Mixing Milk

IS IT OK TO MIX HUMAN MILK AND ARTIFICIAL BABY MILK (FORMULA)?

Mixing refers to giving your baby your own milk and artificial baby milk in the same container. This is actually a form of supplementation. Supplementation means giving your baby liquid nourishment in addition to breastfeeding. Giving your milk and any supplement separately is advantageous for these two reasons:

  • Your baby will receive the immunological benefits of human milk and
  • Less will have the chance to be wasted than if the milks were mixed.

Reasons supplementation of a breastfed baby may be necessary include if the nursing parent’s supply is low or if the baby is separated from the parent. However, there are many options in these cases, including the possibility of  supplementing with breast milk, donor human milk or formula, so be sure to contact your La Leche League Leader to discuss your particular circumstances.

You may find at-breast supplementers to be helpful. With this method of supplementation, you use a separate container to store your supplement, which is attached to a very skinny medical tube that is directed toward the breast nipple. You can use artificial milk, such as formula, or breast milk, either pumped from your own breasts or from a donor.

Through at-breast supplementing, mixing human milk (from the breast) and artificial baby milk (when using formula in the supplementer) can occur. The increased stimulation to the breast through a baby’s suckling may improve your milk supply while simultaneously providing the innumerable benefits of breastfeeding for baby. This far outweighs any disadvantages of mixing human milk and artificial baby milk.

SEPARATION

Having your care provider offer your pumped milk to your baby separately ensures that all of your “liquid gold” will be used and less will be wasted. It’s also important for any caregiver providing a bottle to your baby to practice paced bottle feeding, so the milk is offered is a manner similar to breastfeeding and babies don’t get used to a fast flow of a bottle.

CAUTIONS
  • Since breast milk production relies on the concept of supply and demand (the more demand made for milk, the more milk the body produces), those who supplement could affect the quantity their body produces.
  • Offer breastfeeding to your infant first. If you give artificial baby milk in a bottle first, you can fill up your baby, making him less interested in breastfeeding and causing your supply to decrease.
  • Supplements of artificial baby milk can sensitize some babies to milk allergies or intolerance.
  • Researchers, as well as parents, have noticed that babies may get gassy when receiving artificial baby milk.
    This encompasses all types of supplementing situations, such as combining human milk and artificial baby milk, or giving human milk at one feeding and artificial baby milk at another.

Human milk is, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, preferred for all infants. The more human milk they receive, the greater the benefit. Any amount of human milk is a positive addition for your baby.