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Supplementing While Breastfeeding

Should I Supplement While I'm Breastfeeding?

Supplementing while breastfeeding is common and there aren’t any dangers that come from it. Supplementing is introducing baby formula while your baby is still breastfeeding. There are many families that choose to combine breastfeeding and baby formula to keep their little ones safe and healthy. Whatever your reason for supplementing, you should ensure that you are doing it the right way.

Why Supplementing May Be an Option

Most experts including the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months. After this stage, solid foods should be introduced and breastfeeding should continue for one year and beyond where possible. With such information, making a decision to start supplementing breast milk with formula can be a challenge. Whereas there are moms who make a choice to start giving their babies formula, there are those who are forced by circumstances.

Here are some of the reasons for supplementing while breastfeeding:

Medical issues

There are certain medical conditions that can affect the baby or the mom and force supplementing to happen. For babies, most illnesses are caused by a lack of a specific nutrient. As such, you may have to supplement to get insufficient nutrients.

Low Breast Milk

If you are experiencing a low supply of breast milk, supplementing while breastfeeding may be the perfect solution. Your pediatrician will let you know when the baby is not getting enough milk.

Going Back to Work or School

When the time comes to resume work or studies, you may not have enough time to exclusively breastfeed your little one. Pumping breast milk is a great solution but it may not be enough, so you may will have to supplement with baby formula.

Multiple Babies

If you have more than one baby, breastfeeding exclusively is a pipe dream. This is not only draining but also depriving the babies. It is logical for parents with twins to supplement while breastfeeding.  

There are so many other reasons for supplementing while breastfeeding and the most important thing is to ensure that your baby is adequately fed.

How to Introduce Baby Formula

Other than medical reasons, medical experts advocate for at least one month of breastfeeding before the introduction of baby formula. This allows you to build up a healthy milk supply in your breasts to make supplementing while breastfeeding possible. After the initial month, you can start introducing formula in between the breastfeeding cycles.

Never combine breast milk and formula in the same bottle as this may cause serious health issues. Make a point of having separate bottles for the formula and breast milk. The formula should be prepared using clean water and following the manufacturer’s or doctor’s instructions.

Final Word

Your objective for supplementing while breastfeeding should be to make sure that your baby is healthy and satisfied. In the perfect world, the baby should be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of their lives. However, this is unlikely and as such, you can combine breastfeeding and baby formula.