Supplementing a Little, Maybe?

Alison - posted on 02/05/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )




My son is three months old and I've been exclusively breastfeeding him since his birth. He's gained weight very well and is totally average for boys his age. He's always been a quick and vigorous eater. He can usually drain both my breasts in 15 minutes. I love breastfeeding and my goal has been to do it exclusively until he's six months.

However, every once in a while he has a feeding where he doesn't seem totally satisfied afterward, even though he drains me. I've tried pumping with my Medela to make sure he's eaten all he can and there may be a couple drops left and that is it. But he scream and cry after for several minutes. This combined with certain moments when I wish I could just use a bottle of formula (example, I have a 13 year old brother-in-law I don't feel comfortable feeding in front of even with a cover...and several times I've found myself in a bathroom stall in restaurants and things which is annoying).

I'm just wondering if I should supplement with a bottle of formula once in awhile if the situation arises, but still primarily breastfeed. I also heard that it's okay to mix some formula in with expressed breastmilk to make a complete bottle.

I was wondering if any of you occasionally supplement with formula, and if you do, how old was your baby and what advice do you have to offer?


Tiffany - posted on 02/05/2009




You need to feel comfortable with what you decide and it is totally up to you. After saying that - I do both - my little man (5months and # 3 for me) breastfeeds at night only and takes formula during the day while I am at work. I sometimes give him bottles at night IF he seems unsatisfied. I pumped for awhile and then sturggled with getting enough pumped. He is getting the nutrients he needs and the formula now is so full of great things that I am not concerned so much with him having it part of the time. When we go out I have bottle ready as well - nursing in front of people can be daunting. Dressing rooms are the best when you are out - or a corner booth - but still hard - I hate to feed in front of my brother in law and a few others.

Don't beat yourself up about supplementing - you have given him an AWESOME start and a bottle every now and then will not hurt a thing. BUT do what feels best to you and your baby. It is ok to mix formula with breast milk -

I hope this helps.


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Kelly - posted on 02/07/2009




Your breast is NEVER empty! The milk at the start of a feeding is sweet and flows very easily. The milk toward the end of the feeding is called the hind milk and is high in calorie and fat, it flows much slower and my experience is MUCH harder and time consuming to pump (I nursed a total of 39 months-- 3 kids and still nursing #3). The first thing I would try is to nurse on one side per feeding to make sure that he is getting enough hind milk. If he is getting mostly or all foremilk then he will be hungry more often and feel unsatisfied.
Now on to the supplementing question. You can always supplement. But remember the less the baby nurses the less your body makes. The good thing is as long as he is nursing a little, he will still be getting the same amount of antibodies from your milk.
Another thought is in a month or so you can introduce cereal. The LLL and AAP guidlines are exclusively breastfeed for 6 months AS LONG AS MOMMY AND BABY ARE HAPPY AND HEALTH. Now if you think he is not happy the you need to look at the other guideline of introducing food between 4 and 6 months.
Listen to your heart, you know whats right. And what ever you choose is right for your family.

Alison - posted on 02/07/2009




Okay, I think I figured out some of the problem is my let down...I think it's been slowing down all of a sudden and he gets impatient since he normally is a fast and vicious eater. I noticed that once I finally do let down, he settles down some and eats better. But until my let down happens, he freaks out. I've been trying to head off the frantic episodes by trying to feed a little more often and it seems to be going a little bit better!

Thanks for all the help, ladies! :)

Jenna - posted on 02/06/2009




Hi Alison!

Is it possible his cryng following feeds isn't associated with being hungry? My son (who is four months) has done this on and off for his whole life. Do you have a fast let down? And does he have a hard time bringing up gas?

Alison - posted on 02/05/2009




Thank you for the replies! :)

As for my things to consider, he might be wanting to nurse for comfort...only he takes himself off my breast after draining them and freaks out. I do feed on demand (but I won't let him go more than three hours during the day without him eating). I know that usually it's a comfort to him except for these moments when I don't think he's getting enough...and it might be my imagination because he I think he's well-hydrated...his fontanels are barely noticeable definitely not sunken in...his urine is still pale and he has a wet diaper with every feeding. I don't think I'm losing weight too quickly...although I haven't weighed myself since my six week postpartum appointment. I'd gained 45 pounds during my pregnancy and I know I've lost 25, but I don't think I've lost any more than that since I love to eat and I've been trapped inside with wintery weather. :)

I may get back in touch with my LC and see what she suggests. I just feel kinda bad when I leave him presumably hungry...and again, he might be getting enough and I might be paranoid.

Emma - posted on 02/05/2009




hi i run a brownie unit and do not want to feed my son in front of 24 seven year old girls so oliver has formula alongside breast milk. we tried differant cartons and there were big differances between how he took them he wouldn't touch some, I also checked about suplementing with my health visitor because he is only 9 weeks old and she said it was fine.

and like tiffany says we are already giving them a great start by primarily breast feeding.

good luck

Sharon - posted on 02/05/2009




Many moms choose to supplement with formula; it is a personal choice.  While children are so young, excusively breastfeeding mothers can feel secure knowing that they are limiting the vectors through which their child can get ill.  (For example, you don't have to worry about the possiblity of food poisoning, tainted formula, or an allergy to the milk.)


The absolute best breast pump in the world is your baby- he causes your body to release the milk producing and milk releasing hormones in a way in which the pump cannot compare.  Your milk supply opperates on supply and demand.  If your child spends more time at your breast, and empties your breasts more frequently, your breasts will produce more milk. 


I would be considering a few scenarios if I were you.  Is he asking to nurse for comfort?  Maybe that's why he's upset with the pumped milk- he wants to nurse.  Is he well-hydrated?  How do his fontenels feel?  Are they sunken or flat?  Is his urine pale or concentrated?  Are you eating well enough, drinking well enough, and not loosing weight too quickly?  If not, this can affect your breastmilk supply.  You could also consider calling a lactation consultant.  If this is a true issue of low supply, they can suggest galactogogues (substances that will increase your supply).  Best wishes.

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