Combination Feeding and Maintaining Milk Supply
What is combination feeding, how to use it, and how to keep making milk.
If you are thinking about giving your baby infant formula, talk to your baby's doctor first. Your doctor can help you choose the best time to introduce infant formula and which infant formula is best for your baby. Your WIC breastfeeding staff can help you continue to breastfeed while giving your baby some infant formula.
What is Combination Feeding?
Combination feeding is when you feed your baby both breast milk and infant formula. It is also known as mixed feeding.
Breast milk is the best source of infant nutrition for your baby. But if feeding your baby only breast milk is not an option for you, combination feeding lets you keep giving your baby the important nutrients in your breast milk. The more breast milk your baby gets, the greater the health benefits. You will also continue to get benefits from breastfeeding.
Maintaining Your Milk Supply
Giving your baby formula can cause your baby to breastfeed less. Regular breastfeeding at least 8-12 times a day helps you keep a healthy milk supply, especially in the early weeks.
While combination feeding can put your milk supply at risk, it doesn't have to. Here are a few tips that will help you keep breastfeeding and keep a healthy milk supply:
- Pump or hand express at regular intervals to maintain or build your milk supply. You can also breastfeed on one breast while pumping on the other.
- Exclusively breastfeed, giving your baby only breast milk, for as long as possible during your maternity leave and whenever you are with your baby.
- Do not start combination feeding until you are breastfeeding regularly and well.
- If possible, return to work part-time for a week or two before going full-time.
- Look for childcare close to work so that you may be able to breastfeed your baby during a break.
To meet the needs of breastfeeding moms and babies, WIC offers special food packages. Talk to your WIC staff about your breastfeeding. Together, you can decide if you need infant formula and how much. WIC will support your breastfeeding goals.
The best nutrition for your baby is breast milk, however some families provide their infant both breast milk and infant formula in order to support their baby’s health. Just like breastfeeding, combination feeding is different for every mom. Contact your WIC breastfeeding staff to learn more.