The Choice of Mixed Feeding: Benefits and Considerations

Mixed feeding combines breastfeeding with bottle or cup feeds of formula or expressed breast milk, offering flexibility in feeding while meeting a baby's nutritional needs.

Harleen Kaur
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The Choice of Mixed Feeding: Benefits and Considerations

The Choice of Mixed Feeding: Benefits and Considerations

Mixed feelings about mixed feeding? Read on. I made the choice to embark on mixed feeding, commonly known as combination feeding—where a child is breastfed and supplemented with bottle-fed milk, either formula or expressed breast milk.

Before diving into mixed feeding, ensuring both you and your baby are comfortable with breastfeeding is crucial. This method involves providing both breast and bottle feeds, due to various reasons of parents.

Understanding Combination/ Mixed Feeding

When a baby receives all their nourishment directly from the breast, they are exclusively breastfed. However, when incorporating bottle or cup feeding alongside breastfeeding, it's termed combination feeding.

Parents choose this approach for a variety of reasons. It can involve offering bottles of formula or expressed breast milk to adapt to specific circumstances or ease into a feeding routine. Some situations, such as returning to work or needing help with the feeding routine, may prompt this choice.

Benefits of Mixed Feeding

  • Combination feeding makes feeding convenient and easier for new mothers.
  • It enables other family members to share the feeding role.
  • It allows flexibility in various situations like returning to work or when health concerns arise.
  • It keeps the baby full for longer hours.
  • For some babies struggling to gain weight or finding breastfeeding challenging, combination feeding ensures the baby receives vital antibodies and nutrients from breast milk, aiding in their growth and development.
  • For mothers with inverted nipples, or cracked nipples, it is easier to feed their children through bottles.
  • When an adequate amount of milk is provided to a baby, especially before sleep, it can help the baby sleep for longer hours and keep their little tummy feeling full.
  • A combination of direct feeding and feeding breast milk through a bottle helped me maintain my breast milk supply.

Considerations and Recommendations

It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before opting for mixed feeding. While it offers flexibility, maintaining exclusive breastfeeding for the initial 6 to 8 weeks post-birth is recommended to support milk production and allow adaptation to breastfeeding.

Methods of mixed feeding vary, allowing combinations of expressed breast milk, formula, or a blend of both. When starting mixed feeding, patience is key.

  • Introduce bottle feeding during calm moments.
  • Providing bottled milk at night can give you longer sleep hours. 
  • Use slow-flow teats, especially for newborns.
  • Change nipple sizes according to the age and speed of the baby.
  • Hold the baby in your arms while bottle feeding just like you are breastfeeding.
  • Wash and sterilize bottles, pumps, and nipples properly to maintain hygiene.

Mixed feeding is a deeply personal decision, influenced by various factors and circumstances. Remember, the focus remains on the baby's well-being and ensuring they receive adequate nourishment. Whether you choose exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding, or formula feeding, prioritizing your baby's health and comfort is paramount.


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