Formula Supplementing?

[deleted account] ( 8 moms have responded )

My son is 11 weeks old and has started waking up every one to two hours during the night despite having slept through the night (6-8 hours straight) previously. I think he's hungry and I don't think I'm producing enough milk for his bedtime feeding. I'm thinking about givng him a few ounces of formula and then nursing right before bed, but I'm not sure if it's OK to give him both formula and breast milk so close together. Should I just give him formula only or is it OK to give him both?


Allison - posted on 03/27/2009




I'd have to agree it sounds like a growth spurt. He probably needs to eat that often right now, as breastmilk does digest pretty fast and he needs the extra calories. You need him to nurse that much, too, to boost your supply. Breastmilk supply is based on supply and demand: If you add formula, your body doesn't know baby is eating, so your supply doesn't get ramped up. Then when he's back to eating every 4-6 hours at night, you won't have enough milk to keep him satisfied, so you could be stuck using formula at that point. It's a viscous cycle, often leading to mom losing her milk and switching exclusively to formula. It's better to just let him nurse when he needs it and trust that he knows what he's doing and your body will do what it needs to.


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Rachel - posted on 03/28/2009




you are right at a typical growth spurt age--your babe is feeling the urge to nurse nurse nurse so that your body will know its time for the next stage of breastfeeding. Don't worry--it'll pass and he'll settle down into his more "normal" routine once the spurt is past. Best thing you can do is let him nurse when he wants and wait it out :) it isn't always easy--my son was a full weeker on his growth spurts and they were exhausting but once it was past, all was back to normal again and he had plenty of milk to nurse :)

Johnny - posted on 03/27/2009




You definitely can choose to supplement with formula, but if you would like your milk supply to increase to meet his needs, you should avoid it.  Once you start supplementing, it is quite hard to stop, it took us until 5 months.  Your milk supply should catch up to his demand within a week or so, and that will save you the trouble of adding formula.  If you are happy with including formula as part of his diet on a regular basis, then supplementation will work.  There are some herbs, particularly fenugreek, blessed thistle, and fennel that can give a quick boost to your breastmilk and cost less than formula in the long run.  You can buy these at most herbalist, nutrition stores, and places like Whole Foods.

Kim - posted on 03/27/2009




Hi, my baby is only 3 weeks but I was told that it's ok to supplement with formula (I had to as my milk was late coming in and he had lost alot of weight). I was advised to have him breastfeed first and then follow with an ounce of formula or pumped breast milk. This works beautifully for us and he has never had any problem with the bottle or breast (no nipple confusion).   I was also told by my midwife that I could mix some breastmilk in with the formula if I wanted  but we just do formula or breastmilk (if i can pump enough).Hope this helps!

Barbara - posted on 03/24/2009




What he's doing is totally normal.  There is most likely nothing wrong with your milk supply at all.  Only something like 0.06% of the population actually cannot produce enough milk for their babies, so the likelihood of there being an unsolveable problem with your supply is pretty slim.  I'd just wait it out and see what happens, and avoid opening the whole formula can-o-worms.  If you do decide to give him formula it is great to keep nursing as well so he keeps deriving some of the benefits of breastmilk which I'm sure you've heard all about at this point.

In the meantime you could try moving him into your room to sleep in a bassinet or arms reach sleeper and see if that doesn't help you get more rest.  We cosleep with our son and I have to say that even on those nights when he woke up every hour or so we never had problems with being sleep deprived.  I guess there's a reason most of the rest of the world sleeps that way!  Good luck!

Sharon - posted on 03/24/2009




I was topping my 12 week old up with formula just before bed as i thought the same but he used to still wake in the same cycle (1-2 hrs). I found the trick was to re settle him (with the dummy or without) and strech him out to 3 hours.  Then i would have more milk and he would feed better. After a few days he began to sleep longer.  I used to give him anywhere between 10 and 60 mils of formula after i feed him, so you dont have to mix them together or worry about expressing. Also if your staying up for a couple of hours after he has gone to bed i suggest you give him a dream feed on your way to bed as this will help strech him out to.

Itsamystery - posted on 03/24/2009




If you stick with nursing your supply will increase and you'll have plenty of milk for him. When babies go through a growth spurt they need more milk. They have to nurse more frequently '(every 1-2 hours) in order to signal your body to produce more milk. 3 months is one of the major growth spurts. It usually lasts for a week or less, by which time you'll have more milk to satisfy him, and his feeding should return to normal. You won't need to worry about formula if you stick with nursing. If you supplement your body won't know to increase your milk supply and you'll be stuck supplementing.

Mika - posted on 03/24/2009




You can give both. I had to do the same thing. I mixed both in a bottle and it did hold him over an exra hour, but that was about it.

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