38 answers

Putting Breastfed Baby on Formula

My husband and I are taking a trip in a few weeks and leaving the baby with her grandparents. She is breastfed, and has taken a bottle of breastmilk (even from me) without issue. I have been trying to pump and freeze, but at most I can get maybe 4 - 5 ounces each day no way will it be enough for all her feedings while we are away - the baby will have to have formula while we are gone. I received some formula samples from the pediatrician and we tried one of them last night (two separate times) and she refused and fussed. I can't really blame her - it doesn't smell so good. This morning we tried again (different formula) and the same thing happened so I gave her the breast. I have a few more formula samples to try, but I'm also looking for advice from others who may have had to deal with this as well. She doesn't need to be completely weaned - I intend to pump while away to keep up the milk supply - but I need to know she'll eat while I'm gone (without giving the grandparents too much grief!) Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

In hindsight it was ridiculous to expect that she would take straight formula - even a 50/50 mix was too much. So we did a 90/10 for a few bottles and we will slowly work our way to a mix that has more formula than milk. Pumping has been going well and I feel better about the whole situation, just needed some reassurance!

The original plan was to bring her with us, but the sitter was unable to follow through due to health and job changes. The grandparents are thrilled to have the time with their granddaughter

Featured Answers

Try to mix the two thats what I did with my son when I just couldn't produce enough milk. Then just put less breast milk as you go but you should start now so she will be used to it by the time you go!

Have you considered bringing the baby with you? Life is truly short - many moms (and dads) think they will be fine but end up missing babv so much it takes away from the trip.
Or have you considered banked human milk?
~L. Anne

Have you tried Carnation Goodstart? I had to do the same thing while I was breastfeeding to supplement with formula while I was traveling. The pediatrician recommended it and said it is the closest to breast milk because all the others have allot of iron causeing the smell and taste bad, also doesn't cause constipation because of the iron. I also put one ounce less of breast milk with the formula to lessen the taste. Also remember that with just giving one ounce with the breast milk her feedings will be less often.
It was the best advise the pediatrician gave me, so I started the week before to leave. Good luck...

More Answers

Did you try trying one ounce of formula in a breast milk bottle first? Then slowly increase...

Hello- I nurse my daughter and was hesitant to start her on anything but breastmilk till 5 months. Some folks begin a little table food at 4 months. In that case, why mess around with formula at all? Doctors usually recommend rice cereal as a first table food. Maybe if you try some rice cereal, you can avoid formula and move her slightly on her way to table food. Like you said, it is really just to fill in the gaps where you don't have enough pumped milk. Good luck :)

while you nurse on one breast, pump the other...baby is doing the work of getting your milk up and you'll get more! I would also mix a little bit of formula in the bottle for the first few times...1oz formula to 3 oz of breatmilk...start with small amounts so if she doesn't take it you don't get frustrated because you wasted an 8oz bottle...it takes time but she will get it...I always had more luck with the powder formula...you can make it a little lighter while you start, it's not so overwhelming and if you are mixing with breastmilk she'll still be getting enough nutrients.

Try to mix the two thats what I did with my son when I just couldn't produce enough milk. Then just put less breast milk as you go but you should start now so she will be used to it by the time you go!

wow...I don't know if it'll work. I've tried and tried to get my 4 month old to take formula so that I can enjoy a night out or have a drink, he refuses over and over again. We had to go to a funeral out of town and I had some pumped milk and some formula. Instead of taking the formula when the breast milk was gone he screamed for 6 hours. Maybe try mixing the formula into some breast milk, and if that doesn't work consider taking baby along.

The truth is - and I can say this after three children, the youngest being 9 weeks, that when they get hungry enough - they will eat. Plain & simple. You need not cater to their taste buds - formula pretty much all tastes the same. Try not to stress about it.

My son refused formula for a while too. He would make a horrible face and try to push the bottle nipple out of his mouth every time I tried to give it to him. I thought it was the nipple he didn't like, so I kept trying different ones. Then, I finally switched formulas. I switched to Similac Advance and he doesn't seem to mind having a bottle now. He prefers being nursed, but it is useful to be able to give him a bottle sometimes. All the formulas taste different. My daughter also prefered Similac formulas over any other kind we tried.

What worked for me was to feed my daughter cereal mixed with breast milk to prepare her for my short trip. My sister fed her this easily and she did drink also.
This way even if she did not drink the bottles as well as I would have liked she received what she needed and returned to breast feeding when I came home

Try renting a hospital grade pump. I used to pump really early in the morning before my daughter would wake up, when I was really very full with milk. When my daughter would wake up and nurse there was more milk for her.
Worst case scenario, they say a baby will eat when they are hungry. So even if she does not like the taste now, she will adjust when you are not there.
Good luck and relax a little (that will help you get more while pumping too.)

Hi B., I am currently nursing my third son and nursed my two older ones. My first two are only 17 months apart and my milk started to dry up when was I got pregnant. In order to take my son the full year of nursing I used to mix his bottles (at the time I worked 3 days per week) with 1/2 breast milk and 1/2 formula. Because he too did not like formula, the addition of the breast milk made it easier for him to take and digest. Try that, this way your baby will still get the benefit of your milk and hopefully take the bottles for his grandparents with no hassles. Good luck!

Is it possible to postpone your trip until she's a little older? She seems too young to be away from you right now. Have you considered bringing a sitter with you so that you can still breastfeed?

First, while your pump squeeze your breast in rhythem with the pump. Grab your breast close to your body and squeeze and slide your hand towards your nipple at the same time. This is a great way to get more milk out. Yes it's like milking yourself, but it works. Pumps just aren't as effient as a baby. And try to drink a non-alcoholic beer everyday while away. I always forget which one it is (the hops or the barley), but which ever it will help keep your milk supply up (Yes it's safe it was recommended to my by my midwife). Second, if possible only give her a bottle that is a 50/50 mix. 50% Breast milk and 50% formula. Third, if that's not possible, start introducing the formula slowly. Do a 100% breast milk bottle a couple days. The 4 oz breast milk 2 oz formula for a few days. Then 2 oz breast milk 4 oz formula. Then total formula. If you do it slowly she'll get use to the taste, not that you want her too, but what other options do you have.

Goat's milk formula is harder to find (but can be ordered) and there is controversy around it now, however it is a bit sweeter and simpler than the other formulas. Perhaps she would like it better and it would help keep her nourished while you were away. She could go back to breast when you return.

There are also recipes for making your own formula. Google Weston Price and baby formula. He's a bit extreme but once you read it a few times it seems a little more possible. Some good thoughts at least.

Mostly, I'd say, nurse and pump like crazy!!! Maybe do some herbal support to increase your supply? Sounds weird, but what what about finding a friend with a babe who could nurse yours in a pinch?

Try introducing it slowly, with a mix of breastmilk and formula. And try other brands.

Have some one else feed her while you are out of the room or even better out of the house during feeding times. she will not want to have formula sensing that you are near.she can almost "smell" your presence. after a few times she will get used to it.good luck. you didnt say how long you will be gone but you should be able to pump enough if not you can always try Mixing breast milk with formula like 75% to 25% . Enjoy your trip!!

B.,

I had to do the same thing and now my Daughter loves the formula. We actually tried Similac ORGANIC formula. This seemed to be the least offensive in smell and taste, had a sweet smell and taste, and is not full of the junk that the other formulas have (high fructose corn syrup etc!!!) I mixed half formula with half breastmilk and she took to it no problem. Your daughter is a little younger than mine, so it may be a little harder. At 7.5 months she is not as into the breast as she was when she was at 4 months.
Hope this helps!!

B.,

Try Similac Organic formula, I found it the most comparable to the breast. Also, you may want to try to put a little breast milk in the formula so your baby has the familiar taste.

Dear B.,

We added the formula slowly to a bottle of breastmilk for 1 feeding a day to get the baby used to the taste. Compared to breastmilk, which is quite sweet, formula is nasty. Start with 1/5 formula to 4/5 breastmilk, and increase to 1/2 and 1/2, etc. Depending on how much you are able to stockpile, you may be able to keep her at a mix of 1/2 and 1/2 for the duration of your trip. You'll have better results if someone else gives her these bottles (have your husband/mom/friend do it); if you try, she will be able to smell you, and will know your breastmilk is nearby and will likely refuse until you just give in. Go for a walk so she can't hear you, but take your cell phone so you can provide support if needed. Persistence is key. When she gets hungry enough, she'll take it. I know it sounds cruel to force tough love on your 4 month old, but it'll provide you with peace of mind while you're away. Good luck.

Hi B.,

We found ourselves in the same exact situation not too long ago. We ended up giving making bottles which were 2 parts breast milk to 1 part formula to start and my son took them. Then we tried 1/2 and 1/2 and that worked and then finally tried a 100% formula bottle. It took about a week to get him to take the 100% formula. We also left as much breast milk as we could and told our son's grandparents to use it at their discretion for those really fussy moments. He ate just fine while we were away.

I hope you are able to pump as much milk as you will need during your trip.

Have you tried pumping for just a few ounces before/during (i.e. pump at opposite breast) nursing your daughter? You might be amazed that just a few ounces at a time really can add up.

Also, since she's four months old, she's just old enough to start supplementing with a little rice cereal or something. If you start now, then she won't need only milk while you're away.

About me: I'm a mom of four: and, by God's grace, I have successfully breastfed each of them!

I've read some home-made formula recipes in a cookbook called "Nourishing Traditions" that are supposed to be very close to breastmilk in taste & formulation. My sister used these recipes to supplement when she re-lactated to breastfeed her adopted daughter and didn't get enough milk supply. Her baby thrived! The ingredients might sound strange, but are all readily available in "make your own formula" kits, just add your own milk.
I also found similar Weston Price formula recipes here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/1...

Try substituting an ounce of formula in the bottle of breastmilk. This is what I did with my twins when it became too demanding to keep up with them. So if you are giving your daughter a 4 ounce bottle for example put one ounce formula and three ounces breastmilk. Gradually increase if you think necessary. Hope this helps.

try mixing what breastmilk you have with the formula to make the taste similar to what your baby is used to. Try an extra pumping while you are nursing your baby in the morning to get a little extra milk for now.

My son acted the same way when I first started to have to feed him formula. One thing that may help is to mix some of the formula with the breast milk - - half formula and half breastmilk. That may help with the fussing. I would also stick with one brand instead of using a bunch of different samples. My son liked the enfamil the best, but the carnation great start was not to bad either. He did not like the liquid ones in a can at all.

How long are you going away for? Is this the only reason you are putting her on formula? Seems a bit early to me, but that's just my opinion.

Breast feeding is supply and demand so either you are not pumping enough or breast feeding enough, You didnt say how old the baby was. It seems that you might be best to take her with you. Get in touch with La Leche league.

Have you tried Carnation Goodstart? I had to do the same thing while I was breastfeeding to supplement with formula while I was traveling. The pediatrician recommended it and said it is the closest to breast milk because all the others have allot of iron causeing the smell and taste bad, also doesn't cause constipation because of the iron. I also put one ounce less of breast milk with the formula to lessen the taste. Also remember that with just giving one ounce with the breast milk her feedings will be less often.
It was the best advise the pediatrician gave me, so I started the week before to leave. Good luck...

Hi B.,

Since drinking from a bottle is not the issue, try mixing formula with your breast milk. It's makes your milk go further in addition to getting your daughter used to formula. For a 4 oz. bottle, start with 3 oz. of breastmilk to 1 oz. of formula and gradually increase. She won't notice the difference!

Have you considered bringing the baby with you? Life is truly short - many moms (and dads) think they will be fine but end up missing babv so much it takes away from the trip.
Or have you considered banked human milk?
~L. Anne

Hi There,
I have an 8 week old and he will also take a bottle of breast milk without issue, but he hates formula (he took a few ounces from his daddy the other day, but only because he was starving). What has worked for him is mixing formula and breast milk (ie. 2 oz. of breastmilk and 2 oz. of formula). This also worked for our older child when she was an infant. I never get a large volume of milk when pumping, so this is what we did so they would still be getting breast milk, but it would go further.

Good Luck!!

Just keep trying! The biggest mistake parents make is giving up on thing TOO soon....I've seen it with people trying to breastfeed, trying to bottle feed, trying to spoon feed, even with potty training. Be consistent and don't relent! Even if your baby misses a feeding or 2 (she won't starve to death) she will eventually be hungry enough and take the bottle. You are in charge of her, not vice versa. You can make it work, if you don't give in!!! good luck, it's not easy, but it will be worth it for this and other trials that will come your way as you "train up" your child!

I found that when I had to supplement my kids with formula that they liked the carnation good start. It was the most like breast milk and easy for them to digest. Before your trip you can check with Children's hospital or the local LaLeche(SP) group and see if you can get some donated breast milk to supplement with. When I had my 5th baby and had to quit nursing I donated my breast milk to the hospital.IT's something to check into. Good luck!

I haven't had to do this personally, but maybe you could feed your daughter pumped milk in a bottle with a little bit of formula mixed in. Then gradually change the ratio so she's drinking mainly formula. Make sure you mix the formula with the correct amount of water first though - if you just add the powder to your breastmilk, it will be too much strain on her little kidneys. Good luck!

Hi B.,

Try mixing the formula with the breast milk. They do say breastmilk is sweeter than regular milk or formula. Also is it liquid or powder, that you are using. I have found that the powder is prefered than the liquid. hope this helps and good luck.

As many have already mentioned, try mixing the breast milk with the formula. Start with small amounts, such as 1 ounce of each so you don't waste the breast milk in case your son doesn't take the bottle. I always hated when some of my pumped milk went to waste! Also, don't give up. Keep trying as there little bodies take time to adjust. I remember my pediatrician telling me it could take up to two weeks for their bodies to adjust to the formula. So once you get the formula in him, if he seems extra gassy or fussy, don't switch formula's too quickly because then his body will never get used to anything. I was always a Similac fan, but both my boys wound up on Similac Alimentum because of dairy issues. I know a few friends who really like the carnation good start as well. Good luck!

B.- I'm a mother who nursed all 5 of my children until they swere almost 2 yrs. old. One of mychildren (the 1st born)never took a botle.) Then I learned-like others have already said-you have to keep on trying!! If hungry enough-Babys'do EAT!!!!!! From you-she'll probably NEVER take any formula-but from others-she'll eventually do it. I'm also a greater than 20 year veteran RN-I deal with pediatric issues every day. TRUST ME-SHE WILL COME AROUND!! K. W.

I am sure you will get the same response from other moms....the baby may be more likely to take the formula from someone that she doesn't associated the breast with. She might fuss a few times, but hunger will eventually win out. Good luck

she'll be hungry and she'll eat. :) for our daughter, we mixed the breast milk and formula. Half and half. I also used Earth's Best Organic formula. She tried others, but seemed to do well with that. Hope that helps!

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