and eye development in the first two years. It is also fortified with iron. The biggest difference is that toddler formula has more calcium and phosphorus. As your baby grows, these are some of the nutrition that they need more of that is not sufficient in infant formula.
When your baby was less than a year old, pediatricians and other health experts discouraged the consumption of whole milk for babies. This is because the high content of protein and minerals were not healthy for their digestive system and difficult to absorb the nutrients. It would also create problems in your baby's kidneys. Breast milk and formula were both broken down well enough to meet your baby's nutritional needs with the right balance for their developing digestive systems.
Toddler formula can be the transition between infant formula and whole milk. Not only does it have everything infant formula has, it has the extra nutrients that whole milk can offer. It contains the best of both products. Another benefit is for toddlers who are poor eaters when it comes to solid foods or those who do not like the taste or texture of whole milk. Toddler formula is still something that is familiar but allows them to gain weight and develop without missing out on key nutrition. Your pediatrician will help you determine the right kind of nutrition at this stage of your child's life.
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