Helpful Tips for Combination Feeding
For many parents, the shortage of infant formula has been challenging. WIC can help answer your questions on feeding your baby and can provide you with support and resources during this challenging time.
For parents using both breastmilk and formula, here are a few tips to consider during the formula shortage:
- If you are doing some breastfeeding, consider doing more! You can even work towards providing only breast milk to your baby by building up your milk supply through more frequent feedings or by adding pumping sessions to your routine. Learn about the causes of low milk supply and find support and tips on how to increase your own milk supply.
- Learn to express breastmilk. A mom who is comfortable expressing her milk manually (by hand) or mechanically (using a breast pump) can collect her milk while away from her baby.
- Learn how to safely store and use pumped milk. Pumped milk can be kept in a refrigerator or stored frozen for later use.
- If you feed your baby formula, talk with your child’s doctor to try a different type of formula if yours is not available. Only obtain infant formula or breastmilk from sources that are trustworthy. Remember to always follow either the manufacturer’s instructions for formula preparation or instructions from your child’s doctor.
- Prepare one bottle at a time. Fill it with the amount of formula your baby consumes at one feeding. This will help prevent having unused prepared formula leftover.
- When shopping for formula, get only the amount you need. Talk to WIC staff to help you determine the number of cans you need.
- It’s important to practice self-care - a nutritious, balanced diet and taking time to care for your physical and emotional needs helps you stay energetic and make plenty of milk for the baby.
- Reach out to your WIC clinic for support!
Are you concerned about your baby’s growth and development?
- Look at indicators to determine whether your baby is getting enough breastmilk or infant formula. Weight gain is the most important indicator. For more information talk your child’s doctor and WIC staff.
- Be familiar with and respond to hunger and satiety cues of your baby.
Other useful information to consider:
- Consider re-lactation, which is the process of reestablishing breastfeeding after having stopped for some time. A WIC-designated breastfeeding expert can provide guidance about this process.
- Babies younger than one year old should not drink cow’s milk. Babies can’t digest cow’s milk since its high concentration of protein and minerals can stress the kidneys of an infant and cause severe illness. It may even cause iron-deficiency anemia because calcium can inhibit iron absorption.
- Around 6 months or when your baby is developmentally ready, you can start introducing solid foods. Introducing foods too early could be a choking hazard and increases the risk of childhood obesity.
Still Have Questions?
The Office on Women's Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and HealthyChildren.org offer resources and information for questions you may have throughout your breastfeeding journey.