To breast feed or formula feed, that is the question most mothers often ponder, so what about a breastmilk and formula mix? While breast milk is recommended, giving your child both breastmilk and formula is perfectly fine for your baby. This is known as supplementing.
Some mothers decide to supplement when they go back to work. Because of their work schedule, they may not be able to pump every day, but they don’t want to take away the advantages of nursing. Others may have trouble producing enough breast milk on their own, and if this occurs, babies may not get the right amount of breast milk for healthy development.
While formula provides all the nutrients your child needs, it lacks the unique immune factors that breast milk has. Experts believe the breast milk is the best nutritional choice for your baby. Research has shown that breastfed babies are not admitted to the hospital as often as formula-fed babies.
Can I Give My Baby Breastmilk and Formula? Answer: After One Month
They are also less prone to getting diarrhea, having an ear infection and suffering from allergies. This is because the mother’s antibodies to disease are transferred to the baby through breast milk. Around 80% of the cells found in breast milk are known to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Because of this, breastfed babies are more likely to be protected from illnesses.
A mother’s milk supply is generated by their baby’s wanting for it. If you do not nurse very often, your breasts will not generate enough milk. If you start supplementing breast milk with formula more often, your breasts will decrease the amount of milk they produce. And since breast milk is preferred, try to make sure your child consumes at least one feeding a day from breast milk.
One Month is OK
Before you start supplementing, you should wait until your child is at least one month old before introducing formula. This allows your breastfeeding routine and your milk supply to become well established. Also, at this age, most babies are not reluctant to try a bottle or new food source. Once your baby is over one month old, you can introduce formula any time.
Note that there is no perfect way to introduce your child to supplementing. Some babies will just make the switch naturally while others may refuse the bottle the first few times it is offered. If your baby is used to taking a bottle of breast milk instead of drinking it directly from the source, the transition may be a bit easier. To make the transition easier for your baby, have someone else offer the first few bottles. If the mother does it, your baby may smell you and prefer the real thing. Do not try feeding a bottle to your child when they are overly hungry, as they may be too frustrated to try something new.
When They Refuse Breastmilk
If supplementing becomes regular, your baby might start refusing your breast. Due to the way a nipple is constructed, bottles tend to give your baby more milk at once than the breast. If your baby is a fast eater, they may prefer the bottle. Babies also cannot digest formula the same way breast milk is digested. This tends to make babies feel full for longer periods of time.
What to Expect
Supplementing will have an effect on your baby’s bowel movements. Formula will make them firmer, with a peanut-butter-like texture. They will also be tan or brown in color, have a strong odor, and be less frequent. There is more protein in formula, which slows down the digestive system, so your baby may have a bowel movement every couple of days instead of every day.
You can feed your child breast milk and formula, but do not mix your child’s formula with breast milk. Not only does it change the composition of the breast milk, but it also concentrates the nutrients in the formula, which can be very hard on your baby’s kidneys. Always follow the directions on your formula, and never mix the powder formula with anything other than distilled water.
Remember, giving both breastmilk and formula to your baby is perfectly fine. Make sure to wait to introduce formula to your baby until they are at least one month old. This helps your body establish a routine. Making the transition from breast milk to formula may take some time, but your child will eventually make the switch.
If you have any questions about supplementing, it is best to discuss it with your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to discuss your concerns more thoroughly.