Breastfeeding AND formula experiences?

posted 2 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
3224 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

It can be done and some people have to supplement. However to make enough milk you need to have baby on your breasts basically all the time for the first 4-6 weeks. Baby suckling is how your milk comes in and is regulated. If you feed baby a formula bottle you’d need to pump at that time as well or your supply would drop. 

Post # 3
2657 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

We are currently TTC our first, so no first hand experience here, but my SIL combined breastfeeding and formula for both of her sons. She had a very low milk supply (it actually completely dried up within a few months of giving birth both times no matter what she did to increase it). As she had some milk, she wanted to breastfeed as much as she could and just supplement with formula. She also pumped to try and keep her milk supply up. Neither of her sons had trouble switching between breast and bottle, and she liked that it meant her husband could help out with the feeding routine.

Definitely listen to the advice carolinabelle gave though – you do need to breastfeed and/or pump to keep your milk supply up (providing you can, of course).

Post # 4
6829 posts
Busy Beekeeper

You can do it and over time your body will typically learn to regulate milk production to the schedule you have adopted. (Though a crying baby, even not your own, can stimulate let down at interesting times.)

I landed back in the hospital with complications following the birth of one of my children and that baby had no choice but to quickly switch to formula. I pumped and dumped in the hospital and ten days later he was back on the breast. I never had the option of long maternity leaves and all my children went back and forth between bottle and breast with no issue. I have friends who nursed their children until they were three–I was happy to make it nine months to a year while working.

Breast feeding can be easier on many levels, including always having a ready supply that does not require refrigeration or heating. Even pumped breast milk has a reasonable counter life. There is also some freedom to the option of bottle feeding breast milk or formula. My youngest did have recurrent ear infections which is more common in bottle fed babies. 

You will figure out what is best for you. Ultimately make the choices you need to make to ensure your baby is fed and healthy. You will find vocal advocates for both choices in your life (or they will find you), practice saying “thank you, this is what we have decided is the best choice for our child” while changing the subject. 


Post # 5
126 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

My son didn’t latch so well so I tried both.  If you’re not breastfeeding, you do need to pump otherwise your supply will start to dwindle.  My pediatrician put in my head from early on that she felt that breadfeeding and bottle feeding were two separate skills and that babies are capable of learning both.  It worked for us until about 3 months when DS started getting lazy and prefering the bottle over the breast.  Make sure you get a bottle that is designed for a breast fed baby and you control the flow.  Once my supply started dwindling, we did supplement with formula.  DS took both breast milk and formula with no preference and no issue.  Each baby is different though and you won’t really know how yours will be until he/she arrives.  

Post # 6
3778 posts
Honey bee

I had to supplement formula after every breastfeed as my son had latch issues. Supplementing is useful if your child is having difficulty breastfeeding or weight gain issues. Unfortunately you would likely have to add pumping to this plan to help keep your supply. At least, that’s what I had to do, but my ultimate goal was to breastfeed without formula. It was very difficult trying to breastfeed, then pump, then grab a bottle and repeat every two hours. Babies don’t really like to sit there and wait for you to pump for 45 min in the beginning. I think the way to be successful is to just be open minded and keep things as simple as you can. You may feel very differently towards breastfeeding when LO is here (it felt very natural to me even though I was uncomfortable with the idea while pregnant), and you will have driven yourself crazy for nothing. 

Post # 7
1860 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

You can try anything you want that you think might work for you.  Just remember that breastfeeding or pumping is a contract with your body.  Your body will produce milk in the amount and on the schedule that you have told it to.  So if you remove 30 oz via pumping or nursing, your body will attempt to produce 30 oz. the next day.  If you don’t nurse or pump that much, you will be uncomfortable.  On the other hand, if you only remove 10 oz from your body, it will think that is all it needs to produce.  So, if you decide you need more than 10 oz the next day, you will have to go crazy to try to increase your supply.   So pick an amount of pumping/nursing and stick with it.  Lots of people supplement with formula.  It works for many families.  In others, babies develop a preference for formula or nursing or expressed milk or whatever.  You may even prefer formula feeding or nursing or pumping.  You won’t know until you try though, and you can always adjust your plan as you go.  (It is kind of like picking a college major while in high school– totally common to change the plan once you get into it!)

Post # 8
4062 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I ebf’ed, but hated pumping. So DS got formula when I couldn’t bf for whatever reason (was away from him, in the car on trips, on my birthday when I had wine). It never hurt my supply, and he went between the two pretty seamlessly.

Post # 9
7835 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I exclusively pumped with my second daughter because she was started on formula in the NICU and never latched. I was pumping a lot to keep up my supply. And the cleaning is a lot too. I have 3 girls and the first two were not really good nursing experiences at all. My 3rd daughter is 4.5 months now and is an expert nurser and will NOT take a bottle at all- so I just think each baby is different. FWIW, with each of my girls, even the successful breastfeeder, I have found it hard and did not enjoy it at all. I know some people find it to be rainbows and unicorns- but this has not been my experience.

Post # 10
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

In my experience, try breastfeeding first! It’s free, it’s always available, and it felt natural to me. Been EBF for almost 6 months. During my pregnancy I couldn’t even imagine how it would go, but I hate pumping and washing bottles and the pump and now that my son goes about 4 hours between feedings, it’s so much easier to just pick him up and put him to my boob. If we are out and about, I can always feed him in the car, no need to carry messy bottles. I actually never needed hubby’s help to feed him because nursing was the time for me to sit down, hold my son, feed him and bond with him. I preferred being the one to do that while hubby could help out with cooking or laundry or extra diaper changes after baby was fed lol. But I never went back to work and am home with my baby. I decided to stay home for his first year, so that has made breastfeeding so much easier. Plus it burns tons of calories, I now weigh even less than I did pre-pregnancy! 

Post # 11
2894 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I wanted to exclusively Boyfriend or Best Friend because it’s best for baby and easier / cheaper. 

Problem was my supply wasn’t enough. We tried supplementing but formula always made my baby super sick. He had real issues with weight gain and it wasn’t until 16 weeks that we found out he is allergic to cows milk. It’s really worth keeping an eye out for that one. He now has a special formula which he has twice a day. All other feeds are breast feeds. 

I did pump a bit but have stopped now as we’re weaning so I’m ok with stopping Boyfriend or Best Friend if he wants to. 

If you want to Boyfriend or Best Friend it’s really important to focus on getting it established early on. I’m lucky I’m in the UK where we have a year mat leave so I’m able to be at home with baby to feed. 

Post # 12
2870 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I did it for both of my kids. With my daughter, I had to supplement due to low supply because of my labor and delivery. I ended up BFing her until she was 1 yr old. I started off EBF but was told I had to supplement because of her losing weight.

With my son, I started off EBF again but ended up supplementing again due to him losing weight. My milk supply is much better this time so I only give him formula once a day so he doesn’t forget how to drink from a bottle.

Post # 13
4675 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

My son and I had latching issues, so I EBF via pumped milk for his first month. After the first month, I was emotional and exhausted, so I planned to slowly wean from pumping. But I got down to 4 pumps a day and stuck there for the next 5 months. I feed my son formula during the day and the pumped breast milk at night. I did the breast milk at night because I could leave it out for a few hours on my nightstand and it would still be good. At 6 months I weaned from pumping and I had enough frozen milk stored to feed him a bottle a night until he was almost 8 months. 

Post # 14
9216 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i bfed and supplemented.  i had a breast reduction so my supply wasn’t great. DS was also a premie and had tongue and lip ties, not discovered until 8 weeks.  so i was never able to get a good latch with him.  we worked with many LC’s.  things improved after the frenectomy.  but he was lazy, he only wanted fast flow.  so i would breast feed, bottle, and pump, every session.  i did this for 6 months.

Post # 15
702 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Not yet a mom, just expecting but here’s how I understand it–I think supplementing with formula is pretty common, with the goal just being to make sure your baby is getting adequate nutrition. I know moms that struggle with BF’ing and don’t produce enough, so they supplement…or their schedule forces them to supplement.

My plan is to try to avoid formula if at all possible…mostly for the nutritional benefits plus avoiding the expense of formula…but also, and I know this might sound like a dumb reason, because I’ve heard once you introduce formula that’s when their diapers get super stanky :P. Before pregnancy I thought about exclusively pumping because I didn’t know how I felt about BF’ing…but I continue to read that exclusively pumping can be very stressful and isn’t as great as it sounds in theory…you end up doubling up on your time spent feeding since you have to pump first…then feed…then clean your pump…then before you know it, it’s more pumping…feeding…cleaning. I’ll be heading back to work at 12 weeks though, so I know pumping is likely in my future either way. My plan right now is just to try BF’ing, and just do my best to figure out what’s going to work for us.

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