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Does It Affect a Baby When You Change Formula Brands?

By Barbie Carpenter ; Updated September 26, 2017
A bottle of new formula might upset your little one's tummy.

Ideally, you might start your newborn on a formula that he likes and continue with that same brand until you transition him to whole milk around 12 months. However, many factors can affect formula choice, and you might resort to switching formulas to better please your baby -- or your budget. While some side effects can accompany a formula change, most of these are minor and dissipate quickly. Understanding what to expect when changing formula brands can prepare you for any unwanted side effects.

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Tiny Tummy, Big Problems

A rumbling, gurgling tummy in a baby isn't a sound that brings joy to parents. In fact, you might worry that your little one is sick and call your pediatrician for advice. Stomach upset is a common side effect when you switch formulas. Your baby's digestive system, which is used to one substance and one substance only -- her current formula -- has to adjust to the new brand, according to Dr. Gian Musarra, writing for St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Achoo for Allergies

When you make a formula change, you don't entirely know what you're getting into. If your baby is showing signs of negative side effects or allergies caused by his current formula, the change might be necessary. However, a change for budgetary purposes -- after all, those generic formulas are much more inexpensive -- might bring about other possible consequences. Your baby could be allergic to the new formula, something you won't know until you make the switch. Signs of a formula allergy include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash and blood in stools, according to KidsHealth.org.

Spit-Up: Part of the Fun

A seasoned parent knows to cover her shoulder in a burp cloth or towel before burping the baby after a feeding. Spit-up can be a sign of digestive upset caused by formula, but it's also a common reaction after eating in some babies. KidsHealth.org explains that coughing, drooling, crying and needing to burp can result in some post-meal spit-up, which is not necessarily tied to a change in formula. However, if other digestive upset occurs, the spit-up could be due to the formula change.

Bartender for Your Baby

Since babies can be negatively affected when you change formula brands, some pediatricians recommend combining the old and new formulas to help your baby's digestive system adjust. By slowly adding less old formula and more new formula, you can transition your baby to the new brand without a dramatic shift. Mixing up this concoction for your baby can help ease the transition to the new formula, thereby eliminating -- or at least minimizing -- any side effects.

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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

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