Five Tips for Combination Feeding

Combination feeding, sometimes called partial weaning, involves the transition of exclusively breastfeeding a child to a mix or combination (hence the name) of breast and bottle feedings. This is a great option for parents looking to resume work, school, or other responsibilities beyond parenting.  Combination feeding also help facilitate a child’s growth and development towards solid foods while simultaneously giving the mother a break from the non-stop need of a nursing newborn.

After all, it can be quite tolling emotionally, physically, and mentally for a new mother during the early stages of breastfeeding. For whatever reason you choose to switch to combination feedings, it is important to start this new routine with caution and care. The last thing you’ll want is to inadvertently compromise your baby’s nutrition and health in the process.

Thankfully, the former of the two is much easier to accomplish due to the advent of an outstanding array of infant formulas on the market. Today’s all-natural, organic baby formulas have proven to provide nourishment as good as milk straight from a mother’s breast.

At the same time, by carefully planning your child’s feeding schedule, you can ensure that you are still nurturing his or her emotional development as you transition your little one from breast to bottle. If you or someone you know might be ready to give combination feeding a try, keep in mind these five helpful tips before making the change.

1. Breastfeed Only During the First Six Weeks

Try breastfeeding your baby from birth and continue consistent feedings for at least the first six weeks. This firmly establishes a mother’s strong milk supply from day one. Avoid introducing combination feedings until after this critical period.

2. Create Your Feeding Schedule

While it’s a myth that lactation stops when nursing is cut down in frequency, each mom’s body is different and unique. Some find that nursing only once or twice a day is plenty to stimulate milk production, while other moms require much more in a single 24-hour period.

Experiment with your own body and see what works best for you. There is no steadfast schedule that will work for everyone. Start out by slowly reducing the number of daily feedings until you find a number that works best for you.

3. Pick the Right Formula

Whole milk or soy milk? Iron fortified or ADA and EFA fortified? Low sodium or hypoallergenic? When searching for the ideal infant formula, the options are seemingly endless. How do you make the right choice?

First, know the basics. Formulas come in powder form, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-drink. The latter of the three is typically the priciest, yet all three adequately provide the nutrients your baby needs. Whichever type of formula you choose; you’ll always want to opt for organic infant formula whenever possible.

Also, remain weary of added sugars as well. Since human milk has a higher concentration of lactose than that of cows, many manufacturers use sugar to fill the gap. Look for sugar free formula if possible.

When it comes to what type of milk, conventional versus soy options, know that organic cow’s milk for babies is most popular and perfect for healthy full-term children. Soy is a good alternative for those with allergies and intolerances to the proteins and lactose found in traditional organic cow milk for babies.

4. Make Bottle and Breast Feedings as Similar as Possible

While it’s nearly impossible for your feedings from the breast and from the bottle to be identical, there are a few strategies that can make your little one think otherwise. While feeding from the bottle, try slowing and even delaying the flow to teach the child to keep sucking until the next release. While breastfeeding, a careful use of breast compressions can more closely mimic the flow of a bottle.

5. Be Patient and Go Slow

Making the jump from breast to bottle is a big step for both you and your little one. It is a delicate process that takes time, practice, and experimentation. Don’t expect it to happen all at once and without any problems along the way.

It’s entirely possible that your baby may reject the bottle at first. That’s okay, just keep at it. Your first formula find might not agree so well with your tyke’s tummy. Don’t fret, try another. With a little patience and a lot of love, combination feeding can work wonders for many new mamas.

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