If you have been reading our blog, you know one of our favourite subjects is breastfeeding. We get a lot of questions from our customers about this topic, and today we would like to share with you some more information about combining breast milk with formula.
One of the main reasons why mothers combine breastmilk with a formula is that they are running low on breastmilk supply.
“The more you breastfeed, the more milk you produce”, they say, all though this is not always true for everyone! You certainly have done everything by the book, but suddenly your supply is running low. There are many reasons why your supply might not be enough and it will certainly make you feel challenged, worried and maybe even frustrated. Even if everything seems to be perfect, sometimes mother nature decides otherwise. This pattern seems to be quite frequent especially in women who decide to become a mother a little bit later in life, have more than one child or have had a breast reduction, experts agree.
If your baby seems to still be hungry after breastfeeding, it might be that your milk supply is low. It is important to monitor your baby's weight, you can even weigh it before and after breastfeeding, to see how much milk it has received. If over time your baby isn't gaining weight or is even losing weight, it's time to seek advice from a paediatrician. Your paediatrician my advice you to pump in addition to breastfeeding to increase your supply or give your child a supplement of formula.
Nursing your baby will always be more stimulating to your milk production than just pumping, for this reason, it is essential to keep the breastfeeding up, even if you feel like giving up altogether or suffer from sore nipples.
If you decide to supplement your breastmilk with formula make sure you choose the right formula for the baby’s age and read the label carefully to avoid chemicals and other harmful ingredients. You can easily and safely mix breastmilk with formula in the same bottle. As every little drop of breastmilk counts, especially if you are running low, it is advised to use smaller bottles while mixing your milk with formula for feeding. To be safe, always discard the remains of the bottle. In case your child is unable to finish everything in one sitting you will not have wasted any milk.
Another great tip to not waste any of that precious breastmilk is to feed your baby with it first and then feed it with a bottle. Remember that feeding your baby with a bottle might not come easy at first, it tastes different and it feels different, so make sure to give your baby some time to adapt. Knowing how difficult this can be, we have dedicated an entire article to this, you can read it here.
There are so many reasons why pumping might not be an option for you. Many women need to pump because they have to return to their jobs and yes, breast pumping can be quite challenging and stressful in the ladies room. Even if you have thought ahead and have a great supply of pumped breastmilk at home, eventually this will run out. A good alternative here is to nurse your baby before you leave for work, feed it formula while you are not there, and go back to nursing when you return.
As a parent who has struggled with breastmilk supply myself, I know first hand how challenging this situation can be. It is essential not to stress yourself out, as stress can also negatively affect your supply. Fortunately, there really are great formulas out there that will ensure your baby gets all the nutrients and essentials for healthy growth, even if not or only partially from your breastmilk. Make sure you choose the perfect formula for your baby, do your research and choose wisely.
Always remember, bottle feeding can create a very similar stimulation and bonding experience as breastfeeding does, at the end of the day it is all about the love.
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