Food For Thought: Toddler Milk

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By Mandy Welch MDA/ RDN

Toddler Milk – Essential? or a product of Marketing? 

Toddler milk are all the rage in the industry of feeding babies and toddlers, but are they warranted? Health care professionals say no. While intended to closely model cows milk with additional nutrients, these milks are higher in sodium, lower in protein, and often have additional flavoring that defers children from accepting true milk. Toddler milk products are often fortified with many of the nutrients that occur naturally in cows milk with an additional 15-20 ingredients of fillers additives and supplementation.

Bettina Siegel, author of Kid Food, states “ toddler milks fail to provide any nutritional benefits over a MVI, and they are offered at the precise time the introduction of real food is essential to prevent picky eating.” 


Food marketing spent over $14 billion in advertising in the US in 2020, 80% of this is used for the advertising of fast food and sugary products. This towers over the $1 billion spent on the prevention of ALL chronic diseases.

Toddler milks are no exception. Sales of toddler milks have increased 133% from 2006-2015, and continues to climb with $17 million spent on advertising for toddler milk alone in 2017. 


It is of interest that the marketing of toddler milks have risen just as breastfeeding is on a rise, reducing the sales of infant formulas. In the last 10 years 84% of infants began life breast fed, and 58% were still breastfeeding at 6 months. This is an increase from the 75% that began life breast fed and 43% that were still breast feeding at 6 months in 2010.