How 5 Moms Embraced Their Decision to Supplement

mom bottlefeeding baby

One of the first parenting lessons we learn is that things don’t always go quite as we expect. Babies are unpredictable! And sometimes, our bodies are, too. For many moms, this means having to supplement their babies with formula for some feedings, even if they had intended to only breastfeed. That’s why Similac designed their first formula specifically for moms who supplement – to make the transition easier for moms and babies alike.

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Whatever the reason for needing to or simply wanting to add formula – and there are many, and they are all valid – making the decision can be an emotional one for moms. Here, 10 moms share their experiences supplementing, and how they came to terms with their decision.

  • "I had to pump exclusively with my boys. With my daughter, I had to start supplementing because she was getting into the ‘failure to thrive’ zone. I was upset at first, mostly because I had such a rough start and I was finally to a point where I was enjoying breastfeeding. I [combined] formula and breastfeeding for a month, but I ended up drying up. She's fully formula fed now. I was upset in the beginning, and I felt like a failure. Overall though, I'm just happy she's happy and healthy and finally gaining weight. [S]he's the sweetest calmest baby, and we still bond just as well during feedings." – Danielle, mom of 3
  • "My first son was born at 35.5 weeks. I pumped around the clock for him. We tried to introduce the breast, but [he] struggled with nipple confusion. It was stressful, to say the least. I went back to work around five weeks after his birth. I tried to pump while I was working. My office did not have a plan for me to pump and no idea how to help me. I really struggled with feeling like a failure. After about two weeks of pumping at my office, I decided that it was just better for all of us to introduce formula. I stopped pumping 100% when he was about 8 weeks old. I was really upset at the beginning. I had told myself all along that I would breastfeed until he was at least a year old. My own mental goal was really making things harder for me. I talked to other [nursing] moms and finally came to peace with stopping. I was reminded that even though I was no longer breastfeeding, my son was growing and thriving and that was really what it is all about." – Kendra, mom of 2
  • "I pumped exclusively with my first for six months. When I stopped, I didn't feel bad at all, because I basically spent my life pumping. My second, I nursed for six weeks, then pumped for the next 4 months. Switched to formula after I had gallbladder surgery and couldn't sit up to pump. I was pretty upset because I wasn't ready to quit yet. With my daughter, I nursed and pumped for three months. I had to switch to formula because I had severe PPD and needed to go on a medication that wasn't approved to take while nursing. I was upset because I had successfully nursed her (unlike my boys) and would have been able to continue if it weren't for my depression. But I was really miserable and it was important I get better." – Erin, mom of 3
  • "With my daughter, I was determined to nurse exclusively. I rejected formula entirely. But then she started losing weight [and] having concentrated urine and I had to supplement pretty early on. I had low supply [due to] hypoplastic breast tissue but we had a great nursing relationship for two years. I had a similar experience with my son, who nursed until a year old and self-weaned. It was hard, too, but the blow was not as damaging to my mama ego." - Katie, mom of 2
  • "I never had any preconceived ideas about how long I'd breastfeed. I took it for granted I'd just 'know' when the time was right, whether baby-led or situational. And it was true for all of mine. When it made sense to wean to the bottle, we did, and I never had any negative feelings about it." – Chrissy, mom of 4

If you supplemented while breastfeeding, how did you feel about it?

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