You give birth to your baby. And you are exhausted. Dog tired. You just want to sleep and rest and recover.
But a little person needs your attention and care. The entire time, or at least every 2 hours as your doctor reminds you to feed your little one every 2 hours.
If you choose to breastfeed, that’s great. But here’s the bad news.
Many moms do not have milk right after birth, it will take 2 to 3 days (I was in this type even though I joined prenatal classes and was taught that all moms have milk even before birth). And if you are lucky enough to have milk right after birth, you are so unsure if your baby gets full with just a few drops of colostrum.
Can you mix colostrum with formula? Can you mix breast milk with formula?
This is the exact reason why moms should prepare carefully before your babies are born so that you don’t have to struggle with thousands of questions on how to take care of your infants.
In this article, we will address that question, so if for some reason your little one needs formula, you know what to do.
Let’s dive in.
Can babies eat breast milk and formula at the same time?
There is no denying that breast milk has many benefits for babies. In addition to meeting nutritional needs, breast milk also provides antibodies that protect babies from infections and may even reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Plus, breastfeeding is also great for first-time moms. Breastfeeding helps mothers recover faster, helps fight postpartum depression, and reduces the risk of some cancers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. However, in reality, not everyone can do this.
With the thought of having to get breast milk to breastfeed, the mother gradually exhausted and fell into a state of depression.
Research has shown that using formula in combination with breastfeeding for infants has no negative effects on them and your breastfeeding.
So easy moms. Remember, fed is best. No pressure on breastfeeding.Formula milk can meet the nutritional needs of each baby while allowing parents to have time for themselves.
If you feel overwhelmed, overtired, or simply don't have enough milk, consider adding formula to continue your breastfeeding journey.
While breastfeeding is encouraged as much as possible, you may be able to find another method that works for you and your family while ensuring normal development for your baby.
Using the combination of formula and breast milk still provides you and your baby with amazing health benefits, it is also an alternative when a medical or life condition makes exclusive breastfeeding impossible.
Before you start incorporating formula into your baby's diet, you should consult with your doctor or nutritionist. They will help you determine how much formula is in each feeding or 24 hours.
Formula takes longer to digest, so the interval between feeds is longer.
Gradually adjusting your baby's feedings when adding formula to your baby's diet makes it easier for you and your baby to make the transition from exclusive breastfeeding to combination breastfeeding.
When can you mix colostrum or breast milk with formula?
You are not producing enough milk
If you are having trouble producing enough milk to meet your baby's needs, you can increase your supply by drinking more water, eating better, and feeding your baby more often.
However, sometimes despite the best efforts of the mother, breast milk still does not meet the needs of the baby. Hormonal changes, previous breast surgery, certain medications, and even age can affect breast milk production.
In addition, you can consult with medical experts on how to choose the right infant formula for the body and age, helping the baby to receive the necessary micronutrients for development.
Do you have many children?
A lack of milk supply can also affect mothers with twins or multiple babies. Keeping up with the needs of two or more babies can leave you feeling drained and your breast milk depleted - even if the babies are still hungry.
A combination of breast milk and formula may be the solution you are looking for. Whatever routine you want to establish, give your child time to get used to it and adjust.
You need more sleep (and rest)
Taking care of a baby can often leave you feeling exhausted and craving a full night's sleep. Asking a loved one to support you in feeding your baby gives you time to rest.
If at night, no one can help you, consider giving your baby some formula before bed, this will help them stay fuller longer and sleep better.
You go back to work
If you feel stressed and uncomfortable pumping at work, you can give your baby a combination of breast milk and formula. For example, you could breastfeed in the morning and evening, and have a caregiver give formula when you go to work. It will take some time for your milk supply to adjust to this change.
Mix colostrum or breast milk with formula: Is it safe?
If you are wondering if you can mix colostrum or breast milk with formula in the same bottle, the answer is yes!
What’s the catch?
Well, you must follow some safety notes.
Prepare formula according to instructions
If you're using powdered or concentrated formula, you'll need to first prepare the formula according to the instructions, making sure to add the correct amount of distilled or safe drinking water.
Once you have mixed the right amount of formula and water, you can add breast milk.
Never use breast milk in place of water in the formulating process. Maintaining the correct ratio according to the water formula and then adding breast milk separately ensures you won't change the nutritional composition of the formula.
Adding too much water to formula can dilute nutrients, while adding not enough water can put pressure on your baby's kidneys and digestive tract, leading to dehydration. In extreme cases, this can also lead to neurological problems in the child.
If you are using the pre-mixed formula, no further steps are needed before combining it with breast milk.
There are different rules for storing, using, and disposing of breast milk and formula.
Breast milk can be frozen in a food-grade plastic container for 6 months. Once removed from the freezer, breast milk can be kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in an insulated cooler for up to 24 hours.
The ready-to-use formula should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 48 hours. However, it's better to use formula stored in the refrigerator within 1 day. Likewise, a bottle of refrigerated formula mixed with breast milk should be used or discarded within 24 hours.
While a bottle of breast milk at room temperature is fine, can be used for up to 5 hours, a bottle of formula or breast milk mixed with formula should be discarded 1 hour after starting use.
Mix colostrum or breast milk with formula: Pros and Cons
Mix colostrum or breast milk with formula pros
Babies can adjust to flavors faster.
Mixing the two can help your baby get used to this strange taste more easily.
Babies can sleep longer.
Your baby's body needs more time to process the nutrients in formula. So the interval between feedings will be extended if you use both breast milk and formula.
Mix colostrum or breast milk with formula cons
You can waste breast milk
Many people don't want to mix breast milk and formula in the same bottle because they worry that the baby won't drink all of the milk and that the rest of the breast milk will have to be thrown away. This wastes breast milk.
No mother wants to see her pumping efforts go to waste. So if your baby doesn't usually finish his bottle, consider giving him breast milk first, then formula if he's still hungry.
Decrease breast milk
Whether you're supplementing your baby's formula or mixing formula and breast milk, this can cause your milk supply to decrease.
Adding infant formula gradually helps ensure an adequate supply of milk is maintained.
Potential health risks
As mentioned before, the most important thing to keep in mind is to prepare baby formula according to the instructions.
Breast milk should not be used as a substitute for water when preparing powdered or concentrated formulas. Neglecting to use the right amount of water can be dangerous to your baby's health.
Furthermore, breast milk mixed with formula has a significantly shorter shelf life than breast milk. A bottle containing both breast milk and formula must be discarded within one hour of use.
Can you mix colostrum or breast milk with formula: Final Words
While it is true that formula and breast milk can be mixed if you do it correctly, breast milk experts still recommend that you feed your baby breast milk first and then supplement with formula afterward. This will avoid wasting breast milk in case the mother mixes it but the baby does not eat it all.
If your baby is nursing, you can breastfeed first to help your baby learn to suckle effectively and help you make more milk. If the mother feeds the baby with formula first, the mother's milk production will decrease and the baby will also get used to the bottle, but it will be difficult to return to breastfeeding.