Are flavored formulas good for baby?



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Posted on May 22, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Updated Saturday, May 22 at 3:25 PM

Eleven-month-old Solomon isn't a big eater, according to his mom.  He and his playmate, 13-month-old Kailey, both get infant formula.

"I do breastfeeding and formula. I work. And so it just made it easier after awhile," said Solomon's mother, Rebecca.

"Formula with DHA and stuff, when we're on the road and can't get access to fresh ingredients," said Kailey's mother, Jill.

But the two moms gave a thumbs-down to a new product being marketed as formula for toddlers.

"Enfagrow … is it Enfamil?" said Rebecca.

"I don't know about the vanilla flavor. It seems a little unnecessary," said Jill.

"With sugar the second ingredient, I would be not into it at all," said Rebecca.

Enfagrow comes flavored, in vanilla and chocolate.

"You're training your toddler to like and crave those pre-sweetened beverages when what we know that toddlers need is water and milk," said Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Children's Hospital.

Dr. Swanson says switching to cow's milk or soy milk is recommended after a baby's first birthday.

Even though toddlers can be picky eaters, she says large studies show they get the nutrients they need if they're offered a diverse diet.

"You're in charge of being the provider of a great selection of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates," said Dr. Swanson.

But what about the supplements that manufacturers add to formulas, like omega 3 DHA and more? Studies show they lead to modest improvement in both eye and brain development.

"If your child doesn't get those foods naturally you can buy supplements either in gummy forms for older toddlers or even in soft liquid forms," said Dr. Swanson.

She says babies like Solomon and Kailey most often grow up mimicking their parents' tastes in food. So it's important to offer them a healthy variety.

"We know from large studies that children get what they need and don't generally need a supplemental vitamin even, between twelve and twenty four months, except for supplemental vitamin D," said Dr. Swanson.

Dr. Swanson says if you're worried your infant or toddler isn't getting enough nutrition, your pediatrician can help you identify the cause and treat it.

Research shows it can take up to 10 or 15 tries before a toddler accepts a new food, so don't give up too soon. 

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