Growing-up milk (GUM) products intended for children between 1 and 3 years of age are increasingly being introduced into the diets of young children. Although not a necessity for adequate nutrition of that age group, they can compensate for nutritional deficiencies which may occur in the transition phase of infant nutrition to family food, particularly when bad dietary patterns prevail in the family. For that purpose, GUM should be composed to decrease the overall protein intake which tends to be higher than the reference values for that age. This can be achieved by diluting fat-reduced cow's milk to a protein level comparable to infant or follow-on formulae and by partially replacing cow's milk fat with appropriate vegetable oils to increase the content of essential fatty acids and possibly by adding long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acids whilst preserving the content of some minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus) and vitamins (B2 and B12) well represented in cow's milk. The content of iron, iodine, zinc and the vitamins A and D should be the same as in a follow-on formula. Based on available evidence, GUM should not be promoted as a necessity in the nutrition of young children.