6 Signs that your baby may be sensitive to formula (and what to do about it)

6 Signs that your baby may be sensitive to formula

Although we all agree that breastmilk is best for baby, there are times when breastfeeding is simply not possible and where a baby will need formula milk. Over the last decades both the variety of infant formulas available and the formulations of different formulas have improved a lot. But despite this some babies may still be sensitive to formula.

Below are 6 signs that may indicate a formula sensitivity in your baby.

  1. Skin rashes and eczema

Skin rashes are always difficult to interpret as they are caused by so many different reasons, and can often look very non-specific. More often than not a rash will come and go without you every knowing the cause. Dry scaly patches and a rash over the forehead specifically may indicate a sensitivity to infant formula.

  1. Colic and crying

All babies cry. But if it’s excessive and if baby struggles a lot with gas and winds after feedings it may indicate that baby is struggling to digest her formula milk.

  1. Excessive mucous

Runny and blocked noses, coughing and wheezing – sometimes a sensitivity to a formula can lead to respiratory symptoms. And where mucous are microorganisms grow, so often this mucous can lead to secondary respiratory infections and to a baby being constantly sick.

  1. Constipation

In babies under a year constipation usually indicates a sensitivity to something in their diets. Formula is a common culprit, as is baby cereal. It’s important to clear the term constipation though. A baby is only constipated if the stools are hard when it comes out. If your baby is straining a lot or even skipping some days, but his poo is still soft or pasty it’s not really constipation.

  1. Diarrhea

Runny and mucousy stools may indicate a sensitivity. There may even be blood in baby’s stools. This definitely warrants a visit to the pediatrician though as there are many possible causes of this problem.

  1. Baby refusing a formula

Sometimes if a baby is sensitive to a formula she may instinctively start refusing to drink it. You may have to consider changing.

READ MORE: Breastmilk-to-go – exclusive pumping as a feeding alternative

So what to do if you think your baby might be sensitive to formula?

  • Talk to your clinic sister or your pediatrician. There are many formulas on the market, and they all have different formulations and indications. A healthcare professional can help you to choose which options may work for your baby. Do not take advice from friends and family members about this. The fact that a formula worked well for a friend’s baby does not mean that it’s at all right for your little one.
  • Don’t jump around between formulas. Unless a reaction is severe you need to give a baby at least 2 weeks to get used to a new formula.
  • Be wary of soy based formulas. About 70% of babies sensitive to dairy will be sensitive to soy as well. Soy is a plant oestrogen. Although there is no conclusive evidence on this there are concerns over the long-term effects of making soy there main food source for the first year of life. One has to be really sure that the benefits for the baby outweigh any risks before choosing to use a soy-based formula.
  • Be prepared to pay more, as specialised formulas are more expensive. But finding the right formula will hopefully save you the money that you have spent on remedies for the other symptoms that your baby was having.
  • Don’t get despondent. Sometimes one needs to experiment a bit before finding what’s best for your baby.
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Christine Klynhans is a midwife and lactation consultant with a firm believe that gentle parenting can change the world. She has worked in midwifery since competing her B.Cur nursing degree in 2004, and has a special passion for education and for writing. She currently works in a well-baby clinic and give antenatal classes and breastfeeding support. She enjoys working with parents of babies and toddlers, aiming to help them find gentle solutions to their parenting problems and assisting them in incorporating healthy habits and natural health alternatives into their daily lives.

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