Breastfeeding can be tough, right? This particular method may be one of the more natural ways to feed your newborn, but no one said it was easy or necessarily “the right path” for everyone.

In fact, there are some situations where mothers prefer breastfeeding their newborn, and in others, there might be a desire to mix the use of breastmilk and formula, or even throw out the idea of breastfeeding altogether.

No matter what a new mother decides to do, we’re with you every step of the way! Let’s journey through this amazing motherhood mission together and provide you with some options for the best formula for breastfed babies.  

By following these few key tips and tricks to supplement breastmilk with formula, every mother will feel confident and ready to tackle all the other ventures of motherhood. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

Why Moms May Need to Supplement Their Breastmilk

Is formula feeding the better option? Wow, now that’s a loaded question!

There are many scenarios where women may make this decision out of personal preference, and there are others where the condition of the newborn may dictate the decision. Here are a few of the reasons a mother may opt to turn down the “fantastic road of formula” instead:  

·         Low blood sugar levels

·         Babies may struggle to latch onto the breast

·         Weight loss

·         Dehydration

·         Premature babies need extra aid

·         The baby is still passing meconium

·         The mother may struggle to supply milk

·         There are multiple babies to feed (example – twins)

If you were hoping to provide your baby with more breastmilk for development but simply can’t, don’t fret! There are numerous formulas that provide the same key nutrients for your baby, if not more. Your baby will benefit from the extra aid and nourishment, and they will surely show their appreciation with healthy development, and some smiles and giggles too!

How to Supplement with Formula

If babies came with a set manual, parenting would certainly run a little smoother! Alas, while we wish this was the reality, it’s just not the way the cookie crumbles.

So, let us be your living manual and guide. The following will help get your baby equipped with the new feeding lifestyle, and your worries will begin to melt away!

Ease them into it: No one likes change! Just like we know when two different glasses of wine taste different (the good and oh so bad), your baby will also be able to easily detect when their formulas are not the same.

Try starting off the day with a new formula or when your baby is in a good mood. Cranky babies are more likely to detest something new when they aren’t in the mood for it. I mean, don’t we all?   

Don’t add breastmilk to the bottle: There’s a better way.

While it is important to give both when weaning a baby off breastmilk, this doesn’t mean you have to drop the whole mixture into one bottle. A lot of the time, a part of the breastmilk or formula may escape to the bottom of the bottle and not be finished. Separate the two to mixtures to ensure both are consumed.

Give formula towards the end of the feeding: For the comfort of the mother and baby, a subtle new routine may just be the best one. 

If mothers are only supplementing for a short period of time, do not let all the breastmilk supply disappear. Keep the body of a mother’s routine in check by continuing to pump for the baby. Then, finish off the remainder of the feeding with formula.

Help your baby get used to the bottle:  If a baby is not normally used to drinking from the bottle, they may become perplexed and frustrated by the whole ordeal. Don’t panic! Here’s a few ways to get them used to this new feeding tool:

·         Adjust feeding times to a little later, so the baby will be hungrier and more willing to feed.

·         Allow for your partner or caretaker to try. What if he/she has the magic touch?

·         Try feeding your newborn when he/she is in a good mood.

·         Add some familiarity by sprinkling breastmilk over the bottle.

·         Change the temperature of the formula. You’d be surprised how much of a difference this makes!

Best Formulas to Supplement Breastfeeding

Before we give you our #1 picks for best formulas for breastfed babies, let us first show you the different types of formulas that are available. Oh, the choices:

·         Milk-based infant formula– An animal-based formula providing lactose as the major source of protein and energy.

·         Soy protein-based formula– A different source of protein for families with babies who run the risk of lactose intolerance.   

·         Hypoallergenic formula– This formula is best utilized for babies who undergo significant digestive problems or are severely allergic to dairy and soy ingredients.  

·         Generic formula­– Produced under larger manufacturers and brand labels – this type has no set specialization, but it follows heavy federal guidelines to ensure safety.

Supplementation Benefits   

Like any routine, there are pros and cons. So, when it comes to moms who are choosing to supplement breastmilk with baby formula, we truly understand the method to their madness. All routines in the world of motherhood are tailored specifically to your baby’s needs, and sometimes supplementation is part of it. So, let’s take a look at the following benefits you and your baby may enjoy should you choose to proceed on this baby formula trail.

There’s no need to pump while working: Moms can have a career too! While it’s completely fine and allowable to pump in a work environment, we also understand it can throw a wrench in the day’s schedule when it’s a bit of a busy one. As a mother’s body adjusts to lessening the need to pump, she can slowly wean herself off her new routine and transition back to her old one at work.   

Supplementing with formula is more manageable: It’s normal to feel overwhelmed during this new and exciting time of bringing a new life into the world. To better manage a new schedule and all the responsibility it takes to love and care for a newborn, take the stress off by supplementing a few of the feedings with formula. You more than deserve a little break!

Moms have more flexibility: Since there’s more time freed up thanks to the supplementation of formula, a new mom can invest her time in other areas of her life. This could entail more time caring for the baby in other ways or planning for more activities throughout the week. If the mom happens to have a low supply of breastmilk, then the use of formula may give her the flexibility to pump and preserve breastmilk for future use.     

There will be more time for sleep: Hallelujah! If you thought you were sleep deprived before, just wait! Sleep will soon be a highly coveted luxury, so if a mom can skip breastfeeding to catch a little extra rest, then we highly support this routine. Think about it! One bottle of formula may just equal one or two hours of extra rest. It’s a beautiful trade off!

Your partner will be able to help: Ever heard “delegation is key!” Well, this rings so true with an infant. New moms love those who want to help. If a partner or caretaker is offering to provide some additional support, giving them access to a formula to feed your newborn might be the easiest area they can help with. Pumped breast milk needs to be stored and heated under specific temperatures, so some of the best formulas for breastfed babies can help eliminate any additional complications.   

We understand being a new mom is a whole new adventure. Every day will bring little surprises and loving memories to cherish. Supplementing breastmilk with formula is just one of many little little road bumps you will master and overcome. We’re all in this together!

Bridget Reed, contributing writer for Milk Drunk with the expert advice of Dr. Jacqueline Winkelmann, board-certified pediatrician awarded Top Pediatrician by the International Association of Pediatricians: Leading Physicians of the World in 2018.

Bridget Reed is an experienced writer, editor, and SEO content manager. She graduated with her bachelor’s in business management and organizational leadership and is a proud mom of three.

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