Did you know that now we're apparently supposed to hold off on giving our babies cow's milk until well beyond their first birthdays? I mean, I understand the health benefits of extended breastfeeding, but are formula-fed babies going to be better off with extended formula feeding?
It's a crazy world out there man. I know we all want what's best for our kids, but is buying special toddler milk really worth the expense and hassle? Maybe, maybe not. Let's break it down and then you can decide if plain ol' moo juice is good enough for your darlings.
Pro: Contains DHA -- "an important nutrient that can nourish the brain."
Con: There have been numerous studies showing that adding docosahexaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid, in case you were wondering) to infant formula has no long-term effect one way or the other.
Bottom Line: If there's no proof that extra DHA is better for infants, then there's probably not a lot of evidence suggesting it's better for toddlers.
Pro: Can be used in place of pasteurized milk when the latter is unavailable.
Con: It's more expensive than the cost of milk combined with the cost of the electricity to keep it chilled in the fridge.
Bottom Line: Unless you're camping or living in a third world country, this isn't really an issue.
Pro: Will assuage your guilt over not breastfeeding or not breastfeeding long enough.
Con: The formula companies are banking on that mommy guilt.
Bottom Line: If it makes you feel better, then go for it. Otherwise put the extra money in your kid's therapy jar and move on.
Pro: Provides added nutrients to the diets of picky eaters.
Con: Your toddler will never learn to like carrots/chicken/sweet potatoes/insert-offensive-food-here if you keep letting him drink his meals.
Bottom Line: Your toddler will eat before he starves to death, I promise. Even carrots.
Pro: Soy-based toddler formulas are a viable alternative to milk in vegan diets.
Con: Many nutritionists believe that extremely restrictive diets can actually do more harm than good when it comes to children.
Bottom Line: Vegans need to keep an extra close eye on their kids' health, whether they supplement with toddler formula or not.
Pro: You get to feel like you're giving your kid the best possible start in life.
Con: It's expensive and most likely unnecessary.
Bottom Line: Companies that market products to moms are brilliant at creating a "need" for our children. This is probably one of those times.
Did you give your kids toddler formula? Would you?
Image via Crystal Hendrix Hirschorn/Flickr