Managing Formula Intolerance in Your Baby
Proper nutrition is critical for a growing baby. We believe that breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for infants, but realize that some parents are unable to feed their child this way.
Formula is a safe alternative to breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends iron-fortified formulas that are made from cow’s milk. Cow’s milk-based formulas are fortified with iron and are tolerated very well by most babies. But what happens if your child shows signs of formula intolerance or an allergy?
Before switching formulas, you should understand what may be causing their symptoms. Babies can be fussy after eating for a variety of reasons including gas, the type of formula given, or the kind of bottle or nipple used. Formula intolerance, however, is a reaction to the ingredients in the formula. Never assume that your baby’s fussiness is an allergy and don’t immediately switch formulas without first consulting with their pediatrician.
According to the AAP, the symptoms of a milk allergy include:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood or mucus in the stool
- Poor weight gain
True cows’ milk allergies are rare and switching to a soy-based formula has not been shown to help with milk allergies or colic. Approximately 50% of babies on soy-based formula continue to have issues with colic and fussiness.
Experimentation with different formulas is okay. However, it is essential to let your baby get used to a new formula before switching, which can take up to a week or two. It is equally important not to switch formulas too often and to introduce them to your baby gradually.
Your baby’s pediatrician should be made aware of any fussiness after eating so they can help determine the cause and recommend solutions. It is especially important to communicate with them if your baby is showing signs of an allergy or intolerance to formula. Together you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.