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A relative said it is best to keep a baby/toddler on formula till they are 2 years old

Hi Leanne,
Hopingly you will be able to help me out my daughter is turning 1 this week i have been told by a relative that she heard that it is best to keep a baby/toddler on formula till they are 2 years old she said it was to do with there immune system i`m confused to wheather or not to continue with the formula the toddlers one or go onto cows milk a friend of mine said that the doctor told her to put their child back on formula as they are being sick to much and now i`m unsure so hopingly you will be able to give me an idea on to wheather stay with formula or go to cows milk.
Linda

Leann...
Answer: Hi Linda, I think you have posed a very good question; I am surprised I don’t get asked this more given the current line of advertising/marketing for toddler formulas (based around immunity). Unless your toddler has a reason to continue on formula (for example isn’t gaining weight, has a feeding issue and so on), then formula isn’t required beyond 12 months. Personally, the only real use for formula would be as an alternative to cows’ milk or other milk alternatives, it would be offered as a drink (not in a bottle) or used to make things like smoothies. The reference of formula ‘helping a toddlers immunity’ relates to the inclusion of probiotics (such as those in yoghurt) and probably to the fish oils also. Both of which a toddler can gain (along with dozens of other health compounds) from real, whole food. We know with certainty that food is by far our best source of nutrition. Research from all around the world, and cancer prevention research clearly shows that a healthy, varied diet (with the inclusion of certain foods) is one of the keys to good health. Toddlers are no different, in fact it is even more important that they are offered real food. Liquids that stand in the way of this, or displace food have potential to interfere with a child’s nutritional status if not monitored appropriately. So I hope this helps. Gently wean your bub from 12 months when you are both ready. And wean onto a healthy, varied diet, if formula is part of it, then it is just one part and can be used as a snack or fluid after a meal, but unless recommended it isn’t necessary if you opt not to. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 08 Jul 2009