Breastfeeding mothers often cannot breastfeed entirely for various reasons. Maybe they have to go to work, or maybe they are in school. Maybe they have to go to the hospital, or their baby may be hospitalized immediately after birth. Some mothers simply want their husbands to be responsible for some of the feedings. There are a variety of reasons why mothers may need to supplement their baby’s feedings with formula.
When it becomes necessary for you to supplement your baby’s feedings with formula, you may encounter several problems. If your baby has been exclusively breastfed, he may not want to accept the bottle. You may have to try several nipples of different sizes and shapes until you find one that he will take. It may take several attempts before he actually starts to suck from the bottle.
When you introduce the bottle, try to give it to your baby when he is not extremely hunger but also not completely full. If he is too hungry, he may not have the patience to try something new and will just become frustrated and begin to cry. If he is too full, he will have no desire to even try the bottle.
Sometimes it helps if you let someone else give the baby his bottle. He may become frustrated if you try to give it to him, preferring to nurse instead. On the other hand, he may only take the bottle from you because you are the one who always feeds him. You’ll just have to try either way to see what will work.
If you know that you will need to supplement one or more feedings regularly, you need to keep giving your baby those supplements even on those days that you might be available to nurse your baby. If you have decided that you want to drop certain feeding times and replace these times with the bottle, you will need to do so gradually.
You may find that your breasts feel engorged when you miss a feeding, and you may feel some discomfort. Try not to be concerned, however. Your milk supply is based on supply and demand. As your baby takes less milk, your milk supply will gradually decrease. Try to drop one feeding every few days until you can comfortably supplement as many feedings in the day as you need.
It will be easier for you and your baby to adjust to the bottle as a supplement if you try to keep to some semblance of a schedule. If you are continually changing the times that you nurse and the times that you supplement, your milk supply will have a harder time adjusting, and your baby may become confused. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever change the times that you are supplementing. You just need to use common sense.
You may find as your baby gets older that he prefers the bottle over the breast. Often, as a mother’s milk supply decreases, it takes longer for her milk to let down. The letdown reflex signals the mother that her milk is flowing. Because your baby will probably enjoy the instant gratification of the bottle, he may become impatient with the flow of your milk.
When this happens, you may become frustrated with your milk supply, which in turn makes it harder for your milk to flow. If this happens, try to relax, but don’t force your child to nurse. Gently hold him in your arms until he turns toward your breast again.
There are many reasons to supplement your breast milk, and with patience, you should be able to supplement feedings for your baby without much trouble. Remember, if you want to keep breastfeeding, you can. You can breastfeed as little as once or twice a day and still supplement with formula. Many mothers who go back to work continue to breastfeed with ease.There are many