Changing Baby Formula Brands: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do
So, you’ve realized that the brand of formula you’re currently feeding your baby isn’t going to cut it, and you’ve found a safe, organic brand that will keep your baby healthy. What now? Should you simply start changing baby formula brands immediately, or is there a set process that you should follow during this sensitive process? Learn all about the things that you should and shouldn’t do when you’re changing baby formula brands.
1. Consult with Your Pediatrician
Before you make any changes to your baby’s diet, it’s always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician. Your baby’s doctor might not be able to provide any insight above and beyond what you already know, but making a medical record of your intent to change your baby’s formula can make things easier if you encounter any issues.
Keeping your pediatrician up to date is always beneficial. Your pediatrician may give you some advice on the best formula brands to try, or he or she might encourage you to stay away from certain kinds of proteins.
2. Pick Your New Formula
Pediatricians in the United States are often woefully unaware of the latest developments in baby formula. Keep in mind that as recently as 50 years ago, it was commonly accepted in the Western world that formula was better for babies than breast milk, and pediatricians actively dissuaded mothers from breastfeeding their babies.
While modern medical science gets a lot of things right, it gets a lot of things wrong as well. Your pediatrician might recommend soy-based formula over cow or goat milk-based formula simply because your baby has been reacting negatively to formulas with animal proteins. However, your baby could easily be reacting to the harmful ingredients included in almost every American formula brand.
If you want to try changing baby formula to one of the best brands on the market, you should consider Holle, Lebenswert, or HiPP. German manufacturers make all three of these formula brands, and German organic formula companies must meet much higher standards than American manufacturers.
For instance, none of the formulas by these companies contain DHA, ARA, carrageenan, or sucrose. Each of the formulas made by Holle, Lebenswert, or HiPP contains cow or goat protein, and these manufacturers treat their animals humanely and produce their products organically.
Unfortunately, almost every American-made formula contains fillers, artificial preservatives, and synthetic nutrients that can harm your baby’s health in the short-term and the long-term. Even USDA organic American formulas contain harmful ingredients, so the only way to protect your baby’s health when you’re changing baby formula brands is to choose a German baby formula brand that a manufacturer produced with organic processes.
3. Does Your New Formula Contain the Same Type of Protein?
If the new formula that you picked contains the same type of protein as your old formula, then changing baby formula should be easy. Even though cleaner, EU organic formulas contain better ingredients, if the main ingredient in your new formula is the same as your old formula, your baby should be able to adapt easily.
For instance, the main protein in most cow milk-based formula is whey. If your current formula also contains whey protein, you can start feeding your baby your new whey formula immediately. You don’t need to take your time switching over to your new formula, but you might want to feed your baby your new formula once and wait 24 hours to determine whether any adverse reactions set in.
If your baby has an adverse reaction to the new formula, switch back to your old formula, and consult with your pediatrician immediately. Changing baby formula to a safer, organic brand with the same protein, however, isn’t usually very risky.
4. Does Your New Formula Contain a Different Type of Protein?
When you’re changing formula brands to a formula with a different type of protein, however, you need to be more cautious. Your baby’s digestive system has adapted to the type of protein in your current formula, and his or her digestive system will need time to adapt to the new protein.
At first, you should try feeding your baby one serving of your new formula. Wait 24 hours to see if there are any adverse reactions, and continue feeding your baby your old formula in the interim. If your baby displays any negative symptoms, take the process more slowly.
You might want to try mixing your old formula with your new formula as you make the transition. Start with a mixture that contains ¼ new formula and ¾ old formula. On the second day, make the two formulas 50/50, and on the third day, move on to ¾ new formula and ¼ old formula. By the fourth day, your baby’s digestive system should have had time to adapt, and you can feed him or her 100 percent new formula.
If negative responses persist after following this gradual formula switching process, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician immediately. In most cases, however, taking things slow provides satisfactory results when you’re changing baby formula to a new protein.
5. Monitor Your Baby’s Digestion
As soon as you feed your baby your new formula, keep an eye out for any digestive difficulties. Monitoring your baby’s digestion will help you determine whether your new formula is safe, and here are some of the symptoms you should watch out for:
A mild increase in gassiness is nothing to worry about, but if increased gas persists more than 24 hours, consult with your doctor.
Bloating can be a sign of indigestion. Contact your pediatrician if bloating persists.
Younger babies often have infrequent bowel movements, but if your baby doesn’t have a bowel movement for over a week after switching to new formula, talk to your doctor.
- Jennifer Akiyama