Tips for Simultaneous Breast Milk and Formula Feeding
by Stef Daniel
For women who have insufficient milk supply or crazy life schedules, learning how to give your baby a bottle while continuing to breastfeed can be a stress-reducing lifesaver. There are many strong opinions surrounding breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. With a little information, you can find out what will work best for you and your baby.
With simultaneous breast and formula feeding, you will want to keep up your milk supply. If you cannot nurse, then pump milk in replacement of the nursing. If you are introducing formula because your baby doesn’t seem to be getting enough breast milk, realize, of course, that she may consume more with a bottle than with the breast. This may mean that you won’t need to breastfeed her in the traditional two-and-a-half hours after the bottle. But at the next feeding, try to offer the breast first. Eventually, by alternating, you will be able to devise a schedule that ensures she is taking in enough nutrients from both.
If you breastfeed and formula feed, you will want to decide which one you prefer for your child right before bed, as it will likely become a part of her daily habits. If you don’t want to always be the one putting the baby to bed at night, than opt for the bottle as the last feeding during the day. The good news is that she will take in more, which may cause her to sleep a bit longer at night as well. Just be sure to burp her well, as typically both bottle-feeding and formula can cause more gas.
Some women revert to the bottle completely – but fill the bottles with half-pumped breast milk and half formula. The problem here can be that your baby may not take to the taste of the combination right away. However, you can adjust the amount of breast milk combined in until you find what he will like. If you wait to offer formula until after the second or third month, your baby will likely be resistant to it at first because it tastes so different from your milk. You can either mix the two or work with your baby until he is happily switching between the two concoctions – just be patient.
If your baby needs supplementation but you do not want to introduce the bottle, you can purchase one of the nursing systems (such as Mother’s Friend) allowing you to ‘breastfeed’ with formula. The formula flows through a tiny tube attached to your breast, and when your baby suckles – she will receive the formula. This helps her make the transition and allows you to continue with the bonding and closeness of breastfeeding.
Of course, your baby’s stools will be different once you introduce formula. If you notice excessive gas or fussiness after introducing formula, then you may want to speak with your pediatrician. You also need to monitor output, making sure they wet at least 5 diapers per day, so your child is not at risk for dehydration. If he seems to be constipated or you notice stools hardening excessively – you may need to shop around for a different formula. Finding the perfect formula is often about trial and error, so don’t purchase a lot of it at one time.
As with most issues in parenting, there is a lot in life that will not go exactly as planned. Breastfeeding can be one of them. Rather than stressing, or feeling guilty, about adding formula to supplement your baby, accept the changes with the open arms. Remember that offering both breast milk and formula gives you a little bit of freedom and can ensure that your baby is getting plenty of nourishment.
What do you think? Tips for Simultaneous Breast Milk and Formula Feeding