Can Switching to Baby Formula Cause Diarrhea?

Can Switching to Baby Formula Cause Diarrhea?

Can Switching to Baby Formula Cause Diarrhea?

When you decide to change from breast milk to formula, your baby's digestive system may go through some changes. Does the switch cause diarrhea?

There may come a time in your baby's first year that you need to change the source of nutrition. This could be from breast milk to baby formula or from one brand or type of formula to another. There are a number of factors parents look at to see if the transition is a smooth one for the little one. The diaper is often the place to look.

Is It Normal?

Normal bowel movements for breastfed babies can range from yellow to green or sometimes brown. It may look like diarrhea as it can be runny with a seedy texture. For the first six weeks, it may seem that your baby is pooping all the time, only to reduce frequency after that. Loose stool is normal for these babies.

For a formula-fed baby, poop will still have the same range of colors. However, the difference is mostly in the consistency. It will be more firm and less pasty, almost the consistency of peanut butter. While the poop from a breastfed baby will be virtually odorless, the poop from a formula-fed baby will definitely have more of an aroma. Bowel movements are also less frequent for these babies.

Is It Abnormal?

For breastfed babies, the appearance of their poop may bring concerns about diarrhea. Diarrhea will occur with much more frequency. In fact, it will seem that your baby is filling the diaper twice as much as before if they are dealing with stomach issues. It is important to keep your baby hydrated, and that comes from breast milk or baby formula, depending on how you are feeding your baby.

If you are transitioning between breast milk and baby formula, give your baby some time to adjust to the formula. You can call your pediatrician if your baby's poop does not return to normal or if you notice blood mixed in. Blood can be an indicator of a milk protein allergy. Your doctor is likely to recommend a change in formula to one in which the milk proteins are broken down into smaller parts. This makes it easier on your baby to digest and not react to the milk proteins as much. If you are breastfeeding and offering formula at the same time, you can remove dairy and cow's milk from your diet to help your baby as well.