10 On Series

10 On: Supplementing


Many parents are feeding their babies a combination of breast milk and formula. Here are 10 things to know about supplementing breast milk with baby formula:

1- Breastfeeding while supplementing

Breastfeeding doesn’t have to end just because you start supplementing with formula. You can continue to do both for as long as you want/can.

2- Scheduling supplementing

Planning out when you’ll breastfeed/pump and when you’ll supplement is important since your milk supply will adjust to any changes in demand pretty rapidly. A feeding routine can also help you avoid getting plugged ducts or mastitis from poor breast milk drainage.

3- Go slowly with supplementing

No matter when you decide to supplement, it’s best to introduce formula slowly, if possible — and choose a time when your baby is calm. If you need to top up with formula after each or most feeds, nurse your baby first to completely empty your breasts and then offer a few ounces of formula.

4- Immune system and supplementing

Any amount of breast milk has benefits for you and your baby, and supplementing won’t water them down. Even just colostrum from the first few breastfeeds contains immune factors which help keep your baby healthy.

5- Supply while supplementing

Your breasts usually only need a day to adapt to any changes in demand for milk. You still need to breastfeed or pump every 3 hours to maintain your full supply while supplementing.

6- Weaning while supplementing

Supplementing can help your baby adapt and prepare for life after the boob. Just don’t drop all your feeds at once to avoid getting an infection. Give yourself two weeks to fully wean.

7- Duration of supplementing is your choice

Many moms temporarily supplement with formula if their baby drops too much weight or their bleeding nipples simply can’t handle another latch. Others opt to supplement long-term for lifestyle or medical reasons. How you feed your baby is your business.

8- Supplementing provides flexibility of feeding

Supplementing means other people can feed your baby while you’re away, giving you one less thing to stress about.

9- Baby’s sleep while being supplemented

Formula is digested more slowly than breast milk, which can keep your baby fuller for longer. A ‘dream feed’ of formula could mean fewer wake-ups and more sleep for everyone.

10- Pumping while supplementing

The noise, the suction, the effort… let’s be honest, no one actually likes pumping. Supplementing offers an option for working moms who just aren’t interested in pumping or simply can’t do it at work.

Need more useful info from our 10:On series? Check out tips regarding baby gas, baby allergies, baby poop and more.

The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant's pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.

Meet the Author

  • Milk Drunk Weekly

    Need a good read while you feed? Keep in the loop with the top pieces from the Milk Drunk team.