As a mum, you want to breastfeed your baby to give them the best possible start. But as much as you may want that to be the primary way that your baby gets their nutrition, it’s not always possible and bottle formula is introduced into the routine. How do you know if you need to supplement your breastfeeding with formula?
There are a number of reasons that you may have to supplement your breastfeeding with formula earlier than you intended. The important thing to focus on is knowing when it becomes necessary to supplement your breastfeeding with a bottle. The reasons can vary for different women. So let’s figure out how to go from breastfeeding to formula.
We’re going to look at a few things today that will show us how to supplement breastfeeding with formula. This will help you make a decision as why, when or how a supplemental bottle should be introduced into your baby’s feeding routine. Some of the things that we’ll be looking at;
Generally when there is a need to supplement breastfeeding with formula, it’s usually down to one of a few reasons;
Of course if you think that your little one is suffering from any of these conditions, you should consult your pediatrician to confirm before starting any new routine.
When thinking of how to supplement with formula while breastfeeding, most people may think that a bottle is the least important factor to consider. However because baby’s digestive system is still very fragile and learning. The bottle that you choose should be one that helps the system rather than hinder or make it uncomfortable for baby while it does it’s job.
Another good consideration is bottle shape and inserts. Bottles come in all shapes and sizes, there are the traditionally shaped tubular bottles and the relatively newer curved ones.
The material that your baby bottle is made from is important as well. If optioning for plastic, BPA-free if the way to go, as it doesn’t have any by-products that will leach into the formula and harm your baby. If you’re still uncomfortable with a plastic option, there are stainless steel and glass bottles as well.
You may still be reluctant to supplementing with a bottle for whatever reason. There are a few alternatives available that you might find more to your liking or just generally easier.
This is exactly what it sounds like, using an eye dropper to feed your baby small amount of formula. An eyedropper holds less formula and will go a lot slower than say a feeding syringe, so that might be something you'd like more. You need to have baby in an upright position to avoid choking, but many mothers like this method as it’s very interactive.
This is probably the most interesting method and literally allows mum to supplement formula with breast milk at the same time.
This method stimulates the mother's milk supply and is most often used when an adoptive mother would like to breastfeed or if mum isn’t producing enough milk.
This is a critical step in the process. Since breast milk comes with all the built in goodness that mother nature intends, you’ll need to read formula benefits carefully to make sure that it’s keeping up with what your body is naturally producing.
This is especially important for babies that aren’t thriving on breastmilk solely. In the case of those babies, you’ll want to consult your pediatrician to assure yourself of what particular nutrients are missing, and then choose a formula that supplements that.
The main thing to remember is to choose something in a form that is compatible with your needs and lifestyle. That means a formula in liquid, powder or concentrate form. You should also choose formulas paying attention to the types of carbohydrates and proteins they’ll be providing your baby.
When supplementing breastmilk with formula, it’s important to follow the same schedule that you had while breastfeeding. You’ll do this by simply alternating between breastfeeding and using one of the methods we’ve talked about. Doing this will lessen the risk to a disruption in baby’s nursing schedule that could further throw off getting them used to the new addition of formula.
A pediatrician should be consulted when you notice that your baby isn’t thriving on breastmilk alone. Or, whenever you realise that something may not be right. In truth, you should consult your child’s pediatrician when you make the decision to supplement so that you can be guided through the correct way to do it, as well as to have the pediatrician monitor baby’s progress.
Now that we’ve talked about all the ways, how's and when’s of supplementing your breastmilk with formula, perhaps it’s helped you to see that it doesn’t need to be a big to-do. It can still be a great bonding experience for you and your child. One of the great things about supplementing is that it allows other family members the same chance at bonding with baby.
Hopefully these tips have been helpful, and have brought you to a better understanding of the process and where you’d like to go from here. But don’t forget, always consult your pediatrician before making any big changes to your baby’s diet or routine.