How to Make Mixed Breastfeeding Successful: Tips & Ideas

Feeding that includes both breast milk and artificial milk is known as mixed breastfeeding. The WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life, however this is not always achievable.

Despite the fact that most women wish to breastfeed their children, breastfeeding rates have been declining over time. Only two out of every five children are exclusively breastfed for six months, according to UNICEF data.

Mixed Breastfeeding: Decision or “Obligation”?

Some moms mix breastfeeding with bottle feeding because they want someone else to bottle feed the baby while they relax. In these situations, I usually advise keeping breastfeeding feeds at night since prolactin, a crucial hormone for breast milk production, is secreted at its maximum level at night; night feedings are necessary to ensure breast milk production.

I’ve also known mothers who prefer mixed nursing since it allows them to see what their infants consume when they drink from a bottle. Although every mother decision is admirable, knowing how much milk our infant consumes is unnecessary because there are indirect indicators that our baby is getting enough milk.

Mixed breastfeeding occurs frequently when the woman goes to work. Unfortunately, a 16-week maternity leave makes it impossible to continue exclusive breastfeeding throughout the first six months of a baby’s life in most circumstances. Some moms are unable to express breast milk, or cannot express it in appropriate quantities, and opt for mixed breastfeeding, in which the mother breastfeeds the baby when she is at home and the baby is fed formula when she is at work.

However, when a health practitioner prescribes supplements because the mother does not produce enough milk and/or the infant does not express all of the milk he needs and does not gain weight appropriately, mixed breastfeeding is “necessary.” We wouldn’t have to deal with mixed lactation or fake formula if the supplements were made from breast milk (it’s a myth that formula milk feeds more).

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The Failure of Mixed Breastfeeding

Mixed Feeding

Breastfeeding frequently fails and is replaced by artificial feeding. This could be for a variety of reasons (or a combination of several).

The cause of mixed breastfeeding has yet to be identified. We’re talking about “forced” mixed breastfeeding in this example, where a health practitioner recommends supplements because the infant isn’t eating enough. This could be due to the mother’s inability to produce enough milk or the baby’s inability to obtain all of the nutrients he need. The majority of women are capable of generating all of the breast milk that our babies require; occurrences of primary hypogalactia are exceptions. They’re uncommon, but when mixed nursing is required, they must be ruled out. Secondary hypogalactia (when a woman is capable of making milk but produces less than she should for some reason) is more common and can be caused by improper latching, among other things.  insufficient technique (for example, very rigid schedules …). Short sublingual frenulum, hypotonia, retrognathia, and other conditions can make it difficult for the baby to express all of the milk he need. Many of these issues have solutions, but if we do nothing, breast milk production and/or extraction will continue to be low. In many situations, this will result in a gradual increase in the amount of formula used, and nursing will become virtually entirely artificial.

More milk is dispensed from the bottle at a faster rate. Breastfeeding and bottle feeding are not the same thing. Babies express little amounts of milk at a time while they suckle. Even at three months, babies must suckle for a few seconds before the milk starts to flow ( three-month crisis ). Instead, a huge amount of milk is dispensed from the bottle in a short period of time. This may cause some newborns to get frustrated with the breast and prefer the bottle instead.

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There’s a lot of nipple confusion. The way you suck from your breast differs significantly from how you suck from a bottle. In the first situation, the baby must position the tongue under the nipple and areola, produce a good seal with the lips, and use the tongue to pump the milk with peristaltic movements. On the other hand, the suction in a bottle is different, and the milk comes out more easily. Although this does not occur in all circumstances, some babies may become confused and attempt to suck at the breast as if it were a bottle, resulting in frustration because the milk will not flow out in this manner.

How to Achieve Successful Breastfeeding

Mixed Breastfeeding

Now that we’ve looked at the main causes for mixed breastfeeding failure, let’s look at what we can do to make breastfeeding a success.

Solve any issues that prevent you from breastfeeding exclusively. If we must offer supplements because our kid is not growing properly, it is critical that, while we do so to ensure their appropriate growth, we also identify and address any potential concerns. Except for primary hypogalactia (which is uncommon), most other issues are treatable. It is critical to ensure that the technique (breastfeeding on demand, whenever and for as long as the infant desires) and the latch are both adequate. It’s also critical that our kid be examined by a nursing expert to rule out any potential issues, such as a short sublingual frenulum or hypotonia. Changing your posture can assist because some babies latch on and express milk better than others.

The breast should be served first. We should always offer the breast first, with a few exceptions. The baby will be hungry and suck aggressively. Later, we will offer the supplement without forcing it because newborns have great control over their hunger and satiety signals and may not choose to finish it all. We can offer the breast again after the supplement. We all know that the breast is not only a source of nutrition, but also a source of comfort, affection, and bonding. Plus, you’ll get a “extra” boost to help you produce more breast milk.

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Choosing the most appropriate supplementing technique. Supplements do not always have to be packaged in a bottle. There are a variety of additional options that may be more appropriate. For example, we can use a finger and a syringe to provide milk to extremely young newborns who swallow small amounts (a method called ” finger feeding “). In addition, they can sip milk from a glass (there are even some designed for this purpose). We can use a relocator on babies who latch on well to the breast but don’t drink enough milk.

Mixed Breastfeeding and Return to Work

Mixed Feeding

Because this is a unique situation of mixed breastfeeding, a separate section should be dedicated to it. In this scenario, mixed breastfeeding usually begins after four months.

Breastfeeding is well established at this age, thus there will be very little nipple-teat confusion or newborns that prefer the bottle; rather, it will be difficult for them to take a bottle.

Many mothers wonder if their milk production would be affected; this is unlikely because breastfeeding is well established at these ages, and the majority of the milk is produced during feeding. If you don’t express milk during the day, you’ll probably notice a very full breast for the first few days, then it will settle down. The chest can completely respond to the requirement.

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