With an expanding range of toddler milks available, paediatric nutritionist Cherry Barker explains why busy little bodies may need topping up with a glass of extra goodness.
Toddlerhood is busy. Your little one is discovering the world around them, making connections and learning all the time. Toddlers are always on the move, and as fast as their little legs will carry them.
From a nutritional perspective, a child’s diet can change quite significantly during the toddler phase. They are discovering new foods as they move from typical baby mush to meals more similar to those of taller family members. However, new tastes, textures and flavours can make for interesting meal times – where much of your lovingly prepared delicacies end up on the floor! Like me, you may also have wondered what exactly toddlers survive on. A marmite sandwich, a slice of apple and some raisins, quite literally, here and there!
As a parent, it can be concerning that your very active toddler doesn’t seem to be eating as much as they once did, but it’s important to know that, while toddlers are still growing, the rate of growth is significantly slower than in their first year of life.
Ensuring your toddler is eating a well-balanced diet while they begin to assert their independence is a challenge. When it comes to introducing new foods, the key is not to give up – young children will often refuse things a number of times before they decide that they like it. Try the new food in different forms – cold, warm, sliced, diced, grated and mixed with familiar foods.
You may have considered adding supplements like multivitamins, multiminerals or even probiotics to your child's diet – but then you have the challenge of getting your wary toddler to swallow them! Step in toddler milk, offering you the peace of mind that your child is not only getting the goodness of milk, but also the added benefits of some key vitamins and minerals, and potentially a probiotic thrown in for good measure.
Another key element of this stage is making sure children are not consuming too much sugar. Limit drinks to breast milk, milk (or a formula designed for toddlers) and water to ensure your child doesn’t get a taste for sweetened drinks. If considering a toddler milk, look for one that contains no added sugars.
Smoothies are a great way to get the goodness of milk, fruit and veges into your busy toddler. Little ones have more taste buds than adults, so this simple smoothie recipe doesn’t need any sugar to make it a tasty treat for toddlers.
90ml safe drinking water
2 level scoops toddler milk formula
1 Tbsp stewed unsweetened apple
¼ cup frozen berries
Simply place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and serve in a toddler-friendly cup.
NZ Ministry of Health nutrition guidelines recommend that breast milk is the best food for babies and all your baby needs until they are around six months of age. If you are not breast-feeding, use an infant formula until your baby is 12 months old.
Parents are also reminded in Ministry of Health guidelines of the importance of giving babies and toddlers plenty to drink. Toddlers should be offered drinks (water or milk) regularly throughout the day but may need extra fluids when the weather is very hot, if they have a temperature and are feverish, if they are vomiting or if they have diarrhoea.