Toddler Formula Vs Milk Comparison

59 hours of research 4 minute read

" There comes a point when parents need to decide whether their toddler should drink formula or if milk will suffice for their diet. "
Toddler Formula Vs Milk Comparison

Parents have so many things to think about – one of the most crucial is what to feed the baby. If your baby is near the toddler stage, you are probably wondering if you should give your baby whole milk or toddler formula.

There are plenty of articles that say that the toddler formula is just a marketing ploy… but is it really meant to dupe parents? Let’s dig deeper and explore if this is the right milk for your toddler.

What is Toddler Formula?

Toddler formula (also known as toddler milk, toddler transition milk, growing up milk, Stage 3 and Stage 4 milk) is specifically made for babies who are one to three years old. (Holle and Lebenswert toddler milk are for 10+ months.) It is mostly in powder form and is almost similar to infant milk.

Can You Give Whole Milk To Toddlers?

Whole milk is normally recommended by pediatricians by the time babies are 12 months old. Never give whole milk to babies below 12 months old because this may cause intestinal bleeding. It contains too much protein and minerals that could overwhelm a baby’s kidneys. It also does not contain the right amount of nutrients for a baby below 12 months old.

Complete Nutrition For Toddlers

toddler formula vs milk comparison

You probably heard of Omega 3. What is it and why is it important to your baby?

Omega 3 are fatty acids that are crucial to a baby's brain, heart, and immune system development.

Omega 3 can only be obtained from healthy food. These can be found in some vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, and fish. The body does not produce this nutrient.

So does whole milk contain Omega 3? No. Parents who give their toddler whole milk must ensure that their diet is complete and healthy for their development.

Whole Milk vs. Reduced-Fat Milk For Toddlers

Whole milk (also known as fresh milk, regular milk, full-fat milk, and Vitamin D milk) is slightly thick and creamy milk that has 3.5% of fat. Reduced-fat is milk that has 2% fat.

Keep in mind that whole milk is a supplement to healthy solid food, and if your toddler has not yet transitioned to solid foods then you should continue using toddler formula until they have a more advanced diet.

How Much Milk Should You Give a Toddler?

If not using a stage 3 or stage 4 formula, toddlers can drink about 1 and 2/3 to 2 cups of whole milk per day. Whole milk is the same with reduced fat milk – except whole milk has higher fat. Toddlers need fat in their diet for healthy growth and development.

Depending on the brand, toddlers should drink from 160 ml to 220 ml of formula, once or twice a day depending on the specific formula.

Which Milk is Best For Toddlers?

Just like with the breast milk vs infant formula debate, toddler formula vs whole milk also has the market divided.

Cow’s Milk

  • Inexpensive
  • Readily Available from the Local Grocery Shelf
  • Nutritionally Incomplete (especially for toddler who are still picky with what they eat)
  • Short shelf life once opened

Toddler Formula

  • Nutritionally Complete
  • Has Omega 3 for your toddler’s brain, heart, and immune system development
  • Longer shelf life compared to cow’s milk
  • More expensive than cow’s milk

Let’s look at the points raised above:

  1. Toddler milk is much more expensive compared to whole milk.
    The average price for 1 gallon of whole milk is $4.41. 1 pack of toddler formula ranges from $23 to $51.88. You can get this at lower prices by buying in bulk and availing of subscription. 1 pack of toddler formula yields about 1.5 gallons of prepared milk.
  2. The shelf life of toddler formula is much longer than whole milk.
    The minimum shelf life of toddler formula sold by Organic Life Start is 6 months.
    Once opened, toddler formula should be used within 21 days.
    Opened whole milk on the other hand, should be consumed within 7 days.
  3. Toddler formula offers complete nutrition for many picky eaters.
    Toddler formula is ideal for babies who barely eat solid food or who haven’t transitioned to solid foods yet.
    Whole milk is better suited for toddlers who eat healthy, balanced meals.

Most Popular Toddler Formula

Here are the most popular toddler formulas for babies aged 10 months and older.

100% Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

No GMO

No Maltodextrin

HiPP's most popular formula for toddlers

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HiPP Dutch Stage 3

100% Demeter Certified Organic

Made from skimmed goat’s milk

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

No Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMOs

Simple ingredients list

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Holle Goat Dutch Stage 3

100% Demeter Certified Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

No Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

Check Price
Holle Bio (Cow) Stage 3

100% Organic

Made from skimmed goat’s milk

Contains Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

No GMO

No Maltodextrin

Check Price
HiPP Dutch Goat Stage 3

100% Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

No Maltodextrin

Check Price
HiPP German Stage 3

100% Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

No Maltodextrin

Check Price
HiPP UK Stage 3

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Can be used alongside solid foods

Continued nutrition for toddlers

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HiPP Kindermilch Formula

100% Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

Contains Prebiotics and Probiotics

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

No GMO

No Maltodextrin

Suitable for toddlers aged 2 and above

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HIPP Kindermilch Stage 2

100% Demeter Certified Organic

Made from skimmed goat’s milk

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

Contains organic lactose

No Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

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Holle Goat Stage 3

100% Demeter Certified Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

With A2 beta-casein protein

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

Contains organic lactose

No Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

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Holle A2 Stage 3

100% Demeter Certified Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

Contains organic lactose

No Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

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Holle Bio (Cow) Stage 4

100% Bioland Certified Organic

Made from skimmed cow’s milk

Contains DHA and Omega 3 for brain development

No Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

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lebenswert stage 3 formula

100% Certified Organic

Made from whole cow’s milk and highest quality full cream ingredients

Contains DHA and ARA for brain development

Contains organic lactose

Contains Natural Prebiotics

No Probiotics

No Maltodextrin

No Starch

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

Check Price
Kendamil Classic Stage 3

100% Certified Organic

Made from whole goat’s milk and highest quality full cream ingredients

Contains DHA and ARA for brain development

Contains organic lactose

Contains Natural Prebiotics

No Probiotics

No Maltodextrin

No Starch

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No GMO

Check Price
Kendamil Goat Stage 3

Why Should You Choose Toddler Formula?

In an ideal world, toddlers will willingly eat all the healthy food parents painstakingly prepare. This is not always the case. Many parents struggle with feeding their toddlers who flat out refuse food no matter how much parents coerce them.

This is where the toddler formula comes in. Toddler formula can be a complete meal substitute for picky eaters. It can also be a supplement weaning towards solid food.

It offers complete nutrition compared to cow’s milk.

Final Thoughts

There is no single ”right” way to feed your baby. There are babies who eat solid food with gusto and there are also babies who do not show interest by the time they are 6 months old.

Parents should keep on offering healthy, balanced meals and supplement with milk.

Thankfully, there is a solution for babies who do not want to eat solid food yet – toddler formula. You can choose from a range of options. Make sure to choose the organic formula – the cleanest and healthiest option for your toddler.

Discuss with your pediatrician what is best for your baby.

3 Most Popular Toddler Milks

  1. HiPP Dutch Stage 3
  2. Holle Goat Dutch Stage 3
  3. Holle Cow Stage 3 and Holle Cow Stage 4

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/weaning.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/foods-and-drinks/cows-milk-and-milk-alternatives.html
  3. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-you-keep-dairy-products-like-yogurt-milk-and-cheese-in-the-refrigerator
  4. https://www.rd.com/article/how-long-milk-lasts/

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