23 answers

Breastfed Baby to Formula

I am currently nursing my 7 month old son and wish to continue until he is about one. However, he has been waking up the past two weeks at least three to four times a night to eat. I have read that my milk at this stage is begining to get watered down so I was thinking he may not be getting enough to keep him full during the night. I was thinking about giving him formula for his bedtime feeding. I am little nervous that he will get an upset stomach or worse will not want to nurse anymore. As anyone else supplemented a bedtime feeding with formula? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I breastfed both my girls for a year or more and we started solids at 6 mos. Maybe you could give him a later dinner or snack before bed to fill him up rather than supplement with formula?

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I will put my two cents in even though I think you have already gotten some great advice. I definitely think that at 7 months he is more than ready for solids and breastmilk is not going to keep him full. However, though I think you should start him with rice cereal mixed with breastmilk, I do NOT think you should mix it and feed it to him from a bottle or one of those terrible infant feeder things that are really just bottles for feeding baby food. Your baby has to learn to move the food from the front of his mouth to the back. The tongue will push the food out the first few times (it's the reflex that tries to keep your baby from choking on things he shouldn't have in his mouth) and make a huge mess and it will seem like he hasn't gotten any food at all, but he is learning. Once he figures it out he will be swallowing it faster than you can spoon it in, and it will satisfy that huge appetite. The reason I say not to give it to him out of a bottle or a feeder is because it defeats that reflex that he has to spit out solids instead of properly teaching how to swallow. It will make it harder to get him used to other solids and it could make him choke more easily once you do try to get him to swallow thinker foods. The end goal is to have him eating from a spoon, why not start there? Just remember the first few nights could be frustrating and could take up to an hour to get all the cereal in him, but keep it up, have patience, and soon he will be a baby food champ! Good luck!!

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Aleisha, congrats on making it this far! You've gone longer than a lot of women do! I'm currently breast feeding my 1 yr. old (we're going on to extended feeding), and I can tell you after having breast fed two babies, that if you start supplementing with formula, your milk supply WILL decrease significantly, to the point of no return. I was young and uneducated on breast feeding with my first son, and had no access to the internet. So when he started being more hungry throughout the night, I kept supplementing with formula, thinking I was doing him a favor, when in reality, I made my milk dry up.
So please, if you want to continue breast feeding, do NOT supplement with formula.
Another fact that is always lost in the shuffle of this debate is that infants DO NOT *NEED* solids until they are 1 yr. old. Their bodies are MADE to live off of our breast milk (or formula for those who can't/won't/don't want to breast feed). It is just *suggested* that you start to introduce baby to foods. It is *not* necessary, however, as most will have you believe. So if you want to introduce solids, that's fine. But it is not an absolute thing that you HAVE to do. Rice cereal is a good starter because it is GENTLE and has low risks of allergic reactions.
As for your milk being watered down, I'd like to know where you read that, because it's simply not true. Whom ever is supplying such awful information is going to end up turning women against nursing longer.

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It's probably a growth spurt and he's trying to up your supply. If you decide to start on formula, it will have a negative effect on your supply. Your milk is fine and will continue to meet ALL of his nutritional needs until at least 12 months. Who ever told you that it's watering down was misinformed - definitely check out kellymom.com for more information. I will say that I know some mamas who tried formula at bedtime and had some luck, but also the same amount who saw no difference.

Good luck - I know it's so hard when they keep waking up. I remember those days too well & not too excited about it all again. LOL!

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Aleisha,

Please do not put rice cereal in the bottle. Unfortunately, I'm sure the advice is well-intended, but it is out-dated. With some good advice from a La Leche League Leader or a lactation specialist, you probably do not need to use any formula at all. One of the many drawbacks to using formula to supplement is that unless you also pump at that time, your supply will certainly not respond to your baby's demands. You can find La Leche League leaders and their support groups for breastfeeding moms in your area by going to www.lalecheleague.org - click on the "find a leader" section. Even if you don't have a group right in your town, just call whomever is nearest to you - they'll be more than happy to help - and it is free advice. Plus, the La Leche League website has tons of great information.

You can also find lactation specialists several ways - look up breastfeeding or lactation in your local phone book, these websites have lists of lactation specialists by area as well as great information:

www.breastfeeding.com
www.ilca.com (int'l lactation consultants association)
If you are eligible for WIC, your county WIC office has lactation consultants you can see for free.

Some great books are:

"The Breastfeeding Book" by Dr. William Sears (he also has a website - www.askdrsears.com with breastfeeding info)
"So That's What They're For!" By Janet Tamaro
"The Womanly Art of Breasfeeding" by La Leche League

You can find these books on the internet, a bookstore or you can loan them for free from your local library.

You are also welcome to contact me. I am a postpartum doula and have a lot of training in breastfeeding support - ____@____.com you live in the Dayton area, you might want to come to Dar a Luz Network meetings. They are a support group for moms and families during preganancy, birth, postpartum and motherhood. www.daraluznetwork.com.

I urge you to try to resolve your problem with help and continuing to breastfeed, not with formula.

Take care and best wishes!

J.

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my son always nursed more when he was cutting a tooth or going through a growth spurt. at 7 mos, your boy is probably doing both. it's normal for him to still be waking up to nurse at this age, also your breastmilk composition changes as your baby grows to meet his needs, so i doubt the "problem" is how watery your milk is. you might try just sticking it out for a few more weeks if you can before switching to formula, because you may find he won't sleep once you switch due to gassiness or intolerance instead of just to nurse!

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Congrats on nursing to 7 months - what an awesome gift of health for BOTH of you (nursing has amazing health benefits for both mom and baby, and the longer you nurse, the greater those benefits like reduction of cancer risks, diabetes risks, obesity risks, etc.)!!!

1) Trust your mothering instinct - it's there for a reason! You say in your request, "I am little nervous that he will get an upset stomach or worse will not want to nurse anymore" -- listen to & honor that excellent maternal inner voice of yours. There are real risks of introducing formula: first, the 2 main bases of commercial formulas you buy at the store are DAIRY and SOY, and BOTH are on the "Top 8 Most Common Food Allergies" list (along with eggs, peanuts, wheat, shellfish, fish, tree nuts) - why introduce these if you don't have to??? Many moms who formula feed can tell you about "the formula shuffle" where they have to switch formulas many different times to find one that doesn't cause physical discomfort in their baby. You can avoid this completely.

2) Your son is not waking up because of the quality of your milk - please, please know that YOUR MILK IS WONDERFUL. At 7 months, your milk is still perfect for your son. The quality is still *just right* for your son. TRUTH: Your breastmilk is still better, healthier, safer, and cheaper than ANY formula you could possibly give him. There is no need to supplement with formula - BUT, if you are concerned about his needing more food, breastfeed him first and then offer a well-mashed or pureed whole food (banana, sweet potato, avocado, pear, peach, etc.) on the tip of your finger. If he wants more of the solid food, give him more. Follow his cues. While rice cereal is a possibility (many will suggest it) just keep in mind that it's not as healthy as a whole food like simple mashed banana, steamed sweet potato, mashed avocado, pureed peaches, etc.

3) Please don't forget about the commons reasons for nightwaking and an increase in night nursing for a baby your son's age - the following are much more likely the reason behind his nightwaking and increased hunger:
* growth spurt (needing more food - if you nurse him, your supply will increase to meet his demand)
* teething (wanting the pain-relieving effects of nursing (breast feeding & breastmilk act as anti-inflammatory AND pain-relief, as well as the comfort and closeness of being with mom)
* increased development/mobility (hey, I can crawl! my body is full of energy! I'm aware of more things and my mind is feeling awake, wanting to know where my parents are!)

Best of luck to you and your son - and don't fall into the formula trap just because everybody else does it or because you feel unsure of yourself. Too many moms have regretted their decision to introduce formula only to find out that there were other, more appropriate, more safe and healthy (and way cheaper!) options out there.

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I breastfed both my girls for a year or more and we started solids at 6 mos. Maybe you could give him a later dinner or snack before bed to fill him up rather than supplement with formula?

1 mom found this helpful

First, congrats on making it to seven months breastfeeding! That's awesome!

You didn't mention if your boy is eating any solids during the day, so I'm not going to go there.

My son is ten months old (already!) and he still wakes to eat fairly frequently at night. I don't know about your milk becoming watery, but I do know that breastmilk is more easily digested than formula, so a breastfed baby will naturally want to eat more often. I'm sure you already know that, though.

I would suggest going to breastfeeding.com, and also to kellymom.com. those two websites have lots and lots of great info.

As far as cereal in the bottle, I've heard it from lots of parents, and it may have worked for them, but recently docs have stopped recommending it. besides that, rice cereal has little nutritional value, as breastfed babies don't need the iron that they add to it. if you'd like to try making your own cereals, so they are more nutritious, they have good instructions at wholesomebabyfoods.com

if you do decide to supplement with formula (i would rather not but i'm not you. :) ) you may want to pump to keep your supply up. remember your milk production is all about supply and demand, and if you don't get it outta you, your body will slow production.

one thing i have found with my son is that he likes to nurse more at night if we haven't had a chance to snuggle much during the day. he's walking now and getting really independent, and i think he uses his nighttime nursings to re-connect with me. do you work outside the home? or is your boy reaching new milestones like crawling or walking? or even teething? breastfeeding is his best way to feel close to you, so maybe he's just doing that. if so, you can try to snuggle and cuddle more during the day. or it could be that he's so busy with his new skills during the day that he is using his night nurses to fill up on what he misses during the day. check out kellymom's info on reverse cycling and nighttime parenting.

anyway, i'll stop my rambling now. do please check out kellymom and breatfeeding.com, they are great resources for lots of breastfeeding questions and have helped me out numerous times! hope some of this helps, whatever you decide.

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After reading some of these posts, I'm sorry, but I had to respond. My daughter is 5 months old & being breastfed. Due some latching issues, I am pumping. She is getting a bottle at night of 1/2 breastmilk & 1/2 formula. Usually an 8 oz bottle. I am using Enfamil w/lipil. My supply is NOT drying up. I just want you to know that everyone is different & there is no cut & dry answer for everyone. I would recommend that if you decide to supplement that you do it gradually. You are the one that knows your baby best. Good luck.

aleshia- i have supplemented in the evening in the earlier months with my daughter and I am still breastfeeding. she is also 7 mos now. I have used enfamil w/ lipil and she does great with it, although all babies are different. Another thing that could help if you are giving him solids is mixing cereal in w/ his vegetables (or whatever)for dinner and that gives him a little more substance. Also, he might just be going thru a growth spurt. Good Luck!

I exclusiving breastfeed for the first several months and then started supplementing a feeding or two a day with formula. It was actually quite a relief and my daughter did just fine with it. If he needs to eat that much during the night, you probably should add formula anyway. At that age, they really shouldn't need to get up to eat druing the night so try to feed him more during the day and give him a big bottle before bedtime (like 7 ounces). At first, you'll want to mix your breast milk with the formula about half-half so he gets used to the taste! And, if he decides he really likes the bottle, that's OK too. My friends that breast fed always recommended letting my daughter decide when she wanted to quit nursing. And, you've done such a great job - 7 months is a long time. Good luck.

Try combining formula with breastmilk in your baby's bottle to ease him onto the formula. As he gets used to it, mix less breast milk until it is all formula.

There are some new formulas in the market that are designed especially to be easier for babies to digest. Nestle Good Start is one I used with my son and it seemed to work well. Infamil has one too...in the purple can. I just started using it with my daughter and it seems to work well.

Oh...and not to freak you out, but some babies just don't sleep through the night as early on as we want them to. My 9 month old is more of a napper, then a sleeper! (-: She doesn't sleep through the night. She's been eating solids for months now. She's a healthy, above average percentile baby, but just doesn't sleep for long stretches.

Good luck!

First of all, congratulations on getting this far with the breast feeding! My kids didn't even make it to 3 months. My milk wasn't filling them up at all. They were fussy and eating all the time. But I just swithced them to formula completely. My suggestions would be to try mixing formula a little at a time into some breast milk in a bottle and feed him that. Or maybe just put some baby cereal into some breast milk in a bottle. That may help with the tummy ache thing. As for the not wanting to breast feed thing, they make some pretty good nipples for bottles anymore that mimmick the breast pretty well. If he's been nursing this long, he'll probably continue to favor that.

Good luck! Hope you get tons of good ideas!

Well, some people just told you not to, but I pumped until my son was almost 14 mo. old and I added mixed baby cereal to the bottles and it worked fine.

I'm surprised to hear you're not suppose to, because when babies have reflux, doctors suggest to mix the milk with some cereal.

Your best course of action should probably be to ask your doctor, because if you supplement too much, you'll milk supply will decrease even more.

Good luck!

I supplemented from day one as needed. My son was sick and needed the formula from the beginning. I always seemed to make enough for him to eat but I was going to school and working so I wasn't always with him. He never had "nipple confusion" or wanting to not breastfeed and I never dried up at all! I actually weaned him when he started lifting my shirt up in public to eat. I personally could not deal with that. Even after I weaned him it took my body a long long time to return to not producing any milk at all. I would suggest breastfeeding at night first and then adding formula to the end of the feeding. This way he is still eating from the breast, but if he really is still hungry he can have that extra amount also.

Well the big thing i would do is get some soilds to ur baby. That will really help full up more. I feel bad for how much waking up still! You poor girl. Well i would start adding name brand formula with breast milk or you r asking for a upset belly:( Thats how i was taught to do it. It worked well. Plus maybe put some rice in that bottle to help sleep longer. Well i wish u the best of luck::D
let us know how it pans out.

Try feeding him baby cereal right before bed. That might keep him filled up for the night!

I agree with getting him to eat solids. Some rice cereal before bedtime would probably get him through the night and you can mix it with the breast milk.

If you only give ONE bottle of formula to your baby and instead PUMP for that 'missed feeding' your milk supply will not change a bit. Don't let the breastfeeding police scare you into thinking that the minute you give your baby just the teensiest drop of formula that the 'tap will run dry'.

My son takes breastmilk all day long, then a bottle of formula before he goes to bed for the evening. He's fine and so is my milk supply (I'm an exclusive pumper that banks an extra 8-12 ounces per day...so obviously NO milk supply problem whatsoever).

My son is 4 weeks old and I supplement formula about once a day so I can pump. He has no trouble at all going back to the breast milk. I have not noticed any changes in his eating habits or behavior either. I know people have said exclusive breast feeding is best but my pediatrician said there should not be an issue as long as breast feeding has been well established. I'm sure that is the case with you since your son is 7 months old!! Perhaps you may want to try a couple of times to subsitute formula once during the day to see how he reacts? That way, you won't have to try it for the first time at nigh time when everything seems to be a little more difficult anyway!! I think it really depends on the baby too. Sorry for the rambling- I hope it kind of helps though!!

you should try giving that baby some cereal his poor little tummy is probably starving. I know doctor and some poeple say it is not good but it is just make it as watery as possible and give it to him he will sleep all through the night and be happy and it will not make him fat. they lose all there baby fat when they start doing more and more movements

Aleisha-
Congratulations on breast feeding for 7 months... that's truly wonderful. I read most of the responses and I think that you know your baby best and should follow your instinct. Some of the responses are really laying the guilt on thick if you choose to supplement which I don't think is right. My son is almost 1 year old and still breastfed. About 7 months of age he was going through a similar thing your son is. I seemed to notice that after the first few minutes of nursing him at night, it didn't sound like he was swallowing as much so I wondered if I didn't have as much supply at the end of the day. Anyway, I tried letting him nurse first, and then offered him a 4 oz. bottle of formula to supplement with if he was still hungry. I'm happy to say that he started sleeping through the night with no problems. I'm still doing this currently and sometimes he'll take as little as 1/2 oz. and sometimes he'll take a whole 4 oz. after nursing. I haven't noticed any change in my supply, and I'm still able to nurse him during the day just the same. Do what feels right to you.
Good luck.

What i would try first is maybe some solid food before bed and see if that helps. Does he take a bottle at all now? Because with my kids when I started the bottle on a regular basis they decided that they got to eat quicker and get back to playing and weaned themselves. My 13 month old went through the same thing at 7 months, if you notice he isnt eating very much at each feeding when he wakes up he maybe waking up due to some acid reflux and not being hungry. I would just suggest you do a little research to see why he is waking up so many times at night before you try the bottle as he may refuse to nurse. Breastmilk is deffinately best. Good Luck!

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