“We’re spending four weeks in Spain this summer, with our four-month-old baby. Will it be OK to switch to a Spanish-brand formula and mix it with bottled water?” asks mum Macey Hardy, from Norfolk.
Our expert, Julie Clark, nutritionist, author of Baby-Led Weaning Step By Step (£10.99, Balloon View Ltd), says:
If you’re using a standard cows’ milk-based formula and not a specialist milk for an allergy or intolerance, there’s no harm in changing brands.
All formulas are similar and have the correct nutrients for a baby’s age and stage. There may be a variation in taste from one brand to another, and your baby may let you know there’s a difference initially. She may refuse to drink it or take less than normal. Try not to worry, though, as she’ll get used to the new taste quickly.
In Spain, many of the UK brands are available under a different name. As a guide:
- Aptamil is called Milupa Aptamil
- Cow & Gate is called Almiron
- Hipp is known by the same name
- SMA is not available.
You’ll find the best selection at a pharmacist rather than a supermarket. The chain of shops called El Corte Ingles stocks a good supply of formula milks. You could try your baby with one of the available brands before you go if you’re currently using SMA or another brand that’s not readily available.
The brands Font Vella and Beyoz are baby-friendly and widely available.
Although a lot of the water in Spain is drinkable, it is still advisable to use bottled water as some areas contain high levels of minerals and this can upset a baby’s tummy. When buying bottled water, look for ones with the baby-safe label (a baby or bottle symbol is used). The brands Font Vella and Beyoz are baby-friendly and widely available. Also check the label for low sodium (Na or sodio).
Sterilising solutions and tablets are readily available, but you can always take some Milton tablets or buy a travel steriliser.
Do remember that a baby can react to a different environment. Also, flying can cause gas and other digestive problems when you first arrive. So, don’t panic if your baby seems to be reacting to a change of formula brand, as it may just be the travel and new environment that are causing the issues.