There are many different reasons to change baby formula. Maybe you are unhappy with the quality of the product or your baby is having a reaction. Whatever the case, switching formula for newborns requires careful consideration and attention. Here, we will explore the different types of infant formula on the market and provide helpful advice on changing baby formula.
As a registered nurse, midwife and credentialed children and young people’s nurse, Jane Barry has provided some practical tips on switching formula for your newborn, based on her clinical practice.
Types of baby formula
There are a lot of different types of infant formula available, with most being made from dried cow’s milk and then altered to suit a baby’s digestion and growth needs. Cow’s milk formula is suitable for most healthy, full-term babies as it’s a better nutritional choice than those made from soybeans or goat’s milk. Sometimes specialty formulas are recommended for babies with specific medical conditions. A healthcare professional’s guidance is important before starting or stopping a specialty formula.
Alula has a range of baby formulas available that cater to a range of different baby needs:
How to change baby formula
Knowing how and when to change baby formula can be difficult. While some babies are happy to drink any formula they’re offered, others are less ready to change. Formulas can vary in taste and it can take a few days for babies to get used to a new formula.
Making slow changes is best when switching from one formula to another. Changing baby formula suddenly can cause fussiness, not wanting to feed and sometimes constipation. A good rule of thumb is to introduce one bottle of the new formula at your baby’s first morning feed, or when they seem really hungry. Keep doing this for 4–5 days until your baby has completely changed over to the new formula. However, don’t mix different formulas in the same bottle.
Other tips include:
- Offering the new formula in the morning feeds. This could reduce the chance of your baby being fussy in the evening.
- Asking another trusted adult to offer your baby the bottle. Often babies associate feeding with one parent and a change in formula causes protests.
- Avoiding changes to any other feeding associations, like where you sit to feed your baby, or the bottles and/or teats at the same time as changing formula. Too many changes at once can cause feeding confusion.
Sometimes the only option is to stop all bottles of old formula and start a new one. If they are fussy, follow your baby’s feeding cues and give them time to get used to the change.
When to change baby formula
There is no specific age when it is ‘right’ to change baby formula. Your child may suddenly become fussy with their formula after weeks of being happy with it, while at other times you may be trying to switch to a different formula type – such as going from newborn to follow-on. The most important thing is to be consistent, and speak to your healthcare professional if you are concerned about how to switch formulas.
In terms of actual timings, every baby is different. While it’s suggested that you try a new formula in the morning or when your baby is hungriest, they may end up only taking it at night. Experiment and find a routine that works best for you and bub.
Common feeding behaviours when changing formula
- Some babies don’t seem any different when their formula is changed.
- They may feed more hungrily, drink more and be satisfied for longer between their feeds.
- Changes in feeding times and their usual demands to be fed.
- They may be more interested in their solid food, especially if they’re not drinking as much formula.
- Gagging and refusing to suck.
- Changes in mouth movements and facial grimacing – this might continue until the baby gets used to the different taste and smell.
- If they’re not keen on the differences the baby may ‘mouth’ the teat, chew it with their gums or even take a few sucks and then pause before they start sucking again.
- Taking a few sucks at first and then once they taste the formula, they can start fussing and lose interest in feeding. Pulling away from the teat, turning their head to the side, closing their eyes, clasping their lips firmly together and pushing the bottle away with their hands are all signs they may not be interested in feeding.
- Not accepting as much formula as they usually do. They may seem satisfied after a small amount and become easily distracted.
Common physical changes when changing formulas
Some changing baby formula side effects may include:
- Change in bowel motions, especially the colour, smell, frequency and consistency.
- They may have an increase or decrease in possetting or vomiting.
- Changes in the pattern of weight gain.
- Some babies can be a little more unsettled for the first few days.
- There may be changes in sleep and settling patterns especially if the baby is taking different volumes than before.
- The baby might have a different smell, especially their breath.
- They may develop a rash. Have your baby checked if you notice a rash or any other worrying symptoms.
Can changing formula make my baby fussy?
Yes, it is not uncommon for babies to get fussy when they are introduced to a different formula than they are used to. It may take a few days to over a week for them to become accustomed to the new taste of the formula.
For more information please contact your Child and Family Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant, GP or other health care professional.
Breastfeeding is best for babies. It has benefits for the infant, such as reducing infection risk, and for the mother. It is important to have a healthy balanced diet in preparation for, and during breastfeeding. Infant formula is designed to replace breast milk when an infant is not breastfed. Breastfeeding can be negatively affected by introducing partial bottle-feeding, and reversing a decision not to breastfeed is difficult. Infant formula must be prepared and used as directed. Unnecessary or improper use of infant formula, such as not properly boiling water or sterilising feeding equipment, may make your baby ill. Social and financial implications, including preparation time and the cost of formula, should be considered when selecting a method of infant feeding.