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Newborn and Infant Care

Changing formula

04/23/1999

Question:

My 8 month old infant gets a bottle or two of formula a week in addition to breast milk. Is it ok to try different brands of formula, or must I stick to the same one?

Answer:

First let me congratulate you on successfully breastfeeding your baby. Breastfeeding is by far the best nutrition for infants.

Now to answer your question.

There are many different types of formula as well as many different commercial infant formulas available. It is important that you know the difference between a `brand` and a `type` of formula.

For example there are cow`s milk formulas and there are soy-based formulas. There are also formulas made specifically for preterm infants and for term infants. There are formulas with different calories per ounce designed for infants who can not take large enough volumes of milk to get sufficient calories for growth and energy with standard calories.

The standard commercial infant formula is made of cow`s milk and has 20 calories/ounce. There are several brand names that make this type of formula. There is virtually NO difference in these formulas. It is perfectly acceptable to switch between these formulas for supplemental feedings. Just be very careful to read the label and verify that you are selecting a formula that is based on cow`s milk and has 20 calories per ounce. These formula generally have the calorie count as part of their name, i.e. Enfamil 20 or Similac 20. Since your baby is thriving on human milk, there is no reason to suspect an intolerance to lactose, so I would recommend that you stick with a cow`s milk based formula and avoid soy-based formulas, which are designed for babies with lactose intolerace.

It sounds like you are both doing great! Best wishes to you.

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Response by:

Judy Wright Lott, RNC, NNP, DSN
Associate Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati