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Im planning on combination feeding does anyone have any advice?

(20 Posts)
MrsRhettButler Tue 14-Jun-11 00:16:07

dc2 is due early sep and i am planning on combination feeding from the start, i only managed to bf dd for 2 1/2 mnths because i found it took up so much time sad

I figured if i do combination then firstly it would mean that dp could help and also i could bf for longer.

Does anyone have any tips/advice? The midwife said i should start with exclusivly bf so the baby gets all the goodness in the first few days.
Does anyone have any experience of combination and when did you introduce the bottle?

japhrimel Tue 14-Jun-11 07:15:57

Actually I'd say you really need to ebf for a few weeks to establish supply. Some people do okay but it's common to find supply drops off if ff is added in very early on.

CoraBear Tue 14-Jun-11 07:45:14

I use combination feeding with my son although it wasn't what I had planned for but I find it easy enough. I exclusively breastfed for the first three weeks to make sure my milk supply increased and then moved him on to one bottle a day at his evening feed. While my DP was feeding him his bottle I would express milk and store it in the fridge for the next day.

I would switch between bottles of breast milk and formula and feeding him from the breast throughout the day and he never had any problem with it. I started to introduce his formula feed at the time when he would be hungriest, for us it was the evening and he took to it straight away. I then started giving him bottles of formula in the middle of the day if we were out and about.

I got alot of hassle from my public health nurse so be prepared to be scolded and told that it's not the best thing to do, but to be honest it works out great for me and my son is happy and healthy.

I would recommend that you get your bottles, steriliser etc. in advance and figure out what sort of formula you want to use, it saves the hassle straight after the birth. Also a breast pump is handy if you want to keep your supply increased and the storage bags or Avent VIA cups are brilliant.

Hope this helps.

Sleepyspaniel Tue 14-Jun-11 08:06:16

I combination fed my DD, it worked fine. I did EBF for the first few weeks to establish supply, and because I felt under pressure from family/friends/MW/HV etc etc to EBF! Then I BF mainly at night and FF during the day. I found BF convenient for night as no messing around with bottles etc, and FF convenient during the day as I didn't have to always wear suitable BF clothes/bras/vests and I could plan more activities around feed times rather than being caught short in the middle of a shop with a screaming hungry baby.

I could hardly express anything so that wasn't an option for me. I'm glad I did BF but I did it for DD, I didn't enjoy the experience of BF at all so combination feeding was the best compromise (rather than jacking in the BF altogether).

SarahScot Tue 14-Jun-11 11:17:00

I planned on combination feeding DD (now 13 wks) purely because BFing DS had been so time consuming. DS would feed for 50 minutes every 2 a nd a bit hours so doing the same again wouldn't have been practical this time. However, DD takes 10 minutes and is the easiest baby to feed in the world, meaing I've been able to exclusinvely breast feed - sooooo much easier when baby is an easy feeder.

You never know, you might be lucky too.

Albrecht Tue 14-Jun-11 13:39:10

Please don't look at it as 'only' a certain time with your dd - 2.5 months is a lot of breast milk with a lot of goodness in it, well done! Every drop of breastmilk is a good thing so having the option to give some bottle feeds some of the time sounds like it will help you to bf for longer, which is even better.

BTW I found the early bit by far the hardest and most time consuming. Ds got a lot quicker around 3 months and again a few months later.

BertieBotts Tue 14-Jun-11 13:48:01

Yes definitely breastfeed exclusively in the first weeks, this will give your supply the best possible chance to get established. Then after say 8 weeks or so you could start introducing a bottle once a day. Stick to this for a week or so, then introduce the second daily bottle, up to however many you want.

Then the key to keeping breastfeeding going as long as you want with combination feeding is understanding supply and demand and growth spurts. So if she's feeding a lot all of a sudden, don't panic and assume your milk has run out and give her another bottle or more in her bottle - just keep feeding as much as she wants. All the extra feeding will stimulate supply to keep you going through the growth spurt. If you made up the extra calories needed with formula during this, you wouldn't necessarily know when the growth spurt had finished, so you might carry on with the extra bottles and then suddenly the demand for breastmilk has reduced and your supply will drop - causing you to give more bottles and the cycle continues, you end up stopping BF before you wanted to. If you just stick to using bottles at specific times and breastfeed the rest of the time even if she is being more demanding, you should avoid this.

You could also try getting a sling, which means you can breastfeed and do other things at the same time, which might make it easier for you.

Good luck! smile

SarahJinx Tue 14-Jun-11 17:32:17

I'm combination feeding my 6 week old (much to the disgust of HVs and some MWs) one bottle per day for his last feed. We've been doing it since week one on the advice of an excellent mw because he was large and because my milk didn't come in until the second week. He cluster feeds from 5 till 9 every night and by that point I'm running on empty.

We've never had any 'confusion' and he also has a dummy. Ignore any criticism I say, I was quite upset in the first couple of weeks, felt a proper failure but now am proud of the fact that I'm still doing it, have a thriving baby who doesn't have to go hungry ever (despite the advice of some mws to let him) and will be able to keep doing it because neither of us are exhausted. Its the perfect solution for us.

Good luck.

MrsRhettButler Tue 14-Jun-11 23:22:45

Thanks so much for all the advice, i feel better about it already!

I have bottles/steriliser/pump already so i just have to sort out the formula, im really looking forward to dp and dd being able to help out and will free up the time in the day for me, i was thinking i would bf at night like most of you have said. Or even just when convenient smile

Im expecting a bit of criticism because the mw didnt seem happy with the suggestion but if theres one thing i am its confident in my decisions!

I'd be worried about waiting 8 weeks bertie, wouldnt it be harder to introduce? I was gonna do after about 2 weeks but i guess i'll just see how it goes.

Thanks again to all of you

MrsRhettButler Tue 14-Jun-11 23:25:30

Oh and well done sarah! Its great when you realise you're doing the right thing smile

PacificDogwood Tue 14-Jun-11 23:32:09

I combination fed DS1 from about 6 weeks onwards and it really reduced my supply rather quickly sad.
I am not saying that is going to happen to you, just that there is a danger that it might.

I'd suggest you try to EBF for the first 6-8 weeks at least to really get your supply established - your DP can still help with anything other than BFing (men are SOOO much better with pooey nappies IMO wink) or can give expressed BM with a bottle if you are concerned the new baby would not take to the bottle.

As you've said, make a point of BFing overnight to help supply - and really just take one day at a time smile.
That's what worked for me - one feed day at a time - and I fed DS3 and 4 much longer (DS2 was premature and I only ever expressed for him; that's a whole other story) and enjoyed it more, too.

You've done so well with your first one; you might surprise yourself with this one!

japhrimel Wed 15-Jun-11 06:29:11

FWIW cluster feeding is normal. It's a stage and it passes and excessive cluster feeding (e.g. half the night) is sometimes actually more about a baby that gets overtired and can't settle, rather than one who is hungry.

RitaMorgan Wed 15-Jun-11 07:06:23

I think you probably would want to ebf for the first 4 weeks, then maybe just introduce an occasional bottle (say 3 a week) to get the baby used to it, before properly mix-feeding at 6/8 weeks.

MrsRhettButler Wed 15-Jun-11 09:31:01

Great to hear others experience, so I'm thinking the best way would be to express all the bottle feeds for a while so as to establish supply and wait to introduce formula a little later on.

And as pacific pointed out I think pooey nappies is a great way for dp to bond wink

BertieBotts Wed 15-Jun-11 14:48:31

The only reason I suggested 8 weeks is that it gets you past the first growth spurt, and that you said you got to 2.5 months last time, so it wasn't a concrete thing, just that's what I'd do in your position smile

BertieBotts Wed 15-Jun-11 14:51:03

And sorry I didn't answer your question - very unlikely you'd have problems introducing a bottle at 8 weeks. If babies go through the bottle-refusing stage it usually starts at 3-4 months, and TBH from seeing posts on here, it doesn't seem to make any difference whether you've introduced a bottle before then or not. Some babies just suddenly decide they don't want one. It's not that likely to happen though, so don't worry overly about it - just wait and see what happens. There are loads of things you can try if you get to that point anyway.

BertieBotts Wed 15-Jun-11 14:52:23

And (one last thing sorry!) I think baths are a great job for dads of breastfed babies - either getting in the big bath with them (skin-to-skin bonding!) or just being the one to do the whole bedtime routine except for that last feed (well, maybe including the last feed if you're mixed feeding!)

MrsRhettButler Wed 15-Jun-11 19:26:55

grin thanks Bertie, had no idea there was a bottle refusing stage!

Well I'm glad I asked on here because I would have gone straight to combi feeding from the first couple of days so it's been great to have the advice smile

Thanks all

BertieBotts Wed 15-Jun-11 19:55:00

It's not a stage as such, because most babies don't go through it. But for the few who do it usually starts at 3-4 months smile

japhrimel Wed 15-Jun-11 20:10:21

DD went through a bottle refusing stage at that age despite having had one since day 3 (we had loads of feeding issues after a SCBU stay and it took a month to get her to EBF). She now takes one fine again, but prefers me or her beaker of water most of the time. So as Bertie said, introducing a bottle at any stage doesn't mean you won't run into bottle refusing issues later.

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