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Switching Baby Formula Brands

by Sandra Gordon

If your baby starts out on brand-name formula, don’t feel you have to be brand loyal for your baby’s sake. As a savings strategy—up to 50 percent*—go ahead and switch from a name-brand formula to a store brand formula like Parent’s Choice Infant Formula.

A recent clinical study by University of Virginia researchers informally referred to as “the Switch Study,” found that switching baby formula brands is safe and well tolerated in infants. In the study, babies who switched from a national brand milk-based formula to a store brand milk-based formula didn’t experience an increase in spit up, burping, gas, crying or irritability compared to babies who stayed with the national brand.

The blinded study involved 67 infants who were randomized in three groups according to the formula they were accustomed to being fed. The infants were then switched to a different brand of formula or the exact same control formula.

Each infant was observed during a four-day interval followed by a three-day transitional period when they were fed a different brand of formula or the control formula. During the transition, caregivers either switched each infant to the new brand or to the control formula and documented tolerance variables, such as burping, gas and crying.

University of Virginia Study Findings on Changing a Baby’s Formula

“Based on data in our study, there is no statistically significant difference in tolerance variables in changing a baby’s formula,” says James L. Sutphen, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Virginia department of pediatrics and the study’s lead researcher. “Switching baby formula brands is well tolerated, and we discovered there is no advantage to gradually switching versus immediately from one formula to another.”

Switching Baby Formula Brands

The study, funded by Perrigo Nutritionals, showed formula tolerance, regardless of brand, is similar between standard, milk-based formulas in healthy, term infants. The milk-based formulas used in the study were Similac® Advance®, Enfamil® Infant, and Parent’s Choice, Walmart’s Store Brand formula.

You can learn more about the safety and tolerability of switching baby formula by visiting

About the Author

Sandra Gordon is a consumer products expert, a writer, and a mother of two. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show and as a baby safety expert on The Discovery Health Channel's "Make Room for Baby." A Consumer Reports author, her latest book is Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear.

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*Comparison based on January 2013 price survey of store brand formulas versus the leading national brands.

** Similac® and Advance® are registered trademarks of Abbott Laboratories. Enfamil® and Enfamil® Infant are registered trademarks of Mead Johnson & Co. Store Brand/Parent's Choice Infant Formula is neither made by nor affiliated with Abbott Laboratories or Mead Johnson & Co.