You may have not heart of the mixed feeding until now. So let me tell you first, what it is.
Mixed feeding or combined feeding is when you both breast feed your baby along with formula feeding. Let’s say you breast feed your baby in the afternoon and in the next feed you offer him a bottle.
I have been mixed feeding my baby for a very long time now, rather since she was only a few weeks old. And I did take a good decision to mix feed her.
No matter what you had thought about exclusive breast feeding, sometimes babies need to be given top feed as well. Be it because your nipples are sore, you have to leave the baby in someone else’s care, you have low milk supply, every once in a while you need a break etc.
Formula may not be as good as breast milk but it sure does help a baby thrive. There are a few things to think about when you start to mix bottle feed along with breast feed your baby.
First of all, if you are planning to bottle feed thinking that you have low milk supply, then it is best to talk to your pediatrician first. Most of the time we are unaware of how much milk we are producing and end up giving formula with little knowledge about breast milk. In case you milk supply really is low, your doctor can refer you to a lactation specialist as well.
Now if we talk about why you should give both breast milk and formula feed to your baby, the reasons are aplenty. Although there is no doubt that there is no substitute whatsoever of breast milk and the goodness it gives. But there are certain situations and circumstances that make us formula feed our babies as well.
Now the question is why you should mix feed your baby?
First and foremost is that it gives you the much needed brake from constant breast feeding. No matter how beautiful the feeling of feeding your baby is, sometimes we all need a little respite from the constant pulling of our breasts.
Mixed feeding can help other people in your family to bond with your baby as well. When you let others bottle feed your baby, it does help in developing a bond with the baby and them.
Giving a bottle of formula before bed time and not breast milk helps babies remain full for a longer duration and they sleep better and longer than on breast milk alone.
You can easily leave your baby in the care of other family members when you have to be someplace else. It’s a great way to take some time out with your husband as well. This is because exclusively formula fed babies don’t really leave the sight of their mothers even for an hour. Mixed feeding will give you that benefit.
When you are mixed feeding, you are not completely weaning your baby off of breast milk. This means that your little one gets the added benefits of all the disease fighting agents in the body along with the extra nutrition from the formula. So that’s a win-win on both the sides.
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Your baby will not remain habitual of sucking on to the breast if you start mixed feeding at an early age. That way he will not refuse the bottle later on when you have to stop breastfeeding.
Now considering all of this, what can you do to ensure that your baby gets the best of milk – both breast milk and formula?
First of all, understand that there is no specific limit to how much formula or breast milk you should give your baby. It is completely an individual choice. Usually I bottle feed my baby 2-3 times a day now and breast feed about 4-5 times a day. On other days breast feeding is solely at night time but I make sure I pump breast milk so as to not reduce my milk supply. So it completely depends on how you want to do it.
Remember to give your baby the right bottle and nipple. Because if the flow from the bottle is too fast, then he will get used to the fast flow and may even refuse breast milk because the flow from the breasts is not that fast. So if your baby is very young, then offer him a bottle with peristaltic nipple.
So tell us your story. How do you feed your little one? Do you exclusively breast feed, formula feed or mixed feed? How has your experience been?