Where to begin
“For typical term newborn babies, it’s fine to start with a standard cow’s milk formula that is iron-fortified,” advises Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Everett Clinic and author of Mama Doc Medicine: Finding Calm and Confidence in Parenting, Child Health, and Work-Life Balance as well as Seattle Children’s Hospital Seattle Mama Doc Blog. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that iron-fortified formula be used for all newborns and infants who are not breastfed or who are only partially breastfed, from birth to 1 year of age.
When issues arise
“Some parents worry about fussiness or sensitivity or severe spit-up and want to experiment with different formulas … If you’re worried your child is sensitive to cow’s milk protein, it’s best to switch to a hydrolyzed (partially digested) formula or a hypoallergenic elemental formula,” suggests Swanson. Before making any changes, consult your pediatrician for advice.
What not to do
“The most common thing I see families do is feel obligated to stay on one formula throughout their child’s infancy … It’s OK to switch between formula brands if your baby is doing well,” Swanson assures. “Think about the physiology of breast milk: One day it’s made up of a hamburger, and another day it’s made up of tofu and noodles. It’s fine to try another standard formula in a pinch or for a change.”