Whether you did it for a day, a week, a year or are still going… well done. It’s hard work and despite being the most natural thing, can sometimes feel very difficult. Sam has spent many years supporting Mums with all types of feeding, whether they have chosen to exclusively breast feed, pump & bottle feed, formula feed or a combination. She has worked with many families to help introduce a bottle, and supported mums when they feel all the emotions for making this decision. As a Mum of 4, she has experienced first hand that no two babies or feeding journeys are the same. Every Mum and baby is different and even if you only manage a few days, your little one has benefited from your anti-bodies. Trust yourself to choose what’s right for you and your family.
Sam’s Top Tips on breastfeeding!
- Feed baby regularly, every 2-3 hours (or more often, as needed)
- Get comfy! Make sure you are comfortable and bring baby to you. If you’re relaxed, feeding is easier and more enjoyable.
- Try different positions to find out what works for you and your baby. Switching it up can also help drain the breast and helps with cracked & sore nipples.
- Cluster Feeding is very normal so go with it. A good book or film can help pass the time!
- Key milestones are 2 & 6 weeks for most. It WILL get easier and a pattern should start to emerge.
- Stay well hydrated yourself and eat a balanced diet with 3 meals a day. Also make sure you have a glass of water and snacks close by – it’s hungry work!
- Remember that breastfeeding is a team effort. Mums need to be supported and encouraged throughout their breastfeeding journey
- Most importantly, if you are struggling please seek help. There are lots of free resources to help support you in your breastfeeding journey. We have linked a few at the end.
FAQ’s around combination feeding
When do introduce a bottle to your breastfed baby and how to avoid ‘nipple confusion’?
If you would like to feed your baby using a combination of breast and bottle, if you can wait at least 2 weeks before introducing a bottle. The reason for this is to give breastfeeding a chance to establish first. Up until they are born babies have had all their food and nutrients provided for them in the womb and haven’t had to work too hard. For newborn babies, feeding in this new way is hard work! It takes time and patience for breastfeeding to establish and it’s good to give you and them a chance to do this before adding in another method of feeding.
From experience I have found major milestones in breastfeeding at around 2 weeks and 6 week – it does get easier! The more they feed at the breast, the more they will become used to this new way of feeding but as with all things, every baby is different and some take longer than others to get the hang of it.
How to move over from expressed breastmilk to formula?
Breastmilk and formula taste quite different and often babies can reject the change at first. The best way to go about this would be to start introducing the formula in very small increasing increments. For example on the first day (say if they are having 90ml breastmilk) put in just 10ml of formula with it. Gradually increase the amounts as the days go by and be responsive to your little one – if they seem happy with it, you can increase more quickly but if they are struggling with the taste, you can do it more gradually.
What time of day should I give a bottle to my newborn breastfed baby?
If you have decided you would like to introduce one bottle feed per day, generally the best time to do this would be around 10/11pm. If they are cluster feeding in the evening it’s important you go with the flow, as they are working hard to establish your milk supply. It is also important to continue breastfeeding during the early hours, so the 1/2/3am feed. This is because prolactin (the hormone which causes your body to produce milk) is at it’s highest during the night.
Get support with breastfeeding
Find your local Children’s Centre – often they run free breastfeeding support clinics each week and you can even pop along before your baby is born to meet the team there and other Mums or Mums-to-be.
A group of breastfeeding counsellors (known as LLL Leaders), who have all breastfed their own babies, work as volunteers to provide a network of support options including local calls, a national Helpline, emails and social media.
A wealth of solid information on breastfeeding and the various levels of support available.
Sam provides lots of 1-2-1 support and is always happy to answer your questions. Perhaps you would like some help with your little one’s sleep, or establishing a routine. Sam can also help you with introducing bottle and working out a routine around combination feeding – Get get in touch
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