the feed

Balancing Breastmilk and Formula: Tips for Combination Feeding

How do you know which choice is right for you and baby?

Most moms face this dilemma, especially when they’re new to this wild (but wonderful) ride known as motherhood. But even if this isn’t your first rodeo, you may quickly realize that your journey won’t be identical to your last.

What is Combination Feeding?

Firstly, it’s important to know there is no wrong answer here: a fed baby is a happy baby. Some mamas will breastfeed, others will use formula, and either choice is A-OK.

One popular choice that blends the best of both worlds is combination feeding, which is the practice of breastfeeding and supplementing with formula as needed. For many moms, combination feeding is a huge success and can provide the perfect balance.

There are many reasons why a mom might choose this method. Let’s face it: Breastfeeding can be hard! There can be difficulty producing enough breast milk to meet baby's needs, latching issues, and other challenges.

Additionally, some mothers may need to return to work or school, which can make it hard (or downright impossible) to breastfeed exclusively. Regardless of your own unique situation, combination feeding can be a win-win when it comes to getting baby the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

Benefits of Combination Feeding

Combination feeding has several benefits for both mother and baby. Breast milk is packed with essential nutrients and antibodies that help to boost baby's immune system and protect them from infections. It also offers a special bonding experience for mother and baby like no other. And by supplementing with formula, you can ensure that your baby is getting all the terrific benefits of breast milk, even if you're not able to breastfeed exclusively.

Let’s also not ignore the fact that you’re likely exhausted, and rightfully so!  Breastfeeding can be demanding, and supplementing with formula can give you a much-needed break and allow you to rest and recharge. It can also make it easier for others, such as your partner, to feed and bond with baby.

Importance of Having a Feeding Schedule

Creating a consistent feeding schedule is crucial when it comes to combination feeding. Your baby and your body will know what to expect and this helps to ensure that your milk supply stays consistent. Babies thrive on routine, and having a set schedule can help them feel more secure and comfortable. Additionally, your breasts will regulate supply based on patterns, so having a consistent schedule can help to ensure that you're producing enough milk to meet your baby's needs.

Willow Go™ Wearable Breast Pump

Willow Go™ Wearable Breast Pump

With hospital-grade suction and a 100% comfort rating, Willow Go pumps quietly and discreetly (no dangling tubes, bottles, or external motors) so you can do it all.

Creating Your Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding Schedule

When it comes to creating a breastfeeding and formula feeding schedule, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You and your baby will have different needs and preferences, and it's important to find a schedule that works best for your needs.

There are several factors to consider when creating your schedule, such as who is feeding the baby, what is the best time for you and your baby, and whether you're working outside of the home.

If you're a working mom, you may prefer to nurse your baby first thing in the morning and at night, since you're away during the day. You can then supplement with formula during the day while you're at work.

You should also consider if and when you will pump to provide bottles of milk to your baby during the day, should you choose.

Alternatively, you may choose to nurse only for naps and bedtime and supplement with formula during the day. If you're staying at home, you may prefer to nurse more frequently and supplement with formula as needed.

Example Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding Schedules

Creating a feeding schedule can feel overwhelming - we are here to help. Below, we have provided two sample schedules to help guide you in creating the perfect schedule for you.

Schedule 1 was created for the mom leaving the house every day, unable to nurse throughout the day. Schedule 2 was created for the mom who is home with baby every day and able to nurse throughout the day.

It's important to keep in mind that your milk supply may fluctuate based on your feeding schedule, so it's a good idea to keep track of your pumping and feeding schedule. This can help you identify any patterns or issues and adjust your schedule accordingly.

It can certainly be daunting if you’re trying to manually keep track of your schedule, but the Willow pump app is a fantastic tool that can help you track your pumping sessions and milk output.

Schedule 1:

6:00 AM - Breastfeed/Bottle Feed Expressed Milk

8:00 AM - Formula

11:00 AM - Formula 

1:00 PM - Breastfeed/Bottle Feed Expressed Milk

4:00 PM - Formula

6:00 PM - Breastfeed/Bottle Feed Expressed Milk

9:00 PM - Formula

12:00 AM - Breastfeed/Bottle Feed Expressed Milk

Schedule 2:

7:00 AM - Breastfeed/Bottle Feed Expressed Milk

10:00 AM - Formula

1:00 PM - Breastfeed/Bottle Feed Expressed Milk

4:00 PM - Formula

7:00 PM - Breastfeed/Bottle Feed Expressed Milk

10:00 PM - Formula

Again, it's important to remember that these are just examples, and you should find a schedule that works best for you and your baby. You may need to adjust the timing and frequency of feedings based on your baby's needs, as well as your own schedule and preferences.

Track your Pumping Schedule with Willow

Combination feeding can be a great option for mothers who want to provide their babies with the benefits of both breast milk and formula.

If you're considering a combination feeding schedule, investing in a hands-free pump, such as Willow, can be a game-changer. By freeing up your hands and allowing you to move around while pumping, the Willow pump can make it easier to fit pumping sessions into your busy schedule. This can be especially helpful for working moms or moms with other children to care for.

The Willow pump is designed to be quiet and discreet, making it easy to use in public or while working. It also has a built-in app that can help you track your pumping sessions and milk output, so you can stay on top of your pumping schedule. It can also help you maintain your milk supply and ensure that you're able to provide your baby with the breast milk they need, even when you're away from them.

Don't let a busy schedule or lack of hands-free options hold you back from providing your baby with the best possible nutrition. Shop our Willow Go Pump Kits or Willow 3.0 Pump Kits today and see how our products can help you achieve your breastfeeding and combination feeding goals.

Willow gives you options:
Find your perfect pump.

Willow gives you options:

Find your perfect pump.

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