How can I make sure baby's getting enough to eat, now that I'm nursing and using formula? Transitioning to a Bottle


Mom feeding with baby with bottle.
Now that you're supplementing with formula, you've got two types of feedings to juggle -- breastfeeding and formula (and maybe expressed breast milk too!). Luckily, there are some easy ways to make sure your baby's getting enough to eat -- and some great tips for navigating the transition.

Use an App

"Much depends on why you're supplementing and how often you're breastfeeding the baby. Many families these days are using apps to track feedings." -- Leigh Anne O'Connor, IBCLC, lactation consultant in private practice, New York, NY

Track Diapers, Not Feedings

"With one of my kids, we had to supplement because he was jaundiced. I wanted to continue breastfeeding so we didn't use a bottle for the formula. We used a small cup or syringe to give small amounts and only until his jaundice was under control. We didn't really track how much he drank. We continued monitoring him by wet and dirty diapers like you would with an exclusively breastfed baby."

Keep a Consistent Daily Routine

"I know it isn't everyone's thing to get kids on a schedule, but I did it with four very different kids and it saved my sanity. I breastfed three kids, supplemented (half and half) with my first, and got all of them pretty well-adjusted to breast or bottle right away. No matter what, I fed or pumped on a schedule -- so I could keep my sanity, leave the baby any time if necessary, keep up my supply, and breastfeed. All of my kids more or less ended up conforming to a schedule as well, and it made it very easy to plan my day without fear of when baby might need to eat, or who can feed the baby."

Switch Slowly

"When I transitioned my kids from breast milk to formula or from breast milk to whole milk, I transitioned one ounce per week. So in an 8 oz bottle, it would be 7 oz breast milk and 1 oz formula or whole milk; the next week would be 6 oz breast milk and 2 oz formula or whole milk and so on and so forth. I never had an issue transitioning any of them."

Keep Breastfeeding as the Priority

"I combo-fed both my kids. If you are going to formula feed now and then, you need to pump every time you supplement with formula to tell your body there is still a demand for milk. My advice is that breastfeeding does not need to be all or nothing. I think many people think that if they can't produce enough milk, they just quit. Giving your baby any amount of breast milk is better than nothing. Do the best you can and then supplement to feed your baby."

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