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Thread: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Question Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    Hi,
    I am not producing enough milk for my little one and am working so I have to do some supplementation. I'm using Similac Organic. I've been pumping and using 2 parts breastmilk to 1 part formula. I read that mixing the 2 conteracts the benefits of the breastmilk, but it was just a reference on a forum. I couldn't find any other info on the topic. Something regarding the white blood cells being damaged when you mix them. Is this true?

    Looking to find out if I should be feeding the portions separate rather then mixing them together as I want the best nutrition and benefits for my little guy. Thanks, ~RoseAnne

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    I honestly don't know...I'm curious, though. Have you been told you're not producing enough by your doc (and have you gotten a second opinion from a Lactation Consultant)? Baby not gaining well? Not enough wet diapers? I just ask because we've all been through that point where we think "he's just hungy ALL THE TIME, maybe I'm not making enough!" There are also a lot of doctors who will tell you "he needs supplementation!" when really what needs to be done is the latch needs to be corrected, etc.

    Dr. Newman always says that supplementation is rarely truly necessary. Not to say you couldn't have one of those rare situations...I'd just hate to see you go through the disappointment of being told you're not making enough when you really are.
    Last edited by Iryssa; April 23rd, 2008 at 05:25 PM.
    ~~~~ ~~~~
    Iryssa(24), DH(27)


    DS born Sept. 21 '07, 8.5lbs
    Nursed for the last time Oct. 20 '08

    DD born Jan. 20, '09, 8lbs 14oz

    http://healthymomnbaby.blogspot.com/
    http://www.xanga.com/iryssa

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    307

    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    I've wondered that very thing! So, unfortunately, I have no answer for you, but I guess if you are concerned about it, just keep it seperate. I would give the breastmilk first and just have a bottle of formula standing by. You can use the time that you switch bottles as an opportunity to burp him.
    Jillian
    Mommy to ...
    Ella (11/03/04)
    Owen (03/29/07)
    Cate (11/17/08)

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    Quote Originally Posted by rstanton View Post
    Looking to find out if I should be feeding the portions separate rather then mixing them together as I want the best nutrition and benefits for my little guy.
    I am not sure if formula "destroys" the good stuff in breastmilk, but there is a very good reason to keep breastmilk and formula in separate bottles: if your baby doesn't finish a bottle of combined mama's milk and formula, then you have to pour that hard-won breastmilk down the drain along with the leftover formula. If you give breastmilk first and formula second, and your baby doesn't finish his second bottle, then it's only formula that gets wasted.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    Quote Originally Posted by Iryssa View Post
    I honestly don't know...I'm curious, though. Have you been told you're not producing enough by your doc (and have you gotten a second opinion from a Lactation Consultant)? Baby not gaining well? Not enough wet diapers? I just ask because we've all been through that point where we think "he's just hungy ALL THE TIME, maybe I'm not making enough!" There are also a lot of doctors who will tell you "he needs supplementation!" when really what needs to be done is the latch needs to be corrected, etc.

    Dr. Newman always says that supplementation is rarely truly necessary. Not to say you couldn't have one of those rare situations...I'd just hate to see you go through the disappointment of being told you're not making enough when you really are.
    I tried to go without any supplementation in the hospital as strictly breastfeeding was what I wanted for him. After him screaming after a few days I had to supplement some b/c he just wasn't getting enough. My little one was 9lbs 4oz, a pretty big boy! He lost 8oz after I brought him home w/o supplementing. My pediatrician told me to try pumping and see what I was producing. I'm not producing enough to keep up with every hours feeding. He's 10 weeks and still wants to eat every 1-1.5 hours (except late evenings). He is gaining quite well now (not fat) and has enough wet diapers for this stage in his life. I've been trying different things I've read to increase my supply, but I've had bouts of thrush (that I've been treating) that I think have impacted it. I'm also back to work full time (for home for a few weeks) and trying to manage him and my work schedule. Not enough hours in the day! Any advice is welcome!

  6. #6
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    Mar 2008
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    Hi, I was just wondering the same thing today!! I work three days a week and only have time to pump twice during the workday. Hence, I don't get nearly enough to provide for my son and my stash is dwindling. My MIL, who watches him while I work, has tried to give him several different formulas for one meal so she can combine my breast milk for the rest of the feedings I miss. However, my son will not hear of it! He hates formula so we were considering mixing a few ounces of prepared formula in with his breast milk to get him use to the formula. Here is a website that I came across by Dr. Sears. He states that it's perfectly safe. My son's 9 month checkup is Monday so I will consult with his Dr. as well on this issue. I hope this helps. Good luck; I truely know what your going through!

    http://www.parenting.com/article/Bab...o-Feeding-Tips

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    It sounds to me like you may have been given some not-so-BF-friendly advice. I had a big baby, too at 9lb 15oz. It is not true that exclusive BFing isn't enough for our big babies! Some docs and nurses say this to moms (I know, I'm a nurse, but I'm learning!). If your son had lost 10% of his birthweight, which is perfectly acceptable, he would have been down to 8lb 5oz. Sounds like he only went down to 8lb 12oz. So, what you weren't told is that you were making plenty of milk for your baby! That's a really good start. Now, you have been supplementing, so this may take some time to work out, but you probably have the ability to make enough milk. I'm sorry you didn't get the support you needed at the beginning. Glad you're here now. This forum is a great place to get help!

    I agree with PP's that EBM (expressed breast milk) and formula should not be mixed--for fear of wasting EBM. That stuff is precious.

    Your baby should want to eat every 1-1.5 hours right now. It's time for him to have a huge growth spurt. My LO and I parked it on the couch for the first 2.5 months, pretty much. It doesn't mean you don't make enough, though. You're right to watch his diaper output. Let us know how many wets and poops he has. What has his weight gain been like since birth (numbers, please)? Has the thrush cleared up at all? How are you treating it? Is baby affected?

    A very important tip: pumping does not tell you much at all about your milk production. Most women who breastfeed full time can't get much at all out in between feeding. Some of us who pump at work still don't get all that much at work.

    Docs really aren't that great of a resource for all of this BF'ing stuff. They really learn very little about it in school. I would talk to a lactation consultant before I talked to a doc (unless my child had a chronic condition to deal with). Do you have an IBCLC in your area (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant)--may be able to find one through your midwife/OB or sometime through a peds office.

    Great website that you can peruse to learn more about all of this is www.kellymom.com. I love it--I read new things on there all the time about milk production, pumping, whether or not it's appropriate to supplement, how to increase supply, etc.

    I'm hoping someone else will come along with more advice for you. Do you have a LLL in your area? It might help to have someone to talk to (even on the phone) to help sort this out. But it's quite possible you'll be able to get away from the formula all together, at the very least when you're home with baby. Then you can work on building up your pumping supply for work.

    Keep us posted.
    Stephanie, mom to Jaime Hoban 11/04/07 and Annika Jayne 12/21/09


    We . . . no room in the bed for more!

    We love our cloth diapers!

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    I think nursie hit on about everything I wanted to say. My only other addition would be to say nurse, nurse, nurse when you're home (the more milk removed, the more you make), and check this video out for maximizing output when pumping at work:
    http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastf...roduction.html

    As for mixing formula and ebm, no formula will not damage the milk. I've seen that on the internet, too. In fact, recently there was a big discussion here about a similar post (made elsewhere). The truth is that formula won't damage ebm. The real concern is that ebm would be wasted if the formula bottle were not finished by baby.

  9. #9
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    with everything Stephanie said. I get so mad when I hear that a mom has been advised that she won't make enough for her large baby- there are plenty of moms, like me, who EBF their babies until they're nearly a year and weighing in at 15-20 lbs (or more!). So why would making milk enough for a 9-10 lb infant be such a impossibility?

    If you want, you can still get back to exclusive breastfeeding. Nurse as much as humanly possible! Shelve all your other commitments. Expect some days of non-stop, round-the-clock feeding. It's totally normal for an infant to want to feed every 1.5 hours, or even more frequently, as tiny babies have tiny tummies and breastmilk digests fast. Formula manufacturers have convinced a lot of people, including some MDs who should know better, that babies should only eat every 3 hours. But no-one has convinced the babies yet!


  10. #10
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    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Does mixing breastmilk and formula counteract the breastmilk benefits???

    Thanks Everyone for your replies. I have changed my regimine a bit and used some of the info from your posts. I have gone 3 days feeding exclusively breastmilk (pumping/breastfeeding combo) and am getting approx 4-8 oz spare for the times I can get "me" time! Thanks! ~RoseAnne

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