As a new mom, you’ll know that both breastfeeding and formula feeding are popular and if you provide your baby with both breastmilk and formula through the day this is called Combination Feeding. This article helps you with information on feeding, techniques, and schedules and helps answer your questions.
Schedules for Formula Feeding and Breastfeeding a New Baby
It’s important to establish and stick to a feeding plan that is specific to your baby’s requirements. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines advise mothers should exclusively breastfeed their new born baby for the first six months of life and to do so for the duration of the first year and beyond.
Gradually Introduce Formula
You should gradually introduce formula into any feeding schedule – partly so your baby can become used to the change but from your side it’s also important since a slow phased move from breastfeeding will help reduce painful side-effects such as engorgement or blocked ducts due to milk build-up in your breasts as the demand on them reduces (though you can offset this with regular pumping).
Formula Feeding Schedules for Your Baby
Babies should be fed on demand throughout the first several weeks of life, which means they should eat anytime they exhibit signs of hunger. However, when your child gets older, setting up a more organised schedule may be beneficial. A newborn’s usual breastfeeding regime might resemble this: 8–12 feedings each day, with a feeding interval of 2–3 hours.
The AAP also suggests that babies be fed on demand while using formula. But many parents discover that having a more organised routine works best. A newborn’s usual formula feeding plan can be as follows: 4-6 feedings each day, with intervals of roughly 3–4 hours in between.
However much we’d like to have a standard equation for feeding, it’s just not going to happen to plan! Every baby’s needs are very different and will probably need you to make adjustments to a create your own feeding plan. Remember that it’s very important to consult your healthcare practitioner if your infant is struggling to eat or is not reaching their growth milestones.
To start, it’s usual to establish a timetable for naps and bedtime in addition to one for feedings. As a result, your baby will be able to establish regular feeding routines and hopefully start to adopt healthy sleeping habits. Creating a schedule can also help you stay organised in the whirlwind of activity that is looking after a new baby, whilst ensuring that your child is receiving the proper nourishment.
If you are considering pumping and breastfeeding during the early months, then our article explains how to plan a schedule that works for your baby and you.
Regardless of the feeding technique you use, stick to the AAP recommendations and to see your healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.
The Benefits of Combination Feeding
The process of giving a newborn both breast milk and formula is known as combination feeding. There are many advantages in using this feeding technique and here are a few reasons if you decide to adopt this course of action that offers versatility in feeding schedules and techniques, to name one benefit. On days when you’re unable to pump or breastfeed, for instance, you might be able to give your infant formula. This can assist you in keeping your baby’s feeding routine constant.
1. It Can Help with Nursing Issues:
Some mothers may experience difficulties with breastfeeding due to problems with latching on or low milk supply. In order to augment a low milk supply while the mother and baby strive to overcome any breastfeeding difficulties, combination feeding might be used.
2. It Can Make Introducing Solid Foods Easier:
Combination feeding can make the process of introducing solid foods to your infant simpler. Before introducing solid foods, you can gradually introduce formula to your baby’s diet to give them time to get used to the flavour and texture.
Feeding your infant can be a terrific way to strengthen your relationship with them. You can still accomplish this even if you are unable to breastfeed by using combination feeding.
3. It Can Help You and Your Partner Share Feeding Responsibilities:
Combination feeding can be an excellent approach for you and your partner to split the feeding duties. If both you and your partner are working, this may lessen the load of feeding.
Combination feeding can be a terrific alternative for individuals who want flexibility and to spend more time with their kid, even though it may not be the best choice for every family. To find out if combination feeding is a good option for you and your baby, ask your doctor or a lactation consultant before making a choice.
Common Questions Regarding Combining Formula and Breastfeeding
Many parents prefer to combine breastfeeding with formula feeding since it allows them to get the most out of both. However, it also begs many questions. Here, we address some of the most often asked queries regarding the use of formula in addition to nursing.
Is combining nursing and formula feeding safe?
The combination of nursing and formula feeding is safe. For the first six months, the AAP and the World Health Organization advises exclusively breastfeeding; however, if formula is later introduced, it is normally safe to do so.
How frequently ought I to give my baby formula?
There is no right or wrong response to this query because it is based on the preferences of the parents and the particular infant. Infant formula may be given daily by some parents, sporadically, or only when necessary by others.
Can combining nursing and formula feeding cause nipple confusion?
Some parents worry about nipple confusion, but studies show that the majority of infants can transfer between breast and bottle without any problems. Before giving a bottle, you should check to make sure your baby is firmly latching onto the breast.
How can I determine whether my infant is consuming enough breastmilk or formula?
Your baby should be gaining weight and developing normally, which is a sign that they are consuming an adequate amount of formula and breastmilk. To make sure they have enough wet and soiled diapers, you can also monitor their diaper output.
If I’m going back to work, can I breastfeed and use formula at the same time?
Yes, if you’re going back to work, combining nursing with formula feeding might be a terrific alternative. When you are travelling, you can pump, save your breastmilk, and supplement with formula as necessary.
If I’m having trouble producing enough breastmilk, is it okay to combine nursing with formula feeding?
If you are having trouble producing enough breastmilk, you can absolutely mix formula feeding with nursing. For advice on boosting your breastfeeding supply, you might choose to consult a lactation consultant or your doctor.
Combining breastfeeding with formula feeding can help you and your baby get the most out of both experiences.
How many babies use infant formula?
In the United States, 32% of infants are fed only formula, while the remaining 68% are given both breast milk and formula. Take a look at our article comparing two of the big baby formula brands, Enfamil versus Similac.
Does Breastfeeding Lessen the Benefits of Formula Supplementation?
No, adding formula to a nursing regimen does not necessarily negate its advantages. In actuality, many mothers decide to use formula as a supplement for practicality or for other reasons, and this does not always lessen the advantages of nursing. The World Health Organization advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first two years of a child’s life, but women should aim for at least the first six months to get the most out of breastfeeding.
Can I give my baby formula at night and breastfeed during the day?
Is it possible to nurse during the day and give formula at night? The short answer is yes, you can normally do both.
Your own and your baby’s feeding needs can often be balanced by combining breastfeeding and formula; you might find it easier to use formula during the day and breastfeed at night, or the other way around, depending on your circumstances.
Monitor Nutrients and Baby’s Weight Increase
It’s crucial to make sure your baby is receiving enough nutrients whether you’re breastfeeding during the day or giving formula at night. It is advised that your baby receive at least 8 ounces of breast milk each day. You should give your baby a variety of foods and drinks throughout the day, including breast milk, to make sure they are receiving enough nutrients.
Make sure you watch your baby’s weight increase and that they are continuing to gain weight in addition to making sure they are getting adequate nutrition. Make sure you check with your doctor if your baby isn’t gaining weight to make sure they’re getting enough calories.
Even if you breastfeed during the day and give your baby formula at night, your baby still depends on you for nutrients. You should still be ready to nurse whenever necessary and provide your infant skin-to-skin contact. This will make sure that your child receives the nutrition they require as well as the comfort and connection that can only come through nursing.
Overall, breastfeeding during the day and formula feeding at night are both possible. However, it’s vital to watch your baby’s weight gain as one way of making sure they’re getting enough nutrients.
How are Breast Milk and Formula Combined?
If you’re going to combine, you must stick to the formula label’s directions when mixing breast milk and formula. Typically, you can add the expressed breast milk after mixing the formula with a tiny amount of pre-boiled, cooled water. When making formula, you must use clean containers, refrigerate any finished product, and use it within 24 hours.
There are gadgets to help you create the perfect formula mix, such as the Baby Brezza, that will help you measure and produce a consistent formula mix every time.
Partial Weaning for Working Moms
Are you a working mom who juggling breastfeeding and a job? You might consider partial weaning which could let you continue breastfeeding your baby and have a little more freedom to work.
When you progressively cut back on nursing sessions with your baby, this is said to be partial weaning. To achieve this, solids or formula can be introduced at specific periods of the day, such as when you are at work or away from home. Additionally, mothers might shorten nursing periods by substituting bottles or cups of expressed milk for some of them.
If you’re going back to work, partial weaning could be a good option for you as you can continue breastfeeding your baby, hold down a job, and even allowing you to gently introduce a bottle or cup to your baby.
Written for working moms, take a look at The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class by Milkology that in easy-to-follow lessons covers a range of topics including introducing your baby to the bottle
Working moms have a lot of options, but partial weaning might be challenging to begin. Remember that the procedure might not be simple and that it might take some time for the baby to adjust to the new routine. Partial weaning differs from complete weaning. When you can, keep breastfeeding your baby and give them breastmilk when you’re away from home.
As your baby adjusts to partial weaning, so must you! Don’t forget to care for yourself and ensure you try and get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet as two obvious examples.
Will Partial Weaning Affect Milk Supply?
The lactation process going on in your breasts depends on a couple of factors – primarily, if there’s demand then the breasts generate a supply! This normally means that you reduce your feeding schedule, then you will continue to produce milk but only enough to meet the new reduced demand. If you have a schedule that includes feeding and introduces pumping then potentially the amount of milk produced will be back to the levels from regularly breastfeeding – though this does depend on all sorts of factors including how many months postpartum you are.
Take a look at our guide to ways of increasing milk supply and also to Milkology’s Master Your Milk Supply course.
Best Baby Bottles for Combination Feeding
If you’ve started looking at bottles for feeding your baby you’ll know just what an incredible range is available. For combination feeding, the temptation might be to choose a bottle that looks like a breast – it’s an option but more important is to find a bottle that has a teet that’s as similar to a natural nipple as possible to help latching on.
A good example is the Evenflo Feeding Bottle that has a natural nipple to help your baby latch on.
Summing Up Combination Feeding
Combination feeding can be a really useful way of managing your breastfeeding and formula feeding schedules. The AAP recommends that new born babies are breastfed for the first six months; you might then want to start looking at combining formula feeds into your feeding schedule – perhaps to help if you are returning to work.
There are a range of different options you could try, including partial weaning, and I’ve described how these work and what you need to look out for – and you may find my other articles useful if you’re looking for more information on storing formula milk, storing and warming breast milk, and foods that can help with milk production, traveling whilst feeding, or how to manage milk supply.
As always, I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts – just let me know!