Is It Bad To Switch Formulas Back And Forth? (Not Necessarily, But With Exceptions)

Switching formula back and forth is okay, as long as your baby does not struggle with digestion issues. You can change from a different brand, formula type, or going dairy from lactose-free if the baby can tolerate it well. You may even mix formula (with breastmilk or another formula) if you think he reacts to the mixture better. The only thing you should consider is how your baby responds to the switching of formula, as its taste can vary.

However, babies with food intolerances and allergic reactions are not recommended to change formula without the doctor’s advice.

The base ingredients can be harsh for their digestive system to manage.

If you want to switch infant formula with different proteins, say cow to soy protein, check with your doctor first.

Switching formula milk

Since March 2022, the United States has been reeling from infant formula shortage due to a brand dispute and supply disruption.

A mom is bottle feeding her newborn baby formula milk

The baby crisis extends far up to Canada, although not as widespread as in the US. A recall of several major brands left parents distraught since the situation remains unsolved for almost two months.

For parents with babies having food intolerances and protein sensitivity, the dilemma is worse.  

Every unwilling parent scouring the aisle for available formula probably has the same question. Is it okay to switch formulas back and forth to sustain my baby until the supply stabilizes?

The answer is yes, you can switch formula, maybe to a different available brand, or a new formula type.

The thing is, most regular baby formulas contain the same ingredients as other brands. They are tailored for the baby’s age and will provide the same nutrient needed by the infant according to his age.

Reasons for switching formula

The first few months after your baby is born are not only limited to the child-centered family transition.

Parents are also as hard up mixing and matching formulas suited for their babies.

Before you can stick to the right formula for the little one, you may find yourself swapping brands in between.  

Notwithstanding the formula availability, parents switch or revert to their previous formula for reasons like:

It is important to note that many of the baby’s health symptoms do not necessarily relate to formula. It could be a sign of something else that only your doctor can diagnose.

So, if you think your baby has digestive trouble or allergies, talk to your doctor to immediately address the situation.

Some parents also choose to change their baby’s milk because of the price increase and budget constraints.

Others may find their current formula type tedious to prepare and want to swap to a convenient prep method.

How to safely switch formulas back and forth?

If your baby is healthy and does not have food allergies, switching formula is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Dad is bottle feeding his infant daughter formula milk in their parked car

It all comes down to your personal preferences, buying power, and your baby’s taste preference.

All formula brands in the market are safe for use and meet the nutrition requirement set by the FDA.

There may be a slight difference in the ingredients, but generic and branded formulas all adhere to health and safety standards.

Here are some important reminders when switching to the new baby formula:

1. Buy only from reputable retailers

A plethora of choices floods the online stores, even baby formula.

Ordering online also became a convenient way of buying for some parents. But, it is still important to check the retailer to be sure you are getting an authentic product.

Stay away from repackaged milk or those sold with altered nutrition information.

2. Verify the labels

Whether you are buying at the store or from online retailers, don’t skimp on the details.

Check the expiration date before opening so you can still return it if it goes beyond the date. After opening, check the content for color, odor, and flavor.

3. Give your baby enough time to try the new formula

Introducing the formula to your baby gradually by alternating or mixing it with your old formula is unnecessary.

You can switch to a new formula right away without trouble. However, you need to give your baby about two to three weeks to get him accustomed to it.

It is around that time you will find out if the new formula is agreeable for your baby’s tummy. Also, keep an eye on gastric changes or your baby’s bowel movements.

Talk to your doctor if you notice distressing symptoms in his poop and sleeping habits.

4. Start the switch with a few feeding

The taste between brands and formula types varies greatly. And some babies may need a little more time to get used to its taste.

If your little one does not seem to like his new milk, try giving it gradually until he gets used to the new taste.

5. Mix formulas with caution

It is likely safe to mix powdered infant formula once in a while as long as you know the base ingredients. You should also follow its mixing instructions carefully.

It is ideal for some infants to give the necessary nutrients not otherwise found in one formula. But, do not try to mix formula that contains cow milk protein and soy protein.

These base ingredients do not mix well together and can be harmful to your child.

FAQs

When is it unsafe to switch infant formula?

Ask your pediatrician before changing infant milk if your baby has lactose intolerance, a hereditary disorder like lactase deficiency, or food allergies and sensitivity.

Should I switch back to regular formula after specialty formula?

If your baby has a feeding and bowel issue, the pediatrician may recommend a specialty formula (i.e., reflux, preemie, hypoallergenic, etc.).

Once the condition clears out, switching back to the regular option is not always necessary.

These formulations still contain roughly the same nutrients that your baby needs. But, since specialty formulas can be costly, making a switch is really just your personal preference.

Takeaway

Switching formulas back and forth for a reason is generally acceptable and safe for babies without digestive issues.

However, parents should also limit the frequency of changes to avoid nasty health problems for the infant.

Some babies can tolerate all formula well, while others may not, depending on their digestive response.

Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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