It can be a tough decision to choose a single baby formula brand when there are just so plenty to choose from. A single glance at the baby formula grocery aisle would be enough to let you know that there are so many brands out there. While most parents find themselves satisfied with the first brand of baby formula they get, some parents explore different brands for various reasons. For those parents, it is important to know whether it is okay to switch baby formula back and forth or not.
Overall, it is generally OK to switch baby formula back and forth. All baby formulas are safe for infants to consume and switching brands have no impactful consequences on the baby. The main consideration for parents to be mindful of is if the baby has dietary restrictions that might limit them to specific types of formula (i.e., cow-based, soy-based, and hypoallergenic formula).
This article will mainly look into the different factors why parents would go through different brands of baby formula and whether or not this is safe for the baby.
Is It OK to Switch Baby Formula Back and Forth?
Although there are dozens of baby formula brands available on the market, no brand is singled out to be significantly better than the others. Practically all brands have the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that a growing infant needs.
Perhaps one of the only things parents need to look out for is a type of baby formula that is fortified with iron, though most brands already contain a decent amount of iron these days.
The criteria that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention simply recommend is for parents to choose a baby formula that is not expired, is sealed properly, and is labeled specifically for infants.
Due to the general homogeneity of the different baby formula brands out there, it is generally OK to switch baby formula back and forth. The few differences another brand might have simply include taste and nutritional proportions.
The few cases where parents might need to be more careful in switching baby formulas can be attributed to the different types of baby formula proteins: cow milk protein, soy protein, and hypoallergenic protein.
Cow-based baby formula is the most common type. Most brands of baby formula are cow-based, and most infants are perfectly fine with cow-based formula. However, some babies are unable to ingest cow-based formula due to a variety of medical reasons (e.g., lactose intolerance, cow-protein allergies, etc.). Babies with these complications then need to get their nutrition somewhere else.
Other babies can get soy-based baby formula. Best for babies who are allergic to cow-based formula, the soy-based formula contains a plant-based protein that effectively nourishes infants just as well.
Unfortunately, there are babies with overly sensitive immune systems who are allergic to both cow-based and soy-based milk. These infants are then directed toward hypoallergenic milk – milk specifically processed to be devoid of allergens.
For parents who want to err on the side of caution, it is best to consult with your pediatrician to ensure what diet your baby is allowed to have.
Reasons Parents Switch Baby Formula Back and Forth
Although most baby formulas are generally similar to one another, there are various reasons why parents would switch baby formulas back and forth.
There are quite a number of reasons why babies can sometimes be difficult to feed. It could be the feeding position, the bottle, the timing, their hunger, and so on. One of the possible reasons why someone’s baby is difficult to feed is the taste of the baby formula. Thus, parents often find themselves switching baby formula when their baby is a picky eater.
Babies are especially sensitive when it comes to taste. Having around 30,000 tastebuds, people begin their lives with the most tastebuds they will ever have as infants. Unfortunately, people then lose their tastebuds as they age. This is why babies find baby food delicious while adults find baby food bland.
Due to their acute taste, babies can often be found to be picky when it comes to the taste of their baby formula. Since it is important for parents to get their babies nourished, they have to quickly understand the root cause of their babies being difficult eaters. Hence, switching the baby formula becomes one of the easy ways to eliminate the possible causes.
While some babies do not like the taste of some brands, other babies literally cannot find themselves keeping the baby formula in them. This results in reflux – a condition commonly exhibited as spitting up.
Reflux could be a sign of incompatibility. In this case, then the parents should consult with a pediatrician right away. However, some babies just need a baby formula with a different consistency.
Some parents have found that babies with reflux could benefit from a baby formula with a thicker consistency. These could be baby formulas that are developed with thickeners that help keep the formula inside the baby’s stomach, thereby lessening the risk of reflux.
Taking care of a baby is an incredibly expensive endeavor. It is important for parents to be especially economical when it comes to expenses for the baby as the financials involved can accumulate rather quickly. Thus, keeping within budget is also an important reason why some parents switch baby formula back and forth.
Babies are constantly developing. This means that their needs evolve over time – especially throughout the first year. The expenses needed for the baby in the first month are not the same as the expenses needed for the baby in the second month. The extreme variation in expenses can make it difficult for many parents to plan ahead. Thus, some might resort to buying cheaper baby formula sometimes to accommodate other expenses needed for the baby.
Some brands also hike their prices over time. Even if parents find their babies to enjoy these brands, they will then consider switching to a cheaper brand to stay within the budget.
Aside from the expenses, another resource that parents need to consider is time. With a finite number of minutes in a day, parents have to aim for efficiency to avoid burning themselves out with taking care of the baby. Since different brands of baby formula would have different formulations, some brands take longer to prepare than others.
Some parents opt to switch baby formula when they learn that a different brand can mean a shorter preparation time. Understandably, a shorter preparation time would mean they could feed their babies quicker. Saving time in feeding the baby can also give parents more time to themselves – an important aspect when every minute counts.