Baby formula can be expensive, so you might be tempted to change to another, less expensive brand. This is particularly the case as your baby grows and needs to drink more formula to meet their nutritional needs.
Change Baby’s Formula Only When Recommended by a Healthcare Professional
Changing your baby’s formula just for the sake of changing it, however, really isn’t recommended. Even when you use a formula that has the same protein base, different additives can cause the formula to taste differently to your baby, or may cause stomach upset and gas.
Your baby may even refuse the new formula, or become fussier and eat less, which will affect their nutrition, growth, and development. For these reasons, most pediatricians recommend that parents stick to using the same formula unless there is a genuine medical reason to change.
If you want to switch formulas to a less costly one, and your baby is doing well on the existing formula, your baby’s doctor might not recommend a switch. In this case, you may be better off looking for ways to save on the existing brand of formula, such as signing up for coupons and stocking up when the formula goes on sale.
Reasons Why Baby May Need to Switch Formulas
Sometimes pediatricians will recommend that you switch your baby’s formula. This is more likely to occur if your baby shows signs that they have a special nutritional need, such as needing more iron. Your baby’s doctor may suggest that you swap your baby’s infant formula to a different brand that has more iron or other nutrients.
Other times your baby might show signs of having an intolerance to cow’s milk, or other food allergy and so your doctor may recommend that you swap baby over to a soy-based formula, or other special formula that will meet their nutritional needs.
Tips to Make the Transition Easier – Switch Slowly if Possible
If you must switch your baby’s formula, it is usually a good idea to make the transition between formulas slowly, unless your pediatrician recommends an immediate switch. Always follow your doctor’s advice and use the brand and formula that they recommend.
It is especially important that you choose the correct protein base when selecting your baby’s formula. While most babies tolerate formulas that are based on cow’s milk, others are unable to digest it, so be certain to follow the recommendations made by baby’s doctor.
When mixing baby’s formula, you will still want to follow all of the preprinted instructions on the formula label. Mix enough formula for ¼ of baby’s bottle to have the new formula, and ¾ of baby’s bottle to have the original one. Gradually increase this mixture by ¼ each day until your baby has completed transitioning to the new formula.
Slowly increasing the amount of new formula that you give baby over the course of a few days will help to mask the difference in taste. This will make it less likely that your baby will refuse the new formula.
Be certain to watch your baby closely each of these days as you transition to the new formula. Contact your baby’s doctor immediately if you notice any sudden changes in your baby as you are switching the formula.
Check diapers regularly and be on the lookout for rashes, hives, vomiting, and a change in their bowel habits, either constipation or diarrhea. These symptoms might indicate that your baby has an intolerance to the new formula, or that another health issue is present.