Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Talk to me about supplementing

After having a huge meltdown last night out of exhaustion and frustration, DH is trying to convince me that supplementing LO with formula might be a good thing to give me a bit of a break (even if it is just at night so I can get some sleep).

I really don't want to, and I hate the thought of it. I am so hell_bent on EBF'ing. I feel like I didn't come this far just to start giving him formula but I can see where DH is coming from. 

I have a freezer stash of 100oz that he is also trying to get me to start using on a daily basis to also give me a break and get out of the house for some "me" time while he watches LO, but I am nervous to dip into that as it will deplete fast because some days I can only manage to pump an ounce or two for the freezer.

So, if you supplement with formula at night do you still get up anyways to pump so your supply doesn't go down? Do you mix it half and half with BM or just give formula? What kind of formula do you use? 

Re: Talk to me about supplementing

  • I supplemented due to low supply. I would just give formula and I would give my LO Enfamil Newborn and she really likes it. 

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  • When I went back to work my supply took a huge dip, and I had to start supplementing with formula. We use GoodStart because I heard it was most like breastmilk. I mix the two together, and started out with a small bit of formula just to get him used to it. I felt bad about it too, but am happy he is still getting some BM. Besides, your baby needs a happy mommy!
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  • After having a similar sounding meltdown I started supplementing with 1 bottle of formula per day. The way I justify to myself is that I was going to have to start giving DD a vitamin supplement anyways for vitamin D. Where the formula gives her 100% anyways. This also gives me a chance to go and take a bath and read some of a book or something just to wind down a little. My LO comes with me to work so I usually bring a back up bottle with just in case of BM.. The main point is that you can't be too hell bent and get frustrated.. Just give yourself permission to take that break and supplement with formula if that's something your comfortable with.. Everything works so differently for one person to another so you just have to be comfortable with it is all that matters. 
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  • I supplement for 3 feedings at night and I also pump after those feedings. We supplement for a few reasons- DS has a short tongue and he had to use a nipple shield. The nipple shield was great for a little while but then he started having trouble with it at night because he is a lazy/sleepy eater and was not getting enough due to the shield. He sleeps 100% better now that we give him formula at night.


    I too was starting to have similar meltdowns. I felt that I was not enjoying time with DS because I was getting so stressed out about him not taking the breast "properly". Once I started EPing and bottle feeding everyone is much happier. At first I was a little sad that maybe I wasn't bonding with him but I got rid of that guilt by having some mommy/baby skin to skin contact time during the day.


    ETA: We do not mix the formula and breast milk together in one bottle. I have heard conflicting things about this- some say it's ok and some say not to do it because if the baby does not finish the bottle then you are wasting breast milk. I think you can do it however you want. We give breast milk bottles at 8am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 8pm. He gets formula at 11pm, 2am, and 5am. Sometimes he will still be hungry and needs to be "topped off" and we usually do that with formula. 

  • So far, I pump exclusively - since my milk came in good, we've only had to supplement a handful of times.  I pump every 3 hours during the day, and then aim for every 4 at night (sometimes I make it as long as 5). To keep your supply up, I would recommend pumping whenever the baby gets a bottle.

     I have mixed formula with breastmilk, and I've given straight formula. My LO isn't picky though. So far, we've used both Similac Advance (from the hospital) and Enfamil Infant (from the pediatrician/mailed samples). I have bought 1 box of powdered Similac, but it's been sitting unopened in the pantry since Thanksgiving.

     What I recommend is trying just 1 night a week of breaching your stash for your husband to bottlefeed and you to sleep. You'll probably still wake up about an hour after you normally would've been wakened, and you'll want to pump or hand-express at this point if the baby isn't hungry...but pump for about 20 minutes per boob (this is when a double pump is priceless) and go back to sleep. Repeat this process when you wake up again.

     I found that just 1 night a week of DH completely taking over baby care and letting me do nothing but sleep & pump worked wonders for my energy levels/mood. If he was up to 2 nights (Friday & Saturday, since he was working and I was still on maternity leave) it was even better.

  • I supplement due to low supply and have been since she was 2 days old (she had jaundice and was too sleepy to eat at first). I originally tried to supplement and BF but she would get extremely frustrated on the breast so now I'm an EPer and I pump after ever one of her feedings so what little supply I have is maintained.

    I do not mix the pumped BM with the formula (on recommendation of my doctor and a lactation consultant) because as a PP said if they don't finish the bottle then you're wasting BM.  I am only able to give DD 2oz of BM a feeding (I'm only able to pump 8-10oz a day) so give her that first and then offer her 3-5oz of formula depending on how hungry she is and she eats what she wants and the leftover is dumped (but I don't care because she's gotten the BM first so it's never wasted and I'm only dumping a bit of formula).

    I use Enfamil A+ (it's what she was started on before we left the hospital) and a NUK bottle - but we went through a few other bottles before finding one she liked so don't invest in several of one type of bottle before knowing if your LO will take them.

    Making the decision to supplement is a personal one so do what feels right to you but remember that you need to do what's best for both of you.  A happy mommy makes for a happy baby.

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  • The more stressed/tired you get, your supply will go down anyway. I went to the lactation clinic for the same problem - I was having a meltdown because I was EXHAUSTED and the lactation specialist told me to let my husband give LO a bottle of breastmilk during the night so I could get some rest. It changed my world.

    We use The First Years Breastflow bottles (also recommended by the LC) and they have been the only bottles with a slow enough flow. I highly recommend it.

    I havent had to supplement with formula at all. I just pump when I have some down time to keep bottles in the fridge and I try to freeze when I can. I have about 20 3 oz. frozen bags in the freezer.

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  • I had a similar breakdown.  We had started supplementing in the hospital due to jaundice, and DH convinced me to keep it up, both to give me a break and to have a back-up.  Now, if my supply tanks when I return to work next week, I know DS will have no problem taking formula when needed.  Also, DS is an extemely unpredicatble eater.  Having a formula back-up has saved us numerous times.

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  • we had to supplement in the hospital due to jaundice too, and i felt HORRIBLE about it. i felt horrible when the pediatrician told me that i should keep supplementing for a few days until my milk really came in. and i felt horrible when DH & my mom both suggested that i let them give the baby some formula so i could skip a feeding & get some extra (much needed) sleep. but i don't feel so bad about it now. it gives me a little break which keeps that meltdown at bay. i've been close to breaking down, but just getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night once a week really makes things so much better. i've found it hard to pump because it seems like once my milk has filled up again & i can pump, LO wakes up & is ready to eat. we use similac advanced because that was what they gave him in the hospital. i have a few cans of other stuff i got as samples, but i'm nervous about switching him too soon.

    remember that LO is getting the benefits of the breastmilk, but you can take a little time to yourself too. it's important to take care of yourself just as much as it is to take care of baby.

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