Introducing a Formula for Your Breastfed Baby
The journey through motherhood comes with many exciting things, as well as struggles. One of them is breastfeeding.
For the first six months of a baby’s life, health practitioners recommend exclusive breastfeeding to provide your baby with the proper sustenance. However, moms worry about breastfeeding for several reasons like specific medical situations that can lead to insufficient breast milk supply, latch-on pain, struggle to maintain a milk stash while working, or challenges in lifestyle and comfort.
As a solution, many parents resort to supplementing with formula. However, not many people know how to supplement with formula. The process is simple. All the parents need to do is offer their baby a combination of formula and breastmilk, either pumped and offered in a bottle or directly nursed to a baby. It can be helpful to first talk to a lactation consultant or doctor about this option. Some moms offer formula then stop once they have increased their breast milk supply. Others decide to cut back on breast milk completely.
What formula should I choose, and how will it affect my baby?
If you have no idea how to supplement with formula, starting with commercial infant formulas is a great start. Not to mention, it is a nutritious alternative to breast milk. For many years, baby formula replicates the nutrition offered by human breast milk. But choosing the right one among the various offerings in the market can be difficult.
Usually, the first formula that you try is cow’s milk protein. Babies who are intolerant to these formulas, however, are offered soy-based formulas. There are unique infant formulas with different or added components like prebiotics designed to keep the baby’s stool soft or probiotics, decreasing colic symptoms. Before deciding, it is best to consult with your pediatrician on the best formula for your baby.
Now that you know how to supplement with formula, the introduction stage should get followed by taking note of the baby’s stools’ color and consistency. Their stools are typically a shade of yellow or brown with a pasty consistency. This description is different from the stools of exclusively breast-fed babies, which are looser and mustard-like in color.
Tips on How to Successfully Supplement with Formula
Experiences in mixed feeding differ among women. Some find the switch between breastmilk and formula easy, but others do not. It might take some time for your baby to adjust, but consistency is necessary to introduce formula successfully to your baby. Here are a few things that you can keep in mind:
- One way to introduce something unfamiliar to your baby is by turning it into something they already know. In this case, incorporate similar feeding experiences when supplementing with formula. The goal is to encourage your infant to like breastfed-milk and baby formula, so consistency is vital.
- Have your baby switch sides even when you are formula-feeding. Having them burp between sides gives them the idea that they are still consuming the same thing.
- Another tip on how to supplement with formula successfully is introducing formula-feeding in intervals. Providing formula an hour or two after breastfeeding can trick your baby into overlooking the differences between the two. Introducing formula-feeding little-by-little can help mothers keep up their milk supply, and babies would not have difficulty with their new food intake.
- Finally, it is best if you let your baby eat until they are full. Try not to obsess about measuring the amount of formula or breastmilk your baby has consumed. They will eat when they are hungry and stop if they are satisfied. At the same time, it is imperative to watch their weight to ensure that they are consistently healthy.
Recommended Formula for Breastfed Babies
Now that you understand how to supplement with formula, it is crucial to determine the right formula suitable for your baby. There are many formulas for babies. So, you should know where you can begin.
It is important to note that there are formulas designed explicitly as supplementary to breastmilk. They often contain lutein, a nutrient found in breastmilk, and prebiotics for softening infants’ stool. Some formulas are rich in iron, while some are milk-based. Overall, it is integral that parents discuss various formula options with their pediatrician. They can help you determine the best formula that will make your baby the healthiest.