Enfamil just came out with chocolate and vanilla flavored “toddler formula.” I heard about it first on Twitter and have been following the reaction of moms, obesity experts, activists, and nutritionists over the past week or so. The online world is a-flutter with the news. If Enfamil produced the “formula” as an advertising gimmick, it worked. I hate this stuff.

Read more of my tips in the full post.  Chocolate formula: I hate it. How else can I say this? Um, I abhor, am disgusted, and am aghast that this product exists. Sincerely. I’m no Michael Moore, but this makes me want to picket, write a nasty letter, film a documentary, or boycott Enfamil products. Anyone interested in joining my tirade?

I would NEVER recommend this “formula” nor would the dozen or so pediatricians, pediatric gastroenterologists, nutritionists, and pediatric obesity experts I’ve spoken with. Read this and this. This will hurt children, not help them. This new “formula” preys on parents fears that their children aren’t getting what they need from the food they eat. Most parents worry about toddlers eating between 12 and 36 months at some point. Often it’s because as growth slows down after a child’s first birthday and children get more decisive about what they want, eating patterns change and toddlers eat less. Don’t let it scare you. As a parent, your job will always be to provide healthy food choices. Your child’s job, to eat.  No child needs formula after 12 months of age unless a prescription for special formula is suggested by their pediatrician in extremely rare cases.  And to be more direct, no child will ever be prescribed this Enfamil chocolate “formula” by an MD or nutritionist.

Mama Doc’s Data:

  • Toddlers don’t need formula. Period. They should have about 16-20 oz of whole milk between 12-24 months and no more. After age 2, I recommend skim (nonfat) or 2% milk.
  • Toddlers shouldn’t rely on sweetened beverages as part of a balanced diet. Think of sugary beverages (juice, choc milk, capri sun type stuff) like you think of candy; kids can have it rarely for a treat.
  • Enfamil makes three nutritional claims to promote the “formula” for toddlers. They manipulate the public into believing this “formula” is actually GOOD for toddlers while pediatricians believe it is BAD.
  • This “formula” is sweeter than a pop-tart. Fact: There are 19 g of sugar in 7 oz (about a cup) of Enfamil’s chocolate “formula.” There are 18 grams of sugar in a blueberry frosted pop-tart. Other sugar shockers here. A cup of whole milk has 12 grams of natural sugar, mainly from lactose.

Enfamil states 3 claims to encourage you to buy the formula. My thoughts to each claim, below.

My response to Claim One as a pediatrician and mom of two toddlers:

Of course toddlers need proper nutrition for growth.  Cow’s milk (or soy or rice) can be a part of that. Formula is not. The rate of growth during toddlerhood is much slower than that of an infant. Their appetites are diminished. Don’t let that scare you. Your job as parent is to provide them with fruits, veggies, milk, protein (meat, soy, beans, nuts) and carbohydrates.

My response to Claim Two as a pediatrician and mom of two toddlers:

Agreed. Rapid brain growth continues in toddlerhood; some studies find Omega-3 DHA may help support growth.These omega-3 are in fish, flaxseed, other seeds and nuts. If you’re convinced you want to supplement with Omega-3, then supplement with Omega-3 supplements. They come in gummy (safe for kids over 2) and liquid yummies that one parent told me taste like creamsicles.

My response to Claim Three as a pediatrician and mom of 2 toddlers:

Agreed. They are developing. Offer them foods rich in antioxidants; eat fruits & foods high in antioxidants like blueberries, raspberries, broccoli(just try!), or whole grains. Offer your toddler these antioxidants in natural form. Help them learn to love these foods, not love the supplements!