Written by Kate Arquilla, MOC Consultant and owner of Bumble Baby

Breastfeeding/pumping is HARD! And guess what? It DOESN’T have to be an all or nothing thing. You can use formula and still breastfeed/pump! Not sure how? Here are 6 ways to supplement with formula.

  1. Breastfeed first, then offer a bottle of formula.

    • This is a great option for parents with low supply. It offers a chance for the baby to direct feed but baby will also get the calories they need.

  2. Breastfeeding first, then offer a bottle of pumped milk and formula combination.

    • Also a great option for parents with low supply or parents who are weaning from breastfeeding.

  3. Offer pumped milk first, then offer a formula bottle.

    • This would work well for exclusively pumping parents who want to make sure baby gets all of the breastmilk first, then the total amount of calories baby needs from formula.

  4. Offer a bottle of pumped milk and formula combination.

    • Breastmilk and formula can be combined in ANY amounts! Just know that once you combine the two, it must be used within 24 hours of combining or the expiration of the breastmilk, whichever comes first.

  5. Breastfeed/pump every other feed, offer a formula bottle at the opposite feed. 

    • This works well for parents who don’t want to pump or who want to wean a few feeds.

  6. Store one feeding of pumped milk for later and offer formula in replacement.

    • Extend the amount of time your baby gets breastmilk, save for a rainy day, or for when you wean.

You’re doing great! Formula is a great option to add into breastfeeding or pumping. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – adding in formula can extend the amount of time you decide to breastfeed because it allows you a BREAK both mentally and physically! Keep it up.

Kate is a mama of three, NICU RN, certified CPR instructor, breastfeeding counselor + certified sleep consultant – a “mom/parent coach” dedicated to making the road to parenthood a bit smoother.

Kate combines her expertise in these areas + her experience as a breastfeeding + supplementing mom to best prepare new parents for parenthood with a realistic + non-judgemental approach. We are all just doing our best as parents, and we have to look out for ourselves, too!

Kate founded bumble baby, a community for parents to learn from + lean on each other, and laugh a little along the way. Check out Kate’s original post on how to supplement with formula here.