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Combining breast and bottle feeds

Why exclusive breastfeeding is recommended

Breastfeeding is a relationship between mother and baby that usually works best with exclusive breastfeeding – that is giving no other additional food or drinks for the first 6 months.

This is because milk supply works on a supply and demand basis. So, the more you breastfeed, the more milk you produce! When a bottle of formula milk is introduced to baby it means baby has less time at the breast, and removes less milk. This, in turn slows the production of breastmilk.

Understandably, mothers sometimes introduce bottles when they are experiencing problems with breastfeeding. Unfortunately, this can result in reduced milk supply which means that more bottles are introduced. 

Combining breast and formula milk

For some families, especially if a mothers’ breastmilk supply is taking time to become established, giving formula is necessary for baby. 

If you need or want to introduce one or more bottles of formula milk following these tips can help you to maintain or increase your supply of breastmilk. 

If at any point you wish to return to full breastfeeding,  you might want to seek some support from a health visitor or breastfeeding supporter to help you increase your breastmilk supply.

The general principles are to have lots of close physical contact with baby so that the milk-producing hormones are stimulated, and to keep removing milk from the breasts to encourage milk supply.