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Combined feeding: Feeding both breast and formula milk

Combined feeding: Feeding both breast and formula milk
September 09
09:17 2014

Combined feeding as name suggests is a feeding method that generally comprises of offering both breast milk and formula milk to a baby. Combination feeding is also termed as mixed feeding, supplementary feeding and complementary feeding. Including formula along with breast milk may have number of benefits. But, when it comes to adapting to combined feeding, lots of women find it extremely confusing to build a perfect schedule and create a balance between the two.

Let’s discuss about mixed feeding in a little more details to understand its plus and minus points and how you can include it in your and your baby’s schedule in a great way.

When you can opt for combined feeding:
  • It seems to work in a great way for working women
  • In case of health conditions, illness and if you or your baby requires surgery
  • Breast or nipple issues
  • Personal reasons
  • Requirement of flexibility
How combined feeding works:

There are number of ways mother who feed breast milk to their babies can use a combined feeding method. Mothers can choose from any of these:

  • Substitute one or more breastfeeds with expressed breast milk fed with a bottle or a cup (according to age)
  • Substitute one or more breastfeeds with a grouping of expressed breast milk and formula milk
  • Substitute one or more breastfeeds with formula milk
How and when to introduce formula milk:

If you decide to start giving your baby formula milk, then it is suggested to do it slowly to give yourself and your body time to get used to lessen the amount of milk it produces. Generally, it assists to give the initial few bottles when your baby is relaxed and happy and not when he or she is hungry.

You can also choose someone else to give the first few bottle feeds, so that your baby can’t see you or smell your breast milk. Your baby may take some time to get used to the bottle, so continue trying and don’t compel the baby.

If you are planning to join the job again, then starting few weeks before will help both you and your baby get used to it. You can breastfeed when you are at home and keep formula milk when you are at work.

Will mixed feeding affect your breast milk supply:

Some mothers only breastfeed their babies a few times a day (just one time) and still are able to keep the supply that is required. Established milk supply depends on demand and supply. Whatever, your baby takes from your breasts is the amount your breasts produce. As a basic rule, if your baby asks less (or if your pump less) then your body will produce more. Your body should adapt to the amount that your baby requires and stay at that steady level for a prolonged period of time.

This technique seems to work for mothers and babies who have a nice breastfeeding schedule. For mothers and babies who are trying to get acquainted with breastfeeding, waiting until things get in routine is recommended before they actually try combination feeding. If you mixed feed and if maintaining the adequate supply for the feeds is required, then for time being, including additional breastfeeding or pumping sessions can assist to increase your supply.

Some women also feel discomfort in their breasts when they first miss a breastfeed, therefore, taking things slowly can prove to be a good idea, start formula milk eventually.

Taking good care of your health is also advised, as it can also affect the supply of your milk. Try to eat nutritious meals, regularly and drink plenty of water.

How to deal with nipple confusion:

A lot of babies like this swap between breast and bottle, but some babies like the more rapid flow of a bottle as compared to slower flow from the breasts. Therefore, if you aim to continue giving breast milk and don’t want you baby to reject it then trying to match the flow of the two may assist in fighting breast milk rejection.

For some women the flow of milk from the breasts start very slowly as baby gets grips of the nipple. It can take from a few seconds to a few minutes for let down to happen in which the rate of milk begins flowing at a faster rate. The flow is more instant with a bottle and baby has to put lesser efforts to continue the same flow. Therefore, the key is to decrease the flow of the bottle and increase the flow of your breast milk.

In order to increase the flow of breast milk, you can try breast compressions during feeding, warm compress, or breast massage before feeding. To decrease the flow of bottles, you can try to use a newborn slow flow teat.

Discussing feeding options with your doctor can also help, so consult your doctor before you actually start combined feeding.

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