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Regardless of if you are a mother feeding from the breast or the bottle, using breast milk or formula, taking care of your baby, keeping them alive and helping them grow is what is most important. We are no stranger to how hard it can be to nurse a baby and return to work—or go anywhere for that matter. It’s not uncommon to want to throw in the towel altogether and turn to formula. For those moms who are discouraged, breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And frankly, the way you feed your baby should be a guilt-free decision.
What to know about supplementing breast milk with formula
A little breast milk goes a long way
For those who are discouraged about a low supply, a small amount of breast milk still provides benefits, so don’t give up on breastfeeding altogether. There is not much research as to the exact minimum amount needed to be considered beneficial, but the commonly referenced amount is as little as three to four ounces of per day. You can mix breast milk with formula to make combination bottles, or whatever combination of breast milk and formula works best for you. This can be a huge relief to mothers who are struggling to keep up their supply to breastfeed full time.
Parenting should be a judgment-free zone
We understand that what or how you feed your baby is a big deal, especially for first-time parents. We see conversations, stories, judgment and debate about this topic all over the Internet (and sometimes in real life, too). While we fully support breastfeeding, no one will know who was formula-fed versus breastfed when our babies grow up. It’s not on their college application or résumé. Plus, in a year or two, they’ll all be eating fistfuls of dirt at the playground and crushed-up crackers from under the couch cushions anyway. You do YOU.
And can we just say thank goodness for modern technology?
The fact that we have formula as an option is a wonderful thing for the moms and babies who need it. And thank goodness for breast pumps that allow us to feed our babies in a variety of ways.
Your mental health comes first
Happy and healthy is the goal. In order to achieve this, exclusive breastfeeding is not always the best option for every mom. The benefits of breastfeeding can’t come at the expense of your physical health, mental health, lifestyle or family dynamic. Your decision has to work for you as a mom, your baby and your family.
Many healthcare professionals recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least the first six months of their lives. Our recommendation is to breastfeed as long as you can, ignore the critics and keep doing what works for you. If your baby is safe, loved and fed, you’re doing an amazing job!
If you would like more information about the different options you have when it comes to feeding your baby, call Ashland Women’s Health. We’ll help you find a routine that works with your lifestyle.