Breast and Formula Feeding: Should You Combine the Two?

Breast and Formula Feeding

There’s a consistent question that we get from mothers– “Should I combine breast and formula feeding?”

When it comes to being a new mother, the dynamics of feeding can feel like a mystery. Luckily, understanding the two types of feeding is fairly simple.

We put together a guide to understanding the key differences between the two and whether or not combining breast and formula feeding is right for you and your baby.

Check out this handy guide!

Understanding The Differences, Pros, And Cons

There are some pretty big differences between breast and formula feeding.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is pretty self-explanatory– it is the act of feeding your infant child directly from the breast.

The Pros of breastfeeding your infant:

There are a significant number of pros to breastfeeding.

  • It’s free and is always available.
  • There are a ton of nutrients in breastmilk, including carbs, fat, protein, and calcium– all things your little one needs.
  • Active infection-fighting white blood cells and natural chemicals provide your infant with significant protection against infections, especially during the early months when these infections can be the most dangerous.
  • It has been found by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • It is easy for your baby to digest.
  • Can help mothers lose some weight post-birth.
  • May protect your baby from allergies and asthma in the future, and may reduce your child’s risk of obesity in adulthood.

The Cons of breastfeeding your infant:

While there are many benefits to breastfeeding, there are quite a few not so great things about it too.

  • It can be painful.
  • You will have significantly less freedom– you’re the food dispenser, unfortunately!
  • If you are modest, breastfeeding may be uncomfortable to do in public.
  • You’ll probably have to breastfeed in public when your baby is hungry and may face rude people and reactions from people who forget that the purpose of breasts is to feed children.
  • You have to make strict choices about your diet.

Formula Feeding

Formula feeding is the act of feeding your baby manufactured food. This food is designed and specifically marketed for babies under a year old.

Typically, the formula comes in an already liquefied form or as a powder that must be mixed with water.

Formula can be served to an infant via bottle feeding or cup feeding and is available in regular or organic variations.

The Pros to formula feeding:

Even though there are many pros to breastfeeding, there are also many pros to formula feeding as well.

  • Baby formula, especially in recent years, has become more and more similar to human milk when it comes to ingredients and nutrients.
  • You aren’t a walking milk supply anymore and can have slightly more freedom.
  • You can buy your supply instead of trying to build it yourself.
  • Your partner can share in the feeding responsibilities.

The Cons to formula feeding:

Of course, there’s a few.

  • Baby formula isn’t free– in fact, it is pretty expensive.
  • Your may face judgment from others.
  • You won’t burn calories like you would with breastfeeding.
  • Lots of dishes and cleanup.
  • You’ll have to be keenly aware of the formula you choose and will need to do some research, as not every formula is the best formula for your baby.

Should You Combine Breast And Formula Feeding?

The act of combining breast and formula feeding is known as supplementing.

It is 100% perfectly safe to breastfeed and feed your baby formula. Many families use the supplementing method, too.

With all the pros and cons of both forms of feeding, it makes sense that combining the two can give you the best of both worlds.

Professionals from the American Academy of Pediatrics, also known as the AAP, recommend sticking to breastfeeding by itself for approximately the first four to six months. After that, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding until a year or more along with starting solid foods.

The choice to supplement is yourself, and your goal should be simple– get your baby the full nutrition they need.

There are numerous reasons why parents decide to supplement:

Medical Problems

If your baby was born premature or with particular medical conditions, a supplement may be necessary.

Breast milk has a crazy amount of nutrients, and formula can only add to those nutrients!

In that same respect, if you have medical conditions that prevent you from breastfeeding 24/7, you should absolutely consider supplementing with formula.

Low Supply

A past breast surgery or breast-related condition could reduce or stop the way your body produces milk.

If this is the case, be sure to speak to your doctor to properly decide if your baby is getting enough breastmilk and if supplementing should be implemented.

You Have Several Babies

If you have twins, you’ve probably noticed by now that they literally are twice as much work.

Building and maintaining breast milk for one minute is a challenge in and of itself, but two or more babies can be downrighting exhausting to keep up with.

Work

If you’re a working mama, you may feel ready to go back to work as soon as possible.

Breastfeeding in public can be a pain, but breastfeeding in a work environment can be downright stressful and time-consuming.

Consider breastfeeding your baby outside of work and supplementing with formula during work hours.

What Formula Should I Choose To Supplement?

Always speak to your doctor before settling on an infant formula.

A pediatrician has the know-how when it comes to the best formula to use, and they can provide some valuable advice.

Regardless, a decent formula typically contains a significant amount of iron.

It is recommended to wait at least a month before introducing formula to your baby’s diet unless there are medical reasons for your choice to supplement.

Waiting a month gives you ample enough time to build up a breast milk supply before starting formula supplements.

Make The Best Decision For You And Your Baby

Was this guide to understanding breast and formula feeding helpful? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below!

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