Formula vs. breastfeeding can be a controversial topic. While there are obvious benefits to exclusive breastfeeding, there are many legitimate reasons for choosing not to breastfeed just as there may be reasons for requiring a supplement such as formula to enhance a toddler’s diet.
Toddlers are notoriously picky about the foods they eat. Often it is a matter of texture rather than taste that leads them to refuse certain food items. Supplementing with a quality formula can help ensure that your child is receiving adequate nutrients for healthy growth and development while they are entering the solid food stage. However, if your toddler is primarily consuming infant formula, chances are they will still be nutritionally deficient.
Since infant formula contains lesser amounts of vitamins, minerals, fats and other nutrients than formula for toddlers, it is unlikely that your pediatrician will recommend it. On the other hand, so long as your child is primarily consuming whole foods and getting most of their nutrition in this manner, it is safe to fill in any gaps with formula.
There are many brands with differing nutritional profiles to choose from. A toddler that does not eat meat may benefit from formula with higher amounts of iron, while those with allergies to milk can benefit from a non-dairy based brand. Allowing older children an opportunity to help or observe you prepare meals can often pique their interest in trying new foods. Children are always watching and observing adults, so offering foods that you eat yourself can be an effective way to introduce new items to your toddler.
Offering them a variety of healthy food choices while they are figuring out their likes and dislikes is a good practice in theory, but it doesn’t always work right away. Utilizing the benefits of formula can be a helpful addition until a well-rounded diet is attained.