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Early years

27th May 2019

Study reveals the effects of giving a breastfed baby a little formula milk

Melissa Carton

I kind of figured this.

While I was breastfeeding my daughter, every so often if I needed a break, her dad or another family member would give her a bottle of formula.

I know some people will say why not just pump some extra but when I say a break, I mean from breastfeeding, not just the baby. Breastfeeding can be extremely tiring and sometimes mums just need a time out to look after themselves.

A new study now shows that there are no negative effects to giving your breastfed baby a little bit of formula but I feel like most mums who needed to take a moment sort of already knew this.

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Even when I was in the hospital after just giving birth the midwife doing the rounds (who strongly advised me to breastfeed) dropped off a couple of little milk bottles just in case.

The study published in the Journal of Pediatrics not only found that opting to supplement with formula after first breastfeeding not only didn’t have a negative impact but that it improves outcomes for infants and is tied to higher rates of breastfeeding.

Speaking about her research, author Valerie Flaherman said;

“Our research shows that in healthy newborns with pronounced weight loss, adding formula for a limited period did not interfere with breastfeeding.

These results indicate that it may be time for guidelines to include specific guidance about which infants may benefit from supplementation until the mother’s milk comes in.”

Breastfeeding is incredibly important for a newborn’s immune system but I know from experience that it’s not always easy. New mums are often shamed if they choose not to breastfeed or give their child formula as well as breast milk and it really needs to stop.

The decision on how to best feed your baby is entirely up to the parents and not one that any new mum should feel pressured into.