Mixed feeding (also known as combination feeding) is often the best compromise between bottle feeding and natural breastfeeding. Read this article to learn what it looks like.
Expert consultant: Katarzyna Orawiec-Rymszewicz – midwife, lactation educator
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed newborns and infants. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. However, sometimes a baby needs extra nutrition and natural breastfeeding has to be supplemented with infant formula.
Mixed feeding means combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding. The content of the bottle can be either breast milk or formula milk. Mixed feeding is the optimal way of feeding when exclusive breastfeeding is impossible.
There are only a few reasons for a mum to quit breastfeeding completely. One of them can be an illness of the mum or her baby. It is wise to consider combination feeding if:
You are returning to work or preparing for mother-baby separation.
You have cracked and sore nipples.
Your milk supply is insufficient and your baby is not gaining weight.
The baby fusses and refuses the breast.
Your baby is premature and has a low birth weight.
Your baby is ill.
You are planning to combine formula feeding and breastfeeding.
You are bottle feeding (e.g. after an illness) and would like to go back to breastfeeding.
Before you start mixed feeding, consult a lactation specialist. They can help you solve lactation problems and, if possible, maintain lactation without introducing the bottle.
Breastfeeding and bottle feeding are slightly different. Breast milk should be the basis of your baby's diet. You should adjust the amount of baby formula to the amount of breast milk, not the other way around.
The baby’s appetite may change. Pay attention to signals. Remember also that breastfeeding shall be the priority. First of all, your baby should empty the breast and only then they can get a bottle. That also means that your baby doesn’t have to always empty the bottle.
Start introducing mixed feeding slowly. Your little one needs to get used to the bottle. If your baby is refusing the bottle, involve your partner in the learning process. Your baby may associate you with breasts and it can be easier for someone else to give them a bottle. Choose also a bottle that is recommended for combination feeding. LOVI bottles have unique silicone teat that mobilises mouth muscles and ensures the proper work of lips and tongue muscles. It allows the maintenance of correct sucking rhythm and makes mixed feeding easier.
When your baby gets used to drinking from the bottle, choose the right formula. Ask the paediatrician for help. They will recommend a baby formula matched to your little one’s needs. We also recommend consulting mixed feeding with an expert. It is very important to manage feedings properly, as proper feeding is one of the bases of a child's healthy development.
During bottle feeding it is extremely important to ensure baby's health and safety, by preventing choking or possible problems with his tummy.
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