How Often Should A 2 Month Old Breastfed Baby Feed Toddler Formula Vs Cows Milk

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Toddler Formula Vs Cows Milk

I recently did quite a bit of research on which milk is best for toddlers, as it seems that many mums are wondering whether their babies should drink cow’s milk, low fat milk or baby formula after their first birthday.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of the child and to continue breastfeeding until at least 2 years of age. So I guess if you’re breastfeeding your toddler then the cow’s milk nutrition verses don’t apply to you, that’s one less thing, YAY!

Australian infant formula manufacturers and importers have entered into a voluntary agreement that adheres to the principles of the World Health Organization’s International Codex for the Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. In principle, the Code and Agreement prevent infant formula for children under 12 months from being advertised in Australia. The reason for this agreement and its advertising restrictions is to protect breastfeeding.

However, these restrictions do not apply to toddlers and are governed by recipes. Thus, by labeling infant formula as “gold” or “formula”, marketing companies can promote infant formula simply by association. This may be one of the reasons for such heavy advertising of infant formula.

Bellinda Kontominas medical reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald (06/09/07) quotes Sydney pediatrician Dr Patricia McVeagh as saying: “Unfortunately, advertising preys on the vulnerability of parents… Nutritionally, healthy babies do not need infant formula. and it’s much better to have 600 milliliters of cow’s milk or a cow’s milk product like cheese or yogurt.”

While many nutritionists will tell you that formula is the equivalent of junk food, I think to be fair it has its place. It can supplement the diet of picky eaters and children who may lack iron and calcium due to a limited diet. And while there are other ways to combat restlessness, there are times when real life takes over and the demands of work, other children, partners, etc. can make toddler patterns easier.

During my research, I was surprised to find that the National Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents recommended that all children in Australia over the age of 2 consume reduced-fat milk. That’s because the saturated fat in whole milk builds up in the arteries over time, increasing the risk of heart disease, and because reduced-fat varieties of milk generally contain more calcium than whole milk.

On the other hand, toddlers aged 12 – 24 months need whole milks and while infants under 12 months should not be offered soy milk, lactose intolerant toddlers over 2 years of age can be offered soy milk that contains added calcium.

So at the end of the day, keeping things simple is usually the best solution. Cow’s milk is great for babies, it contains everything they need to grow healthy and strong. It’s cheaper than formula, easily available if you’re out and about, great on cereal, and something you won’t have to wean your toddler off of when he’s older. So why complicate things by using baby formula when you don’t have to?

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