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Toddler Formula vs Infant Formula: Which Is the Best Choice?

Toddler Formula vs Infant Formula: Which Is the Best Choice?
Latest posts by Keith Lindner (see all)

Are you looking to switch your child off of breastmilk to formula? You may be wondering whether you should purchase toddler formula vs infant formula for your child. Breast milk will provide your child with a lot of nutrition during their first few months, if not years, of life.

But if you aren’t able to keep up with breastfeeding, you may be considering buying infant formula or toddler formula. 

Many mothers look to breastfeed their babies as long as possible because of the nutritional benefits of breastmilk. However, if you’re thinking about switching to toddler formula vs infant formula, you may be unsure of which to choose.

That’s why today, we’ve created this complete guide to help you get a better understanding of whether you should choose infant formula or toddler formula. Keep reading to learn more!

Main Differences Between Toddler Formula vs Infant Formula

The main differences between Toddler Formula vs Infant Formula are:

  • Toddler formula is given to kids that are older than 9 months, whereas infant formula can be given to infants and babies as an only source of food or as a combination with breastfeeding.
  • Toddler formula contains more sugar and fat, whereas infant formula has lower levels of fat and sugar.
  • Toddler formula isn’t supervised by the FDA, whereas infant formula strictly has to pass certain rules in order to be present on the market.

What are the types of infant formula?

Infant formula

The Food and Drug Administration regulates all infant formula that is commercially produced. There are three main types of infant formula available on the market. These types are:

Soy formulas

Soy infant formulas are great if you’re looking to exclude any animal proteins or by-products from your baby’s diet. This may be incredibly beneficial If your child is allergic to lactose or cow’s milk.

Keep in mind that if your child has a severe allergy to cow’s milk, it may also mean that they have an allergy or sensitivity to soy. 

One of the soy formulas on the market are:

Enfagrow Toddler Transitions Soy Infant and Toddler Formula

enfagrow soy toddler formula

This is a great formula if your child is lactose-intolerance. It’s jam-packed with different nutrients, such as choline, DHA, and iron.

The Enfagrow Toddler Transitions formula will help your baby transition from infant formula to a toddler formula. Also, it’ll ensure that they’re giving all of the vitamins and minerals that they need to support their growth spurts.

Enfragrow Soy Toddler Formula
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Protein hydrolysate formulas

This type of infant formula contains a protein that’s been already broken down. This is what the hydrolysate refers to in the name of this type of protein.

This basically means it has been partially broken down into smaller size pieces that are substantially smaller than soy-based infant formulas and cows milk infant formulas.

Basically, this type of infant formula is known for babies who aren’t able to tolerate soy-based formulas or cow’s milk formulas. These are also a great option for babies who have any type of protein sensitivity or allergy. 

One of the best protein hydrolysate formulas on the market is:

Similac Alimentum Infant Formula Powder with Iron

Similac Alimentum Infant Formula Powder with Iron

This is a gluten-free formula and is another amazing alternative to consider if your child has a lactose sensitivity or allergy. It’ll help to calm digestive problems that your baby might be having, such as crying and gas. Also, this specific formula by Similac will provide your child with all of the nutrition that they need to grow healthy and strong.

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Our top choice is Similac Alimentum because it is easy to ingest and protects babies with a sensitive tummy.

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Cow milk formulas

The most popular type of infant formula is cow’s milk formula. This is because it’s been a change too closely resemble breast milk. With cow’s milk formula, there is a proper balance of nutrients inside it, making it a lot easier for the baby to digest.

However, cow’s milk isn’t an option for all types of babies. You should be careful to avoid this type of formula if your child has a protein allergy or lactose allergy. 

One of the best cow milk formulas on the market is:

Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula with Iron

Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula

This formula is made with HMO – which is Human Milk Oligosaccharide. Having HMO infused in this baby formula acts as a type of probiotic, which is commonly found in breast milk.

Having HMO in this cow’s milk formula not only supports your baby’s gut health, but it’ll also support the health of the cells in your baby’s brain and eye health.

Similac Pro-Advance Formula | Amazon

Similac Pro-Advance is the first infant formula with 2’ FL HMO designed to be closer than ever to breast milk. 

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What type of infant formula preparations can you find in the market? 

infant formula

In addition to the different types of formulas that you can find in the market, there are also different types of formula preparations available.

One of the most common types of preparations available is the powdered formula. Powder formula is the least expensive option available.

All you have to do to prepare it is mix a scoop of formula into water. Another common type of formula is the concentrated liquid formula. All you have to do to mix this formula up to be prepared for your baby is to mix it with water.

Lastly, The other type of infant formula preparation you can find is ready to use formula. This is the most convenient type of formula that you can find on the market. You don’t have to worry about doing any preparation to get it set up for your baby.

However, this convenience makes this type of formula very expensive. As a word of caution, always be sure to carefully wash your hands before mixing any type of formula up for your baby. 

What is enhanced infant formula?

 There are some infant formulas on the market that are enhanced with ARA and DHA. These are types of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in certain types of food, such as breast milk. You can also find me the acids in eggs and fish. 

Some studies find that these two types of acids help improve brain development and eyesight. However, other studies have shown that these types of acids don’t help to provide many benefits to the health of babies.

One of the best-enhanced infant formulas on the market is:

Enfamil Premium Infant Powder Formula

Enfamil Premium Infant Powder Formula

This is one of the more affordable on this list is the Enfamil Premium Infant Powder Formula. This is a milk based formula, but it comes enhanced with iron.

You’ll also find that there is DHA and two different types of prebiotics in this formal. Also, Enfamil’s included 30 other ingredients that help to support the growth and health of your baby.

What is toddler formula?

toddler formula

 Toddler formula is also commonly referred to as toddler milk. Many parents have purchased toddler formula when they’re worried about their toddler’s diet being nutritionally and sufficient. If you’re having a hard time getting your toddler to eat full meals, you may be considering using a formula.

As a parent, you’re probably naturally worried that your child isn’t getting enough nutrients. If you can’t get your toddler to eat enough food during the day, your next best step is toddler formula. 

Toddler formula contains a slightly different composition of ingredients, as well as nutrients, well compared to infant formula. Toddler formula is mainly made for children that are at least 9 months old or older.

Keep in mind, the FDA doesn’t regulate that toddler formula in the same way that infant formula is. This may mean that toddler formula will contain more sodium, sugar, and fat than you may be expecting. 

One of the best toddler formulas on the market is:

Go & Grow Toddler Drink

Go & Grow Toddler Drink

Toddlers are notorious for being picky eaters, so it’s important that you provide them with healthy foods (that they like) to ensure that they’re getting all of the nutrients they need to grow healthy.

This toddler drink has 25 different minerals and vitamins in each serving size. Plus, there are several different flavors available to choose from. You even have the option to choose between a lactose-free version, as well as a Non-GMO.

So, even if you have the pickiest of eaters, you’ll likely find a flavor version of Go & Grow that your toddler likes.

Go & Grow Similac Toddler Drink | Amazon
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What’s the main difference between toddler formula and toddler milk?

Toddler milk is mainly targeted towards children between the ages of 12 to 36 months old. Many parents opted to use toddler milk over toddler formula because it’s easy for them to get children who are picky eaters to consume toddler milk.  

Keep in mind that toddler milk is a lot more expensive than regular milk. Unless your child has specific nutritional deficiencies, they may benefit just as much from drinking regular whole milk.

How should you know when your toddler is ready to stop using formula?

Toddler Milk

When your baby turns one year old, you can start to turn them off of infant formula and using toddler formula or whole milk. To start off, you can start mixing a half and half of formula and milk in their bottle. This will make sure that your toddler is able to tolerate milk. 

Always be certain to avoid giving your child skim milk or reduced-fat milk. This is because these types of milk aren’t great for children younger than 3 to have because they don’t have enough fat or calories in them to help promote development in the brain. 


Question: Can you give a newborn baby formula?

Answer: You can provide your baby with up to two ounces of infant formula every two or three hours during the first few days of their life. Instead of giving your baby breast milk, you can provide them with infant formula.

Question: Can you give a baby both breast milk and formula?

Answer: You can give your baby both formula and breast milk. This is what’s called supplementing. It’s entirely safe to do, and many families will use this combination to feed their child. If you’re someone who struggles with producing enough breast milk. Other families will do this entirely out of personal preference.

Question: What are the disadvantages of formula?

Answer: If you’re concerned that formula milk may harm your child, don’t be worried. While formula milk isn’t as nutritious as breast milk can be, it’s still healthy for your baby.
Also, preparing a bottle for feeding takes both time and effort. Keep in mind that the investment for equipment that’s required to prepare a bottle adds up to be extra expensive.
Lastly, some others feel like bottle feeding is their baby affects the mother and baby bonding experience. 

Question: Do formula-fed babies that gain weight?

 Answer: Yes, babies that are fed with formula tend to gain weight a lot faster than babies who are breastfed. This weight gain is especially noticeable during the first three months of the baby’s life.
When you were bottles feeding your baby, it’s a lot easier to tell how much milk your baby is consuming. You’ll be able to tell how many ounces the baby is drinking just by looking at the bottle.
This isn’t the same with breastfeeding, which is why there’s a noticeable difference in weight gain between breastfed and formula-fed babies.

Final Thoughts

There is one big difference between toddler formula vs infant formula. These are the ingredients that are found in each type of formula. Toddler formula tends to be higher in calories because they contain more fat and sugar than infant formula. However, this extra fat and sugar don’t provide any nutritional benefit over infant formula.

If you’re looking for a way to make sure that your child is getting enough nutrients, but you want to avoid the extra sugar, consider adding whole milk into your toddler’s diet.

 Are you interested in learning more tips on caring for your baby at a first-time mom? Our blog is here to help you on your journey to Motherhood! 

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