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Shopping for baby formula can be a daunting task. When you ultimately pick one, either your child has tummy problems or the product’s price and availability has become an issue. This is where you go back to search for another compatible option.

If your little one has health issues, you can switch and start the new formula right away. Suppose it’s about cost, availability, or simply the ease of preparation. In that case, you can mix the new one with the old one to make the transition easier, both for you and your baby, especially if you’re introducing a new protein type. Read to find out when you should switch baby formula and how you can make an easy transition.

Reasons to Switch Baby Formula

There are many reasons why you might want to switch to a new kind of baby formula: your kid’s digestive system might not agree with it, it’s too expensive or unavailable most of the time, or you want to go organic.

Health Issues

Many parents find it challenging to choose an infant formula even though the different brands of baby formula in the USA meet the same federal nutrient standards. The ingredients tend to differ. Look out for the following signs and symptoms that your baby may develop, which triggers the need to switch to a new formula.

Excessive Spitting

Babies, especially newborns, have an immature digestive system that spits up after every feeding. It is a normal process to help the baby adjust to formula. However, if you notice your baby spitting in excessive amounts (about two tablespoons) after each feeding, it could be a sign of formula intolerance.

Irregular Bowel Movements

Most formula-fed babies pass stools at least once a day. However, some may even go for two days without one. Usually, it is nothing to be concerned about. However, if your baby is straining a lot, crying, and producing small, hard stools, your child may be constipated. In such cases, formula without palm oil may help produce softer stools.

On the other hand, if you notice blood in the stools, it may be because the baby is allergic to cow’s milk, a primary protein source for standard baby formulas.

Allergy Symptoms

After introducing formula to your baby, watch out for signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction. Typically, it shows up immediately, in a few hours after feeding, or maybe it will take days to show up. The symptoms may include:

  • Skin rashes or Eczema
    • Wheezing
    • Swelling
    • Diarrhea or bloody stools
    • Vomiting excessively
    • Hives
    • Fussiness
    • Stomach cramps

Gas

It is pretty natural to swallow a bit of air while drinking milk when feeding on a bottle. That’s why it is necessary to burp your baby right after feeding for a few minutes, so the babies’ tummy has room for more. However, overfeeding the formula will make the baby feel even gassier and may spit up more. Therefore, it is recommended to follow the baby’s hunger cues and stop feeding at once when the child shows signs of being full.

Slow Weight Gain

Babies reach their birth weight within 15 days after birth. By the time they reach six months of age, they start gaining 0.67 ounces a day. Let your pediatrician know if your baby’s birth weight gain is slow and doesn’t reach the desired weight as expected.

Expensive Formula

Often, parents tend to switch to another formula brand merely because of their pricing. Raising a baby isn’t cheap, but at least you can have some control over choosing a reasonable-priced formula for your baby.

Unavailability

Another factor that plays a vital role in deciding which formula brand to choose is availability. The ongoing pandemic is the perfect example of why you should choose a formula available in every store. This way, if you run out of formula in the middle of the night, you can rest assured your nearest store will have a supply of the same brand.

Do Your Homework

You obviously will research before buying your baby’s first formula; the same goes when you want to switch the brand. It is mainly the protein source you need to look out for if your baby is allergic to cow’s milk. Below are four main types of formulas:

Milk-based

Milk-based proteins are more common in standard baby formulas. It contains cow or goat milk proteins such as casein or whey to make it easily digestible for babies with sensitive tummies.

Partially or Fully Hydrolyzed

Hydrolyzed formulas are recommended for babies with a family history of eczema and reflux symptoms. The milk proteins in this formula are either partially or fully broken into smaller pieces. Some contain whole whey protein, whereas others may contain a blend of casein and whey.

Hypoallergenic

These are extensively hydrolyzed formulas where either the proteins are broken into even smaller pieces or not present. These are not present who are allergic to cow milk-based formula.

Soy-based

Though soy-based formulas are a beneficial choice for vegan families, it often goes hand in hand with cow’s milk in terms of allergies. Therefore, if your babies cannot tolerate dairy, soy-based formulas are not recommended unless otherwise required.

There are many reasons why you might want to switch to a new kind of baby formula. Switching to another brand of baby formula can be challenging especially if you choose a different protein type, lets see how to do it safely

How To Make The Switch?

Depending on the brand of formula you’d like to buy, there are two ways you can make the transition easier for you and your baby.

Step-by-step:

If you switch to a formula with another protein source, you need to go slow and take time making your baby adjust to the new taste. This way, you can also figure out whether she’ll be allergic to the new brand.

For instance, mix one-fourth of the new formula with three-fourths of the old one the first day. If no potential symptoms occur, continue and increase the dosage to half of the old and half of the new formula the next day. Then increase it to three-fourths of the new and one-fourth of the old, on the third day, till you start entirely giving your little one the new brand without any side effects, on the fourth. You can now continue feeding your baby the new formula for the long run.

Instantly

If you’d like to change to a brand of formula which has the same type of protein source, you can switch to it immediately. The same goes for the old formula your baby is allergic to. You can switch immediately to avoid further health issues.

Monitor Your Baby’s Reaction To the New Formula

Some babies may recognize the changes in the taste of their formula and may reject having it. It may also lead to baby bottle tooth decay due to the sugar content in the formula.

It is best to make them try out the new formula when they aren’t starving, just for a taste. Hungry babies may reject the new formula if they aren’t used to it.

Another factor is introducing them to a new formula when you are in a calm and relaxed mood. Babies reflect the same feelings their parents feel, so a calm environment and an excellent parent might do the trick for them to try out something new.

Another way to make your baby drink the new formula is by distracting them with songs or rhymes. If your baby rejects the new formula, you may need to purchase another brand that they will like.

After your baby is all set with the new formula, monitor her digestion process and mood. You can use your previous data. Once your baby starts transitioning to the new formula, your reference once your baby starts transits, and digestive problems like excessive spit-ups, gases, cramping, constipation, loose or bloody stools, skin rashes, and so on.

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid switching again to a new brand for at least two weeks. However, if your baby is having an allergic reaction, it’s best to switch immediately to another one. Consult with your pediatrician before switching.
  • Don’t throw out the old formula if your baby seems to be well-adjusted to it. You can always go back to the old one if needed.

In a Nutshell

Baby’s digestive systems are sensitive, weak, and immature. Therefore, they need constant monitoring, especially when switching to a new formula. The transition needs to be done either gradually or instantly (in some cases), so it gives your baby plenty of time to adjust and adapt to the new formula.

There are many reasons parents would like to switch to another brand of baby formula. It could be due to health reasons, cost, or convenience. Whatever the reason may be, it is always a good idea to first and foremost consult with your baby’s pediatrician. They’ll be able to help you halfway by diagnosing any problems your child may have with the old formula and giving you good recommendations on the new one.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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