We know that breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby, but the reality is that it’s not always possible. For mums who want to breastfeed but will be returning to work, you are separated from your baby or you or your baby find breastfeeding difficult, then mixed feeding might be a good option.
Mixed feeding is when you supplement breastfeeding with formula, and can provide mums with some flexibility to be able to keep breastfeeding longer.
In some cases, mixed feeding might be recommended if doctors or midwives feel the baby is not getting enough nutrients from breastmilk alone. This might occur if the baby is underweight, was born prematurely or is ill.
Mixed feeding can also be a great way to give mum some flexibility, and a break from doing all the feeds while a partner or carer gives the baby a bottle.
There are some things to consider before deciding to mix feed:
- Mixed feeding can interfere with breastfeeding by decreasing supply or the baby might refuse the nipple after taking a bottle. Baby’s generally have to work harder at the breast to get the milk out, and the bottle is much easier and quicker.
- If you do supplement with formula you might need to think about pumping during those skipped feeds to keep up your milk supply and to avoid engorgement. You can then save and use this milk for other feeds if you wish.
- Mixed feeding might seem like an easier option, but remember that with formula feeding comes sterilising bottles, boiling and cooling water, mixing up the formula and not to mention the cost of buying it.
There are definitely pros and cons to mixed feeding but it can be a great way to prolong your breastfeeding journey if you are not yet ready to give it up completely.