How to Combine Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding
Breastfeeding doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Learn how to combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding from moms who've been there.
Managing Your New Life with Baby
Struggling to manage baby and the necessities of day-to-day life can be difficult. Whether you’re a 30-something, second-time, working mother in a successful marriage, or a single, first-time mom, the challenge remains.
Corinne was only 16 when she became pregnant for the first time. Her family was anxious that she complete high school and they planned for her to return to class as soon as possible after giving birth. Corinne enrolled in an innovative program that provided on-site daycare for students with children. While touring the daycare center, Corrine was surprised to observe a girl her own age breastfeeding. She asked her social worker about breastfeeding and was intrigued to learn that breastfeeding would help her baby be healthier and it might help her get her figure back sooner. She worried that her boyfriend might feel left out if he couldn’t feed the baby, so the social worker suggested that she consider partial breastfeeding if she didn’t feel she could commit to full breastfeeding.
Today, Corrine is a breastfeeding mother and her boyfriend and family helps with bottle feedings. Corrine is convinced that her perseverance with breastfeeding is why her daughter seldom gets the runny noses or tummy aches that the other babies in the daycare have.
A mother for the third time, Mary’s newborn arrived four weeks premature. With a four-year-old and an 18-month-old toddler at home, Mary felt torn and overwhelmed. She had exclusively breastfed her two older children, but spending time at the hospital trying to nurse her tiny daughter meant added stress for her other children. And pumping seemed impossible to fit into her exhausting schedule; by the time her baby was released from the special care nursery, Mary’s milk supply was low.
While some family members urged Mary to just forget about breastfeeding, a sympathetic neighbor told her something that made a lot of sense: “Some breastfeeding is better than no breastfeeding.” Mary’s neighbor urged her to continue to nurse the baby, even if she did give a bottle of formula afterwards.
As she grew and gained strength, the baby began to breastfeed more vigorously. Mary was surprised to discover that her milk supply improved. While her supply never increased to the point that she could totally discontinue formula, Mary discovered that she was able to nurse during the night feedings. With such a busy family, she came to enjoy the peaceful times spent breastfeeding the baby in the quiet, dark house. And her husband was grateful not to have to get up in the middle of the night to prepare a bottle!
Breastfeeding does have a dose-related response. This is a fancy way of saying “more is better.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least six months of exclusive breastfeeding for optimal infant nutrition. But if circumstances prohibit you from nursing for this long, don’t let mother’s guilt get a hold of you. Know that human milk is so valuable for babies that even some is better than none.
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