Mixing Baby Formula Brands: Is It Okay to Do?

Learn More About Switching Between or Mixing Baby Formula Brands

Mother feeding newborn baby bottle of baby milk
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Q. My daughter says that all milk-based formulas are the same and she gives her baby whatever samples she gets or any kind that is on sale or readily accessible. The baby is doing great except that she is gassy. Are all milk formulas the same and can a baby be fed different kinds at the same time?

-Jenny, Garnerville, NY

A. In general, different brands of the same type of formula have the same basic ingredients.

Switching between formula brands is not a problem, even though many parents wonder if doing so may cause fussiness or stool changes in their baby. In fact, your daughter can even mix different brands of the same type of formula together if she feels that her baby responds better to a mixture of one brand with another. Which brands you choose to mix together depends on personal preference — You just have to be aware of the basic ingredients found in the same type of formula. As long as you are following standard mixing instructions, it is safe to mix formula brands.

Mixing Formula Brands: Will The Baby Notice?

For a milk based formula, lactose is the carbohydrate and all will have cow's milk proteins. There are small differences, including different combinations of whey and casein proteins in different milk based formula. Also, the fat source in the various milk based baby formulas are provided by different types of oil.

These small differences likely won't be noticed by most infants, so the big issue when using different formulas, like she is doing, is usually taste. Some children are quite particular about what they eat and may notice the taste differences of the different formulas and they may not like it.

However, if you consider that the taste of breastmilk likely changes depending on what a breastfeeding mother eats and these children usually do just fine, taste likely won't be a big factor for a baby drinking different formulas.

Of course, if she were particularly gassy after using a specific brand of baby formula versus another, then that particular brand should probably be avoided. But if the baby really is 'doing great,' then mixing or switching between brands is probably okay to do for her.

Why You Would Want to Mix or Switch Between Brands

Contrary to popular belief, spitting up or excess gas in your baby is usually not due to the type of protein in the formula, but even still, switching between brands can help parents to see if their baby has any reactions to particular brands or not. 

Experimenting with formulas for your baby can help ease worries about food intolerances, burping, constipation, excess gas or spit up — But it’s not necessary. It all really depends on personal preference.

If your daughter's preference is for cost saving and convenience, then she can even experiment with making a bottle that is ½ formula from one brand and ½ formula from another brand. It's fine to serve one brand this week and another brand next week as well.

If you are concerned about the gassiness, see if your daughter is willing to stick to one brand for at least a week or two, to see if there are any changes in excess gas, stool changes, spit up or burping. There is no big benefit to using multiple brands of formula and so with a little planning, even if cost and convenience is how she is choosing which formula to give her baby, she should be able to stick with one brand in the long run.

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