Experts recommend exclusively breastfeeding neonates for at least the first six months and then continuing with a blend of breast milk and solid food. However, many moms cannot breastfeed their kids for the first six months for various reasons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 24.9% of infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
But if not breastfeeding, how will you ensure your baby gets all the nutrients he or she wants? Well, one way is to do that with formula food. This is called combination feeding, where the infant is fed breastmilk and formula food.
If you’re a new mom, you probably know how hard it is to balance breast milk and formula. It can be overwhelming. But don’t worry. This guide has got some answers for you.
What Is Combination Feeding?
Combination feeding is a way to feed your baby breast milk and formula together. It’s not the same as breastfeeding, but it can reduce the formula you need to buy, which is great if you’re worried about the cost or environmental impact of using bottles.
Combination feeding is also helpful for avoiding nipple confusion. If you want to go back and forth between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding as needed or have been doing so already but are having trouble getting back into a routine, this method will make it easier for everyone involved.
Combination feeding is a common way to give all the essential nutrients to your baby. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, 31% of UK and Ireland women practiced combination feeding by birth in 2020.
Who Should Do It?
If you’re a mother who wants to breastfeed and formula feed, combination feeding is for you. If you want to supplement your baby’s diet with breast milk but don’t want to stop giving them formula completely, combination feeding may be the solution for your family.
However, there are some situations where it would be better not to combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Suppose your baby has been diagnosed with cow’s milk allergy (CMA) before they turn one year old. In that case, they should not be fed any cow’s milk product until after their first birthday because this can worsen symptoms and lengthen recovery time.
CMA is a common allergy facing young children. According to a study published on the NCBI website, CMA can also increase the chances of other problems, including skin and respiratory conditions. Hence, around 12% of babies are fed soy milk, as they are allergic to cow milk.
Hence, combination feeding helps ensure your baby gets breast milk nutrition and formula food nutrition. However, it also has some disadvantages. If you plan to practice this feeding method, it is best to know what are the combination feeding pros and cons to ensure the good health of your baby.
How to Get Started With Combination Feeding
When you’re ready to start combination feeding, you must do so with a plan. Here are some things to consider for starting the combination feeding journey seamlessly:
- Set up a schedule for feeding your baby breast milk and formula. This can be helpful if one of the goals of combination feeding is to boost your supply or manage weight gain. You could try switching between breastmilk and formula every few hours or giving the same amount daily at specific intervals.
- Know how much milk each type contains so that no one gets too much or too little nutrients. This is especially important if some days are spent exclusively breastfeeding while others include bottle feeding only. If using bottles, ensure they’re labeled with what’s inside them so there aren’t any mix-ups.
How to Combine Breast Milk and Formula
You may be wondering how to combine breast milk with formula. It’s pretty simple.
- Store your breast milk in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. You can store it for up to three days in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer. If using a storage bag, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it shut. This will help keep bacteria away from your precious liquid gold.
- Once you have decided on a feeding schedule, fill up two bottles, one with formula and one with breast milk, but only fill them halfway, so there’s room for mixing later on when things get desperate for either side of this equation.
What Are the Benefits of Combination Feeding?
Combination feeding is a great way to introduce solid foods. It’s also a good way for you and your baby to get used to having a spoon, which can help him sleep better at night as he ages. Combination feeding may also help you maintain your milk supply since it allows him to nurse frequently throughout the day.
Combining breastmilk with formula or other types of liquid nutrition is sometimes called “baby-led weaning.” This term refers to letting babies self-feed from the start rather than spooning pureed foods into them. Some parents choose this option because it helps them avoid introducing solids too early. Others find that their babies prefer eating this way.
What Are the Cons of Combination Feeding?
There are some cons to combination feeding. If your baby isn’t taking enough formula, it could lead to dehydration and weight loss. If he or she isn’t taking enough breast milk, it can be difficult for the mother’s body to produce enough milk for both her baby and herself.
In addition, some people may feel uncomfortable with the idea of combining breast milk and formula because they think it means they’re not providing everything their child needs on their own. However, this is not true. Babies who receive a combination of breast milk and formula have been shown to grow just as well as those exclusively breastfed.
Regardless of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, it is not always possible to only breastfeed your baby. There can be problems, such as going back to work, lack of breast milk supply, too much tenderness, etc. Data shows that 51.3% of women report a lack of breast milk supply as a reason to switch to formula feeding.
We hope this article has helped you understand the benefits and drawbacks of combination feeding. If you’re still unsure whether it’s right for your baby, we recommend speaking with a medical professional before making any decisions. The most important thing is to do what feels suitable for both of you.