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Combining Breastmilk and Formula

By June 21, 2007

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When working moms return to work, some find it hard to find the time to pump and may see a decrease in their milk supply. This can lead many to quit nursing completely. You can, however, mix breastmilk and formula so that your baby keeps getting the nutritional benefits of your milk. Heidi Adkins tells the story of her success with this:

"I was solely breastfeeding my daughter for the first seven weeks. But then when I went back to work and began pumping milk for her bottles at the daycare, I was not able to pump at work as often as I wanted because my schedule was a little unpredictable. Eventually I wasn't able to fill enough bottles for her the next day.

I talked to several mothers who said the same thing happened to them, and they had to quit nursing all together. But a lactation consultant had told me that I can mix formula in with my breastmilk to fill the bottles for her and it works out great. I don't get so distressed about not feeding her enough or too stressed out at work if I have to miss a pumping session. I do this pretty regularly now, so that at least I can give her some breastmilk instead of nothing!

I was very surprised to find out that many mothers did not know this, and that when it happened to them, they stopped altogether. I'm going on six months breasfeeding now and am still able to nurse my daughter and work!"

Thanks Heidi for sharing your story and good luck to you and your daughter in the future.
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March 17, 2007 at 1:11 pm
(1) xfsx says:

I’ve heard that it is unhealthy for new borns to have breast milk and formula mixed in the same bottle. There are impacts due to increased amounts of nutrients and affects on a new borns immature kidneys.

June 21, 2007 at 11:54 pm
(2) Liz says:


June 23, 2007 at 10:17 am
(3) MC Milker says:

I too supplemented with formula due to a combination of an “unfriendly to pumping” workplace and latch on issues. Rather than mixing though, I simply left two bottles for my DH. One contained the 1-2 ozs of breastmilk I had stored; the other formula.

Too many moms beleive that it must be all or nothing. Yes, less pumping does means lowered milk supply but continued breast feeding, on a regular basis, means that there is SOME milk production AND EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS.

If more moms knew that, even with supplementing, they were still passing on valuable nutrients more would probably breastfeed longer.

In hospitals perhaps the choice of signs to put on one’s baby’s wrist or crib should be:

breast fed
bottle fed

June 27, 2007 at 9:33 am
(4) Salimah says:

I agree with MC Milker. I started working at 6 weeks but my baby wasn’t a good nurser. He would pacify on the breast for like an hour and after I would still have to pump and feed him because he was still hungry. So eventually, I gave up trying to give him the breast and became an exlvcusive pumper. When I started working I could only pump twice during the day so despite all of my drinking of nursing mother tea and taking of Fenungreek, my supply has decreased. We’re going on 5 months now of me pumping and bottle feeding him breastmilk and sometimes formula to supplement my low supply. At 4 months he more than doubled his birth weight at 17 lbs. 9 oz.! I say all of this to say that not only should mothers be encouraged to breastfeed, but if breastfeeding doesn’t work for them or they don’t have the patience or inclination to do it, then they should try pumping and bottlefeeding the breastmilk. Yes, it can be a pain in the arse (or rather breast), but it’s definitely worth it.

July 4, 2007 at 7:39 am
(5) Catherine says:

In response to the first comment… the poster seems confused, with their talk of newborns’ kidneys being harmed by “increased levels of nutrients”!! I thought, “Where on earth did this idea come from?” and then I realised: you must not mix formula POWDER into breast milk, because it is then a concentrated feed. This doesn’t mean you can’t mix MADE UP formula with breast milk lol – so I really hope nobody’s been put off combined feeding by that uninformed and misleading comment… Although exclusive breast is best and formula MAY lessen the beneficial affects of the antibodies in breast milk, breast complemented with formula is better than formula alone!!!

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