Nature gave humans a way to feed their babies–breastfeeding–which provides infants with all of the nutrients and antibodies they need for optimal development. Despite being a natural way to feed your baby, every mother’s situation is different and breastfeeding can become difficult for a variety of reasons. When breastfeeding is no longer an option, many mothers turn to mixed feeding.
What is mixed feeding?
Mixed feeding is a feeding plan in which a baby is fed with both breast milk and formula.
Is mixed feeding right for me and my baby?
Although breastfeeding exclusively is ideal, there are several circumstances in which it makes sense to start mixed feeding.
Some of these reasons include:
- The mother cannot produce an adequate amount of milk to nourish the baby or suffers from mammary gland inflammation.
- The baby has difficulty sucking enough milk from the breast.
- Work-related reasons.
Before choosing to mixed feed, it’s important to consult a lactation expert or a pediatrician.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
There are a few clues that your baby is not getting enough to eat. One of the the first red flags is if your baby cries post feeding. The number of dirty and wet diapers your baby uses every day can also give you a sense of whether or not your child is eating sufficiently.
If you have any suspicion that there is an issue with feeding, consult a specialist.
What are the advantages of mixed feeding?
The goal of mixed feeding is to ensure that your baby is getting all of the nutrients they need in the event that breastfeeding is no longer possible.
Mixed feeding has advantages, including:
- The health and growth of the child are not compromised thanks to the supplements of formula milk.
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), probiotics are added to formula to prevent diarrhea.
- Babies can still receive the nutrients of breast milk albeit in limited quantities.
- It is a way to satisfy babies who are hungry after breastfeeding.
- Dads can participate through bottle feeding, promoting and building the bond they have with their child.
- Close family members can also help with bottle feeding.
- It can be a relief for some women who have work commitments and cannot breastfeed at certain times.
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What are the disadvantages of mixed feeding?
Despite the fact that mixed feeding can be beneficial for both baby and mother, there are a few challenges to consider:
- Bottle feeding can make your baby gassier than breastfeeding, which can cause fussiness and crying.
- The process of preparing a bottle with formula can be tedious and time consuming. Remember that the bottle must be sterilized and the formula must be at the proper temperature.
- Formula can be expensive.
- The baby may get used to bottle feeding. Because suctioning is easier and needs less effort, they may prefer it and reject breastfeeding altogether.
- By reducing breastfeeding, a mother’s glands may stop producing enough milk (sucking stimulates the production of breast milk).
How can I implement mixed feeding successfully?
Despite the possible downsides to mixed feeding, there are ways reduce the negative side effects and implement mixed feeding successfully.
1- Always try to offer the breast first
To prevent your baby from getting used to bottle feeding, offer your breast first and feed until you’ve run out. Then switch to bottle feeding.
Breastfeeding will stimulate your mammary glands for future milk production.
2- Give them bottles that require suction
This will prevent your baby from preferring a bottle rather than making the effort to breastfeed (this for babies who do not have any physical difficulty with sucking).
We hope this article helped you navigate the transition to mixed feeding. Remember, consult your doctor or lactation expert for guidance. Find more feeding tips on our app and download the Kinedu FREE today!