There is a lot of debate about how to best feed your newborn baby. The question I’m hoping to answer for you today is “Can you breastfeed and bottle feed your baby?”.
Yes, you can! You can be told over and over again about the benefits of breastfeeding over bottle-feeding but ultimately, as a parent, it’s YOUR choice.
Can you breastfeed and formula feed a baby at the same time?
Yes, you can for baby breastfeed and formula feeds at the same time but lactation consultants say it’s better not to mix breast milk with formula, because you may end up wasting that hard-earned breast milk if your baby doesn’t finish the bottle.
Instead, feed your baby the pumped breast milk first, and if he still seems hungry, offer a new bottle with formula. However, if your baby refuses formula alone at first, you can try mixing it with some pumped breast milk to help him get used to the taste.
Offer the breast milk first if you give your child both breast milk and formula in the same feeding.
By giving the breast milk first, you will be sure your child gets all your milk. Then, if your baby wants or needs more, you can finish the feeding with formula. If there’s any leftover, it’s the formula that you will throw away, not your precious breast milk.
When did you introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby
It’s perfectly possible to combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding using formula milk or expressed breastmilk. If you can wait until your baby’s at least 6 weeks old. Combining breast and bottle sooner than this may affect your milk supply.
You may want to combine breast and formula milk if, for example, you find it hard to express enough breastmilk. Combining breastfeeds with formula feeds is much better for your baby than stopping breastfeeds altogether.
It’s also an option that could suit you if you go back to work.
Before you return to work, or when you want to cut down on breastfeeds, try to reduce the number of feeds gradually. This will stop your breasts from becoming uncomfortably engorged and leaky. It will also reduce your risk of developing mastitis.
It will take around three days to seven days for your breasts to adjust to missing one feed. Try dropping one feed a week, perhaps starting with a daytime 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’ve dropped the daytime feeds when you go back to work, you’ll still have a good supply in the morning and evening. A breastfeed when you return from work is a lovely way for you and your baby to be reunited after your time apart.
At around six months, the amount of milk your baby needs will gradually reduce as he starts solids. Your baby may then only be taking breastfeeds at either end of the day. You could give him expressed breastmilk, formula milk, or water in a beaker during the daytime. This would cut out the need for bottles altogether.
If you have breastfed your baby so far, he may be reluctant to take a bottle at first. The different sucking actions needed may confuse him and he may not take it from you if he can smell breastmilk.
To begin with, ask someone else to offer a bottle. Try a variety of bottle teats, softened with warm, boiled water.
Another tip is to hold your baby in a different position from your usual breastfeeding one. Prop up your baby against your front, facing away from you. It may help your baby get used to the new way of feeding.
What are the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs bottle feeding?
One of the major decisions that new mothers have to face is whether to breastfeed or bottle-feed their babies. Breastfeeding is the best and natural way of providing nutrition to infants, but some mothers may find that bottle-feeding the baby is their best option.
Breastfeeding Pros and Cons:
Most medical professionals recommend breastfeeding babies, especially during the first year. Breast milk provides the best nutrition during the first six months. It contains antibodies supplied by the mother to help her baby fight infections. Breast milk also contains the right amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and hormones. A baby can benefit from being breastfed, no matter how short the time.
Apart from the obvious superiority of breast milk over formula in terms of nutrition, breastfeeding has other advantages over bottle feeding. Breast milk is easier to digest and protects against allergies and asthma. It contains certain fatty acids that promote the baby’s brain development. Breast milk also decreases a baby’s risk of becoming obese later in life. In addition, breastfeeding helps new mothers shed baby fat.
It not cons, problems in breastfeeding will only happen if things are not going well. For example, there may be an inadequate supply of breast milk, or the baby may have poor suck reflex. However, it is very rare for a mother not to produce enough milk as long as she is breastfeeding correctly and frequently enough. The mother’s health or medical condition may have a bearing on how to feed the baby. Some medicines are contraindicated if the mother is breastfeeding. If this is the case, the mother will want to discuss the matter with her doctor.
Bottle-Feeding Pros and Cons:
While breast milk is clearly better than infant formula, there is no need for you to feel guilty if you decide to bottle feed your baby. The infant formula is getting better at matching the ingredients of human milk. And although breastfed babies are better at fighting off infections, babies who are bottle-fed rarely get a serious infection as long as they are properly cared for. If the baby has certain medical conditions that make it important to determine how much exactly the baby is receiving at each feeding, bottle feeding will allow exact measurements.
In addition, the whole family can become involved in the baby’s care, including feedings. This will give the mother more time to rest. Besides, formula-fed babies feed less often than breastfed babies because infant formula takes longer to digest.
The primary disadvantages of bottle feeding are the high cost of infant formula and the lack of maternal antibodies that are present in breast milk. Most of all, no infant formula can duplicate the composition of breast milk.
To make sure that you prepare the formula correctly for your baby, follow these simple instructions:
- Clean your hands by washing under running water with water and soap.
- Wash the feeding bottle properly with baby-safe detergent and warm water.
- When you purchase a feeding bottle, read the instructions well. Check if they need to be boiled first before you can use them.
- If you have powder formula, use cold or distilled water. Check how much quantity of water you need to put.
- Never use a microwave in warming the bottle as it may cause hot spots.
- Do not give a hot feeding bottle. Always check the temperature before feeding the baby.
- Do not keep a half-finished feeding bottle because may be present inside it. Always give your baby freshly prepared milk.
- Opened cans of liquid formula can be refrigerated for 48 hours. The prepared powdered formula can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
In the final analysis, there is no right or wrong when you choose which best suits you and your baby.
Can You Breastfeed and Bottle Feed Your Baby?
When it comes to feeding your baby, there are a lot of options and it can get pretty confusing. More and more research is confirming what women have known since the beginning of time, the breast is best for babies. But does that mean that breastfeeding has to be all or nothing? What about mums who work? Or those who have trouble producing enough milk? There are two important sayings in the world of breastfeeding: every drop counts, and just feed the baby.
When using a bottle with a breastfed baby, whether the bottle will hold breast milk or formula, you’ll want to choose a bottle that mimics breastfeeding. There are several bottles on the market that come with slow-flow nipples and are shaped more like a breast.
These types of bottles will make it easier for the baby to go back and forth between bottle and breast. Sometimes, though, babies don’t take to the first bottle you try, so it can be good to try several different kinds of bottles to see which baby prefers.
Bottle-Feeding Breast Milk While Mum is Away
Of course, the easiest situation is for a mother to be able to nurse for every feeding, but that is not always possible. For the times when a mum has to be away – be it for work, appointments, or a night out, the most important thing is to feed the baby. In these cases, the second-best option is for the mum to pump some breast milk and use a bottle.
If you are working or going to be away from your baby on a regular basis, it’s going to require a bit of research, some extra planning, and a lot of dedication to providing enough breastmilk for bottle feeding, but most mums find that it is worth the extra effort if they want to continue exclusively breastfeeding.
One important tip to keep up enough supply to satisfy baby is for you to make sure you are pumping as often as baby eats. You will also want to make sure that the caregiver doing the bottle feeding is not overfeeding the baby, a good way to do this is to practice “paced feeding,” which means that the baby is fed slowly with some breaks and frequent checks for satiety in a way closely resembling breastfeeding.
As you can tell, some research on the best ways to keep up supply and the best ways to feed baby will go a long way to help maintain a breastfeeding relationship in a working-mum situation.
For the occasional bottle feed, for appointments or nights out, it will be easier to collect enough milk, but you will still want to be mindful of not going too long between feedings or pumping sessions to maintain your supply. In order to collect milk to feed the baby while you’re away, you could try pumping after the first nursing session in the morning as that is when milk supply is generally highest.
Bottle-Feeding to Supplement Breast Feeding
While breastmilk is best for babies, there is absolutely no shame in using formula. Some women have trouble producing enough breastmilk, and some women just prefer to use some or all formula to feed their babies.
In cases where the mum doesn’t produce enough milk, first of all, it’s important to work with a qualified lactation consultant to see if there is anything that can be done to help. Secondly, we come back to those two important points about breastfeeding – every drop counts and just feed the baby.
More important than feeding exclusively breast milk is keeping the baby fed and this is where the formula is a wonderful invention, and every drop of breast milk a mum can provide for her baby will provide the benefits we associate with breastfeeding.
There you have it, the next time an expectant mother asks “can you breastfeed and bottle feed a baby?” you can proudly tell them.