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Combining Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding

December 24, 2020 8 min read

For many moms a combination of breastfeeding and formula is the perfect answer to feeding their little ones. A balance of breast and bottle is a choice that works for many families.

Reasons for Supplementing

Giving your baby formula in addition to breastfeeding is called supplementing. The good news is that supplementing, when done with care, will not be as detrimental to your breastfeeding journey as you may have imagined.

Weather out of necessity, convenience, or simply a personal choice here are many reasons families choose this type of combination feeding.

Going back to work

For some working moms finding time or a place to pump at work may be too difficult or stressful. For others it may be that their breast milk supply decreased from the stress and change of returning to work.

Either way, without a stockpile of breast milk stored in the freezer, it may be helpful to supplement your infant’s diet with baby formula.

Low Breastmilk Supply

For reasons such as a previous breast surgery, thyroid imbalances or other medical conditions your breast milk supply may not be where you would like. Many women for a variety of reasons experience low breastmilk supply.

After consulting with a lactation consultant and/or your doctor, you may find a need to supplement with infant formula.

Your Partner Wants to Participate

In many families it is important for each parent to take part in infant feedings. By allowing your partner to give your baby a bottle of formula they too can share in the closeness and bonding of this special time.

Medical Issues or Doctor Recommendations

There are times when a physician recommends supplementing a breastfed baby with baby formula. Supplementation may be for a short period or an extended period of time.

Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • If a baby is born prematurely
  • For an infant that was born with a severe tongue tie or cleft palate that makes latching difficult
  • If a newborn loses more than 10% of their body weight in the first week of life
  • If a newborn has a hard time maintaining a healthy weight
  • Concern that a baby is having less than six wet diapers in a 24-hour period

Twins, Triplets...

Maintaining a large enough breastmilk supply for more than one infant can be challenging. Breastfeeding multiples can also be physically and emotionally draining.

Letting someone else give your littles a bottle of baby formula one or two times a day may just be the perfect break you need to recharge.

Your choice 

For some moms a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding is just a personal preference.

Closest to Breast Milk

  • Great for babies from 0 - 6 months
  • Prebiotics/Probiotics
  • No Maltodextrin, no added sugar
  • NO wheat, soy, or peanut ingredients.
  • No synthetic preservatives/nutrients
  • Gluten Free and GMO-Free
  • Omega-3 and 6 LCPs (DHA and ARA) for brain development
  • 800g / 28.22oz of formula powder

Best Formula for Sensitivity

  • Great for babies from birth to 6 months
  • Hydrolyzed proteins for reduced allergic reactions
  • Essential non-synthetic vitamins and minerals
  • NO wheat, soy, or peanut ingredients.
  • Gluten-Free and GMO-Free
  • Omega-3 and 6 LCPs (DHA and ARA) for brain development
  • Main carbohydrate is lactose
  • 600g / 21.16oz of formula powder

Goat Milk Formula

  • Great for babies from birth to 6 months
  • No Palm Oil
  • Essential Vitamins and Minerals
  • No wheat, soy, or peanut ingredients
  • Biodynamic, Demeter, and Organic Certified (Organic ++)
  • Gluten-Free and GMO-Free
  • Main carbohydrate is Whole Organic Goat milk
  • 400g / 14oz of formula powder

Best Whole Milk Formula

  • Great for babies 0 – 6 months
  • No Palm Oil (Coconut Oil instead)
  • 100% organic whole milk
  • No Maltodextrin and no added sugars
  • Gluten Free and GMO-Free
  • No wheat, soy, or peanut ingredients, no fish oil
  • Omega-3 and 6 LCPs (DHA & ARA) for brain development (without hexane extraction)
  • 800g / 28.22oz of formula powder

How Will Supplementing Affect Your Milk Supply?

As you know your breast milk supply depends on your baby's demand for it, so the less often you nurse or pump, the less milk you will produce.

If your goal is to only supplement with one or two bottles of formula a week, the effect on your milk supply should be undetectable. If you supplement with formula regularly, for example, for one to two feedings a day, and don't pump, your milk supply will adjust to meet the reduced demand.

Introducing Baby Formula

When going from exclusively breastfeeding to supplementing it will be a big change for mom and baby. If it is not medically necessary to begin supplementing right away, we recommend introducing formula slowly. This will allow mom’s body and baby to make the change gradually.

Effects on Mom

As you know your body makes breast milk based on supply and demand. As you start to supplement it may take a few days to adjust to the reduced demand.

While waiting for your body to catch up your breasts may become uncomfortably engorged, which can lead to embarrassing leakage, clogged ducts or even mastitis — a painful infection of the breast tissue.

If possible, introduce formula slowly and gradually replacing one breastfeeding session a week. Then, giving your baby one bottle of formula at around the same time each day. This will train your body to stop producing milk at that time.

If you are pressed for time consider pumping or hand expressing just enough to relieve encouragement and feel relief. Pumped or expressed breast milk can be used at a later time by itself or mixed with European baby formula.

Effects on baby

Babies are not always easily swayed to the bottle, especially if they have been breastfeeding for any length of time. Do not be surprised if your little one refuses the bottle at first. With patience and time your infant will soon be a pro.

As babies transition to combination feeding you may notice that they go longer between feedings. Formula digests at a slower rate than breast milk so babies feel fuller longer and sleeps more.

Your baby's stool may look and smell different. It will be about the consistency of peanut butter, be tan or brown in color, and have a stronger odor. Your baby will probably have less bowel movements than when breastfeed exclusively.

The Best Baby Formula for Supplementing

Choosing the right kind of baby formula is an important step for successful supplementing. With so many different types of baby formula on the market and online, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Looking for ingredients that closely mimic breast milk in taste, texture and organic nature without unnatural sugars or soy is a great place to start.

Organic European baby formula uses only the highest quality ingredients, sourced from organic farming practices, and held to the strictest regulations.

Copying breastmilk as closely as possible, European baby formula is free from antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, chemicals and pesticides.

European baby formula is known around the world for the very best in clean, healthy infant nutrition.

Closest to Breastmilk

The specially designed baby formula from My Organic Company offers gentle nutrition that is perfect for supplementing.

100% organic baby formula, HiPP HA Combiotic Hypoallergenic, is made with cow’s milk proteins that are divided into small fragments. This reduces the allergenic properties and digestive discomforts that can be associated with combined feedings.

Special fiber-based prebiotic and a probiotic from lactic acid bacteria, similar to those found in breastmilk, work together to add extra tummy support and Omega-3 and 6 LCPs (DHA and ARA) for brain development.

As with all European baby formulas HiPP HA is filled with essential vitamins and minerals needed for development and growth with our synthetic ingredients, sugars or additives.

Goat’s Milk Allergies or Extreme Sensitivities

For littles ones that are born with a cow’s milk allergy or have extremely sensitive tummies due to medical issues or preemie we recommend Holle goats milk organic baby formula.

Goat milk-based baby formula proteins generally form a smaller, softer, and looser curd in the gut than found in a cow milk-based formula, which makes naturally easier to digest and reduces allergies found in cow’s milk baby formula.

Holle goat's milk formula provides essential fatty acids similar to breastmilk that acts as a prebiotic, making digestion and absorption easier. Healthy gut bacteria means less issues with sensitivity and a more comfortable baby.

100% Organic goat’s milk naturally contains vitamin A, vitamin C and minerals magnesium and calcium and has a taste and texture babies love because it mimics breast milk.

Find the Perfect Formula

Not every formula is right for every baby. When choosing your formula, make sure to try one box/can at a time.

You don’t want to buy in bulk until you know your baby does well on that brand of European baby formula brand.

Mixing Breast Milk and Formula

Mixing breast milk and prepared baby formula in the same bottle is just fine. Some families find it helps give babies a familiar taste which may make it easier to transition to supplementing.

Carefully follow the formula preparation instructions before combining formula with breast milk. Adding powdered formula directly to breastmilk can lead to an over-concentration of nutrients that may be dangerous.

Bottles

If your baby is used to taking a bottle of breastmilk, the transition to formula may be a bit easier. If your little one has never had a bottle, it is not uncommon for babies to refuse the bottle at first.

When adding formula to your baby's feeding routine we recommended that families use a baby bottle that closely mimics the shape and feel of the breast. Start with a wider shaped baby bottle that has a soft nipple.

It may take a few baby bottle brands and nipple shapes before you find the bottle baby prefers. Most importantly, try not to get discouraged when your baby rejects a bottle, it may take a few tries.

Bottle Refusal

It is not very common but sometimes, a breastfed baby will prove to be incredibly stubborn and refuse to take formula from a bottle. If after trying every technique your baby is still rejecting the bottle, or if your baby begins refusing the bottle after taking it previously, you can also try:

Distracting the baby: Try giving the bottle when your baby is calm and a little distracted, for example, by offering a bottle while taking a walk outside or away from home.

Heating things up:Try warming the milk and the bottle nipple, to make the experience more similar to breastfeeding.

Offering a taste: For a newborn using a syringe can be helpful. Dribbling a little milk into your baby’s mouth and then giving the bottle helps trigger automatic suckling reflux.

Bypassing the bottle: If your baby is 6 months or older, try offering a cup with formula instead of a bottle.

Will Supplementing Lead to Nipple Confusion?

One of the biggest worries about going back and forth between breast and bottle is nipple confusion. Luckily, the term is often overused and most babies do fine.

If your little one does have some trouble, keep at it and get some back up if necessary. There are some great tips in our breast to bottle article that help with the transition.

Above all try not to worry about nipple confusion, there’s a good chance your baby won't show any signs of it at all.

Maintaining Your Breastmilk Supply

While combination feeding can put your milk supply at risk, it doesn't have to. Here are a few tips that will help you keep breastfeeding and keep a healthy milk supply:

  • Pump or hand express at regular intervals to maintain milk supply. When you breastfeed You can offer one breast while pumping the other
  • Give your baby only breast milk, for as long as possible whenever you are with your baby
  • If possible, wait until you are breastfeeding regularly and well
  • Look for childcare close to work, so that you may be able to breastfeed your baby during a break making the need to supplement less
  • Relax when you are with baby, enjoy the time together and don't worry about the next feeding whether it be formula or breast

Only the Best for You Baby

Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, or use a combination of the two remember that making sure your baby is getting the best nutrition is what matters most.

My Organic Company carries only pure organic nutrition that is a perfect supplement to breastfeeding.

To learn more about European baby formulas, share a parenting tip or look for a shoulder of understanding join us in the HiPP Holle Kendamil & European Baby Formula Parent Community.

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Transitioning from breastmilk to kendamil

So far it's been great my LO has a very sensitive stomach and she seems to throughly enjoy it as much as breastmilk. The best ingredients I've come across so far had to do a little bit of research before hand... also pretty fast shipping is always a plus!

Awesome formula

I like that this formula doesn’t have bubbles after shaking

Love this formula. Pricey but 100% worth it for my LO.

Favorite formula.

The best formula out there.

Amazing formula

My baby is doing so much better on this formula. The other one made him super gassy and constipated. He wanted to eat all the time. With in the first bottle he was calm and satisfied. I feel he is getting what he needs.