Is Combining Formula and Breast Feeding Safe?

When you first become pregnant, you learn that there is a set number of pounds that you will gain, nausea is called “morning sickness” because it only strikes in the morning and not to worry because, once the baby is born, you will just know what to do. How often do you suppose that works out?

Unfortunately, even for new mothers who know better than to believe everything they are told or read, there is a very real chance that they will have unrealistic expectations when it comes to breast feeding. There is a phrase that has become very popular, “breast is best”, which is more or less a slogan for advocates of breast feeding. Consensus, even in the medical community, now stands solidly on the side of breast feeding as being the healthy choice, especially for a child’s first year. In addition to providing the best nutrition, breast milk is believed to reduce the risk of serious conditions, like childhood obesity, diabetes, ear infections, needing a disability attorney and many others. While all true, what about mothers who, for one reason or another, are unable to provide adequate milk?

When a young mother quickly begins having difficulty breast feeding it can lead to a feeling of guilt and inadequacy. While no one argues the benefits of breast feeding, there are times when it is either not possible because of some physical problem or a matter of logistics due to time spent away from the baby, like when a mother has to go back to work. Pumping is, of course, one solution but it, too, does not always fill the need. Formula can provide a good alternative. Formula used in combination with and to supplement breast milk can provide a particularly good balance in terms of nutrition and lifestyle issues.

Advantages of Formula

In the first half of the 2oth century, formula was aggressively advertised as being superior to breast milk. The healthcare community actually promoted it over breast milk. Claims of unfair influence by formula manufacturers and lobbyists by breast feeding advocates pushed back and eventually swung the pendulum of opinion against formula. Some of it was undoubtedly deserved but not all. In many cases, formula can provide much-needed nutrition for a baby that is not getting it through breast feeding and a way to balance life’s many demands for mom.

Some specific advantages of using formula include:

  • Convenience – the ability to feed at any time by anyone, such as a spouse, partner, family member or caretaker.
  • Flexibility – formula is available whenever it’s needed without the necessity of working pumping into your schedule.
  • Shared bonding – your partner can also experience the bonding that comes during feedings.
  • Less dietary restrictions – when using formula exclusively, you do not have to avoid eating or drinking something that might adversely affect the baby.

Controversy aside, the main concern should always be that the baby is getting adequate nutrition, closely followed by the sanity and health of the mother. Whether that is accomplished through breast feeding exclusively or some combination of breast feeding and formula turn out to be the best route, should not matter.

If you would like to learn more about baby formula, feel free to watch the following video!