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Switching Milk Formulas: What You Need To Know

Here're the answers to parents who often ask about different milk formula brands and types, as well as the guidelines on how to switch formula smoothly. Learn more.

As parents, trying to find the most suitable milk formula for your child's still-delicate little tummies can be a daunting task. You will need to compare the ingredients of each brand and formula type, then work to find the right flavour for their taste, while balancing the monetary cost. This may take some time to learn and experiment, so be patient! It is also important to verify and check how each milk formula was sourced and produced for greater peace of mind when you are looking to provide your child with the most suitable and safe milk formula.

This article contains information on different milk formula types and advice on how to smoothly transition your child from one formula to another. While we try to ensure the following guideline is as trustworthy as possible, we recommend that you seek support from your preferred doctor if you have questions or concerns you wish to clarify. For example, genetic diseases/conditions may affect choice of nutrition, and a healthcare provider may recommend soybean-based formula for children who are lactose intolerant.

Is It Harmful to My Child to Switch Formulas?

Not at all! Milk formulas are often based on an existing milk product such as cow or goat's milk. There is no evidence that switching milk formula is harmful for children, but it is important to monitor your child (weight gain, sleep quality, etc.) to see if your chosen milk formula agrees with their digestive system. When deciding on how and when to choose quality milk formulas, you should also look out for some of these harmful ingredients in your child’s milk formula:

  1. Melamine
    Melamine is rich in nitrogen and widely used in the processing of plastics and adhesives. Melamine is used to spike milk production in dairy cows. This milk is then found in some milk formula along with traces of the toxin. 4
  2. Soy
    When a milk protein sensitivity occurs in young ones, parents tend to avoid the milk-based formula and settle for a soy-based formula. With exception of medical urgency, soy formula is not recommended. This is because it contains phytoestrogens, phytic acid and genistein which can block important nutrients and even create long term issues such as developmental problems. 5
  3. Gluten
    Gluten is a bread-based grain protein. It can be found in many foods, including rye, wheat, barley, and some breads. In your child’s first year, their digestive system cannot tolerate gluten protein and it can lead to constipation and abdominal pain. 6
  4. Preservatives
    Preservatives are used to keep milk formula from going bad. It is not natural and has been known to cause serious illnesses. Remember to read your child’s milk formula package carefully and look out for preservatives by the names sulphur dioxide or “additives”. 7

Besides that, here are some signs that your current milk formula is actually doing the trick. Firstly, your child goes through 3 or more bowel movements a day. This means that their digestive system accepts the milk formula. Another sign would be weight gain. If your child’s weight is increasing in a steady manner, the milk formula they are on is already great. Furthermore, they should show signs of less discomfort such as less frustrated crying and struggling. 1

Is it Alright to Keep Switching Formulas Back and Forth?

Yes! Since most milk formulas are cow's milk-based, it's easy to switch from one to the other. Many mums are concerned about how easily digestible a particular milk can be and seek a formula that is easy on their child's tummies. Friso® Gold milk formulas, which are produced using NOVAS™ Signature Milk, are imported from dairy farms in the Netherlands. Each formula goes through strict chain control from grass-to-glass, with TrackEasy QR codes attached to each tin of milk so anyone can trace its ingredients back to the very farms they came from. NOVAS™ Signature Milk comes from Dutch farms with over 140 years of dairy production expertise, and from cows specially selected and fed to produce quality milk. The result is milk formulas that form smaller soft curds than in other brands. Together with our LocNutri™ Technology - a mild heat treatment that maintains nutrients and proteins in their natural state - Friso® Gold milk formulas are nutrient-rich and easy to digest. With no sucrose added, Friso® Gold can help set the foundation for a low-sugar lifestyle for your young child.

How to Switch Formulas - Step by Step

When you've chosen a new milk formula to switch your child to, gradually transition their milk intake over the course of one to two weeks. The following table provides a quick guide on how to switch from your current formula to, for example, Friso® Gold:

Here's how to help your child switch to Friso® Gold with this simple feeding schedule

Switching guide to Friso® Gold 3 milk powder

Friso® Gold Feeding Schedule

There is no hard and fast rule to the speed of your child's transition. The pace will depend on their acceptance with every formula switch. You may start slow and speed up near the end, or evenly pace the change until the transition has been completed.

How Long does it Typically take to Adjust

Give your child about a week to adjust to their new milk formula. Some will adjust right away whereas others may have experienced changes in stool pattern, gas, or spitting up until they become accustomed to the new formula. If you have questions or concerns, check with your paediatrician. 9

Side Effects of Changing Milk Formula

If you’re switching to the same brand of formula, there shouldn’t be any major side effects. Some might not like the new taste or may not be used to it and spit it up. Poop consistency might change. It can take a week or so to adjust to the change but if the symptoms are not causing much distress, it would be good to give it some time. You could even take note of the changes your child experiences during the switching. 3

Tips for Smooth Formula Switching

Do read and follow the mixing instructions on the tins or sample packs of the milk formulas you are using. Each brand and type of milk formula has its own dilution methods and may need different water-to-milk powder ratios. It is not advisable for milk powders of two or more formula brands to be mixed in a single bottle.

Watch your child as you switch their milk formula. The first 24 hours after they have completed their transition to the new milk formula will give you hints about how effective the new formula is for them.

Now, is it alright to switch formula milk brands? These symptoms could indicate that you might need to switch them to a different brand or formula category:

  • Excessive gas
  • Constipation or abdomen pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting or excessive spit ups

Small changes in your child's bowel habits (such as frequency, texture and colour of their stool) are usually acceptable as the amount of additives like iron and prebiotics may differ from brand to brand. Some problems don't surface immediately, so it is recommended that you allow your child to stay on a single type and brand of milk formula for at least a week to observe its effects on your child's digestive system and bowel movements before transitioning to another formula.

Have patience in the process, moms and dads. Your child's milk preferences may change as they age and get to know more flavours, among other reasons. Every bottle you try will get you closer to finding the right formula for your child. All of Friso® Gold's formulas — Friso® Gold 3 and Friso® Gold 4 — preserve the natural nutrients of the milk to give your child what they need for their overall development. Find out more about what formula is best and how long is the milk formula actually good for?

You may be wondering, “can I switch formulas without a doctor?” Well, you can but it would be safer to have a doctor on standby in case you’re ever in need of advice. If your child has issues switching formula, speak to your paediatrician or call the Friso® Gold Careline at 1800-88-1647 for support, available every Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

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  1. Reflux in Infants: MedlinePlus. (2017). Retrieved 22 May 2022, from
  2. Choosing a Baby Formula. (2022). Retrieved 22 May 2022, from
  3. Baby Formula Side Effects | Benefits and Risks of Baby Formulas. (2022). Retrieved 26 May 2022, from't,congestion%20or%20wheezing%20after%20eating.
  4. Chan, E. Y., Griffiths, S. M., & Chan, C. W. (2008). Public-health risks of melamine in milk products. Lancet (London, England), 372(9648), 1444–1445.
  5. Concerns for the use of soy-based formulas in infant nutrition. (2009). Paediatrics & child health, 14(2), 109–118.
  6. Hård Af Segerstad, E. M., Lee, H. S., Andrén Aronsson, C., Yang, J., Uusitalo, U., Sjöholm, I., Rayner, M., Kurppa, K., Virtanen, S. M., Norris, J. M., Agardh, D., & TEDDY Study Group (2018). Daily Intake of Milk Powder and Risk of Celiac Disease in Early Childhood: A Nested Case-Control Study. Nutrients, 10(5), 550.
  7. Trasande, L., Shaffer, R. M., Sathyanarayana, S., & COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH (2018). Food Additives and Child Health. Pediatrics, 142(2), e20181410.
  8. Pediatric Partners. (2022). Retrieved 23 May 2022, from
  9. Switching baby formula— Everything you need to know about how to switch from one baby formula to another - Milk Drunk. (2022). Retrieved 23 May 2022, from

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