If a child is not getting enough nutrition, "what are they eating instead?" he asked. "When they are toddlers it's a perfect opportunity to start changing the diet. You make a big mistake by offering a kid a new food two or three times then stopping. It takes 10, 12 or 15 occasions."
Geniene Pernotto, the mother of a 3-year-old from Youngstown, Ohio, said she worries about added sugar.
"First and foremost, with any product I look for information regarding organic ingredients," said Pernotto, 44, and a former marketing director for beauty companies. "Second, I worry about sugar and fat content. Third, I think about long-term food habits I will be forming for my child."
Pernotto's daughter RoseMarie has grown up on fresh fruits and vegetables and is now beginning to taste new foods. She said she would never give her Enfagrow.
"I truly believe that their tastes should evolve around the true flavor of foods," she said. "I have only just begun adding butter or salt to some of her vegetables. I wouldn't want her to associate chocolate or vanilla with her milk or a daily drink. I feel it sets a standard for flavor cravings."
Pernotto has nothing against added DHAs and omega 3, but finds them in gummy vitamins, organic miles and yogurts, rather than a "toddler formula."
"I believe that children should receive their nutrients from real fruits and vegetables at this age," she said.. "There are plenty of fruits and vegetables to pick and choose among to get your child's intake of vitamins…Believe me, she has tasted cake, candy and ice cream but it isn't in the guise of being a real food or nutrition but a special treat for an event or dessert."
Natalya Murakhver, a 38-year-old New Yorker who expecting a daughter in two weeks, is distressed by Mead Johnson's marketing, especially its nutrition additives, which it has trademarked, "Triple Health Guard."
"It sounds like a pet food product," said Murakhver. "And where are all the studies? They are just selling it to use and you can't ask babies how they feel on it and they guinea pigs really."
Murakhver, who has a degree in food studies, worries about the lack of government oversight. As for her expectant baby, she is learning to read labels and look for more organic foods.
"Companies are selling us products not only that we don't need, but we should be avoiding at all costs," Murakhver said. "They are steering us toward processed food manufactured in labs, rather than whole food grown as close to nature as possible. It's appalling they try to sell these products to toddlers.
"I can't image starting 12-month-old in a sugared formula," she said. "It seems so anti-nature."