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Has anyone breastfed and supplemented with formula? What did you do and why?

When I had my son I didn't produce enough milk to satisfy him and ended up getting frustrated and quitting - I would like to try again with my second but am exploring my options proactively to avoid becoming frustrated again. Basically trying to line up back up plans so I don't feel like a failure again and any advice would be great!

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:06 PM on Mar. 2, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

Answers (13)
  • If you supplement with formula, it will reduce your supply. I would heartily recommend a good quality breastpump - it will increase your supply and leave you with supplemental bmilk. They rent them at the hospital. I did supplement on occasion with formula when I hadn't pumped recently, or didn't have time to thaw some breastmilk. But I don't work so it wasn't often, only for appointments and "dates" with my husband.
    There are some really good breastfeeding classes out there that could also give you some good tips for breastfeeding, and make sure you speak with at least one and preferably two lactation consultants before you leave the hospital (some are better than others!)

    Answer by missanc at 1:10 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • a lot of first time mothers think they aren't producing enough to satisfy their child but in reality, they just don't realize how often a breastfed baby eats! And the more often they nurse, the more your supply will build up!

    do not pump until you have been breastfeeding successfully for about 1 month either!

    No pump I ever used worked as well as baby. Hand expressing the milk works WAY better than any pump too.

    NO bottles until baby is well into breastfeeding too! Nipple confusion can really screw up nursing! The bottle is so much easier, baby will get lazy and nurse less often.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:14 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • I supplemented with my daughter due to her low weight being a preemie (her pedi recommended it). I pumped exclusively, so it was easy to just mix the two together with some water for the formula.

    With work and not keeping up with the pumping schedule, I was only able to pump 4 mos, so she stayed on formula after that.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 1:15 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • i exclusevly pump for 11 mts. for the first 6 mts he got maybe one bottle of formula a week,from 6=9 mts about 2-3 a week and at 10 mts one or 2 a day.

    Answer by piwife at 1:15 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • I breastfed and supplemented with formula because my son was a lazy sucker and hadn't reached his birth weight after 3 months of BFing. I felt like a big fat failure too. We tried Medication for me, after all the herbal stuff failed me too. It was so hard. what made it worse was everyone telling me you'll produce however much he needs. I just wanted to scream "don't you think I'm trying!"

    I gave up after 7 months.

    We're ttc right now, and my plans are to just feed as often as I can, hungry or not. I'm also going to buy a digital scale so i can weigh the baby before I feed and after, that way I know. I also plan to never ever take Reglan again no matter how desperate i am.

    My super lactating friends tell me that the second one is easier. I can only hope its true because it was so emotional for me, i don't want to go through that again.

    Answer by Christina2135 at 1:22 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • Before offering any advice and such, can you tell me why you say you did not produce enough? Be as specific as you can.

    Answer by Krysta622 at 1:33 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • Ummm . . . sort of. I work full time outside of the home. Some days I can pump enough for her to eat at daycare and some days I can't. My body really doesn't like the pump. So, I supplement with formula as needed. However, my daughter is stubborn. She will not drink breast milk from a bottle. I have to put one oz of formula in each bottle to change the flavor a bit before she will drink it even when I have enough milk pumped.

    Answer by other_mother at 1:43 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • I had a really traumatic/blood loss birth and had trouble with diaper counts for a week and then started giving a few oz of formula per day and it got the diaper count up. I stopped the formula after a couple of months and the diaper counts were fine.

    I think you should try just breastfeeding from the get-go and see how it goes. Don't assume because your baby eats 24/7 you are not satisfying your baby. Eating constantly is normal. The thing to watch is diaper count. 1 diaper per day of life until 5 days old and then at the very least 5 good disposi (7 cloth) diapers per day after that. Babies also can lose up to 10% of birthweight after being born (slightly more if by c-section or IV fluids were used) before loss stops and gain should start. Don't let them badger you over a small loss.

    The best advice to start off a nursing relationship right is do not allow ANY BOTTLES - NONE - and nurse the baby on demand

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:30 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • The best thing you can do is to assume that you will produce plenty of milk and do everything you can to get off on the right foot. Supplementing with formula can be the last resort. Before doing that, if baby is showing signs of needing more milk, you can breastfeed more frequently and/or pump and supplement with your own milk. So often when baby shows signs of not getting enough milk mo is simply told to start giving formula. Often no one tells her that an option is to pump and supplement with her own milk, of that she should be pumping or breastfeeding more frequently to stimulate supply. There is a really great website you should check out:
    Also, attend a La Leche League meeting while you are still pregnant.


    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 5:18 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • I did a lot with my first daughter because I was working 4 days a week and simply couldn't keep up with her with what I pumped (and I felt like I was doing nothing but pumping while I was away from her!). I guess maybe because I was used to having to resort to the formula, I pulled some out with my second daughter when she seemed "still hungry" even though she had full access to me... it was a mistake. I guess I didn't have the confidence that my body could feed her exclusively. To make a long story short, it entered into the cycle of supplementing... it didn't get to bad, though, before I talked to some people who encouraged me to just cut off the formula and nurse non-stop for a weekend. It worked. From 5 months onward she was EBF again. I worried because at her 9 month appt she had dropped noticeably in her weight percentiles, but I kept at it and after she got more solids she was back up there. (cont'd)

    Answer by EmilySusan at 8:35 PM on Mar. 2, 2010

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