Can You Switch Between Different Brands of Baby Formula - And Then Back Again?
Maybe your friend hands over an opened can after their baby switched to cow’s milk, or you still have a leftover free sample that you got in the hospital. Or perhaps you’re just not sure your current formula is right for you baby, and you want to experiment.
But is it really OK to switch brands? Especially if this means moving away from your regular formula, and then back again?
The answer is…it depends. It’s generally OK, but there are some caveats.
It’s usually OK to switch formula if…
- Your baby is healthy and growing well.
- You don’t have any concerns about allergies or intolerances.
- You’re switching between similar formulas.
Most formula is fairly similar in terms of the amount of calories, fat and nutrients it provides – so even if you switch, your baby will still get their nutritional needs met.
But a quick word of warning: some babies might not like the taste of a different formula. Newborns are still developing their tastebuds, and it’s common for parents to try a few different brands before they settle on the right one. Older babies – from around 6 months – might have more of an opinion, so be prepared for your formula switch to be rejected.
Differences between formulas
While there are no medical reasons why you shouldn’t switch formula, it’s worth being aware of the differences so you can make an informed choice.
Cow’s milk vs goat
While most formulas are made with cow’s milk, some (like Holle Goat or Nannycare) are made using goat’s milk.
Goat’s milk is gentler on babies’ tummies, so it’s unlikely to cause any issues for a baby used to cow’s milk – but switching the other way around could be problematic.
The same applies to switching away from A2 formulas. These are cow’s milk formulas with very similar proteins to goat’s milk, and are usually easier to digest.
Soy vs animal milk
Whether cow or goat, most formula is made with animal milk. But some soy-based formulas are on the market, mostly as a specialist alternative to babies with an allergy, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
While soy is generally safe, there are some concerns that the hormones in soy might be damaging long-term, so it’s not recommended for babies that can have cow or goat’s milk formula.
European organic vs regular
If you’re used to feeding regular, store-bought formula, it might be worth trying a European organic brand such as HiPP or Holle to see how your baby gets on.
These formulas are designed to be as close to breastmilk as possible, and have to meet the world’s toughest organic regulations, so they’re free from pesticides, hormones and GMOs.
All this means that they’re usually well-tolerated by babies used to regular formula.
Some babies shouldn’t switch formula
If your baby has a lactose or milk intolerance or allergy, then you need a specialist formula that you can stick with.
You might need to experiment a little to find the right one, but you should always seek guidance from your pediatrician when you’re going through this process. Formulas that may work for you include HiPP Hypoallergenic (with hydrolyzed, easy-to-break-down milk proteins) and HiPP Comfort (with lowered lactose).Even if your baby doesn’t have an allergy or intolerance, they might need a particular formula, such as HiPP anti-reflux or a starch-free formula like Loulouka. If you had a reason for choosing a specific formula, it’s usually best to stick with what’s working.