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What You Need To Know About Supplementing Your Baby with Formula



Supplementing means giving your baby any other milk in addition to breastfeeding. The decision to supplement is an important one. Sometimes it is medically necessary, and sometimes it is not. Giving your baby a supplement does not mean you have to stop breastfeeding.

Parents often feel they need to supplement because they are worried that their baby is not getting enough milk. The most common times when parents worry are in the first few days before their milk ‘comes in’, especially at night and when their baby goes through growth spurts. Giving your baby a supplement during these times is not recommended. It is normal for a baby to feed more often at certain times. Your baby’s frequent suckling at the breast tells your body to produce the amount of breast milk your baby needs.

If you’re thinking about giving your baby a supplement, speak to your healthcare provider first. They can help you determine what your options are, give you information that will help you breastfeed or
supplement, and help you with safe infant formula preparation and storage.

If you are breastfeeding and need to supplement your baby, consider offering the supplement in a small lidless cup or spoon rather than a bottle. Your baby may have difficulty switching back and forth between the bottle and breast as the sucking technique for getting milk out of a bottle is different. He may become frustrated when trying to latch on to the breast after after using a bottle and may even refuse the breast.

Talk to your Healthcare Provider

Some moms may feel pressured to use formula rather than breastfeed. If you’re having difficulty breastfeeding, talk to your healthcare professional and seek out support in your local community.

For information on safely making and storing infant formula, visit Feeding Your Baby Formula: Safely Making and Storing Formula. You can also visit the Health Canada website to find more information.

Resources & Links:

Feeding Your Baby Formula: Before You Start
Combining Breast-Feeding and Bottle-Feeding
Choosing Baby Bottles and Nipples
Formula Feeding Your Baby - Safely Preparing and Storing Formula

VIDEO: Admission to Postpartum - Keeping Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
VIDEO: Baby's Feeding Cues and Behaviours
VIDEO: Breastfeeding Positions
VIDEO: Hand Expressing Milk
VIDEO: Latching Your Baby

Last Updated: January 30, 2018