How Long Does It Take for a Baby to Adjust to a Formula Change?

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
July 10, 2024

Whether you use formula to supplement your own breast milk or rely on it as a sole source of nutrition for your little one, switching from one type to another can lead to all sorts of adjustment issues. So, while waiting for your infant to settle on a new formula, you might find yourself wondering, "How long does it take for a baby to adjust to a formula change, anyway?"

How Long Does It Take for a Baby to Adjust to a Formula Change?

Baby stomachs are sensitive, even more so than adults'. So any change to their diet can lead to upset and discomfort. Often, new parents will need to go through several different formulas before finding one that suits their child.

Immediately after switching your baby to a new formula, you'll probably notice some changes to their bowel movements and general stomach upset. However, this doesn't always mean that a certain type of formula is a no-go.

So, how long does it take for baby to adjust to a formula change?

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Generally, at least the first 24 hours of any new formula will be an adjustment period. You might find your baby is more gassy or fussy during this time.

With that said, though, some infants can take anywhere from two to six weeks to fully adjust. While you shouldn't let your baby suffer if they have an adverse reaction to a certain formula, be patient as you wait for their stomach to adjust to the switch.

Is It Safe to Switch Your Baby's Formula?

If babies have such sensitive stomachs and go through so much discomfort when switching to a different type of formula, should you really make a switch at all?

Plus, in asking, "How long does it take for a baby to adjust to a formula change?" you might also be wondering why you'd switch formulas in the first place.

Realistically, you shouldn't be switching your baby's formula willy-nilly. But there will be times when a formula switch is the best possible course of action.

So, when should (or shouldn't) you make a change to your baby's formula?

Your baby is experiencing allergies or sensitivities to the current formula

One of the most common reasons to switch from one formula to another is because your baby is experiencing a reaction to their current formula.

If you notice any unusual symptoms from your baby, including red or irritated skin, diarrhea, vomiting, or general discomfort, consult with your doctor. While you shouldn't automatically assume switching formula is the answer, there's a very good chance it's the right course of action.

You received a free sample or coupon for a different formula

Switching to a new formula is such a big transition for even the most adaptable baby, so you really shouldn't change to a different formula just because you scored a deal.

Instead, make sure to start your baby off with a formula that fits your budget and their dietary needs. If you do end up with free or discounted formula from a different brand, consider donating it.

Your doctor recommends a different formula for health reasons

During a routine visit, your doctor might suggest switching to a different formula to better meet your baby's nutritional needs.

If your doctor makes such a suggestion, then your baby's dietary needs outweigh the temporary discomfort of switching formulas. Of course, ask your doctor what type of formula they recommend before making a switch.

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How to Make an (Almost) Pain-Free Switch to New Formula

If you're asking, "How long does it take for a baby to adjust to a formula change?" then there's a pretty good chance you're considering making a switch yourself. If so, then knowing how to make this transition as comfortable as possible for your infant is essential.

Choose carefully

Of course, this won't necessarily be possible if you're making a switch because your baby is experiencing sensitivities to the current brand.

For example, switching formulas because you suspect your infant is lactose-intolerant might mean switching from a cow's milk protein to a soy-based formula.

Keep it slow and steady

If you're in a situation where an immediate switch isn't necessary for your baby's health, consider making the transition gradually.

One great way to do this is by mixing some of the new formula with your current formula. You can slowly introduce more of the new formula to the mixture over time.

Work with your pediatrician

Any time you make a major change to your baby's care, it's a good idea to keep your doctor in the know.

If you do experience any issues or have questions like, "How long does it take for a baby to adjust to a formula change?" they'll be an excellent resource to turn to for personalized answers.

Happy Baby, Happy Life

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When deciding which formula to switch to, try to pick something as similar to your current one as possible. This is especially important when it comes to the formula's protein base.

Whatever your reason for asking, "How long does it take for a baby to adjust to a formula change?" knowing the answer can help take a little bit of stress off of you and your family.

What type of formula are you currently or planning to feed your infant? Let us know in the comments below!

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