7 Month Old Refuses Formula - Running Out of Stored Milk!

Updated on October 21, 2009
K.F. asks from Santa Barbara, CA
20 answers

My 7 month old baby girl has only been breastfed up to this point. I used to have a bunch of stored milk for when I had to work on the weekends, but due to her new "wake up every 2-3 hours to feed" in the middle of the night, I haven't been able to pump. I also feel like my milk supply is slowly going away. Which is one of the reasons why she keeps waking up (because she's hungry because she's not getting enough from me during the day). She has been eating solids for 1 1/2 months now and I know I can't just give her that for every meal to make her full.

I have tried 4 different types of formula and she refuses it completely! (even a non-dairy/non-soy kind) I have tried putting in a very small amount of baby apple juice to help with the taste, but nothing has worked. I have also tried waiting until she was really hungry and having my husband feed it to her - still no luck.

What am I supposed to do? I have to work all weekend and have nothing to give her.

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answers from Reno on

Have you tried the Earth's Best organic brand formula? A friend had the same issue you are having. Her son refused formula. I told her about Earths Best because I found it didn't have an odor (I hated smelling the formula when I opened the cans), and the taste is fairly close to breadtmilk. This worked for her. Maybe it will work for you. Best of luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The only formula my 4 month old will take is Nestle Good Start. It doesn't smell gross like others I've tried. I had to add a little bit at a time to her breast milk as you've ben advised. To increase production, the best thing is to pump more frequently. I know that means extra washing of pump parts, etc. but it really works. Try pumping in between feedings even for a short amount of time. I was afraid to "shortchange" my baby by not having enough for breastfeeding sessions, but my supply increased within a day or 2. Good luck!

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answers from Santa Barbara on

Have you tried mixing in some breastmilk with the formula? Maybe start with a small amount of formula and slowly increase as she accepts it? Your milk supply is probably OK, she's just eating alot. Continue to nurse on demand to keep it up, pumping one side while feeding her on the other or pumping right afterward. Even if you get less than normal, you can use it to mix with formula. If you are still nursing her weekdays and nights, she should be OK with less on weekend days (since she's eating solids too). She won't starve herself and can fill up when you get home. When I was at work, that was always the first thing my girl wanted when I got home - mama's milk!



answers from San Diego on

Contact your local La Leche League & get suggestions on how to increase your milk supply..nursing her for as long as you can at each nursing during the day will help...at night, before she goes to sleep, have you tried a snack of solid foods...at 7 1/2 months, she could have some rice cereal before she goes to sleep & that might help the most...I would't add any formula, that will reduce your body's need to make milk & if she hates the taste of formula, then she will just reject the cereal. Just start giving her the cereal & maybe some pureed veggies & see if that doesn't hold her longer into the night.

My girls had a snack after dinner, before sleep..sometimes even after their nightly baths, just because they would get hungry so fast. Well actually, they still do! I didn't think of this with the 1st one, & she rarely slept more than 2 hours at a time as an infant but once she could talk, she would ask for a snack & then when her sisters were babies, they wanted a snack, just because their big sister was having one...never made the connection that could have been why the 2 younger ones were WAY better sleepers!! Their bodies are always growing & changing & they move so much & use so many calories, just resting..they get hungry!!

I never added formula to the cereal, although sometimes I would mix it with warmed breast milk. I think I used warm water often, too.

Since you do work at home, could you just nurse her during the day & then give her back to your husband on the weekends? Or do you leave the house? good luck & take care



answers from Reno on

I would try mixing formula with breastmilk. Start with like 4 ounces of brerast milk to 1 ounce of formula, and then increase it gradually. I did this with my son when I was transitioning him to cow's milk at about 13 months, and it worked fine. Good luck



answers from Honolulu on

If you are only relying on pumping... your breastmilk production/supply can lessen, over time. There is nothing like direct nursing, to keep up with the supply/demand of a baby. Maybe, the recent pumping, has affected your supply. Although with your schedule, I know it can't be avoided.
Or, ask a Lactation Consultant, on how best to trouble shoot it. As each woman is different.

try to direct nurse whenever you can.

She is waking now a lot at night, because she is going through a "growth-spurt." She is waking because she needs more intake, to keep up with her growing demands of intake... as as a child grows, they naturally need more intake.

Per my Pediatrician, for the 1st year of life, Breastmilk/Formula is the PRIMARY source of nutrition for a baby... NOT solids, and NOT other liquids. AND, a baby must be fed on demand for the 1st year. At this age and point, "solids" is just an introduction and 'supplement' to breastmilk/Formula. Not to be relied on TOTALLY for "all" a baby's intake daily.

Perhaps, try another kind of bottle. Versus just switching Formulas too much. For my son, he LOVED the "MAM" brand bottles, which you can get from www.amazon.com It is great and I love this brand. AND it is "BPA" free.

Next, HOW is she being given the bottle? And WHO is giving it to her? Is she propped up at feedings or held in the lap/arms, or on a Boppy pillow? For some babies, this can make all the difference.
Also, make sure she is burped during the feedings... maybe she is getting 'gas' which makes them seem full.

You said she has been only breastfed up until this point... and then per her waking up every 2-3 hours to feed during the night, you can't pump. So excuse me for being 'dense'... so how is she being fed at her night wakings? Can you just nurse her directly instead? If you nurse directly MORE OFTEN... then the logic is that the body will produce more milk, per demand.
Often times too, a baby will often "cluster feed"... meaning they even will 'need' to feed even every single hour... otherwise they will always be hungry. This reflects their growth-spurts and need for more intake. If not getting it, then yes, they will wake more, due to hunger. As you said.

Perhaps, I would really seek a Lactation Consultant for advice... on HOW you can INCREASE your output. And, keep hydrated and drink LOTS of water, which is supposed to help.

She is probably 'rejecting' the Formula/bottle, because you are there and she knows that. And when you are not home... some babies will actually NOT take a bottle... in anticipation of waiting for their Mom. But as you know, then they may not be getting enough intake.. and this can affect your milk output.

I think, (1) try to troubleshoot how you can increase your supply... then nurse directly whenever you can... no matter how often, so that she gets enough intake and hopefully therefore making your breasts produce more milk. (2) And use pumping/Formula ONLY if you have to... and (3) try using a different bottle/nipple.

Then, ask your Pediatrician about a "plan B" in case your milk supply diminishes more... and then you will have to, supplement her with Formula... but if she does not take that.. then ask the Pediatrician for what alternatives you have. Because no matter what, she has to be getting enough intake from either breastmilk or Formula.

Ask your Pediatrician RIGHT AWAY on what you can give her... since you are working all weekend and it can't be avoided.
Some babies, have to be fed with a medicine dropper sometimes if they are not taking the bottle, for example. My friend had to do that, because her baby was not a good latcher nor feeder.

All the best,
sorry I don't have a magic solution,



answers from Dallas on

Have you tried mixing her formula with breastmilk? If you want to get your supply up, just pump a TON and you should be doing pretty darn well in 3 days or so. At that age my daughter ate 3 meals of solid foods, and nursed in the morning when she woke up, before her nap a little (she would eat a solid breakfast at 9:30 or 10) and maybe twice more before bed at night.

Don't feel guilty about feeding solids more often, as long as fruit, protein, starch and veggies are in her diet she is getting what she needs! If you are worried and she isn't getting all those things give her a vitamin (poly vi sol is a good liquid one). Best of luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there,
I had to do a transition to formula too. It wasn't easy believe me.
What it sounds like you need to do, is to start it slow. You can start by bottle feeding her with mostly breast milk and a few teaspoons of formula. The formula doesn't taste as good as breast milk. do that for a few days and then add a little more formula and less BM. I think it took about a month to do it completely. You only have 5 more months of this, then you might have to so the same with regular milk. You might have to pump more (just keep pumping a lot, your milk supply will start up again)
This worked for me, although it took a while.
good luck!



answers from San Diego on

I have something that many have successfully used. Would you like more info?

God Bless!




answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,

Try giving her formula that is a little warm. Also, this may sound weird but try feeding it to her as if you're breastfeeding her... facing you and close to your chest. Sometimes rocking her at the same time or moving the bottle helps too. I had the hardest time with my son when I went back to work and it took six long, torturous days until he finally drank from the bottle. I spent so much money on different bottles, nipples and formula and it turned out that he was just being stubborn, wanting only to be breastfed. He now takes the bottle (no need to warm it or rock him any longer) and is breastfed when I'm at home. It took some work and many tears from both of us but he adjusted just fine. Don't worry. I think your daughter just needs time. Babies don't know how to starve themselves so she'll eventually take the formula you give her. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Dear K.,
Congratulations on breastfeeding your baby for 7 months! You are doing a great job. You sound like a very good and concerned mom. You say you are able to work from home and be with your daughter, that is wonderful! Does that mean someone else is giving her a bottle while you are working? Many moms believe they are running out of milk when their babies are about your baby's age, I know it is worrisome, especially since you will be working all week-end. This problem can be resolved and you can build your milk supply back up. Is it a possibility for you to take breaks and breastfeed while you are working this week-end? Are you able to 'wear' your baby in a sling? Does your baby sleep with you at night? I would love to help you and your family. Please visit my website: www.VirtualBreastfeedingHelp.com
I conduct lactation consultations via SKYPE! Hope to hear from you, K.. L.


answers from Los Angeles on

I have a couple of ideas:

1. Bring her into your bed and increase your night feedings.
When I went to work after 3 months with my sons they EACH "flipped" their schedules. If the "breastaurant" was only available at night, that's when they wanted to eat. If the child is in bed with you, you can latch and go back to sleep.

2. Get this book: "Super Baby Food."
It has easy, easy, easy recipes for making age-appropriate baby food, and a month-by-month schedule for which foods you can introduce when. We both worked and it was still really simple to make our sons' food. This helped them to need less formula.

3. Pump on one breast while you offer your daughter the other, especially during the first morning feeding. The let down is better and you'll increase the supply.

4. If you can spend a couple of days doing nothing but breast-feeding, you can increase your supply that way too.

5. Mix formula with your milk.

6. Take the herb "fenugreek"; it helped me increase my supply some. (Be ready for your pee to smell like maple syrup -- I'm not sure why, but it's an odd side effect, lol.)

So much good luck to you.



answers from Los Angeles on

Maybe try mixing the formula in her rice cereal or oatmeal then slowly lessening the amount of cereal. (my daughter will not take formula either, but she will in cereal) Ask your pediatrician about goat's milk or some other type of milk?
Good luck. I am right behind you on this one and dreading it.
Oh, the other thing is you could start sleep training so that you can pump at night. It worked for us after three nights and have heard similar stories from at least half a dozen other moms.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I also recommend mixing the formula with breast milk. If you can, start off with 75% breast/25% formula, then go 50/50, then 25/75 until it is 100% formula (change the ratio every three days or so). That worked well when I transitioned my son from breastmilk to soy milk.

Also, play around with the temperature - make the formula warmer or colder to see if she takes it any better that way.

They do have special teas that you can drink and herbs you can take to increase your milk supply to (I think it's called Mothers Milk), so that may help too.




answers from Los Angeles on

When I transitioned my son I started with mostly breastmilk in the bottle and a couple of oz. of formula. Over about a two to three week period I increased the amount of formula to the point where he was getting mostly formula and only a few oz. of breastmilk. By doing it this way he acquired the taste of the formula.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am not a know it all, but this works!!
I had the same prob at about 7 months old. He was growing and needed more milk. I would nurse and then pump for 10 min or so. I did a marathon skin to skin nursing pumping regimin for 2 days. I ended up building my supply so that I had plenty and still pumped enough to eventually donate 785 oz of milk.
If you have use of a pump and you can get 2 days in a row where you can be with baby a lot it will help. Good luck!
If you must give her formula try mixing 1/2 a bottle of formula with pumped breast milk. I did this to get my baby used to cows milk and it worked!
You are a great mommy!



answers from Los Angeles on

If you are looking to increase supply fenugreek is a must! You can get it in capsules or liquid.
Motherlove makes drops called more milk or more milk plus. Capsules are easy to take as well but I would start off taking double the dose.
Kellymom.com is a fantastic resource for any breastfeeding woman. Check out the section on low supply and herbs. Just do a search and you will find everything you need to know.
Good luck!

P.s. I used the herbs myself with great success!



answers from Los Angeles on

With all respect to anyone's doctor, different sources give different advice. Please don't feel guilty about not being able to ALWAYS feed on demand and ALWAYS give breast milk. Sorry, but it just really makes me boil when mothers are essentially told how things MUST be done, so they can go and beat themselves up when they can't follow the advice.

Parents have been raising children for a very long time in many different ways (in the 1950's, the fashion was formula, and I think most of our parents survived); your love and care for your baby is the most important ingredient. From the advice you've received, it seems like gradually adding formula to breast milk might work best. You've already given your precious daughter a wonderful start.

Just as a final thought--we humans have a very strong survival instinct, and I can't believe she won't eventually take formula, if that is all that is available.

Best of luck,



answers from Los Angeles on

At first we mixed mostly breastmilk and a little formula until he got used to it. Just don't do too much at once because if she refuses it you don't want to waste that precious breastmilk!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,

My pediatrician suggested putting a little formula in a bottle of breast milk and gradually increase the amount of formula until there is no breast milk. Your daughter might take the formula better that way. I suggest trying Enfamil AR formula, it has rice starch in it so it's gentle on little tummys. Good luck!

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