Supplementing with Formula

Though generally not encouraged for breastfeeding infants in their first 6 months of life, there are times when a mother may be advised to supplement with formula from a bottle temporarily.

Those situations include:

  • When the mother is too ill to breastfeed after giving birth
  • When a newborn requires specialized medical care due to premature birth or a life-threatening condition
  • When a doctor determines that an infant is not gaining enough weight through nursing alone

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on when to supplement with formula and how much your baby will need.

You may also need to supplement if you’ve had breast augmentation or reduction surgery. If milk ducts or nerves were cut during the procedure, you may have a reduced breast milk supply. Breastfeeding is still possible, but supplementing with formula may be necessary. Talk with a lactation specialist about your breastfeeding options.

If you do need to supplement, don’t worry. You can eventually get back to exclusive breastfeeding if that’s your goal. 

See also …

•    When you cannot—or choose not to—breastfeed

•  Types of breastfeeding support professionals

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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