Mixing Breast Milk with Formula

Updated on May 04, 2008
C.R. asks from San Diego, CA
42 answers

I'm exclusively breastfeeding my 2 mo. old boy and my little guy is gaining on avarage 12 ounces a week. He was 13.11 oz at his 2 month check up on Monday and doing great! He's a really happy healthy baby boy. I feed him every 2.5 - 3 hours during the day and he's still waking up every 4-5 hours at night to eat. He seems like he's starving, just always hungry especially at 3am. I think he's [email protected]____.com feeding and my husband gives him a 4.5oz bottle of my breast milk at 11pm (that's all he'll take) and he still wakes up between 3 and 4 starving! Has anyone mixed breast milk with formula for the night time feeding? Did this satisfy your baby more and help your baby sleep more at night? If you did mix, did skipping a feeding at night effect your breast milk supply? Did mixing effect their digestive system? Behavior?

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S.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had twins and didn't have enough breast milk for both. I mixed formula in at every feeding and it did seem to keep them satisfied. I still pumped every 2 hrs and fed them every 2-4 hrs. I think 2 mos old babies are always starving!

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L.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,
When my son was born I did both breast feeding and formula from day one. However, I didn't mix them. I gave him one or the other and my son didn't really mind which he was getting but I did the formula because he was always hungry. My son liked to eat a lot as a baby and he still does - he's thin but very tall for his age. I finally just gave up the breast feeding after a few weeks because it wasn't for me and I knew it wasn't satisfying his hunger. He did fine on the formula (Enfamil with iron) and we wound up starting solid food at 4 months which also helped.

Don't stress too much about it. If you need to give him the formula he'll be fine.

Good luck.

L.

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K.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C., I agree, don't add formula, but I am going to go against the flow here and tell you what my parents told me when my 18 year old was 2 months. She wouldn't sleep long at night and would wake up extremely hungry. She was on formula already because she could not keep the breast milk down. But we added a little bit of rice cereal to her night time bottle, about a teaspoon in a 8 ounce bottle. So for a 4 ounce bottle, I would use 1/2 teaspoon. Or you could even start with 1/4 and see how that works, you can always adjust it up.

I fought my parents, "the doctor says no food until..." But they babysat one night and did it anyway. It made a huge differnce. Just that little bit added and it stayed with her longer. I did have to enlarge the hole in the nipple a bit.

Later her doctor said it was fine, and because of her attitude towards food, trying to grab mine, to start her on "real food" early. She was early in everything physical, crawling, walking and eating.

Now that she is 18, she is healthy, in fact she is an althlete, having been in water polo for two years and made varsity swim for her last two years in high school. She still plans to swim when she starts college this coming year.

Remember, every child is different and on demand is good, I did feed her and let her sleep that way. Sometimes they just demand more.

Best of luck.

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

it will make your supply drop..can u pump and have some extra bm in the fridge? that will affect your supply too but sometimes mixing formula can have side affects on your babe..i had to do it b/c my son was 10.2 lbs at birth and it was hard to maintain his weight..i had to start supplementing a bit and it really hurt his belly..if u do decide to supplement try Good Start Supreme's Comfort Proteins..it was the only one that didn't give my son tummy aches..which had him squirming all night..got less sleep. i'm still bfing and my son is 26 months..i wish i never had to supplement but it was necessary. If he's not gaining i would supplement if not i would do what i did ..i built what i called a fort behind me..w/ comforters and pillows so i was elevated..and i would lay my son across my belly and let him sleep and nurse at the same time..he was big and it worked for us..get what i mean? then i could sleep while he nursed..always laying on my side was starting to hurt me.

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J.L.

answers from San Diego on

C., Hi, i didn't breast feed my babies, I had my babies onh Simulac with Iron from day one, I had many reasons why i didn't breast feed but one of those reason were, you can't tell how much they are getting, in a bottle the ounces are right there so you know exactly how much your baby took. My first baby always seemed hungry too, but if I encreased his formula he just would just spit the extra up, so all 3 of my babies were on rice cereal at 6 weeks, I had an infant feeder and that is what I used I started giving my babies cereal before bed time, and they slept through the night, cause
they were not hungry till morning, I never mixed breast milk with formula, however when i got ready to wing them off the formula i did do half and half formula and regular milk. Had no problems with that. Mom for 24 years. J.

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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.. I know exacty how you feel!! My son is now three months old and has grown 5 inches since birth (he is now 26 inches) and doubled his birth weight in three months (now 18.3 pounds). He was always hungry and all I remember feeling is I want him to feel satisfied and peaceful. It took us about two months to figure out what he needed and he is happy and satisfied. Next, let me share that when we have mixed breast milk and formula my now three month old son has REALLY disliked it!! It was difficult for him to get down. What my husband and I do is always use two bottles. First he gets the pumped breast milk in one bottle and then he get the formula in the next one. The reason is that he tended not to finish the bottle if it was mixed and then that "golden breast milk" :-) would go to waste. It may seem like a pain to use two bottles but it is totally worth it as my son eats and is happy and finishes it. You may also want to try a level two nipple rather then level one. I would get up and pump when the formula was given BUT now I do it in the morning so I would not worry about it. Also, as I said my son is just three months old and still wakes up between 3 & 4 am STARVING!! He also eats about 5 oz every feeding throughout the day every three hours or so. The advice I have gotten and used is that at 3 or 4AM just give them a "tide me over"...like two or three ounces and put them him back down. This is eventually a feeding you want to do away with and get him sleeping through the night so if he gets used to having a full meal at that time he will always expect it...it is worth a try. Unless he is not ready fortht then keep the full meals every three hours going. Sometime during the day my son needs to eat every 2 1/2 hours, it just depends. Last night for the first time since I have been giving him the "tide me over" at 3 AM and he was up at 6:30!! I was so happy!!If you want him to get up and eat about 7AM after the "tide me over" then anytime between 6AM and 8AM qualifies. Then the most important thing is to offer a nap after beging up about 1 1/2 hours-2hrs. Hope this helps! :-) J.

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Even though you want more sleep you need to know that a normal baby will eat 8 or more times a day at this age. Our pediatrician MADE us feed our twins every three hours including waking them up until they were 3 months. But even if we had let them sleep, I thin they would have gone maybe 4 hours tops. Their tummies are tiny and only can hold so much. Some kids can sleep longer in the night, but 2 months is really early to expect this. Just hang in there. By three or four months his tummy should hold a bit more and maybe he will sleep longer.

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J.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like a normal baby to me. They eat alot because their tummies can only hold so much. When my little girl was about 4 months old my milk flow almost stopped for some reason(I think hormones) I decided to supplement half and half at night and she did sleep through the night. I am not sure if it was coincidence or the formula, but she slept from 9:30 to 6 a.m. It was great, but I think it was just time for her. I know people tell stories of babies sleeping through the night and it sounds great, but if your little one needs to eat they will wake up. It is totally normal and every baby is different. I know that the sleepless nights seem like they will last forever, but they won't. He is still very young. : ) Give it a shot, it may sustain him longer, but if it does not just remember you will sleep again soon. : ) Hang in there mom I know it is hard. Maybe you can pump and have someone else give him the 3 or 4 a.m. feeding. Oh almost forgot, the formula we used was Enfamil Lipil and she did not have ANY problems with it. If it is half and half or like 2/3 breast milk it will be easier on him. I don't know if we were lucky or if it is because we waited so long, but it worked. Oh and it did not affect my supply, it did not change at all.

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C.T.

answers from Honolulu on

Aloha C.-

You can be thankful that you have a perfectly normal little boy. He is right where he should be and much too young for you to be thinking about his sleeping through the night. I would not add any formula at this age. With formula you also add the risk of allergies, unhealthy weight gain, etc. You can start formula when he is six months and you are going back to work. For now, his tummy in tiny and he needs to eat every few hours...that's the way nature intended. You have this wonderful opportunity to bond with your child in a way no one else will ever be able to experience. Don't let that opportunity slide by. Breast milk is the perfect food for him now. Neither of my sons ever had formula, at six months or so they went from exclusively breast milk to table food via the baby food grinder. They are both extremely healthy today. Sons are a joy and you're doing a good job. Hang in there.

C.

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D.L.

answers from San Diego on

At about 2 months my son was still waking every 2 hours to eat. So I finally started mixing 2-3 oz. of formula with 2-3 oz. of breast milk. He has been sleeping through the night ever since. It hasn't affected my milk supply, but my breasts are very full when I get up, so I pump then and will nurse him later after he wakes up at around 6:30-7:00. I found that certain types of formula made him a little gassy, especially the powdered formula, so I use Enfamil, ready made. It's more expensive, but I use very little. Hope that helps. Good luck.

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L.A.

answers from San Diego on

He IS always hungry! He is two months old and he needs frequent feedings. He is a 100% normal baby. His problem is that he has a first-time mom. :0) Don't worry, we all start there. Babies are not supposed to sleep for long periods of time. They feed every 2-3 hours at this age, even at night. that is the hard part for new moms. Once you get used to the feeding schedule of a new baby, things will be better. Its not easy at first! I remember! Don't give him a bottle or formula. Give him his feedings at night whenever he wants them. The change needs to be in your thinking, not in what he is drinking. Once you get a bit more used to your new life as mommy, it will be easier. I promise. I've got four, and the first can be a real shock to your system. You are no longer your own person. You are a "feed on demand" machine for the next 5-6 months. Enjoy the night feedings instead of trying to figure out a way to eliminate them. He will grow up all too soon. Enjoy that little guy!

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G.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have an almost 17-month old daughter. Right from when she was born, my husband did the 3-4:00 A.M. feeding with formula. I also supplemented breast feeding with formula because I have implants. The hospital staff suggested it. We would go down to sleep between 7:00-7:30 P.M., she slept with me and would nurse generally around 11:00 A.M. I breast fed and fed her formula until she was 3 months old, went back to work full-time and then just did formula.

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T.

answers from Las Vegas on

C.,

Breastmilk is easily digestable and it is normal for a baby to eat frequently. It doesn't mean there is a problem. Some women find that giving a bit of formula helps their baby sleep longer because it digests more slowly. For me, it had the opposite effect until we figured out that my baby is intolerant to both dairy and soy. Any formula would have him up screaming for hours (oh, joy).

Any time you start supplementing with formula or skipping any nursing sessions, it will decrease your milk supply. That is the natural order of things and can be a very slippery slope. The more you supplement, the lower your milk supply so the more you supplement. If you aren't careful, it can be the road to weaning.

Most babies, even breastfed babies, tend to start spacing out their feedings a bit as they get older. And some babies sleep through the night very early and others take longer to get it.

I breastfed both of my babies for more than a year and worked full time the entire time. You don't need to supplement with formula unless you want to and it may not make any difference at all in how well he sleeps. My big concern with trying to stretch out feedings before baby is ready is that at this age they are growing really fast and need all those calories. Breastfed babies will not easily overeat - so by force feeding them you teach them to overeat and that can lead to weight problems later. I think it is better to just know that your baby knows what he needs.

:-)T.

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K.D.

answers from Seattle on

Hi! His weight gain is AWESOME - that's a breastfed baby for you! Don't change a thing! Every baby reacts to formula differently - remember it's a foreign substance and many babys don't tolerate it. (digestion, allergies, increases risk of childhood obesity, etc) Plus, once you start adding other things to his diet his poops will smell horrible! Babys need to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, this aids digestion, increases immunities and so many other wonderful things - and the longer you breastfeed the better it is for both of your health. Anytime you give your baby a bottle it can affect your supply (pump if you're away from him). Your baby can stimulate your milk better than the pump, so if you're together - nursing your baby is best to keep a good supply.
I know this is lots of info so if you have more questions just ask! You're doing a great job, keep it up.

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A.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hey girl I'm a first time mom too, my son is now 9 months old. I promise you it will get easier. Your baby is still only 2 months. These little guys are hungry. I never did give my son a bottle at night or mix formula but I don't think it would effect your milk supply if you gave him one during the night. For me the nighttime feedings didn't ease up till he was about 4 months. Aside from that it's fine to mix your milk with formula. My husband has done that a few times while I'm at work. His little bowl movements might just be a different color and texture. Wish I could help more but being a mom now I don't have much quiet time on the computer. Good luck and take care.

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L.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

At 2m. he's waking more for comfort than hunger. They get used to the feeding and it creates a pattern. Don't feed him for a night or 2 and he'll be fine. He'll cry, but it's not the end of the world. If you're not comfortable with that, just keep feeding him, has nothing to do with formula... Why feed him chemicals made in a factory when you can breast feed him milk MADE FOR HIM. Breast feeding is the BEST thing you can do for your child!!!If you want to skip a feeding it won't affect your supply just eat and drink a lot and in a healthy way.There are a lotof sleep books out there. My son quit the night feeding around 4 weeks. Your son isn't hungry, just likes to be nurtured.

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C.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

i wouldn't suggest mixing formula with the breast milk.... simply because this means that you will be skipping feedings, and it will affect your milk supply..... take it from someone who did this! my daughter would wake up every 4 hours at night to feed, and when she hit about 2 months old, i started mixing 2 ounces of formula with a bottle of breast milk. by the time my daughter was 4 months old, i was completly dried up! i was skipping those late night breast feeding opportunities, which lowered my supply and made me dry up within 2 months.

the more you nurse, the more milk you will produce. so, if your baby is feeding from your breast every 2,3, or 4 hours, he is naturally boosting your supply to meet his demand. keep it up hun!

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A.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,

First I appluad you for BF! You are doing such a wonderful job!! Second, there ARE ways to find out how much BM your baby is getting AND as long as your baby is thriving (gaining weight) than you are and always will be feeding enough! You can do what's called a feed n' weigh! You can weigh your baby before you nurse and then again afterwards, ONLY if you are concerned.. I WOULDN'T BE! :) As far as waking to night nurse is concerned, it is TOTALLY NORMAL~ One important thing for you to remember is our babies go thru constant growth spurts and they will sometimes nurse more often to help up our supply to accomodate their growing needs!~ It's a magical, wonderful thing! ALSO, you can never OVERFEED with BM... babies will nurse as long as they need to for feeding and comfort and unlike formula out of a bottle, you don't run the risk of over-feeding. AND one more thing.. as far as pumping is concerned... Please know that your baby will ALWAYS get more of you than a pump will. SO when you're pumping and you don't feel like it's enough, just know that. Babies have a natural ability to suck and will ALWAYS get more out of mommy than a pump will. :)

It is also VERY common for your baby to nurse frequently. I would suggest you avoid mixing formula (completely!) because as it was mentioned earlier it will affect your supply. ALSO because Formula is digested much differently than BM... You've come this far... you can do it!!!!

After all is said and done, if you think your baby is still NOT getting enough than have him checked to see if he's tongue tied. It is a common thing with an EASY fix!!!!

It is a COMMON misconception that babies are supposed to "sleep thru the night", especially at such an early age. You are doing what's best for your baby! And just so you know... techincally "sleeping thru the night" means sleeping a 5-6 hour stretch at at time!! :)

BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!!!

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't think mixing formula into his breast milk will make much difference in his sleep habits. The full tummy is really the key, not whether his tummy is full of breast milk or formula. Although breast milk is supposedly digested better, it doesn't mean that he'll get hungrier sooner -- rather, he'll just poop out more of the formula. To keep up with my breast milk production and to avoid plugged ducts, I had to pump 'round the clock even though baby was sleeping 8-10 hours/night during that age (and didn't make difference whether breast milk or formula).

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M.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Mixing formula w/ your breastmilk will not make your baby sleep longer. That is just a myth. All babies, like adults have varying metabolisms and it sounds like your baby has a fast one. He is gaining more than the standard which proves he is getting more than enough to eat. There are plenty of moms who can tell you that even a 100% formula fed baby will still wake up every 3 hours at night. Unfortunately, I have no answer as to how to get your baby to sleep longer thru the night but most breastfed babies don't do that. My son at a lot like yours and gained plenty of weight but fed every 3-4 hours thru the night 'till he was almost a year old. Mixing your breastmilk w/ formula will decrease your milk supply and it will affect babies digestive system because formula is harder to digest. I am an IBCLC and mother of two. I hope this helps.

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V.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

I Breast fed my daughter for 13 months, and she is a health 13 year old now. My son on the other hand was always hungry, I had to compliment my breast milk with the formula and I had to start on the baby food at 6 weeks. He just wasn't satisfied until I made the change and only then did he sleep through the night. Make sure you burp him properly and his tummy will not be the reason he wakes you in the middle of the night.

Good luck,

V.

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T.H.

answers from Las Vegas on

C.,
It sounds like baby is doing great. Most babies don't sleep more than 4-5 hours at a time without waking. Breast fed babies need to eat more often and the breast milk breaks down faster in their little tummies. Please read the labels on the formula before you introduce the chemicals to baby. Know that your baby is thriving on your breast milk. Babies who sleep 5 hours are considered to be sleeping through the night.
T.

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

hi C.,

i have a 5 month old and i had the same situation. i was wondering if she was getting enough to eat. thankfully there's boards like this that gave me a lot of information that i had NO idea about.

your son is gaining beautifully and honestly, i wouldn't change a thing. i would keep exclusively breastfeeding as it's so good for him. it's definitely a commitment.

but i heard that for some babies, they can't go that long without feeding because they are too young to regulate their blood sugar. breast milk is definitely less fatty than formula, but i kind of feel like formula just puts babies in a comatose state.

if you can, keep breast feeding on demand, going 3-4 hour even at night isn't bad at all!! have you tried breastfeeding in the sidelying position? i was able to feed my daughter and sleep at the same time. it helped tremendously.

keep up the good work and good luck!

J.

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K.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,

It can be frustrating and confusing, but what you are doing is right for your baby. Also, as the days get hotter, he may actually start to eat more often too. My pedi explained to me with my first child that if you are not giving your baby anything but the breast, they will also need to take "drinks" just like we need a glass of water (not just a meal).
Keep up the good work!

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N.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm a mixer! My reasons were a little different - I was exclusively pumping by the time month 2 rolled around, and wanted to stockpile some milk. So I would do a 50/50 blend of breastmilk/formula at some feedings. I can't say for sure if it helped her sleep longer, though she was a good sleeper. Yes, her poops were a little stinkier, but nothing I couldn't handle. I pumped right before I went to bed and again first thing in the AM, and had no supply problems. Truthfull, I pumped enough that I could have done 100% breastmilk.

She has been on 100% formula for the last 4 months, and is perfectly healthy and happy - crawled early and is starting to walk at 10 1/2 months, so I don't buy into the theory that I am "ruining" my baby by giving her formula.

All that aside, I highly recommend the Arms Reach co-sleeper! It made the late night/early morning feedings much less painful! Also, "The Nursing Mother's Companion" has a section on feeding quantities, and is in general a great resource.

Good luck!

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A.M.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Dont do it!
He is too young to be sleeping thru the night. He is acting completely normal. With my twins I had them on formula and breast milk at 6 months, because I couldnt keep up with the pumping. They didnt sleep thru the night until after they were ONE!!! It didnt matter if they got a full bottle of formula, full bottle of BM or a mix in the middle of the night, they never slept thru. or if they did it was a rarity! Currently my 11 month old exclusively breastfed baby is still waking. He eats babyfood/chunks of regular food for dinner, nurses and goes to bed by 8, sometimes he wakes several times. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I would say it is the norm to not sleep thru the night. I know you will hear stories about babies sleeping thru on their own, or being pumped full of rice cereal and then sleeping thru. but dont be discouraged. He will in his own time, enjoy him now and dont rush it. As for your milk supply, yes it will affect it. But to what degree, probably not much if it is just once a day. And as for their digestive system, that depends on your personal beliefs about formula. Enjoy your moments with him breastfeeding, before you know it it will be over :(

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K.R.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi C., I would be cautious about mixing the best food on the planet with a substitute. Your little guy is growing and will level out. It will affect the digestive system and it may cause him to not want to breast feed because it is so much easier to drink from a bottle than feed from you. It is a lot of hard work to breast feed, the pay off is a stronger baby. Also, breast fed babies grow up to be leaner and to do better academically. Stay with it, in the long run (which is more important than the short) it is better for him! I know it is hard but he is only 2 months old, he is suppose to be hungry. Mine didn't sleep through the night until they were 9 months.
FYI your body will make the milk your little one needs, increase as he does and decrease as he does. It is an amazing event!

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H.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Breast milk is digested in about 45-90 min. It makes sense that he'd get hungry at night. At 2 mos it is normal to need to eat every few hours. my daughter did it well over her 1st year.Formula takes longer to digest. It is filled with artificial product trying to imitate breast milk. I would not give formula to my exclusively bm fed baby unless it was absolutely necessary. it's such an amazing gift you are giving your child. i hope i don't sound rude or anything. i guess I'm just a lactivist! Good luck

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M.G.

answers from Las Vegas on

Right now your baby is on his own schedule. He is going to wake up no matter what yougive him. All babies are different. I wouldn't try formula until you talk to your doctor. My 5 month old cannot tolerate formula.(He's the only one out of my 5 kids that has had this problem.) He throws it all back up. So he is stictly breast fed until his system matures alittle more.
But giving your little one some formula at night will not affect your milk supply. As long as you keep breast feeding you will always have milk. It is a supply and demand type of thing. Just be wary that the baby may get consipated at first when you give him formula until his body gets use to it.

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E.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,

Not sure what to do about your baby being hungry? Just feed your baby. It's perfectly normal for a 2 mo. old baby to feed during the night. And he's gaining 12 oz. per week... that's wonderful.
Formula will help him stay "full" longer but it's more difficult to digest. And yes, it will affect your milk supply.
My advice is just to feed your baby. Once your pediatrician says he doesn't need a night time feeding anymore then you can wean him off it.

Good luck and don't worry - your baby is doing what all babies do!

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

It's totally normal for him to wake up and need to eat at 2 months. There was a week when my 2 month old woke up very 2 hours to eat during the night. It was a definite growth spurt. He is a now healthy 8 month old that sleeps from 8pm to 6-7 am. You really can't consider dropping the feeds during the night until the baby is 4-5 months. Now he is just too little. That is why they say new moms never get any sleep.

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T.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son was extra hungry around this time of his life too and we started to feed him cereal twice a day but then when he turned 3 months he didn't want it any more - he may be going through a growth spurt. But at a certain point I was not creating enough breast milk to support him and the nutritionist suggested mixing breastmilk and formula but I would try cereal before formula because it will make him more full. GOOD LUCK!

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D.B.

answers from San Diego on

Relax -- he's only 2 months old. It is quite normal for him to wake up in the middle of the night and want to eat, especially if he is breastfeeding. They also go through growth spurts where they will eat more and more often. Sounds like he is gaining weight fine.

Some babies sleep through the night at 2 months (my first one), others take a bit longer (my second one -- took a LOT longer!) But at only 2 months, I'm sure he is apt to start going for longer stretches at night eventually.

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E.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

I am a mom of G/G twins now 1 years old. I am still pumping breast milk and supplement w/ formula (I mix 1/2 and 1/2). My girls are healthy and growing well. My breast milk supply HAS NOT decreased. As long as you pump every 3-4 hrs, consistently, your supply will not decrease. Milk supply depends soley on how often you expel breast milk, so if you don't breast feed or pump consistently every time, your body doesn't regulate your hormones to continue producing the same amount of milk.

In addition, your baby self regulates his/her feeding. Don't deny your baby feeding at night at this age. I know it is hard to do those night feedings, but it is not forever and it is so important to continue feeding every 2-4 hrs. Try and do it in shifts w/ your hubby so you can get some sleep too. Better yet, it is better to get a night sitter a few nights a week if you can afford it---worth every penny.

Breast milk has lots of sugars (more than formula) that break down easily and causes your baby to digest and metabolize it faster. So yes, he/she will be hungrier sooner. I do recommend mixing w/ formula, but if you don't want to, just pump the breast milk and store it for hubby to help bottle feed. Either way, you still need to feed your baby every 2-4 hrs. We fed our girls every 3 hrs up until 5 1/2 months, then they started sleeping through the night. During the day, sometimes they ate every 2-2 1/2 hrs! Our girls were born early so it took longer for them to sleep through the night than singletons.

Most babies don't sleep through the night until 3 months or up to 12-14 lbs. Prior to that their bellies cannot hold as much milk at once and need frequent night feedings. You should get the book The Sleepeasy Solution form Jill Spivak. Check out her website at <www.sleepyplanet.com&gt;. She explains how to sleep train your baby and gives sample schedules for diff age groups. At about 3 months, sleep training should be started.
Best,
E.

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K.Y.

answers from Los Angeles on

First, congratulations on your son and being a mom! I too am a first-time mom. My son is now just shy of 5 months old and I'm loving every minute of it.

Regarding your post, it sounds like your son is doing wonderfully. Good for you on breastfeeding...it is a huge commitment, but one of such great benefit to your son. His weight gain and nursing times sound great too. However, the one thing I've learned is that babies are all about change...and I'm not just talking about diapers! Periodically babies will go through growth spurts and your hungry son might actually start nursing every 60-90 minutes. This will go on for a couple of days to a week. Then they might settle back into their old routine or begin a new one. My son was following a timing similar to your son's, then around 2 1/2 months he shifted to every 2 hours and crying through the night. As soon as we would solve one problem and see a few nights of improvement a new issue would crop up. (Acid reflux, moving to his crib, ending swaddling, etc.) Just keep your routine going and consult your pediatrician (ours has been an incredible source of advice and understanding).

As far as how much he is getting at night from the breast, you really can't measure it accurately. Your son is a much more efficient and effective breast pump than any one you can buy at the store. If he's gaining weight and healthy, which it sounds like he is, then he's getting everything he needs. I've found that my milk production changes to match his needs. As he gets older and needs more milk, I seem to be producing more. When I pumped at 2 months, I would only get 2 ounces. Today I can get anywhere from 3-5 ounces from one breast. Your body knows what to do to support your beautiful young son.

Regarding formula...first of all, do NOT mix formula and breastmilk in the same bottle. If you mix formula, ONLY use water. As far as supplementing formula to your breastfeeding, I would discuss it with your pedi. We decided to add the occassional bottle for several reasons. 1)I was having a lot of trouble pumping enough milk to make an extra bottle. We wanted some flexibility to give him a bottle when in public, for the babysitter, or simply so I could get some sleep. (Now my production has improved and it is rare that I give him any formula, once a week at most). 2) In case of an emergency, we wanted to be sure that our son would take a bottle and take formula in the event I was unable to nurse him. You will find that your baby digests the formula differently, both on entry and exit. Talk with your pedi about the right formula to use for your son. There are so many to choose from that I found it a bit overwhelming.

If you start giving him formula at night, you will need to still pump to keep your production up. If you don't, your body will assume that the baby doesn't need it and will slack off production. So to keep it going, you'll still need to pump. Personally, I chose not to give the formula at night because if I've got to be up anyway to pump, I might as well pump it into him, and it's much more enjoyable to nurse him than to pump with a machine.

These little creatures are such a mystery. I never realized how much of being a parent is puzzle-solving. Parenthood is one of the greatest mental challenges, much tougher than any job I've ever had. You'll get lots of advice and opinions...in the end, remember that every baby is different and you need to trust your mother's instinct about the best path to choose for your son. Also, be patient. Things will change as your son grows. Respond to his changing needs, be flexible, and keep your sense of humor. In 5 short months I've already found that this is going to be one wild ride. Enjoy it.

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T.R.

answers from San Diego on

I wondered the same thing when I my little one was that old. He ate/drank alot! Sounds like you are doing good, though, and on the right track. The little ones just can't take in a lot at one time, so they need to eat frequently. Sounds like your schedule is a good one, so keep it up. We didn't mix any formula with BM, but you certainly can, then if you miss a feeding just pump, so you have more for the next time. One of my girlfriends swore that her baby slept better/longer at night when she would give him formula (I don't think there is any 'data' on this, but you never know!) If your baby is always hungry, he would cry to let you know he needs more. If he's not crying, but just ravenous when he gets to the breast at 3am, I think that's normal. His body is digesting the BM quickly, so he's just ready for more at 3am! I even asked my lactation consultant about my son always wanting to eat/drink and whether or not he was starving (he would only go 1.5 hours between feedings) and whether or not I was producing enough milk for him, and what she told me was "if you think he eats a lot now, wait until he's 15!" So, I think your doing good and your baby would tell you if he was starving. Good luck.

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S.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,
I would not recommend supplementing your breast milk with formula..and here's why! :) Most 2 month olds (even formula fed) will be waking up at least every 4-5 hours..most would do so sooner! He is obviously thriving, gaining plenty of weight. Breast milk is digested much faster than formula is so he will be hungry, especially after such a long sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months..keep up the great work!

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M.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

If your baby is growing fine (which it sounds like he is) then he's getting enough breast milk. If you supplement, then your supply will decrease to what he takes from you and you may create a situation where you no longer produce what he does need...stick with just the breastmilk...if you have more questions, call the lactation folks at the hospital where you delivered. I know Hoag has a great babyline...you can find it on their website...can't remember the number.

Oh! And, he may not necessarily be hungry but like the sucking feeling...it's soothing for babies...have you tried a pacifier? As far as the waking up goes, that's just how it is...he's a little baby and he's going to wake up...he'll grow out of it though!

Good luck!

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T.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Anytime you skip a feeding it will disrupt your milk supply. It tells your body that you don't need to make as much milk if baby isn't nursing - so even if you don't nurse you should pump to keep up the supply - especially now that he is only 2 mos. You can skip feedings later, not now that he is still waking. Be aware you baby is waking because he is hungry. Most kids on average don't sleep thru the night until about 4-6mos. Hang in there.
I did mix formula but only because I didn't produce alot of milk so I was forced to and because I skipped feeding in the beginning which was not good. No problems with mixing formula - by mixing I would at one feeding give formula and next feeding breast milk that I had pumped during the day. No problems with it. Although don't expect to do it to get him to sleep longer - he will do that when he is ready.

Good luck!

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Baby's Love and need to eat. At two month's old our daughter still eat every 2 hours. To hear that your child is sleeping more than that is amazing. My suggestion is that you get up or have an evtra bottle for him at his second night feeding. I would NOT supplement with formula. Their little tummies can't hold a ton anyway. Although there is nothing wrong with formula beast milk is best for them. Don't worry he will eventually sleep more but just not yet. This just what worked for us. You are his mom and know him best so follow your instincts.

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E.F.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi C.- I have 2 boys 5yrs and 3 yrs old and with both of them I also gave them formula in between my milk they were ALWAY hungry and I wasnt sure if I was giving them enogh of my milk and my boys were big from birth and are doing GREAT - so if you want to give him some formula also and pump when he gets formula then you are ready for his next feeding of your milk - talk to your Ped - see what they think but you as the mommy know whats best for your baby - good luck!

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

This is normal. He is only 2 months old.
Please do not expect a baby to sleep ALL night.... remember "sleeping through the night" for a baby means sleeping at least 6 hours straight. It takes time. Every baby is different. Your nursing seems fine. He is an infant. As he grows up, feedings will adjust. For now, stick to what you are doing.

I would stick to nursing him, not adding formula. Consult your Pediatrician if you have concerns.

Remember, that if you happen to "add" formula to his breastmilk... you MUST follow the directions for the formula...mix it only with water and in the proportions stated. If you make the formula too concentrated and not enough water....it will overload the kidneys. The ratios for mixing formula are meant to be followed. Do not mix it with breastmilk (and not water) thinking this is the same. It's not.

An infant gets hungry...they need to feed, thus you wake up for night feedings. Keep it up. This is what it is. And yes, you want to keep up your milk supply.

He is growing and gaining weight appropriately...this is an indication that your milk supply is fine. If it were not enough..he would not be gaining weight.

Bear in mind, that every 3 months or so, or every few weeks...there is a 'GROWTH SPURT' that babies go through...at these times, they will get hungrier and want to nurse more and more frequently. When this happens, feed him. Do NOT withhold feedings.

Also, as a baby grows, their sleep patterns will probably change...due to developmental phases, cognitive development, and physical changes etc., and later, due to teething. So be aware of that.

Perhaps get a book, that will explain the growth & development of a baby for each month, per month of age. One good one is "What To Expect The First Year" by Arlene Eisenberg. This will answer a lot of your questions. It is a very good idea to get a book, to refer to.

Since your are nursing... it is "on demand." You need to nurse your baby when he needs to. With nursing, it can even be every 1 hour at times. This is normal. It will fluctuate between every 1 to 3 hours. Look for his hunger cues.... rooting, fist to mouth, his mouth turning to the side and gaping open etc. Or, some babies don't have much hunger cues. Don't just go according to a "schedule" for nursing... sure, be sure to nurse within a 3 hours period...but this will also fluctuate so you need to adjust. Sometimes more often.

At night, if he wakes up, and he's hungry, feed him.

My son was a voracious feeder... I would nurse with BOTH my breasts at each session and he would nurse me dry. As he grew, he ate more and more. At some point...I had to supplement him with formula. I did not mix breast and formula. I would breast feed first, BOTH breasts, then if he needed more, I would give him a little bottle of formula. This was fine as I checked with my Pediatrician. Versus, with my daughter, my breastfeeding was fine and I did not have to supplement. This is just one example.

Be sure to nurse long enough so that your baby can reach the "hind milk." This is usually about 15 minutes at least.

Yes, typically, breastmilk supply is a reflection of your baby's nursing frequency and intake. Your body is supposed to make enough milk to adjust to your baby. Supply and demand. If your baby were NOT flourishing and gaining weight....then I would worry, and this would probably mean that (1) he is not getting enough milk (2) your milk flow may not be enough (3) his suckling & latching on ability is not appropriate...and thus you would need to see a Lactation specialist (4) not all babies latch on and "suck" properly.

As far as behavior which you asked about... if a baby is not "thriving" they would be lethargic, not have enough wet diapers or poopy diapers, they would not be "alert" and they would be dehydrated etc.

I would not "skip" a feeding as you asked about. For me, I strictly nursed on demand, no matter what and let my baby lead me as to when he/she needed to nurse. I breastfed my first child up until about 2-2.5 years old, and my second baby up until about 1 year old. In both cases, I let them "self-wean." But that is just me.

If you "skip" feedings anytime and regularly...this means it will affect your milk supply. There is no reason to skip feedings. He is only 2 months old. Just because you give a baby formula...does not mean you can then "skip" feedings. This is not the logic a baby follows.

You seem to be nursing fine. You are doing a good job. Keep it up.

Take care and all the best. Congratulations!
~Susan
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