New parents may be very concerned with the type of formula their baby consumes. Switching brands and types to see if your baby has a better reaction or when one type of formula seems to be more popular can be tempting. However, you should always speak to your baby's pediatrician before switching formulas. For most babies, milk-based formula is best, so do not start your child on soy formula without your pediatrician's recommendation.
Consider when your baby was born. If your child was full term and does not tolerate formula made from cow's milk very well, your pediatrician may suggest switching to soy milk infant formula. However, soy-based formula is not advised for children who were born prematurely, explains Women's and Children's Health Network, as premature babies are more likely to have problems with adverse reactions to soy formula and are more at risk of not getting adequate nutrition from soy formula. You should not give your premature baby soy formula without a doctor's recommendation and never before the original expected birth date.
Look for signs of an allergy to cow's milk or lactose intolerance. FamilyDoctor.org states that the symptoms of an allergy to formula can vary. Symptoms can include diarrhea or extreme vomiting. Other babies with cow's milk allergies may seem very lethargic or weak. Some babies will have skin problems from milk allergies, such as red patches, dry skin or skin that appears scaly.
Try alternative methods of soothing. Your baby may be fussy, not allergic, and you may be able to find new ways to comfort him without changing his formula. Try stopping during feedings more often to burp your baby. For instance, burp every ounce instead of two ounces. You can also try putting on music for your baby or turning on the dryer or vacuum cleaner to provide white noise in the background. Another soothing thing to try is to put a warm towel or water bottle on your babies belly. Just make sure the towel is warm, never hot.
If your child's pediatrician has determined that your baby has a milk allergy or other medical condition and needs soy formula, don't despair. According to KidsHealth, most kids outgrow allergies to cow's milk by 3 to 5 years old.
Although soy formula can be wonderful if it's necessary, don't use it unless there is a medical reason. Soy formulas may contain hormone-like chemicals. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that soy formulas provide few benefits, as many babies who have cow's milk allergies will also develop allergies to soy formula, and soy formula is not markedly better for medical conditions, such as colic or gastroenteritis, than cow's milk.