How to mix formula with breastmilk? Breastmilk is the best milk that you could give to your baby. Breastfeed and formula feed is recommended by all pediatricians and all medical specialists. Aside from being the best food that your baby will ever get, it is the best way to bond with your baby too. There is a unique bonding experience that mothers and babies feel during breastfeeding; you will surely be able to notice this immediately and even when your baby is all grown up.
Breastmilk has the following advantages:
Before learning how to breastfeed and formula feed your baby and mixing breastmilk and formula, here are a few points to remember about breastmilk.
- It is safe since it comes from you. You do not have to worry about your baby getting allergies since this milk is made especially for him.
- It contains the right amounts of proteins that are easily digested by baby. You won’t have to worry about your baby getting colic, abdominal pains and diarrhea or constipation.
- It is warm enough to drink. Breastmilk is naturally warmed by the body and therefore it is ready to drink from the source!
- Breastmilk is the best way to provide all the antibodies that babies need to fight infections during the first weeks of his life. The first breastmilk that you give to your baby as soon as he is born contains rich antibodies so take advantage of this time!
- Breastmilk contains all the right nutrients that your baby needs. It also contains the right amount of calories that he needs as well.
- It is economical. You do not have to spend a dime to breastfeed. You can even store your milk and feed it to your baby afterwards. Store it in feeding bottles and then refrigerate them; simply reheat it in a bowl of hot water. Do not boil breastmilk or place it in a microwave oven.
Breastmilk has a lot of advantages but there are times that a mother has to breastfeed and formula feed with milk formula. Situations like not having enough breast milk or a busy schedule often interferes with breastfeeding. This is why doctors may recommend mixing breastmilk and formula instead.
Mixing breastmilk and formula, things to remember about using breastmilk and formula feeding
For starters, you do not really mix formula with breastmilk but you will be learning how to mix formula and breastmilk to feed baby for the entire day. Breastmilk is given on demand, this means that baby can easily feed anytime she wishes since this milk is easy to digest but formula milk should be placed on a schedule since it is harder to digest.
How to breastfeed and formula feed together
Before you start mixing breastmilk and formula, remember that breastmilk supply is affected by frequent breastfeeding. This means that when your baby is not feeding that frequently, the production of breastmilk will essentially reduce. This is especially true for babies that are given breastmilk only from the time he is born. Giving milk formula will affect the frequent feeds to make you produce more milk.
When your baby is older you can use breastmilk and formula and still maintain your breastmilk supply by feeding daily. Usually, babies that are about eight or nine months of age can breastfeed only for a few times each day and still there is ample supply of breastmilk produced. Babies that are older than a year can feed only once or twice in a day which is typical for a breastfeed and formula feeding schedule.
- Plan your breastmilk and formula feeding time daily. If your plan is to slowly discontinue breastfeeding because your baby is getting a bit older you can reduce the number of feeds in a gradual manner. If your baby is starting to eat more solid foods and is adjusting well to formula feeding, you can slowly switch to a formula feeding and stop breastfeeding if you wish to.
- The key is to seamlessly switch from breastmilk to formula milk. Do this by offering formula feeding before, during or after breastmilk. Feeding milk formula before breastfeeding is suitable for babies that are sick and are not able to breastfeed well. Feeding after offering breastmilk is done when you are trying to wean your baby from breastfeeding. You may talk to your doctor about your wishes to mixing breastmilk and formula or learning how to breastfeed and formula feed. He may be able to suggest a more suitable option for your baby’s condition as well as considering your own situation as well.
- As you schedule your mixing breastmilk and formula schedule, you can gradually cut down on breastmilk but continue holding and feeding your baby as you would when she was breastfeeding. Hold, talk and smile at your baby as you feed him bottle formula. Babies may be weaned from breastfeeding but they still need constant reassurance that they are safe and sound under your care.
- You can store you breastmilk and give this to your baby for combination feeding. This works well if you need to resume work or you simply cannot be there to feed your baby. You may use a breast pump to pump breastmilk, store these in baby bottles or in clean containers and place them in the back part of the refrigerator where it is cold but not freezing.
Collecting and storing breastmilk
If you want to collect your breastmilk for breast milk formula milk feeding, you can do so by following these handy tips.
Collecting your breastmilk
- Wash your hands really well with warm water and soap. Make sure that all the containers that you will use to collect breastmilk are also clean.
- If you will use a pump, make sure that this is clean too. Use hot and soapy water to clean your pump and then air-dry on a clean cloth or towel.
- Relax and sit in a well-ventilated room. Use the breast pump or manually pump your breast and collect it in the container. After filling the container with the desired amount, cover it immediately and then proceed with filling another container if you can.
- It is recommended that you pump milk one or two weeks before you return to work or before you leave your baby. You may pump milk today to be used the same day till the next two days. You can also freeze milk in case of emergencies.
- If you are going to collect milk while you work, you may collect this for three times within an 8 hour work shift or simply every three hours. You can pump for ten minutes during your break time and then another one during lunch time will help you maintain ample supply of milk.
Storing your breastmilk
- Storing breastmilk for the first time may surprise you since you may find that your milk may vary in color, odor and consistency. These differences are usually due to the food and beverages that you have in your diet. You may also notice that stored milk may separate in layers; the creamy layer may rise. You should swirl the bottle or container as you warm the milk up to combine the different layers together.
- You may add small amounts of cooled breastmilk to the same container that you have in your refrigerator all throughout the day. Do not add warm milk to an already cool milk. You may add pumped breastmilk to frozen milk but you need to chill it first. It has to be less in amount than the amount of the frozen milk.
- It is ideal to freeze milk in two to five ounces portions. This is so because smaller amounts may be warmed or thawed quickly. You will also reduce wastage and prevent overfeeding your baby too.
- Cover your containers well and label them. Write the date and the time at the front so you can easily distinguish what to give first to your baby. You may also use plastic bags to store milk. Seal bags tightly and write the date and time on a tape. As a general rule, use milk that has been in the freezer for a long time.
- Thaw your milk overnight inside the refrigerator. You may also hold the bottle in warm running water if you really need the milk fast. You may also place the container in a warm water bath for 20 minutes. This will be enough to bring milk to body temperature.
- Never refreeze already thawed milk. Simply place it in the refrigerator. It is safe to use for 24 hours.
How to introduce formula feeding to a breastfed baby
What if your baby is purely breastfed from day one? How do you switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding? Babies that may have been receiving breastmilk from the time he is born will surely be reluctant to use a bottle. This is because the bottle is completely different from a mother’s breast. First of all, the nipple is harder compared to the breast and the milk completely tastes different. However there are ways to help your baby adjust to feeding using a bottle. This will help you slowly make him feel better about formula and breastmilk feeding and will also help him become used to the bottle as he grows up.
- You can soften the nipple so that your baby will find it easier to latch onto it and feed. You may also choose nipples that feel like a mother’s nipple instead. You can find these in most baby stores and pharmacies.
- You can ask someone to feed your baby so that he could adjust to a new person. It could be your partner, your family members or a baby sitter. Make sure that he or she holds your baby just like you did as you breastfeed him.
- You may also try feeding him milk formula alternating with breastmilk while maintaining your hold. As time goes by you can introduce a breast milk formula mix by feeding with milk formula and then breast milk from a bottle. This is an ideal way on how to mix formula with breastmilk for your baby.
- Given the chances, your baby will soon adjust. You will be able to maximize your time feeding him mix formula with breastmilk every day.
Some special considerations
While formula milk is consistent, breastmilk is affected by what you eat and drink. If you plan to mix feed and to learn how to mix formula with breastmilk, you might have to consider the following:
- Avoid eating food that can affect your breastmilk. Remember that what you eat and drink affects the color, smell and consistency of your milk. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, seafood (may contain mercury and other contaminants) and food that is heavy on preservatives and flavors.
- Eat on time and never skip meals. If you plan to feed your baby breastmilk or even breastmilk and formula mix feeding you still need to stay healthy to give a good supply of breastmilk. You should choose foods that are rich in iron, calcium and protein. Include lentils, whole grains, peas, dried fruits and dark or green leafy vegetables in your diet.
- Increase your protein intake by eating more soy products and meat products such as legumes, lentils, seeds and whole grains. Calcium may be augmented by eating dairy and dark green veggies. You may also add cereals, soy milk, tofu, yoghurt and juices in your diet for more calcium.
- Supplements may also be taken especially those containing vitamin B12 and vitamin D. these vitamins are important in supporting brain development, bone development and immune system health in babies.
- Collect breastmilk even if your baby is not feeding. This will ensure that you will have ample supply when he needs it.
How to make sure that your baby is adjusted to mixing breastmilk and formula
To make sure that your baby is taking it well, consult his doctor. He will advise the best feeding schedule and milk formula option that will surely support your baby during breast milk formula mix feeding. Your baby is fully adjusted to breastmilk and formula feeding when he is sucking well, is gaining weight and is not cranky or irritable. There are no side effects too such as colic and other digestive trouble as well as allergies. Soon he will be too old for just drinking milk alone; you would need to introduce solid food. There is no reason to discontinue breastmilk and formula mix feeding even when your baby is eating more solid-type foods.