Supplementing with formula?

Sarah - posted on 05/20/2009 ( 24 moms have responded )

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Is anyone supplementing breast feeding with a bottle of formula? I am exclusively breast feeding my 7 week old at the moment but don't seem to be producing enough milk. She has a bottle of expressed last thing at night but I am struggling to express now and am running out of supplies. I don't want to replace the bottle feed as I think it helps her sleep through the night as she gets more from bottle than me. I am considering replacing the bottle of expressed with a bottle of formula. Has anyone supplemented with formula? How did you get on? Did baby resist? Is it likely to mess up her digestion? Silly questions possibly but I am a first time mum and feel quite stressed about it all. I also have sore nipples, one of which bled last night just to add to the traumas! I want to continue breast feeding but am finding it very hard at the moment! Help!

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Denise - posted on 01/07/2012

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My daughter in law supplemented with formula in your exact same situation. Just do what you have to do to support your child nutritionally. Women don't share breast feeding anymore. My grandmother used to nurse a ton of babies in her neighborhood because she had tons of milk, easily accessed and realized it was a gift from God for her to share. Don't feel bad about what you need to do to have your child's nutritional needs met. My Grand daughter is a healthy fabulous 3-year old now with beautiful skin and hair and strong bones and teeth. Don't worry about how you "feel" about it (it is not really about you). It is about what is best for your baby. Anyone who posts for you not to do it under any circumstances is probably not and never has been in your situation. Listen to your heart and your gut and try it! If it works to satisfy, then you have your answer. Parenting is as individualized as the child. Many blessings to you.

Nicole - posted on 05/28/2009

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Don't supplement with formula! It will only hurt your milk production. The baby actually gets more milk out of you than the bottle. Milk straight from the breast is most nutritive- only the baby can get the fatty hind milk out. Just keep going. Your production will get better. Try offering the breast more often too. Use lots of lanolin for you nipple trouble- it is safe for baby consumption. Formula is really really bad for baby tummies. Try lying down with your baby for the night time nurse. It has served me well doing this for nearly eight months now.

Jennifer - posted on 05/28/2009

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my daughter is almost 6 mos, I have always supplemented with formula, and haven't regretted a moment of it! I work full time as a nurse in a busy hospital, there's no way to pump more than maybe once a shift, therefore my supply decreased and can only give the caregiver that one pump for the next time I work, my daughter takes formula just fine when I can't give breastmilk...but I plan to continue to b/f until she's a year, I think it's the best of both worlds

Tanyss - posted on 05/27/2009

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I wasnt producing enough milk in the beginning, but every mother does. Just KEEP AT IT. Get enough calrories and drink lots of water. (When i needed my milk to come in I drank a beer and that helped!)
Stasha Parker has the right idea (See below)
Good luck and keep at it Breast feeding is the best for our babies.

Charlotte - posted on 05/27/2009

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When I was a first time mom, exhausted as hell, everyone kept telling me to give my baby a bottle of formula right before bed. Well, it was a BAD IDEA. The first bottle he drank and then threw it all up all over my shirt. After that, he pretty much refused the bottle no matter what was in it. I guess he knew better than I did.



Also, forgot to mention that it did not help his sleeping at all. In fact, i have heard many, many stories about babies who actually slept worse after drinking formula because it upset thier tummies.

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Ania - posted on 01/08/2012

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Ok a lot of ladies here think that there supply goes down because they can't pump enough anymore or because their breasts are not engorged anymore. If you are exclusively bf your child on demand your supply is not going down. Your body is getting used to the amount it should produce for your child and stops overproducing. If baby has at least 5-6 wet diapers a day, your supply is fine. When you start supplementing your supply will go down. That's how it works. Relax everyone is doing great job and breastfeeding is about supply and demand. If you have more questions check out www.kellymom.com this website should answer a lot

Amy - posted on 05/28/2009

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Don't start supplementing with formula unless you have to, calm down and relax more, it will help, and using the bottle of expressed "liquid gold" when you are there is a shame. Keep working at it, you will get it. When my son was seven weeks old, he feed every two hours around the clock like clock work, I thought I was going to die from fatigue, but we did it, he's almost 12 months old and still nursing, but we did have to break in to formula while he was away from me, I never seemed to pump enough out while he was not with me.

Charlotte - posted on 05/28/2009

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As far as the sore nips go, you could try nipple shields. I use them occasionally. It may take a bit of getting used to, but they will help your nipples not get as much wear and tear.

Because of milk supply issues (and weight gain issues) I had to begin supplementing around 3 weeks. My baby happens to take both breast and bottle well now and I still (at 2 months) give her an occasional bottle of formula. It helped us through a rough breastfeeding patch. However, this can be a dangerous game to play because you may start giving more and more formula and less and less milk. If you have already been breastfeeding with good weight gain for 7 weeks, maybe you should think about keeping at it or at least getting an appointment with a lactation consultant for a weighted feed before trying formula.However, I don't think an occasional bottle is the end of the world.

[deleted account]

im a first time mother of a 4month old boy..im having the same problem...the first week was difficult then it was great of a month and for the last 2 months its been so-so...low supply...but im still trying...ive supplemented with formula here and there or if i feel he hasnt had enough...i know what your goin thru cuz im goin thru it right now but the ladies here have great advice....

first time mom first time experiecing all this...but i really want the best for my baby so im goin to keep tryin..theres still HOPE...so DONT give up...

sorry i dont have great advice but im here for encouragement and sometimes thats all we need...good luck...

Ashley - posted on 05/27/2009

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Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. No they take to the breast and bottle very well and I plan on doing both untill they are 12 months. Before I had the twins I was totally against formula but it does help me get more sleep at night still Id rather them breastfeed so I do about 90% of the time and they dont seem to mind getting a couple of bottle plus I pump a couple oz of breast milk in every bottle of formula I give them..

Minnie - posted on 05/27/2009

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Why don't you bring her into bed with you, lie down next to her, latch her on, and go to sleep? That's how we sleep, and it works perfectly.

Baby sleeping has nothing to do with bottles, solids, solids in bottles, bottles of expressed milk, what have you. Baby sleeping has to do with developmental readiness. And that will change in a couple of months too.

Breastfeeding is a perfect system that doesn't need to be overthought. If you are exclusively breastfeeding and giving your daughter frequent and unrestricted access to your breast you can rest assured that how things go is how it's supposed to go.

If you put baby to breast whenever she wants it, even if she nursed just half an hour ago you WILL produce enough milk (providing you are not giving formula!). That's just how it is.

Formula will do nothing good for your daughter. Your milk has everything that she needs. Supplementing with formula here and there is going to lead to more supplementation, eventual reduction in supply, and then an early end to your breastfeeding relationship.

Sleep with your baby and nurse in bed. It's a life saver.

Casey - posted on 05/27/2009

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My daughter had troubles keeping the weight on for the first 2mo. I told her pedi doctor how many oz. I could pump out and she said I needed about 2 more oz. But now I have lost my supply because of the medication I was on. I'm sad about not being able to breastfeed her anymore but I am glad we made it to 6mo. Hopefully next time will be better.

Andrea - posted on 05/20/2009

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why do you think you're not producing enough? it's actually pretty rare for women to have supply issues, even though many think they do. if she's producing enough wet diapers & gaining, then your supply is fine. nursing those first few months is a lot of work, but it gets so much easier & is much easier than washing bottles all the time. you are still building a good supply at 7 weeks & supplementing will only help to decrease your supply.

if your nipples are sore & bleeding i would suggest having a lactation consultant check your latch.

if you do need to increase your supply you can take fenugreek or More Milk Plus (both can be found at whole foods). oatmeal is supposed to help too- not instant- real oatmeal. and, the best way to increase your supply is to nurse as often as possible.

[deleted account]

I got the flu when my son was 2 weeks old so my husband and I talked to his doctor and opted to supplement with formula for 1 feeding a day, just so I could get the rest...it upset his tummy and i noticed that he got constipated so we only did that until I was better about 4 days later...I started drinking Mothers Milk tea and my milk supply increased and now my son is almost 10 wks and I am pumping between feedings since he eats every 3-4 hours and am building quite a freezer supply!

Melanie - posted on 05/20/2009

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Try some Fenugreek. It's an herb that you can get at GNC. Take three capsules, three times a day. No bad side effects. I am taking it with my son and I can't believe the difference! I have plenty of milk...enough to pump and freeze. Seriously, it's amazing.

Rachael - posted on 05/20/2009

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I started supplementing with formula for my son when he was 4 months old. He gets one formula bottle at daycare. I stressed out about it so much at first and then once I started doing it and relaxed, my supply went back up and I could pump enough during the day to feed him. Don't let people make you feel bad because you feel like that's what you need to do. Formula fed babies have survived! I know I did! :o)



I think my only advice would be if you do supplement with formula, do only one bottle a day at first and do it at the beginning of the day so that if your beautiful baby has tummy trouble getting used to it you're not up all night.



Good luck! Don't stress yourself out!

[deleted account]

I am also a first time mom, and am having the EXACT problem you are describing (not bleeding nipples though, but they were very sore due to her short tongue). My husband and I have discussed it at great length. We supplement with formula when we need to (which is more than 1/2 the time) and pumped breast milk when I can accumulate enough. My baby did not seem to have any trouble taking the bottle. She also suckled different on the bottle than she did on the nipple. However, she has gotten lazy and now prefers to have a bottle than milk straight from me. Formula helps her sleep longer through the night, which is nice for us. And by morning, my breasts hurt and need to be pumped. Sometimes, she gets both formula and breast milk in one feeding. I think she spits up a bit more when that happens, so I would recommend NOT doing that. Our doctor has said that giving her formula as well as breast milk is okay. I don't think it'll mess up the digestion. It just takes longer to digest - thus they don't need to eat as soon as if they had breast milk. If you do use formula, notice the brand and style she likes. Soy did not agree with my baby's tummy. Talk to your doctor about these things, too. And, as my friend says, don't let anyone make you feel wrong or bad for doing what you think is best! It's your baby, and your situation. We are all different.

Christina - posted on 05/20/2009

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I tried supplementing with formula...my baby was born at 41 weeks, aspirated meconium, and was in the NICU for 72 hours following birth. They formula fed her until I could pump, then bf her. Immediately following our return home, I began bf exclusively. I went back to work full time after 8 weeks and thought I would need to supplement with formula, but my daughter really does not like it. I pump at work and bf her at night, she gets what she needs from me when she feeds. Just something to think about...bf is much more efficient than pumping...I felt very discouraged about the same time (7 weeks) because she demanded so much. I think that the decision is something you have to decide for yourself...

Elizabeth - posted on 05/20/2009

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I am curious why you think you are not producing enough either. The 25th percentile for weight is completely fine. It means your baby is in the 25th percentile of a healthy zone, not underweight. Many babies that are fed formula are overweight because of the formula, and are being compared to your baby on those charts. Many babies who receive formula are also much more likely to have problems with obesity in childhood and adulthood. As long as she is growing in a healthy way and her height is also in the healthy range, she may be just fine.

Casey - posted on 05/20/2009

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I am a first time mom too. At first my supply was great. Then quickly I just could not produce enough for my daughter. It really hit home when we went to my daughters 2mo. check up and her doctor said that she is not getting enough. She was in the 25% in her weight from day one and was struggling to stay at that % for her first 2mo.



I tried pumping after feedings, herbal supplements that the doctor recommended called Fenugreek, eating more, feeding every hour, and still it was not enough. With all the help from what I did and from the lactation consultant and doctor and other moms, my supply did increase a bit but was still not enough. We gave in for my daughter sake and starting supplementing with formula after breastfeeding to help and it did.



Now she is 6mo and in the 50% in weight. I was breastfeeding 80 to 90% of the time and supplementing with formula the rest and it worked great. She had no problems going back and forth.



Unfortunately 2 weeks ago I had some medical problems and ended up having surgery a week and half ago. With all the medications that I was on I was not allowed to breastfeed. I pumped and dumped but my supply depleted very quickly. The meds were drying me up fast! I am happy that we made it to 6mo, but I miss breastfeeding too. She is now formula feed and eating rice cereal and on baby food #1. So at least I know she is getting nutrition else where besides the formula.



As far as sore nipples and bleeding. Mine too did the same, OUCH! I agree, hang in there it will pass! I used the nipple cream and a cooling pad gel that you refrigerate and use when needed. Those helped a lot! If your nipples are sensitive to the cloth that is touching them get nipple shields. It allows your nipples to rest in a shield and not be touched by anything or smashed. My lactation consultant told me that once your nipples are cracked and or bleeding you must go against was has been said about not washing your nipples with soap. You must use a gentle soap like dove so that your nipples do not get infected.



Good luck!

Ashley - posted on 05/20/2009

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I agree with the mom below thats what I did with my first aon but after my twins turned three months I gave them two bottles of formula a day just to give me a little break they also sleep longer after they drink the formula!!

Stasha - posted on 05/20/2009

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Don't start supplementing with formula!!! Your body can produce all the milk your baby needs and then some, you just need to find ways to boost your supply! Look for something called Nursing Tea at your local healthfood store, or contact a lactation consultant for other suggestions. Also, pay attention to your diet, if you are not getting plenty of nutritious food and LOTS of water (around 70 ozs a day) your body will not be able to keep up with the demand. Pumping a little after each feeding can also help to bring supply up.



As for sore nipples, you are very close to getting past that hurdle! Hang in there momma! Use lanolin directly on your nipple, as well as smearing a bit on the inside of your breastpad/bra to help protect it. Within the next week or so they should be healing and toughening up! Good luck and hang in there!! You can do it!

Amy - posted on 05/28/2009

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Don't start supplementing with formula unless you have to, calm down and relax more, it will help, and using the bottle of expressed "liquid gold" when you are there is a shame. Keep working at it, you will get it. When my son was seven weeks old, he feed every two hours around the clock like clock work, I thought I was going to die from fatigue, but we did it, he's almost 12 months old and still nursing, but we did have to break in to formula while he was away from me, I never seemed to pump enough out while he was not with me.

Rachael - posted on 05/20/2009

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I started supplementing with formula for my son when he was 4 months old. He gets one formula bottle at daycare. I stressed out about it so much at first and then once I started doing it and relaxed, my supply went back up and I could pump enough during the day to feed him. Don't let people make you feel bad because you feel like that's what you need to do. Formula fed babies have survived! I know I did! :o)



I think my only advice would be if you do supplement with formula, do only one bottle a day at first and do it at the beginning of the day so that if your beautiful baby has tummy trouble getting used to it you're not up all night.



Good luck! Don't stress yourself out!

[deleted account]

I am also a first time mom, and am having the EXACT problem you are describing (not bleeding nipples though, but they were very sore due to her short tongue). My husband and I have discussed it at great length. We supplement with formula when we need to (which is more than 1/2 the time) and pumped breast milk when I can accumulate enough. My baby did not seem to have any trouble taking the bottle. She also suckled different on the bottle than she did on the nipple. However, she has gotten lazy and now prefers to have a bottle than milk straight from me. Formula helps her sleep longer through the night, which is nice for us. And by morning, my breasts hurt and need to be pumped. Sometimes, she gets both formula and breast milk in one feeding. I think she spits up a bit more when that happens, so I would recommend NOT doing that. Our doctor has said that giving her formula as well as breast milk is okay. I don't think it'll mess up the digestion. It just takes longer to digest - thus they don't need to eat as soon as if they had breast milk. If you do use formula, notice the brand and style she likes. Soy did not agree with my baby's tummy. Talk to your doctor about these things, too. And, as my friend says, don't let anyone make you feel wrong or bad for doing what you think is best! It's your baby, and your situation. We are all different.

Christina - posted on 05/20/2009

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I tried supplementing with formula...my baby was born at 41 weeks, aspirated meconium, and was in the NICU for 72 hours following birth. They formula fed her until I could pump, then bf her. Immediately following our return home, I began bf exclusively. I went back to work full time after 8 weeks and thought I would need to supplement with formula, but my daughter really does not like it. I pump at work and bf her at night, she gets what she needs from me when she feeds. Just something to think about...bf is much more efficient than pumping...I felt very discouraged about the same time (7 weeks) because she demanded so much. I think that the decision is something you have to decide for yourself...

Casey - posted on 05/20/2009

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I am a first time mom too. At first my supply was great. Then quickly I just could not produce enough for my daughter. It really hit home when we went to my daughters 2mo. check up and her doctor said that she is not getting enough. She was in the 25% in her weight from day one and was struggling to stay at that % for her first 2mo.



I tried pumping after feedings, herbal supplements that the doctor recommended called Fenugreek, eating more, feeding every hour, and still it was not enough. With all the help from what I did and from the lactation consultant and doctor and other moms, my supply did increase a bit but was still not enough. We gave in for my daughter sake and starting supplementing with formula after breastfeeding to help and it did.



Now she is 6mo and in the 50% in weight. I was breastfeeding 80 to 90% of the time and supplementing with formula the rest and it worked great. She had no problems going back and forth.



Unfortunately 2 weeks ago I had some medical problems and ended up having surgery a week and half ago. With all the medications that I was on I was not allowed to breastfeed. I pumped and dumped but my supply depleted very quickly. The meds were drying me up fast! I am happy that we made it to 6mo, but I miss breastfeeding too. She is now formula feed and eating rice cereal and on baby food #1. So at least I know she is getting nutrition else where besides the formula.



As far as sore nipples and bleeding. Mine too did the same, OUCH! I agree, hang in there it will pass! I used the nipple cream and a cooling pad gel that you refrigerate and use when needed. Those helped a lot! If your nipples are sensitive to the cloth that is touching them get nipple shields. It allows your nipples to rest in a shield and not be touched by anything or smashed. My lactation consultant told me that once your nipples are cracked and or bleeding you must go against was has been said about not washing your nipples with soap. You must use a gentle soap like dove so that your nipples do not get infected.



Good luck!

Stasha - posted on 05/20/2009

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Don't start supplementing with formula!!! Your body can produce all the milk your baby needs and then some, you just need to find ways to boost your supply! Look for something called Nursing Tea at your local healthfood store, or contact a lactation consultant for other suggestions. Also, pay attention to your diet, if you are not getting plenty of nutritious food and LOTS of water (around 70 ozs a day) your body will not be able to keep up with the demand. Pumping a little after each feeding can also help to bring supply up.



As for sore nipples, you are very close to getting past that hurdle! Hang in there momma! Use lanolin directly on your nipple, as well as smearing a bit on the inside of your breastpad/bra to help protect it. Within the next week or so they should be healing and toughening up! Good luck and hang in there!! You can do it!

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