Making the switch: Changing baby formulas
It’s recommended by almost all health practitioners, and well understood by most parents, that infants should be given breastfeed until at least the age of six months. This is because it’s the best source of necessary nutrition for your little one; it provides your baby with a ready-made solution which helps to start building their immunity system, protecting them from allergies, infections and diseases.
For medical or personal reasons, some parents choose to use milk formula – either from birth, or after six months of age.
Generally, hospital staff provide parents with a particular brand of formula in those first few days after birth – and once bub has gotten used to that brand, the parents tend to keep using it. Later down the track, they may come across another formula which may be better suited to their needs, but by then, it could be problematic for them to switch their baby to a new brand.
If done correctly, this transition can be smooth and easy – though great care must be taken, to avoid pain for both yourself and your baby.
Why do parents stick with a brand?
There are a few reasons as to why parents may stick to their brand – and usually, it’s because of a general lack of knowledge of what’s available to them. There’s several different types of formula available on the market, from a multitude of brands, including milks derived from cow, goat and soya, as well as hydrolysed protein milk.
Another reason is the fear that their baby may get sick if they make the switch. Some babies have delicate stomachs, being unfamiliar with new foods, and so introducing them to a new diet or formula could disrupt them, causing them to be ill. They also may have an underlying intolerance that hasn’t been discovered yet, such as lactose intolerance, so switching from a soya milk formula to a cow milk formula would make a lactose intolerance to flare up, causing the baby pain.
Some parents also stick with a brand due to habit; it’s what they’re used to, so they just continue doing the same. Why try to fix what isn’t broken?
Why do parents want to switch?
Perhaps a different brand has more health benefits than the one you’re currently using – it offers more vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your formula simply doesn’t have. At the end of the day, providing your child with the best nutrients would be any parent’s ultimate goal.
Sometimes your health practitioner may suggest you make the switch for a medical reason – there may be a brand that offers one component that your child needs, which your current brand doesn’t offer.
There could also be a cost-saving factor – the two formulas could be identical in terms of benefits, but the only difference is the one you want to switch for is much cheaper and readily available.
Or, quite simply, perhaps bub is a fussy eater and doesn’t like the current formula, so you want to try something new.
There’s a multitude of reasons why you’d want to make the switch; it’s completely personal.
Steps for a smooth transition
1. First Method
- Mix a small amount of the new formula with the current formula
- Monitor your baby closely for any problems e.g. stomach upsets, doesn’t like the taste
- If everything is okay, then slowly increase the ratio of the new formula, until your baby is completely accustomed to it
2. Second Method
- On the first day, give your baby the new formula for one feed, then the current formula for the rest of the day
- Gradually increase this to two feeds on the second day, and current formula for the rest of the day.
- Keep increasing the feeds per day until your baby has completely adjusted to the new formula
3. Third Method
- Make both formulas in two separate bottles
- Mix them in one bottle and give it to your baby to try for some days, until your baby’s digestive system grows accustomed to it
Ideally, it’s best to switch to a new formula gradually, so plan the transition period for when you still have one or two weeks left of your current formula left. There are three methods you can use:
How to choose the right baby formula?
There are so many different types of baby formulas that choosing the right one for your baby can be a bit tricky. To help you choose the right formula for your baby, read here.
Other Helpful Tips
It’s always best to consult your doctor before switching to another formula. Manufacturers typically provide nutrients as required for a set age range, or certain health requirements, so take these into consideration when reviewing new brands.
If you’ve already started weaning, it may be easier to switch formulas faster.
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