How To Switch Baby's Formula
By the time a baby enters its first year of life, they have likely drank hundreds of bottles of baby milk. Whether it is consumed on its own or in combination with breast milk, you may not always be able to feed the same formula to your baby.
Switching between different baby formulas may not only vary from parent to parent but also from baby to baby. The reasons for this may include the cost of formula, formula ingredients, or even the texture of a baby formula. This article focuses on the steps you should take when deciding to switch your baby's formula safely and if that is something you are looking for, keep reading on!
Is It Okay To Switch Baby Formulas?
Parents may switch baby formulas if they feel like there is another formula better suited for their child's needs. However, if you are unsure if the formula you are switching to may be better or worse for your baby, it is better to stick to the formula they are currently using and consult a physician. It is highly advised to choose a baby formula according to the health professional's recommendations and never to test a promotional sample or a formula offering an incentive for the baby.
When Should You Consider Switching Baby Formulas
The situation that may prompt the parent to change their baby's formula include allergies, lactose intolerance, and inadequate nutritional value.
- The baby might have an allergy to some of the content of the baby formula, which may present itself with several symptoms. These may include dark patches on the skin, forceful vomiting, or extreme weakness and fatigue. These symptoms may indicate that the baby's body is rejecting the formula, and they may not be getting all the nutrients they require for growing up. Babies with an allergy to the previous baby formula may also often be fussier than they usually are.
- The doctor may also suggest a parent switch their baby's formula because the baby may be lactose intolerant and may require a formula that is better suited for them.
- A baby who requires extra nutrients for their growth may require a special formula that matches their needs. An example of this is a baby who requires a higher iron. Therefore, taking an iron-fortified baby formula may be recommended to help with their growth and body functions.
Steps To Take When Switching A Baby Formula
Consulting A Pediatrician
Consulting a pediatrician when thinking of switching the baby's formula milk is highly recommended. This may not only include the time when you are thinking of switching due to health conditions or nutritional reasons, but it also includes financial causes. After a health assessment of the baby and taking a detailed history from the parents, the doctor may be able to recommend a baby formula that will suit the baby the best.
For example, if the baby seems deficient in their growth rate and looks like they are not getting enough iron, they may be recommended a fortified iron formula. If the parents complain of the baby having severe acid reflux that interferes with their diet patterns, they may be recommended formulas specially designed for such babies.
Study The Different Forms of Formula Milks
After the doctor has recommended the type of formula milk which may be ideal for the baby, it is up to the parents to be extra careful while purchasing the milk. This includes varying the brand and their background. They may also read the label on the milk carefully and all the substances added to it.
For example, if a baby took formula milk that contained DHA and iron and was not causing them any discomfort, the new formula milk should also contain these substances. Reading the label will also help the parents be sure that the new formula does not contain any substances that were causing the baby discomfort or hypersensitivity in the previous formula.
Test The New Baby Formula
Before completely switching to the new formula, the doctors usually advise the parents to start testing it on the baby. This may be done by giving a little amount and evaluating the baby's response to it. If they are comfortable with it and don't react negatively, the new formula may be safe for them. However, if the baby starts crying or fusses about taking the new formula, you may wait a few minutes before trying again. If this does not work, you may consult an expert in order to help you determine why the baby might not be trying the new formula.
Once the parent has tested the new formula on the baby and is sure it is safe for the baby, they may start the process of gradual transmission. This may be done by adding 1/4th of the new formula to the preparation medium while keeping 3/4th of the old formula. This mixture can be fed to the baby to introduce them to the new taste.
The next day, the composition of the new formula may be increased to half while keeping half of the old formula. This will allow the baby to taste the new formula better and make them even more used to it. Day by day, this ratio of new to old formula may be increased until the new replaces the old completely. By this time, the new baby formula will not surprise the baby as they have been tasting it throughout the previous week.
Check How The Baby is Reacting to The New Formula
After the baby has been successfully switched to the new formula, they must be observed as not all reactions are immediate, and some may display their signs with time. The health parameters that may be given special attention as a baby start a new formula include:
- Their Weight: It is ideal to check the baby's weight every day and compare the results after starting the new formula. If the weight gradually increases, the baby can get the nutrients from the new formula and maybe be in good health. However, if the baby has not gained weight ever since the start of the formula or appears to be losing weight, a health professional should be immediately consulted.
The Digestive System: If a new formula is causing an allergic response in the body, or the baby's digestive system cannot absorb its constituents, they may present with signs like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive gassiness, and even constipation. It is also important to differentiate between signs of the digestive system that are normal in a baby and the ones which may be considered worrisome.
For example, while occasional and temporary gassiness and irritation after drinking milk may be considered normal, if this happens every time they take their milk and become chronic – the individual should consult a physician.
- Signs of Allergic Reaction: If your baby presents with a sign like rashes, hives, or redness all over their body after consuming the formula milk, the milk should immediately be stopped, and medical attention should be sought. These are signs of an allergic reaction, which is not something to be taken lightly and requires immediate treatment.
Things To Keep In Mind While Starting A New Baby Formula
- When buying a baby formula at the store, it is essential to take note of the expiration date. If the formula is ordered online, you may look for the expiration date before opening the packaging once it has been delivered home.
- When buying baby formula online, it is always advisable to buy it from a known retailer who you or someone you knew has purchased from earlier and has a good experience. Never give a milk formula to a baby who has unsealed packaging or looks like it has been resealed.
- The mixing ratio can make a big difference in the baby milk's final appearance and nutritional value. Adding too much or too little water may change the taste of the formula, which the baby may not like, and they may refuse to consume it. More water may also reduce the number of calories and nutrients that are being delivered to the baby, which may, in turn, have an impact on their health and growth.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of reasons why a parent may decide to switch their baby's formula milk. This is irrespective of whether they are feeding their baby completely on formula milk or giving it in combination with breastfeeding. It is advisable to consult a physician while switching to a new formula and make sure the content included in it is according to the baby's specific needs. Once the doctor agrees on the formula, the parents may start by slowly incorporating it into the baby's diet, allowing them to accept the new formula better.