Supplementing with Formula

Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We may need to supplement with formula on occasion for a variety of reasons. Today we discuss the why, when and how!

At Moms on Call, we believe in feeding your little one…no matter how you do it! Feeding will look different for every family. You may be nursing exclusively, nursing some and bottle feeding some, or you may have chosen to exclusively bottle feed. Here is what we know, the way you feed your little one is not nearly as important as the heart of the one doing the feeding.

Contrary to popular belief, you CAN supplement with formula and still nurse or pump for your baby. We may need to supplement with formula on occasion for a variety of reasons. Today we discuss the why, when, and how to do this.

Why Would You Need to Supplement?

  • Temporary supply issues or weight-gaining issues in those first few days.
    • Your medical professional may suggest this before leaving the hospital, or at your first visit for the baby.
  • Storage supply not yet built up.
  • You’re exclusively pumping and do not have enough to cover feeds.
  • Extending the duration of stored breastmilk.
  • Weaning
    • If we decide to wean the baby from the breast before we transition to whole milk (1 year of age), we will supplement with formula until we move to whole milk.

When to Supplement?

  • After nursing the baby or providing a pumped bottle.
    • You can offer the breast/pumped bottle first, then provide a supplemented bottle to the top off the feeding.
  • In place of nursing.
    • You may be cutting down on nursing sessions.
      • Offer the breast every other feed and provide the supplemented bottle between breastfeeding.
  • Middle of the night feeding.
    • This is a great option for when the other parent wants to help at night. You can offer a supplemented bottle for the middle of the night feed, allowing Mom (and her body) to get some extra rest!
  • In place of one feeding a day.

How to Supplement with Formula?

  • Place only the formula in the bottle. (Use code MOMSONCALL25 for 25% off subscription for first-time subscribers. This is a special discount that is only given to our Moms on Call families!)
  • Use a formula and breastmilk combination.
    • Prepare the formula first following the formula instructions, then add breastmilk.
    • Once combined, use within 24 hours. Keep in mind, freshly pumped breastmilk is good for 3-4 hours, while thawed breastmilk can be used within 24 hours. Follow this rule when discarding unfinished bottles.
  • Alternate every other feeding.
    • We can offer either the breast or bottle of breastmilk every other feed, and formula for the feeds in between.
  • Offer formula in place of pumped breastmilk once or twice a day.

Supplementing with formula may help give you a well-needed break without the stress of pumping.  You may also find that you are able to extend how long you have breastmilk available by offering some formula. Remember, there are many ways to feed our little one and it does not have to be all one way or another. Combinations of all the ways may be exactly what you need.

For more tips on what feeding amounts may look like, the number of feedings a day by age, and the typical amount of time a feeding may take, check out Feeding Guidelines for the First Six Months.

You are the best one to decide what works in your home, at this particular season of your life with this baby and we are here to help with whatever your feeding journey may look like. You’ve got this!

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The Perfect Burp For Babies Made Simple

The Perfect Burp For Babies Made Simple

The three key components to producing that elusive yet satisfying burp involve: Timing Positioning Expectations Timing The natural timing of the perfect burp is ¾ of the way through a feeding and at the end. If you’re breastfeeding, burp in between each side and at the end. Burping sessions last 2-3 minutes tops (this is a sprint – not a marathon). Positioning Over the shoulder with some light pats that go from the middle of the back upwards. Our fave – “the waffle iron” – see here (not a real appliance – just a description of how to position a baby so their legs actually put a little pressure on that sweet spot right under the rib cage that helps the bigger air bubble get to the top) Repositioning – Just like a Coke bottle that has an air bubble at the bottom, in order to get it to the top – you reposition. Recline the baby and then place them in a seated position a bit more over their thighs and then pat the back from middle to upper area x 1 min, then repeat – recline/sit up/ pat-pat-pat. Do that three times, and the third time may produce a burp upon sitting up! Expectations If that burp does not appear within about 3 minutes… then we manage expectations. Not all babies are designed to burp well. What doesn’t come out of the attic will come out the basement. So, it is not essential to burp with every feeding. It is OK to move on. Watch this quick video of Laura Hunter, MOC Co-Founder, demonstrating some of our favorite burping techniques discussed above. Moms on Call provides simple, sensible parenting resources to sleep, feed, laugh and love birth through toddlerhood. You can find tips like this and more in our books and Online Video Courses for 0-6 months where we cover everything from feeding and sleeping to schedule transitions and typical days at each stage.  
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Breastmilk Pumping & Storage Tips

Breastmilk Pumping & Storage Tips

Pumping and storing breastmilk can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! In the typical, no-nonsense Moms on Call fashion, we’re telling you everything you need to know — from the items you need, storage guidelines and cleaning. What do you need?  Just the basics! There may be favorites you find along the way in your pumping journey, but here is what we recommend starting with!  A breast pump. There are 3 types: Manual: This is a great, lightweight and portable option have in your diaper bag. We also love to use this during breastfeeding, on the breast that the baby is not feeding on, to catch any milk that lets down. This helps prevent any precious milk from being wasted! Electric: These pumps collect milk using flanges, cups and tubing. Some of our favorites are the Spectra and Baby Buddha. They both have rechargeable batteries which allow you to be mobile and hands-free while pumping, without sacrificing any suction strength. Wearable: Wearable breast pumps are the newest kind of pump on the market. Two options are the Willow and Elvie. These pumps can be worn inside your bra and do not have any tubing. A great option for mobility, but you will likely need an electric pump as well as the wearable pumps have limited capacity and suction strength.  Hands-free pumping bra You will use this with your electric pump. Snack station This is a MUST!   Try and keep water and snacks at an arm’s reach. Once you start pumping, be sure to nourish your body!  Breastmilk-specific storage bags This allows you to freeze breastmilk in flat and thin packages (“breastmilk bricks”) which makes for easy and efficient storage and thawing. Sharpie to label bags You will want to label the bags with the date, amount and any notes. Narrow bin for fridge/freezer storage Cooler and ice packs for pumping on-the-go If you’re pumping at work this is a must!  Pro tip: Bring extra ice packs if you have a work freezer. This way you can refresh your ice packs before heading home!  Pumping Tips Ensure that your flanges fit properly Measure your nipple (not areola) and add 4mm to get your flange size. Quick tip: Use coins to measure your nipple size: Quarter = 28mm flange Nickel = 24mm flange  Dime = 21mm flange Relax Read, listen to soft music, listen to baby sounds or look at pictures of your baby. Those baby cries and coos are pretty powerful! Ever been out in public and have your little one start crying? This can initiate an immediate “let down”.  Massage breast gently while pumping You can also use warm compresses (not hot!) Make your own or check out the many breast warmer options online! Know your pump and settings Some pumps have stimulation and expression modes To get the most out of your pumping, you’ll want to be sure you’re using your pump’s different modes properly. Breastmilk Storage Tips Where and for how long (See CDC website for more details) Now That You’ve Pumped, What’s Next? Use freshly pumped milk within 3-4 hours. Straight from you to the fridge! From Fridge to Freezer Once all pumped milk in fridge is the same temp, you can mix together and then pour into your breastmilk freezer bags and freeze in 4 oz batches.   It is best to do this every 1-2 days. Label the bag with date. Then freeze.  If you are putting your fresh milk in a cooler with ice packs, try to get to the fridge as soon as you can. Thawing  Use OLDEST milk first  If you need breastmilk right away: Place frozen milk in a bowl of room temperature water. Thawing will take 5-10 minutes. Once thaw, use within 2 hours. If you need breastmilk the next day:  Place frozen breastmilk in the fridge. May take 12-24 hours to completely thaw.  Once thawed, use within 24 hours Never thaw or heat frozen breastmilk in microwave/stove Quick Tips for Cleaning Store breast pump parts in the fridge during the day, in between pumping sessions. Keeping them in the fridge prevents bacteria from growing and makes it so you don’t have to wash your parts multiple times each day. At the end of each day, wash and rinse parts well.   Dry items completely before storing in a closed container. If immunocompromised, premature, yeast or other infections are present, you may need to sterilize daily. If you’re looking for more information on the different feeding approaches for your baby including breastfeeding, formula feeding, and introducing solids, visit our Knowledge Center. Also, be sure to check out our Podcast episode, When Breastmilk Supply Dwindles, for even more breastfeeding information.
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