37 answers

HELP! I Have to Supplement My Milk with Some Formula- My Worst Nightmare!!!

Hey Mamas,
I have been strictly nursing my lil'man and he is now 9 1/2 months. He takes plenty of jar food and cereal in addition. My milk supply has dramatically decreased and I spoke with the doctor about it and i need to start supplementing with Formula. I have been against formula from the beginning and still am, but for his nutrition and development it seems as if I have to give in and use it for a couple months until he turns one and can have whole milk. My doctor couldn't recommend any specific brand of Formula- just listed of Enfamil and Similac and Goodstart- with no preference. Can you guys give me your opinion on what you like best for your babies, and expecially if anyone has been in the same situation of needing to supplement. I heard that formula is much more bitter than breastmilk and i'm also worried he won't like it or drink it. Thanks for your advice!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I won't get into the bf'ing/formula arguement (my son was strictly formula fed and has thrived). BUT, I have a friend who's husband actually tasted tested breast milk, Enfamil Lipil, Similac and Good Start and he felt like Good Start was closest to Breast Milk. Don't ask me why he went through this activity, but I thought the info might help. :)

Good Luck!

I love good start,it looks better, it smells better and yes it even taste better....yes i tasted it, i taste everything i give my kids. My daughter was a premie and i hated having to supplement and I tried every formula on the market, Carnation got the best result. Less gas, less spit ups and less stinky in the diapers.

I primarily BF and give formula once in a while or when I am out and don't have any milk frozen (have twins so I don't have a lot of extra) and I use Enfamil Lipil with iron. Kids seem fine with it. Good luck!

More Answers

Sorry about your situation. I wanted to breastfeed myself, but I need to take medication that passes into breastmilk and can harm a baby. It's possible to buy human milk through a milk bank. You can search on the Internet for "human milk bank" to find the locations and ways to contact them. From what I hear it is very expensive to do this ($2 to $3/oz) and of course you have to put your trust in the company. And, actually, this is the case with formula as well - you have to trust the company that supplies it.

I fed my son Similac and he is a happy and healthy 13mo. old. He now drinks whole milk. We didn't use any brand other than Similac. If it makes you feel any better, formula manufacture is overseen by the FDA. If it wasn't safe, it wouldn't be on the market. If you register at www.welcomeaddition.com you are sent $5 coupons to help pay for the formula. They also make an organic infant formula if that is of interest to you.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm just wondering why you feel like you need to supplement. Has your son lost weight? Have you done a weight check on your son before and after eating to check your output? It may be that you're just going through another phase of breastfeeding. Not to be rude, but most doctors, including pediatricians are not well-informed about the actual mechanics of breastfeeding. It's not something they learn about in medical school. Anyway, I would recommend seeing a lactation consultant if you really don't want to supplement. There are ways to check how good your supply really is and to increase supply if there's a problem.

That said, one formula is pretty much the same as the others, although both of my children tolerated Nestle (Carnation?) Good Start better than anything else. Cow's milk is really nutritionally inferior to any formula and of course breastmilk.

1 mom found this helpful

I am a breast mom myself, who was told I needed to supplement, not what I wanted to hear. So I went to my Mother-in-Law who nursed all 8 of her children until they were three and asked what I needed to do. She was a LLL leader in Indiana for 20-some years as well. She said put my baby to the breast before and after every meal, both sides. Also nurse any time my daughter even thought about it. I did and my milk supply increased! Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. there has to be a demand in order for enough to be supplied. Thanks to her help I am still nursing my healthy, never had formula, 14 month old daughter.

I hope this can help.

Even if you do have to suppliment some, still breastfeed as much as you can. I promise she will get a lot out of the time that she gets to nurse.

Let me just add go with your heart. No one knows your baby like you do. And ONLY you know what is right for her

Don't worry! I began supplementing at 7 months with Enfamil with lipil without a problem. My son had no problem going back and forth between the breast and the bottle of formula. In fact, I really didn't notice him preferring one to the other. As far as the flavor, I would not describe the formula as bitter, only less sweet than breast milk.
Good luck!!

I can direct you to a website about a 3 year old little boy who lost his battle with cancer this summer and then maybe we can talk about your worst nightmare.

Yes it is better to breastfeed, I breast fed my daughter for a year, but in the grand scheme of things formula for less than 3 months is not a big deal.

Hi D.!

I'm sorry you have to go through this! I had to start supplementing some formula when my baby was about 4 months old because I couldn't pump enough at work to feed him all day at daycare.

The formulas are pretty much all the same, it really depends on what your baby prefers, and what's easiest for you. My baby hated Enfamil, he would scream at the first drop of it. He seemed to be okay with both Similac and Good Start, but Good Start made his poop smell horrible and the Similac had some better packaging options like the 8 oz cans or pre-measured packs of powder for traveling and the resealable bottles of ready to use formula instead of those big cans. So I supplement with Similac.

But it started off a little rocky. He refused to take formula from me at first, I had to have someone else feed it to him. The first few times he got formula he spit up the entire feeding also. We had to use different bottles (Ventaire by Playtex) for feeding him formula and have to make sure to burp him after every 2 oz at least so he doesn't throw up. But sometimes he still does.

Most of all, try not to stress too much about it because your baby will sense it and will be apprehensive about the formula. Just relax and realize that you are doing your best for your baby and it will all work out.

Good Luck!



at 9/5 months you DO NOT NEED TO USE FORMULA>.. first off what makes you so sure you milk supply is low? he may be eating enough foods that this is not necessary..

call me..

Pres. Lactation Support Group, Inc

I too had to supplement the boys when I went back to work Full-Time and you know they took anything!! Seriously it was funny I pretty much used all those coupons and free stuff I got in the hospital they really didn't care... then when I had to buy it I wsa able to use the off brands...maybe you will be just as lucky. You can still nurse too and if you seriously want to bump up the supply you can pump and nurse and pump adn nurse... its a lot of work but it will boost the supply if you need to. Good Luck and don't worry you did a great job!!!!!!!!1

Formula is NOT the worse thing in the world. Since your son is over 9 months, I would suggest using a "Next Step" type of fromula designed for older babies & toddlers. I have used All the brands, aand they all seem the same to me, but, every child is different. I understand your want to nurse, but please, don't make those of us who can't feel like we are inferior. We are here to support each other.

I had the exact same problem a few months ago!!! I started onb Similac and had nothing but problems with it. My daughter spit up a ton and had never done that before and everytime I had a bottle in my hand and came near her she would wail and push it away. I switched to Enfamil and things are smooth sailing. She now reaches out for the bottle and its a breeze.

I think that kids react different but my moms groups (kids all older except mine) all told me to switch.

This group was created for mothers in your situation. Please consider joining and talking with the members.


All the best,

My little guy is 10 months old today! I've been breast feeding the whole time (pumping and bottle feeding as a working mom), but I've always had to supplement because my production was never quite high enough. I realize that he was still getting all the goodness I had to offer (i.e. antibodies, etc.), and that there's really nothing WRONG with formula, it just digest slower and is not as PURE as the BM.

As far as recommendations, my strong preference is Enfamil Lipil. It's in the yellow container. It dissolves easily and doesn't stink like Similac. I've tried Similac powder (stinks up the room & leaves clumps in the bottle as it doesn't dissolve well) and Similac ready-made (his poops stunk more) and even Soy based products (variation of the above). He doesn't seem to notice the difference between ANY of them, but from my standpoint, I think Enfamil is best!

HOLD UP D.!!!!!

Why did the doc say you HAVE to supplement?
How do you know your milk isn't abundant?
Is your son complaining/Crying at your breast?
Do you work/pump?

More Info Please :)

Email me and let's figure it out.

Diehard nurser to 2.5 year old little man.

please see your pharmacist. there is a tea that you can drink - i believe it is called mother's milk that helps increase your milk supply. It helped me when my supply was getting low with my first child.

I hope it helps.

Ditto with Kristen's response!!!!

I nursed my 4 boys for the first 5-6 months and they are every bit as happy, HEALTHY, and smart as kids who were breastfed 'til WHENEVER.

Hi D.! Well, I just want to say that I am VERY pro breastmilk...however, when my son was 10 mos. he just WOULD NOT nurse anymore. I tried to pump for awhile but my milk supply gradually diminished and I couldn't provide enough for him. At any rate, I spoke with consultants, and was recommended Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL...it's suppose to be the best out there for people in our situation. It's a fairly new brand but it's suppose to be an easier transition from breastmilk to formula. My son accepted it much better than I thought he would, although to this day it still upsets me that I had to stop nursing so much earlier than i wanted to. But, in the long run I suppose, it's not the end of the world. Your son has gotten the best start in his life and a little formula certainly won't hurt him. I hope this info helps you. Good luck!

I won't get into the bf'ing/formula arguement (my son was strictly formula fed and has thrived). BUT, I have a friend who's husband actually tasted tested breast milk, Enfamil Lipil, Similac and Good Start and he felt like Good Start was closest to Breast Milk. Don't ask me why he went through this activity, but I thought the info might help. :)

Good Luck!

I too supplemented with formula after a while. If you've managed 9 months, you've done great so don't feel bad about supplementing at this stage especially if you still plan on nursing too.

My son (then 7-8 months) refused all types of formula so I began with 1oz of apple juice diluted with 1-2 oz water. After taking that for a week or so, he took to the formula. He wouldn't drink Similac to begin with but MUCH preferred the Enfamil Lipil. Now he'll drink anything! If I were you, I'd avoid the Good Start (Nestle) - I found it messy to make & clean up if it spilled and the powder was kind of sticky. I love Enfamil now and although I am still nursing most of the time, it excellent to have if I go out or for my son to drink while in the stroller. The powder is drier and the scoop makes mixing it really easy. Similac is just as good too (thats what they used in the hospital).

Good Luck,


I bf my son till he was 14 mths and even after cereal and baby foods were introduced, I still had enough milk. There was one time it was low. And from my training and all, I knew what to do and it works great. First, eat oatmeal. This really helps. Also, you can go to a natural food store and get some Mothers Milk Tea, or Fenugeek. This stuff works wonders. I hope this helps you.

S. Bailey CLD

I am so sorry for your situation - my best luck with formula with a baby who was only breastfed was Nestle Goodstart - it was the only thing my daughter would take. She wouldn't even take it from a bottle I had to go right to a sippy cup (NUBY brand found at walmart). It never gave her gas or any other digestive issues. Trust me we TRIED EVERYTHING!!!! We started with enfamil because my son loved that formula, then Similac, then Soy products. Either the powder or the premixed liquid - it pretty much costs the same. Good luck with your venture! If you really want to get your supply back up try taking the Fenugreek - my lactaction consultant at CDH suggested that with my first child. Just a thought J.

I primarily BF and give formula once in a while or when I am out and don't have any milk frozen (have twins so I don't have a lot of extra) and I use Enfamil Lipil with iron. Kids seem fine with it. Good luck!


I was wondering if you have talked with a lactation consultant. They really are great. I know Edward Hospital has great consultants. OR have you tried the supplement FENUGREEK? You can get it at any vitamin store. Also, you can try Mother's milk tea...I think it's available at whole foods. I've used the fenugreek...with great success. It may take a week or two to boost supply.



D. -

Unless your son is underweight there is no reason you need to supplement. No, having to use formula is not the worst thing in the world, however, it seems some do not understand how it crushes a mother to feel that she cannot provide enough for her child. Take Fenugreek (found in most health food stores), you can drink the Mother's milk tea but you have to drink alot of it to have any effect. Drink alot of water, eat oatmeal. Nurse your son ALOT. It is all supply and demand. If you nurse more, you will make more. If you can't get him to eat, them pump inbetween. If you take a "nursing vacation" for several days, spend alot of time in bed (and skin to skin contact is good to encourage him to nurse as well) and just nurse as often as possible. If that doesn't work, there are some drugs that are effective at increasing milk supply. You have done so great for 9 1/2 months, it's really a shame to give up now....and if you start supplementing, your milk supply will decrease even more because he won't nurse as often cause formula is harder to digest.

Most doctors have no clue what they are talking about but yet feel the neeed to dole out advice regarding breastfeeding. Their training is very minimal and their growth charts are all based on formula fed babies, who at your son's age would be heavier. Breast fed babies gain ALOT of weight in the beginning. Then as they start taking more reg food and less breastmilk and become more active between 9-12 months they thin out more. Breastmilk has more calories and fat than table food and some of your breastmilk is being replaced. Then the docs start to say your child is "falling off the growth chart" because he started off being 95th percentile and now he is in the 30s or 40s. It is very important to understand that those percents are all based on formula fed babies who grow at different rates. Every child is different, and as long as they look healthy and are not dangerously underweight there is no reason for concern. I have finally found a doctor who knows what they are talking about when it comes to breastfeeding...this is Homefirst clinic and they have many locations in Chicago land.

Unless your son is seriously underweight, I wouldn't even consider it. Say "yes doctor" and work to increase your supply. And suddenly between 18 months and 2 years he will be an incredibly healthy height and weight. http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVAugSep99p75...

Please talk to a lactation consultant or if you can't pay for one, call up a LLL leader ( you can get leader info off their website). They will be more than happy to help you.

If you want any more info please check out this site http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/low-supply.html. If you are pumping, please be aware that just because you may not be able to pump alot doesn't mean you aren't producing enough. A pump is not as efficient as a baby.

A lot of breastfeeding experts are also saying now that it is ok to give the baby cow's milk if they are over 6 months, as long as it is only a small amount of the total milk they take in. http://www.kellymom.com/newman/10bf_and_other_foods.html#...

Good luck and I really hope everything works out for you. It is really a shame that more breastfeeding mothers don't educate themselves more on these things because they could continue to have breastfed.

First let me say that having to give your baby formula is NOT a nightmare! There are way bigger things out there we as parents have to be worried about. I do understand how you feel, because I too was very concerned when I had to stop BF my son at 3 months. Let me assure you.. your baby will be just FINE and in a couple of months he'll be drinking whole milk & that's something else we can talk about!! (whole verses organic!!) My son is now 4 1/2, very healthy, and bright, we are very blessed. By the way, my daughter is 2 1/2, NEVER BF and is even healthier!! (and very bright as well!!)Good Luck & enjoy this time... they grow up VERY fast!!P.s.
My kids both did very well with Good Start.

Hi D.,

Even though I struggled with breastfeeding and gave up early on, I decided to relactate when my daughter was 9 months old and continued to give her at least some breastmilk until she was 12 months old. I used a herbal supplement called Fenugreek and a prescription medication called domperidone to stimulate milk production.

Is the reason you are needing to supplement due to a low supply of breastmilk? If yes, I would definitely do some research on fenugreek and domperidone. You may be able to increase your production of breastmilk and not have to go to formula. It's worth a try.

Let me know if I can help

I love good start,it looks better, it smells better and yes it even taste better....yes i tasted it, i taste everything i give my kids. My daughter was a premie and i hated having to supplement and I tried every formula on the market, Carnation got the best result. Less gas, less spit ups and less stinky in the diapers.

Hi, I had the same situation, but my son was underweight. Try to nurse as often as you can to increase your supply, but formula isn't the worst thing. My son rather like it but still loved the breast. I would recommend Infamil or Similac-they will send you samples-I barely had to buy any! You'll get used to it; just try to offer the breast more! Good luck!

I had to do the same thing, so I understand your pain. I first went with Enfamil as it was what the hospital gave us and that my Ped recommended. When I ran out one time and needed a quick fix I got Similac which she took to just as well. Since the cost was so much and I ran out of coupons I tried the good starts one time and my daughters stools turned black and tar like so I quit about 1/4 way through the can and went back to enfamil. Whoever you choose, go to their website and sigh up to get free samples and coupons. If you can keep breastfeeding even one feeding a day it will be better than not at all. There are many formula babis out there who do just fine. Don't fret too much.

I had to do the same thing! It crushed me, to be honest. I strictly BF my son pumped milk since I'm a working mom until 6 months, but then my supply dropped. I took Fenugreek, drank Mothers Milk Tea and went on a pumping "marathon" where I was getting up every 3-4 hours to pump to stimulate production (it did work for a little bit by the way). In the meantime, Jacob had to get some formula. We chose Similac Advance per his doctor and I mixed it 1/2 and 1/2 with my breastmilk. He took to it just fine and we had no side effects.

If you are new to formula over all (no other children) make sure to realize it's not as "hearty" as breast milk. Meaning that once you mix it, you have 24 hours to use it.

Oh, another thought...If this is just temporary until your supply comes back, perhaps try the premixed canned formula. It's more expensive, but my son drank that straight (when the supply was REALLY bad). It has a closer taste to breast milk than the powdered.

One good thing to think about...as SOON as I had to give Jake formula (even 1/2 & 1/2 with my milk), he started sleeping through the night. And another thing, be proud that you were able to BF this long...most of my friends did it for a couple of weeks at the most.

Good luck and I hope your supply comes back soon!

Don't worry about it. Get some cow milk based formula. He will be fine.!!

I'm a little late to respond and you've probably read all you want to about what to do. I just wanted to add that you are blessed with intuition. This will help you know what's right for your child. It's good to get input from doctors and other mom's but ultimately, follow your intuition -- it's a direct link to your child and only YOU have that with him. Your son is blessed to have such a caring and loving Mom:=)

You are doing just fine. My daughter supplements with Similac powder and Enfamil Lipil ready to drink. Ask your pediatrician for some samples!!! Believe me, the manufacturers give them plenty because that's the greatest source of customers for them.

Please call a lactation consultant! there are a few that post here. You may not really need to supplement that much. If your guy is eating a balanced diet of food, he doesn't need as much milk. (by the way, I highly recommend making your own baby food too, instead of jarred--that stuff tastes like slime)
I had the same problem. Using fenugreek 3X day and my milk went up in 3 days. also, pumping/nursing every 2-3 hours, and using a really good pump. A rental may be best. try la leche league and the website kellymom.com Good luck and don't stress--it'll lower your milk production more!

We went from formula to whole milk when my daugther was 10 months. she was doing so well with other foods at that age, our pediatrician didn't think it would be a problem.

My second child is now nine months. I have noticed with both children, that when they start to eat solids my milk decreases. I think this is because they are eating more and nursing less. I assumed this was normal. I never supplemented with my first son and don't think I need to with my second. They always seemed healthy.

Why did the doctor say that you need to supplement? Is your son not gaining weight?

If you do have to supplement, I wouldn't worry too much. I have two friends that have babies that took formula with no problem. You could try mixing it with breastmilk to get your little one used to it.

Good Luck.


I applaud you for not wanting to give up breastfeeding as it is what is best for babies but nature does not always agree. I had to stop breastfeeding my son when he was only 3 weeks old. At first I felt bad but then I realized that at least I tried and it was better for him to take formula rather than starve. I found that Carnation Good Start was the best. It breaks down farther than most formulas and is therefore more gentle and easier to digest. As an added benefit it also reduces spitting up. I had a friend whose son spit up ALL the time!! After one day on Good Start he only spit up occasionally. Also, Use the Follow Up formula from Carnation which is made for children over 4 months. And once again do not let anyone tell you that you are being a bad parent!!! Obviously those people had never had their bodies not do what it was supposed to do. I of course feel breastfeeding is best but isn't the ultimate goal a happy healthy baby? Sorry for getting on my soap box but those of us that cannot breastfeed should not be made to feel inferior to those that can. Good Luck!

I had to supplement as well and I wanted to breast feed but we had too many problems but my daughter started on similac and she was constipated and of course most doctors will tell you it's not the formula but I switched her to carnation and she's been fine every since. I used carnation on my first daughter because she has a problem keeping her milk down and it worked wonders on her so im sold on the carnation good start with dha and ara. I really think if you have to supplement, that's the best brand to use.

Personally, I think there are far "worse" things in the world than having to resort to formula. Your child sounds healthy and happy; using formula won't change that--believe me! Your baby will be eating people food in few short months anyhow.

We supplemented with Enfamil ProSobee with Lipil. Our daughter was gassy from day one...even with my own milk! The soy formula greatly reduced it. We were happy with it and so was she. On a side note, my daughter is RARELY sick and is very bright if those are things you worry about in regard to formula feeding...

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