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Breast or Bottle? How About Both! Moms Share Tips On Supplementing

June 5, 2018

Today we are continuing our series on formula feeding — this time I asked our group of mamas to share any tips or advice they have for a new mom who is starting to supplement their breast fed baby with formula. There are a million reasons why you may supplement your baby – and I’ve found there’s not a ton of info out there to help with the transition. The one tip I heard over and over again from these mamas was to do your research and talk to your doctor! Be sure to check out this post where moms honestly open up about the stigma of formula feeding.

*As always The Mama Notes is not a medical expert, please consult your medical team for advice on feeding your baby. 

Make sure you give your baby’s tummy time to adjust before trying new formulas. We had to switch to formula cold turkey, and thankfully she did great! I’d also suggest looking into European formulas (HiPP, Holle) because the EU has much stricter standards for formula ingredients than the US does.

For me it was more emotionally and mentally difficult to start supplementing. A friend asked me what my goal was in all of this and obviously it was to make sure my baby was fed. But I wasn’t giving myself the grace I needed to achieve that goal. I was full of self doubt, shame and hurt. My biggest tip is to be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace. Whatever the reason you are supplementing, ultimately you are a good mother trying to do the best for your baby.

Do your research, ask your doctor/lactation consultant questions, and just listen to your gut.

Slowly! The also have formula (similac) specific to supplementing. Their stomachs can be so sensitive and it may take two weeks. Talk to your pediatrician. Do your research. I started with the sensitive similac and he seems to do well on that (he’s had zero problems on the formula). We did originally try a different brand and he hated it (which made me freak he’d only take breast milk) BUT once he tried similac at the next feeding he gulped it down!

Work it into your rotation, and let your partner handle the bottles both to give yourself a break and to give them a way to help.

If you’re considering adding formula, reasearch now so that once you make the decision you’ll feel prepared. There are so many choices when it comes to formula, it’s overwhelming Researching ahead of time helps.

If you think it’s something you need or want to do, do it! If you’re nervous, do some research about brands and types so that you feel 100% informed on what’s available. Don’t be afraid to talk to your pediatrician about it either. What helped us the most was that we started with a small amount (1 oz.) to make sure there were no reactions or aversions. After two or three 1 oz. tastes, my son was comfortable and ready to have more.

Work with you doctor or care provider. Lean on your S.O for help, and surround yourself with support.

If able to, I’d say it’s best to mix bottles with part breastmilk, part formula and slowly decrease the breastmilk amount and increase formula amount, if the goal is to eventually feed formula only.

Mix in 1oz at a time every few days until your baby gets adjusted. I used formula especially for breastfeeding moms who need to supplement.

Take your time trying to find the right formula, it takes about 2 weeks for their little bellies to adjust to something new. It can be a long and grueling process, but it will totally be worth it!

I breastfed first and then offered bottle. If she saw bottle first then she wouldn’t breastfeed so I hid bottle until it was time.

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