Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding? Have you decided to not pick one or the other, and instead opt for mixed feeding? You will be breastfeeding your little bundle of joy while giving him or her bottles once in a while (and vice versa). To go about this as smoothly as possible, for you and for baby, here are some useful tips.
Why mixed feeding?
The choice of mixed feeding can be motivated by any different reasons. When it is made from the child’s birth, it most often is for practical reasons. For example. you can decide to breastfeed in the morning, and opt for bottle feeding in the evening so that daddy can do it.
It could be the other way around: You bottle feed during the day, and opt for breastfeeding in the evening just because it is more convenient for you. No getting up at 4 am to prepare a bottle, the milk is there and ready for baby.
It is however recommended for young mothers to wait at least 4 to 6 weeks after birth to implement mixed feeding. Indeed, it is the necessary amount of time for lactation to be well in place, and for your baby to come to grips with suckling.
You may also choose to mix feed later on, for example when the time of weaning comes around, so as to ensure a soft transition. Mixed feeding can also be a good solution when you go back to work: in the daytime, baby is fed on a bottle at the day-care or with the nanny. In the morning and evening, you still maintain that precious moment that is breastfeeding.
Tips for a good mixed feeding experience for baby
Mixed feeding can sometimes be a bit difficult to handle for a baby. Breasts and bottles do not demand the same sucking technique. A baby discovering the bottle will usually appreciate the way the milk flows without too much effort. On the other hand, breastfeeding requires a bit more perseverance and patience, as milk does not flow as fast.
As a result, a baby fed on bottle and on breast could have a tendency to shift away from the breast, at it seems too long and difficult. In this case the solution is to take care in the choice of the bottle teat, and prefer one that resembles as much as possible the motherly nipple: supple, longer, not too thick… These teats from Tommy Tippee have been designed to mimic the natural movement and softness of mum’s breast, so as to make the breast to bottle switch easier; you can find them with different flow factors, to adapt to every baby. They are available from the leading store Mothercare – do remember to shop with a Mothercare Discount Code for great deals on all of baby’s essentials.
Bear in mind that breastfed babies eat more often, but less than bottle-fed babies. If you mix feed, set into this rhythm: reduce the amount of milk poured in the bottle, and give bottles more often. For example, for a two or three month old baby, schedule a 120 to 150 millilitre bottle every three hours. If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult your physician.
Some tips for mummies who mix feed
Setting up mixed feeding is not always easy for mums. Indeed, if you are lactating and had planned for a bottle and not a breastfeed, you will need to find a solution to avoid engorgement. In this case, the best to do is to pump a bit of milk, but not too much, just to avoid pain. This way, your body will get used to producing a bit less milk.
However, it is important to maintain lactation: If you breastfeed only once a day, you risk seeing too much decrease or even an interruption in your milk production. Ideally, you will want to plan three breastfeeds every 24 hours. But bear in mind this depends on each mum: you should adapt your breast-bottle rhythm according to your body, your baby, and your schedule! As long a baby and mummy are happy and healthy, there’s not much to add 🙂