Combination Feeding: Explained

Combination feeding is when a baby is receiving breastmilk as well as infant formula, other fluids (e.g. cooled, boiled water) and/or solid foods, depending on the age of the baby. You may choose to combine breastfeeding with infant formula if you:

  • Want to breastfeed for some of your baby’s feeds, but give infant formula for one or more feeds by bottle or
  • Are giving your baby infant formula and you want to start breastfeeding

The more infant formula that you introduce to your baby, the more of an impact it will have on your own breastmilk stores, reducing the amount of breastmilk that you produce. Introducing infant formula needs to be done very gradually, allowing time for you to adapt to meet the needs of your baby.

It might be easier if someone other than you gives the first few formula feeds so that the baby is not near you and picking up the smell of your breastmilk. This can take a little while so give it some time so you can both get used to the feeding routine. If it works, it allows you to continue to breastfeed for longer.

If you would like to restart to breastfeed again, it might take some time but feel reassured that it is possible to do. As your milk supply will naturally reduce once you aren’t breastfeeding, this can be difficult to reverse but with a dedicated focus, you can build up your milk supply again to meet your baby’s growing needs. To breastfeed more, try to:

  • Bring your baby close to you and do as much skin to skin contact as you can
  • Offer the second breast, when your baby comes off the first. Don’t worry if they are not interested at first or don’t feed for long. This is OK. Start with that breast next time, as it helps to boost your milk supply
  • Gradually decrease the amount of infant formula or expressed breast milk used as your supply increases. Try doing this one bottle at a time, until that feed is replaced by a breastfeed
  • Bring your baby for regular weight checks to ensure they are gaining weight consistently
  • Never feel alone, talk to other breastfeeding Mums or a breastfeeding professional to get as much support at this time so as you can successfully continue to breastfeed for longer.

For more information on feeding your baby, call our Careline number on 1800 370 370 – we’d be happy to help!