Mixed feeding

Mixed feeding is when you give your baby breastmilk and formula milk. There are lots of reasons why you might choose to do this, but it’s important to remember that the drawback with mixed feeding is that it can make breastfeeding less efficient.

That’s because when babies breastfeed, the amount of milk they have and how often they feed determines how much milk their mum’s breasts produce. So, less milk out means less milk made. Also, breast and bottle feeding feel different for babies, and it can be tricky for babies to go back to breastfeeding if they’ve taken a bottle.

If you’re thinking about giving your baby some formula because you don’t think they’re getting enough breastmilk, talk to your public health nurse (health visitor) or call one of the breastfeeding support lines. They’ll give you support to help you increase your supply of breastmilk.

Some people think that giving a bottle last thing at night means that their baby will sleep better. In fact, there’s no evidence that this is true, and night feeds are important to keep milk production going, especially in the early weeks. Ask friends and family to give you some practical help so you can rest during the day. Before long, your baby will naturally start to go a little longer at night between feeds.

Sometimes mums decide to start using formula so their partner can help feed the baby, but don’t forget, you can express your breastmilk. Follow our tips for effective expressing.

If you do decide to keep going with mixed feeding, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve allowed a few weeks for breastfeeding to become established before you introduce the bottle. Minimise the impact on the supply of breastmilk by keeping the amount of formula given as small as possible.

There are a few situations when a breastfed baby isn’t receiving enough breastmilk. If the baby risks becoming dehydrated, then you have to supplement with some formula, but your public health nurse (health visitor) can support you through this so that you can return to full breastfeeding.

Remember, any breast milk is better than none.

Useful links

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Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Chat Health. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

Leicester City: text 07520 615381

Leicestershire & Rutland: text 07520 615382

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