Combining Breast and Bottle
Combining breast feeding and bottle feeding is often referred to as mixed feeding.
Lots of mothers choose to do this if they are returning to work for example. They will breastfeed when they are at home and prepare bottles of feed for while they are at work. Some women choose to express breast milk for bottle feeding while others opt for formula.
If you are using formula, your own breast milk production will decrease as its demand decreases. It is best to reduce the number of breast feeds gradually to prevent developing a condition called mastitis, where the breasts become inflamed. Suddenly stopping breast feeding can lead to engorged (swollen) breasts which can be painful.
It is recommended that you wait until your baby is six weeks old before reducing breast feeds.
Because of the risk of mastitis it is important that you start weaning your child off the breast a few weeks before you are due to start back at work. Start by replacing one feed a week with a bottle. If you continue to skip a breast feed at a certain time of day your breast milk production will decrease at that time of day. So if you are going to be working during the day, miss a daytime feed to ensure your milk flow remains high in the mornings and evenings when you will be home to feed your baby.
Some babies get confused by the constant changing of feeding techniques while others have not trouble at all.
At around six months when you start introducing solid foods your baby's need for breast milk will decrease to the point where they only need one or two feeds each day. For the rest of the day you should offer them milk (expressed or formula) in a bottle or a beaker.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that babies fed exclusively on breast milk for their first six months will develop most healthily. For infants who are not being breast fed, formula is recommended as suitable alternative.
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