Yes! You can successfully combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding & the flexibility of this option means many parents choose to do this.
Naturally most Mums aim to breastfeed as it's the very best choice for baby & it provides all the nutrition your baby needs to grow for around the first 6 months. Even when your baby starts on solid food at around 6 months, experts recommend you continue breastfeeding as well for as long as you can. However in today's world, there are several reasons why parents might decide to introduce a bottle sometime in the first year. These can include:
- Returning to work.
- Physical issues making breastfeeding difficult.
- Other caregivers looking after baby.
Introducing a bottle:
If you've breastfed your baby from the start, don't be surprised if the bottle is rejected at first. Many babies won’t take a bottle from Mum because they can smell breast milk! Here are some top tips:
- Ask another caregiver to offer a bottle instead of Mum.
- There are many different shapes and sizes of bottle teats on the market - you may find you need to experiment a little until you find one your baby prefers.
- Try warming the teat in warm water first.
Holding your baby in a different way from your usual breastfeeding position can also help your baby get used to the new way of feeding.
Combining breastfeeding and formula feeding:
Combining breastfeeding with formula feeding is an option that could suit you if you go back to work.
- Before you return to work aim to reduce the number of breastfeeds gradually. This will stop your breasts becoming uncomfortably engorged and leaky & also reduce your risk of developing mastitis.
- It takes around three to seven days for your breasts to adjust to missing one feed.
- Try dropping one feed a week, perhaps starting with a daytime feed.
- When you swap a breastfeed for a bottle of formula, your usual supply of milk at that time of day will reduce.
Even if your baby happily takes formula feeds while you’re at work, you might still like to breastfeed first thing in the morning and in the evening when you get home. It’s a good chance for you and your baby to have special time again after your time apart.