How to Successfully Switch Infant Formula Milk

Breast milk is best for babies up to two years. It is the safest and healthiest milk for babies and provides the best protection from sickness. Another beauty of breast milk is that it changes its composition depending on the length of each feeding session and the age of the child. Breast milk adjusts to the nutritional demands of child’s growth and development. So if a mother exclusively breastfeeds her child, she doesn’t have to worry about shifting from formula to formula to respond to the changing baby’s needs because her internal maternal system in coordination with her baby is doing it for her.

In case a mother cannot breastfeed her child (medical reason or otherwise), needs to supplement breast milk with formula milk, had to stop breastfeeding and switch to full formula feeding or switch from one milk stage to the next, she’ll be confronted with the dilemma of choosing a milk formula from among the various commercially available milk formulations in the market. How to successfully change her child’s diet with the incorporation of the new milk is another predicament on its own because it would require the approval of the child based on taste preference and the entire body system. The following are guides to help parents.

Milk feeding contest courtesy of Parenting Journey (
Milk feeding contest courtesy of Parenting Journey (

Guides to a Successful Switch

  • Narrow down choices. There are several types of baby formula and the choice basically would depend on your child’s tolerance to lactose, and the occurrence of milk protein and soy allergies plus considerations on the current health status of the baby. There is a specific milk formula for babies with acid reflux and for premature and low birth weight babies. For a comprehensive discussion on the different baby formula, follow this link. In most cases, it’s a choice between cow’s milk-based (iron-fortified) formula and infant soy formula.

After choosing the appropriate milk formula type, you can now look into the extra nutritional and health factors added to most milk formula. Recent formulations have included other ingredients on top of the basic milk nutrition like DHA & ARA for brain development, prebiotics & probiotics for digestion and antioxidants for disease protection. Others contain organic ingredients or were produced and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides, genetic modification, growth hormones or antibiotics. Since you can’t have everything in one product, choose the best combination for your child’s needs.

  • Decide on the company and milk brand. Now that you have chosen the formula type that you need, select the brand that is produced by a company you can trust.  Give utmost preference to brands that ensure safety and nutritional adequacy of their products.  You can also check for the HACCP (Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points), GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certifications of the company.  These certifications guarantee the commitment of the company in providing high quality products for the health and safety of consumers. 

If you are shifting from one milk stage to the next, prioritize the brand manufactured by the same company as the one currently used.  For example, if you are currently giving your child Nestle® Good Start® Natural Cultures™ (0 to 12+ months) and is satisfied with your child’s health response to the milk then it is but logical to choose Nestle® Good Start® 2 Natural Cultures™ (6 to 18+ months) when your baby reached 6 months.  This makes the shift smoother because the two formulas will likely have similar tastes.

  • Start small and do gradual introduction.  Though it is possible that your choice of milk will be instantly acceptable to your child, it is always smart to buy a small pack.  Observe the reaction of your child and a positive response merits buying the size that you prefer.  If you are shifting from one formula to another, consider gradual introduction of the new formula by mixing it with the current in increasing proportions such that any change in taste will not be noticeable to the baby.  The table below shows how to go about it. For illustration purposes, let us assume that you prepare 8 oz of milk for every feeding.

Sample Scheme to Gradually Introduce a New Milk Formula

  • Let others do the honors. If you want to supplement breast milk with formula or would like a complete shift, you have better chances of success when you let others do the honors of feeding your baby with the infant formula milk. The mother's presence will not entice the child to feed on the milk formula and will demand breast milk from her instead. Also, make sure that the feeding bottle has soft nipples resembling that of a mother’s so as not to give the baby a hard time in adjusting.

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zzron profile image

zzron 6 years ago from Houston, TX.

Hello Mama, how have you been? Very wonderful article here. Not to mention the two little cuties in the picture :)

Mama Sez profile image

Mama Sez 6 years ago from Canada Author

Hi there zzron, just got settled in our new home...the reason why I was not writing much :P The little cuties are my kids, they do this almost every morning. Thanks for stopping by :)

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