Formula Shortage: Q&As about Toddler Formulas & Feeding My Child
Unfortunately, whether you turn on the television, scroll on your social media feed, or visit your local retailer’s baby formula aisles, you don’t have to go far to learn about the recent infant formula shortage in the United States. We know, right now, that many families are looking for infant formula for their child.
Here at Nature’s One, we are doing everything we can to ensure that your child receives safe and nutritious formula. Nature’s One has been a leader in providing organic nutrition for toddlers since 1999. Now, our toddler formulas are produced in our state-of-the-art facility in Ohio where we focus on small-batch blends to ensure quality and purity. We want you to know that we are here to support you through this challenging time.
We also know that you have many questions about the infant formula shortage – in particular, what your family should do next if you cannot find the formula you need. While specific medical and nutrition advice is best provided through your child’s healthcare provider, here are some of the top questions sent in from families like yours and my responses about what to do next if you can’t find the formula you need.
Can my infant use toddler formula during the infant formula shortage?
It could be. Toddler formula may be used by infants during the formula shortage when recommended by the child’s healthcare provider. In a new article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is written that although toddler formulas are not generally recommended for infants, “toddler formula is safe for a few days for babies who are close to one year of age.”1 The article doesn’t, however, mention the differences between various brands of toddler formulas – and that some toddler formulas may be more nutritionally appropriate for your child than others.
Here at Nature’s One, we developed our Baby’s Only® Toddler Formulas to meet the nutrient requirements for infants set forth by pediatric nutrition experts established in the US Infant Formula Act. Other toddler formulas, however, do not meet the nutrient requirements for infants as established in the Act, which may be the reason that the American Academy of Pediatrics only recommends them for a “few days” for children close to one year of age. If your child is less than 1 year of age, ask your child’s healthcare provider if a Baby’s Only® formula could be a suitable substitute for your child’s current infant formula during the shortage.
How do I talk to my child’s healthcare provider about the use of toddler formulas for my child?
We make it easy for you to talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the use of toddler formulas, especially during the infant formula shortage. Click here to download a letter you can take to your child’s healthcare provider regarding the use of our formulas. Accompany your letter with one of these downloadable charts comparing the nutrient levels in Baby’s Only® Toddler Formulas to other formulas and to nutrient requirements for infant formulas. You and your child’s healthcare provider may be surprised – and glad – to learn that the nutrient levels in Baby’s Only® Toddler Formulas are similar to the nutrient levels found in infant formulas.
How do I know which toddler formula to feed my child?
Each of our Baby’s Only® Toddler Formulas are created to meet the nutrient requirements for infants set forth by pediatric nutrition experts in the US Infant Formula Act. Although the formulas have not been through the entire FDA evaluation process required for infant formulas, they meet Nature’s One’s highest purity standards. Once a child is at the appropriate age of 12+ months and/or if recommended by a child’s healthcare provider (especially in the situation of infant formula shortages), Baby’s Only® formulas can be nutritious options. You can visit our Suitable Formula Substitutes page to learn more about the variety of toddler formulas produced by Nature’s One, and ask your child’s healthcare provider about which formula may be best.
Is goat’s milk or cow’s milk the best source of nutrition for my child during the shortage?
It’s not ideal. The American Academy of Pediatrics writes that cow’s milk is a better alternative than diluting formula or making homemade formula, and notes that children above 6 months of age could be fed whole cow’s milk alongside iron-rich complementary foods for a brief period of time. However, they note that feeding cow’s milk to infants is not ideal. 1
It is well known that cow’s milk is too low in iron, which could raise the risk for iron-deficiency. It also has too much protein and certain minerals, which could harm an infant’s kidneys and increase risk for dehydration. 2 Goat’s milk is also not ideal for infants: it is too high in protein and minerals, and too low in folate.3 So, feeding goat’s milk to infants is discouraged.3,4 However, cow’s milk-based formulas or goat’s milk-based formulas may offer an appropriate amount of nutrients for a growing child. Learn more about our new Baby’s Only® Goat Milk Toddler Formula with DHA and ARA.
Should I purchase European formula for my child if my U.S. formula is out of stock?
The FDA recently announced guidance to allow for the importation of certain infant formulas from other countries to the United States. 5 This is a significant move to increase the availability of infant formula for families across the US, however it doesn’t necessarily mean that families are provided with “better” infant formulas.
While commonly marketed as superior to U.S. formulas, European formulas are not always “better,” they’re simply different. European formulas are created with different nutritional expectations, ingredient requirements and other regulations, which may or may not be met with a US-produced infant or toddler formula. In fact, attributes of some European formulas - like the avoidance of corn syrup and the inclusion of organic milks – are met with some U.S. formulas, like Baby’s Only®!
Anytime you purchase infant formula or toddler formula – whether it’s from your local supermarket, an online distributor, or even a buy-sell-trade social media group – please keep in mind that distribution of formulas should be done safely to prevent product contamination or deterioration. You should only purchase formulas from trustworthy, reliable sources.
Also know that products from other countries could be labeled in the language of the country they are manufactured in. This means that the label’s information – including its preparation instructions – could be printed in a language you may not understand. They may also include mixing instructions with units like milliliters or grams instead of the familiar scoops-to-ounces method traditionally used in the U.S. This, too, is risky since it could lead to improper formula preparation and consequently improper nutrition for your baby. The FDA’s new guidance suggests that labeling of imported formulas will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so it is unknown whether the new guidance will mean that imported formulas must be labeled according to usual FDA regulatory requirements or not. So, as you and your child’s healthcare provider evaluate the risk of imported formulas, you may wish to consider this.
While we’re talking about risk, it’s important to mention that formulas produced in other countries are not subject to the same recall procedures required for infant formulas here in the United States. Given that formula recalls are an important part of maintaining food safety, this is also concerning and a consideration you must weigh if you look to purchase formula from an international source.
Should parents make their own formulas or dilute their formula?
No. The practice of making homemade formulas or diluting formula is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 1,6 These practices are unsafe and could result in serious health problems for your child. Do not dilute formula or make homemade formulas.
Are Baby’s Only® Toddler Formulas in stock?
Yes, Baby’s Only® Toddler Formulas are in stock. For over 25 years, Nature’s One has worked diligently to provide high-quality, safe, pediatrician-recommended toddler formulas to families. Today, we continue to work hard to ensure that our returning families and new-to-Nature’s One families are supported.
Baby’s Only® Toddler Formulas include the following:
- Baby’s Only® Organic Sensitive Toddler Formula with DHA and ARA
- Baby’s Only® Organic Gentle Dairy Toddler Formula
- Baby’s Only® Organic Gentle Dairy Toddler Formula with DHA and ARA
- Baby’s Only® Organic Plant Based Pea Protein Toddler Formula
- Baby’s Only® Organic Premium Dairy Toddler Formula
- Baby’s Only® Organic Premium Dairy Toddler Formula with DHA and ARA
- Baby’s Only® Cholov Yisroel Toddler Formula
- Baby’s Only® Goat Milk Toddler Formula with DHA and ARA
We hope that at Nature’s One, you and your child’s healthcare provider will consider Baby’s Only® as a potential solution during the formula shortage crisis. If you or your child’s healthcare provider have questions about our formula, contact us. We’ve been supporting families since 1999, and we will continue to do so over the course of the formula shortage to help you offer your child a better start…for life.™
- Ziegler EE. Adverse effects of cow's milk in infants. Nestle Nutr Workshop Ser Pediatr Program. 2007;60:185-199. doi:10.1159/000106369
- Turck D. Cow's milk and goat's milk. World Rev Nutr Diet. 2013;108:56-62. doi:10.1159/000351485
- Prosser CG. Compositional and functional characteristics of goat milk and relevance as a base for infant formula. JFDS. 2021. 86(2):257-265. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.15574
- FDA Advises Parents and Caregivers to Not Make or Feed Homemade Infant Formula to Infants