Why Toddler Formula for an Infant May Be Fine

Written by:

Maia James

05/14/2022

Updated: 04/30/2024

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In light of the infant formula shortage crisis, I wanted to encourage parents to consider toddler formula as an option.

You should talk to your pediatrician about the best formula for your baby–especially toddler formula for an infant. That said, I know many parents who have chosen to feed their infants a “toddler” formula, even before the shortages that are rocking the country right now.

In order to understand why some formula isn’t marketed for infants, consider these differences between the U.S. and the E.U:

United States/FDA Infant Formula Regulations

  • The recipe requirements are from the Infant Formula Act of 1980 (which we believe is in desperate need of an update!).
  • Infant formula certification requires multi-year and multi-million dollar feeding studies.
  • Thus, there is a huge barrier to entry for innovative companies or smaller brands. ByHeart is one of the few brands who did their own study (more on them in our Formula Guide).
  • In early 2022, the FDA recalled brands (e.g., Similac, Alimentum and EleCare) after babies drinking these formulas became ill; this was nearly 6 months after the FDA found out but failed to act on the information. In March of 2022 the FDA finally shut down the facility producing these formulas, which lead to a formula shortage. 
  • Members of Congress are questioning the FDA’s ability to effectively regulate the infant formula marketplace.

European Infant Formula Regulations

  • European food standards are among the strictest in the world.
  • The EU updates regulations every few years with modern science and ingredients.
  • Europe does not require infant feeding studies for certification.

Many Toddler Formula Brands Are Probably Fine for Infants

If I had been a formula feeding mom, I would have definitely considered a “toddler” formula for my infant.

Most toddler formulas contain the 29 key nutrients that are required by the FDA for infant formula. These formulas are not marketed to infants because the brands haven’t completed the infant feeding studies, not because they don’t provide adequate nutrition for younger babies.

We love Holle toddler formula, and encourage you to ask your pediatrician to take a look at the nutritional profile. We also love Serenity Kids Toddler Formula, which is the only formula yet to not include any industrial seed oils–instead it contains olive, avocado, coconut, and palm oils.

Our formula guide outlines the other brands of toddler formula that we consider Good Stuff. 

I look forward to your questions and comments!

Stay sane,

Maia, Founder & CEO

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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