Breastfeeding And Supplementing: Proven Strategies That Work

Mamas out there, Know this – it is not a crime to supplement and breastfeed!
Produced By Marilyn Smith- The #1 midwife

You may be wondering what is breastfeeding and supplementing? It is giving your baby breast and formula feedings. Many new moms feel guilty that they did not go the whole breastfeeding route. Mamas, it is perfectly fine if you want to supplement your baby as opposed to exclusively breastfeeding.

Many moms make this change because it it better for their family, they might be experiencing low milk supply or it can simply be a personal choice. This is safe for baby and should not pose any danger provided the necessary prevention o infection strategies are in place.

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As a health professional I always encouraged new mothers to do whatever is best for the family. Breastfeeding should never be something you struggle with. Either you want to do it or not. Like everything else there are advantages and disadvantages of whatever choices we make.

The most common reason parents decide to supplement is concern for nutrition, especially in the first few days. You’re just getting used to breastfeeding, and it may feel like your baby isn’t getting enough to eat, especially at night. If you need the nipples for your journey, you can check out here.

Keep in mind that it can take time for both mom and baby to adjust to their new routine, and supplementing should only be started after consulting with your healthcare provider. Breastfeeding is a learned skill. Weaning involves doing it the right time and that is totally your decision. What were your goals when you began?

Introduce the Breast And Establish Breastfeeding

Babies suck differently on a bottle than the breast, and some will not latch as well at the breast if they’ve had bottles (this is called nipple confusion). This risk decreases if breastfeeding is well established before a bottle is introduced. Babies have to work harder on the breast. If you can breastfeed and bottle-feed with no restraints, it is best to wait until breastfeeding is established.

Should I Supplement with Formula?

Parents may also wonder if they should supplement during babies’ ‘growth spurts,’ which happen around two to three weeks, six weeks and around two to three months of age. At these times, babies want to feed more often and even though you are making enough milk, your breasts may feel soft. During a growth spurt, you may feel like you’re feeding all the time.

That’s OK mama. By breastfeeding more, the baby is helping to increase your milk supply. Try not to supplement with formula if you really want to breastfeed though.

Supplementing with formula does not mean that it is the end of breastfeeding. Many moms give up after trying everything with breastfeeding, even to the point where they experience sore nipples and other challenges. This I know is hard or moms who really wanted to breastfeed.

Here Are Some Great Tips For Supplementing

Supplementing at the breast by using a tube that is inserted into your baby’s mouth while he breastfeeds means the breasts get the “make more milk” message even as the baby gets formula, and he associates the breast with food.

If you’re using a bottle to supplement, West recommends giving it first and then finishing the feeding at the breast.

It seems counterintuitive, but because your baby feels satisfied when he’s at the breast, he can enjoy nursing more. Breastfeed first and he may begin to prefer the bottle because he associates it with that full, happy feeling.

  • Consider pumping regularly, which can increase your milk supply significantly. You should be pumping 8 -12 times per day. I know that sounds like a lot, but do the best you can.
  • Talk to a health professional and expect some trial and error in determining the amount of supplement to use.
  • The medication domperidone can also be prescribed to boost milk supply.
  • Allow your baby baby to eat until he’s not hungry anymore. 
  • Even though it’s easier to measure how much baby is eating when bottles are in the mix, try not to obsess about exactly how much baby is getting of either breast milk or formula. Your baby will eat more when he’s hungry and less when he’s not. It’s better to make sure that your little one is gaining weight appropriately than to be fixated on whether he’s eating a consistent amount of milk at every feeding.
  • Space out the formula-feeding sessions. Introduce a bottle of formula an hour or two after breastfeeding when your little one is ready to eat but not starving. Add in an additional daily bottle-feeding session a few days later. Taking a moderate approach can keep your milk supply up if you’re trying to continue breastfeeding, and it can keep you from getting a clogged milk duct or breast infection if you’re weaning baby off the breast.
  • Switch sides. As you would move from breast to breast, switch sides when you’re formula-feeding, and burp baby between sides.
  • Have some skin-to-skin contact. Be sure to look into your baby’s eyes and give her lots of cuddles during each feeding session.
  • Be consistent.
  • Ensure that all bottles and accessories are properly sterilized to prevent infection. Getting the right sterilizer is very important in keeping disease at baby. Here is one I think you will love:

Will supplementing with formula affect baby’s poop?

Exclusively breast-fed babies have poops that are mustard-like in color and consistency, sometimes loose or even watery, and seedy, mushy or curdy. Those who are formula-fed, at least in part, have stools that are soft but better formed than a breastfed baby’s, and anywhere from pale yellow to yellowish brown, light brown or brownish green. They can have a stronger odor, too. Your baby’s stools should not be hard or very loose.

What About formula for breastfed babies?

Choosing the right formula can be overwhelming. With so many different types, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Some formulas are designed specifically for supplementing because they contain lutein, an essential nutrient found in breast milk, as well as prebiotics designed to keep baby’s stool soft, similar to that of exclusively breastfed babies. It’s best to discuss your options with your pediatrician to figure out which one is best for your baby. Most healthy babies do well with a milk-based, iron-fortified formula (all infant formula in the U.S. is fortified with iron).

Our thought for today

There’s no elevator to the top! You have to take the stairs in life. Sometimes in order to get a life of convenience, you have to deal with being uncomfortable.

Steve Harvey

In general, don’t think that just because it’s “specially formulized,” it’s somehow healthier for your little one. Your budget will probably play a role, too. Organic formulas are free of antibiotics, hormones, genetic modification and synthetic pesticides, but they’re also pricey.

Should I Be Concerned About Nipple Confusion?

 Absolutely no! Don’t worry about nipple confusion if you’ve decided that both breastfeeding and formula are right for you. There’s a good chance your baby won’t show any signs of it at all. Nipple confusion is often overblown or even nonexistent, and most babies do fine going back and forth between breast and bottle. However, finding everything you need for your baby during each stage of development is important. Here is a list of items you might need if you haven’t done your shopping as yet.

Bottom line

Many mothers have no other choice, but to breastfeed, while others make a personal choice. You can follow or try some of the strategies above . Choosing the right formula is essential to ensure that your baby is developing well. Don’t worry about nipple confusion.

There is no evidence that it happens. Mamas there is no way you should feel like you did not succeed as a parent if things did not work out as planned with your breastfeeding goals. Thank you for stopping by today and I wish you every success.

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Published by Marilyn Smith

Hello. My name is Marilyn Smith. I am a Health Specialist with specialized skills in Clinical Practical Nursing, and Midwife of thirty six years. I am also a certified Lactation and Grief Specialist. I am well qualified to assist in meeting your breastfeeding needs. Breastfeeding is indeed the best for your baby. Congratulations on making such a wonderful decision. Consider this your home as we learn about the joys and pains of pregnancy & breastfeeding

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