Confused about how to supplement breastfeeding with baby formula? In this guide, we will tell you how to carry it out successfully.
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You are probably aware that most doctors recommend breastfeeding exclusively for your baby’s first six months. However, this is not always possible for every family. Feeding is a time for bonding with your child but it can take up to an hour sometimes and latching can be painful for some women.
Then there is the seemingly inexhaustible amount of breastmilk that a growing baby needs. This is why many choose to use baby formula too.
The decision to supplement can be stressful for new moms – it’s normal to feel that way. We advise you to cherish every drop of breastmilk your kid receives and to remember that both breastfeeding and formula will provide your baby with all of the nutrients they require.
But the process is difficult because parents don’t know when they should supplement their breastmilk with formula. This guide will help you to make the transition easier.
Baby Formula Supplement:
Mothers may decide to breastfeed exclusively indefinitely or for a set amount of time. However, some may decide to give formula to the baby during its first year. This is known as formula supplementation.
Supplementing with formula while you are breastfeeding is safe and fine, regardless of whether it is medically necessary, your baby has trouble sucking, you’re returning to work, or you don’t have the time or energy to pump enough milk.
The Reasons to Supplement
The reasons that a mom might supplement with formula are diverse. They include, but not be limited to the following.
● The baby has medical issues
A baby who is prematurely born or has a medical condition may require more than breastmilk to gain weight.
● The baby needs more milk
Some moms have a hard time keeping up with the demand for breastmilk. If your doctor believes you don’t produce enough milk, they may suggest supplementing with donor milk or powdered formula.
● You and your partner want to help with feeding
You and your partner enjoy time together so maybe he wants to help you out by feeding the baby with pumped breast milk or baby formula.
● You are returning to work
It might be too challenging to pump enough milk at work. Returning to work may change your feeding schedule and reduce your breast milk supply. In these cases, the formula milk may be necessary to supplement your child’s nutrition.
● You have twins or triplets:
It could be a challenge to breastfeed twins or triplets. You need not only lots of breastmilk but also the time and effort to feed two or three babies. Supplementing with formula can help you better manage multiple hungry babies.
How adding formula can impact your baby
If you have just started breastfeeding, gradually adding supplements to your feeding sessions can make a big difference. Consider the following tips and notes.
- Add more frequent breaks between feeds as it is much easier for babies to consume breast milk. This allows them to feel fuller for longer periods of time.
- Remember that it can take babies a while to switch from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding.
- Some infants and babies take to formula so much they are unable to breastfeed. Formula is more enjoyable and easier than breastfeeding for many young babies.
- If your baby is given formula, you may notice changes in their stool color, consistency, or pattern. Bowel movements might occur less often, be more intense in odor, and appear darker and firmer.
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Selecting a Baby Formula
There are many types of baby formulas on the market today. There are so many options that it can be hard to find the right formula. These are the four main qualities that a formula should fulfill:
● Proper nutrition balance
Specific regulations have been set by the FDA for the proper amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates in formulas. To support healthy growth, your baby’s diet should include the right combination of nutritional elements.
A large portion of baby formulas is made with synthetic or genetically altered ingredients. If you are looking for organic baby formula, make sure it has a certified label. This will ensure that your child’s nutrition source is safe and reliable.
● Whole food components
It is more likely that a sufficient amount of nutrition comes from whole food ingredients rather than individual components. Your baby formula should only contain whole food ingredients and no synthetic ingredients.
Vitamins D & A are the necessary vitamins in the infant stages of development.
Note: Be aware of vegetable oils as these can have adverse effects on your baby’s health.
How to Effectively Supplement with Baby Formula:
After you have made the decision to supplement with formula, it is important to ensure you do so in the most efficient way. Also, make sure to create a schedule that suits you best.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you best supplement with formula.
- Use a formula that is suitable for breastfeeding babies.
- You should only use a bottle that is designed for breastfeeding infants. This is important because it will avoid nipple confusion for your baby.
- Try other methods to make it easier and more enjoyable for your baby. It is best to have the bottles given by someone else like your partner.
- Warm it up to the same temperature as breastmilk. Make sure it’s not too hot by testing it on your arm first.
- To smoothly transition into giving formula, it is a good idea to start with one formula feeding a day for a few days before increasing to your desired amount. Although it may not always work out, planning ahead can make things go much smoother.
- Decide whether you will have full formula feedings or not. Some parents find it’s easier to alternate between just formula and then just breast milk, but it may work better for you to give both during one feed. If you do not want to do it that way, we recommend starting with breastmilk and then adding formula to the baby’s rest of the feed.
- It is possible for your baby to have a change in their stools after just one to two bottles of formula per day. While your baby adapts to the new nutrition, it may have some difficulties with digestion. This is normal and should not be alarming. Often the issues will resolve within a few weeks as your baby adjusts to the new food. If your baby continues to have problems, we recommend you see your doctor.
How to Give Your Baby a Bottle
There are a few things you need to remember when preparing and giving the formula bottle to your baby. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to make it easy for them.
Here are some helpful tips before you start:
- To kill bacteria, follow the formula preparation instructions. Boil water, let it cool down for 30 minutes, and then add the mixture.
- Always use a sterilized container with a clean nipple; this is particularly important for infants and mothers who are breastfeeding.
- When introducing a baby to a bottle, ensure that your baby is upright so they can swallow suck, and swallow easily. You should support their head as they do so too.
- You can very carefully get your baby (if old enough) to take a bottle. Simply gently stroke their lips with the nipple. This will encourage them to open their mouths.
- Be sure to fill the bottle up so your baby doesn’t get any air. When you are feeding your baby, be sure to hold the bottle upright.
- To make sure the nipple doesn’t go flat, gently press your finger into the baby’s mouth.
- You may find that your baby needs to take several breaks while you feed him or her.
- If your baby appears to be done with the bottle, you should get rid of it immediately.
- After giving your baby a good feed, burp them by placing them on your shoulder and gently rubbing their back.
- You don’t have to worry if your baby doesn’t finish the whole bottle or if they spit up after feeding.
Important Tips about Baby Formula
Formula is good for the baby, but also be cautious and call your doctor when you see any of the below signs:
- If your baby is experiencing persistent constipation and has not pooped for more than three to four days.
- If your baby’s behavior is changing noticeably, or if the baby is constantly upset and uncomfortable.
- If you find blood in your baby’s stools, or it looks like grape jelly.
- Your baby experiences persistent, new-onset vomiting.
- You can see if your baby is vomiting blood or something that looks like coffee grounds.
- Your baby’s stools are either white or gray.
- The baby’s abdomen is hardened and distended.
The Takeaway about baby formula
Since 1867, formula has provided adequate nutrition for babies all over the globe. Since then, formula has advanced a lot and companies are constantly improving the quality of their formulas in order to be as close as possible to breast milk.
A happy, healthy baby is the ultimate goal for every parent. While it’s great to breastfeed exclusively, it isn’t always possible. You don’t need to breastfeed all the time and every mother is different. A combination of formula and breastfeeding may be best for them. Remember the tips and considerations and you’ll be sure to have a healthy baby.