Even if you choose to breastfeed, there are still a number of reasons you may need or want to supplement with formula. Perhaps you aren’t producing enough milk and need to just offer a little bit more to help your baby gain that oh so adorable chunk? Perhaps you have gone back to work and just aren’t pumping enough during the day? Or perhaps you’re like me and produce just enough so you never had a milk stash built up? Whatever your reasons are for needing, or wanting, to supplement with formula, if you’ve been breastfeeding, you may not know where to start when it comes to supplementing, so I thought I would share some tips I found helpful when I needed to supplement.
For me, I was lucky enough to pump just enough milk each day when I went back to work. However, that meant that I could never build up much of a stash of milk. So when my work’s annual conference came around and I was planning on leaving Elliott with Christopher for 4 days, I knew that I would need to supplement with formula. Since I had been breastfeeding exclusively for so long, I really had no idea where to start! I turned to trusty google but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for so then I turned to friends, family, and crowd-sourcing a local parents facebook group for tips! Here were my most helpful tips!
Do Not Mix Breastmilk and Formula
I really wasn’t sure if I should be mixing formula with the breastmilk or not. The biggest tip I got was to not mix the formula with the breastmilk. You definitely don’t want to waste that breastmilk if your baby doesn’t drink the whole bottle so you have at least two options. First, you can offer a bottle of breastmilk and then offer a bottle of formula until baby is full. Or, you can replace one-two bottles a day that would normally be breastmilk, with formula instead. I always chose the second one because by this point I knew exactly how much milk Elliott would drink each day and I knew how much I had stored before I went out of town.
Supplement Formula with Breastmilk on a 1:1 Ratio
This was another huge question I had. Luckily, I didn’t have to do any math when figuring out how much formula she would want. I already knew about how many bottles and how much breastmilk she drank each day so it was easy to just replace one or two of those bottles with a bottle of the same amount of formula.
Which Formula Do I Choose?
This was a huge one! I mean have you ever even walked by that formula aisle at the store?? There are literally hundreds of choices! As always, I suggest you do your research. For me, Enfamil formula was a no brainer choice because of their long history and solid reputation, and their scientific formulas to support baby’s brain development and bodily nourishment. I also appreciate Enfamil’s commitment to the community through the Enfamil Family Beginnings. If I can support a company that supports others, I always try to do so. I always went with Enfamil Gentlease Formula. Elliott had some sensitivity to certain foods I ate which would give her gas so I decided to err on the safe side and choose the formula that was extra sensitive on her stomach. Additionally, the Clean Label Project has given Enfamil Gentlease Formula five stars so I felt even more confident with my decision!
Enfamil currently has a Free Formula for a Year Promotion (!) going on! All you have to do is sign-up for Enfamil Family Beginnings by December 31, 2017 and you’ll have a chance to win your choice of free Enfamil formula for an entire year!
It’s OK if Your Baby’s Diapers Look Different With Formula
Babies digest formula differently so it makes sense that your baby’s poop will look different too. It may be firmer, a different color and smell different too. As long as your baby doesn’t have black or bloody diapers, you shouldn’t need to worry. As always, consult a your doctor if you have any concerns!
Make Sure to Continue With Your Regular Pumping Schedule
Even if you are supplementing with formula, it is important to continue to pump when you normally would, or when you would normally nurse, to keep up your supply!