Mixed feeding: combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding

Combining breastmilk and formula milk is perfectly doable. You may want to start combining the two, for example, when you go back to work or if you’re finding it difficult to express enough breast milk. If you can, wait till your baby is at least 8 weeks old before combining breast and bottle feeding as this may effect your milk supply. Combining breastfeeds with formula feeds is much better for your baby than stopping breastfeeds altogether.

Before you decide to cut down on breastfeeds, try to reduce the number of feeds gradually. This will prevent your breasts from feeling engorged, leaky & uncomfortable throughout the day. It may also reduce the risk of developing mastitis.

Your breasts will take 3-7 days to adjust to missing one feed. When you swap a breastfeed for a bottle of formula, your usual supply of milk at that time of day will reduce. If you are to return to working during the day, try dropping one feed a week prior to your return.

At six months the amount of milk your baby needs will gradually reduce as they start eating solids. During the day you can give your baby expressed milk, formula milk or water in a beaker, this would cut out the need for bottles altogether.

Some babies may be reluctant to take a bottle at first if they’re breastfed from birth. The different sucking action may confuse them and they may not take the bottle if they can smell your breastmilk. Try asking someone else to offer them a bottle to begin with, or try a variety of bottle teats, softened with warm, boiled water.

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