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Mixed feeding: breast milk and formula

Planning to feed your baby a combination of breast and formula milk

Mixed (or combination) feeding means feeding your baby a mix of breast milk and formula. Mums use mixed feeding for lots of reasons. Some are worried about their milk supply, others are planning to go back to work and don't know how or aren't keen to express their own milk.

Concerned about making enough breast milk for your baby?

If you're worried about not producing enough milk you could have a chat with your midwife or health visitor, or go to a breastfeeding support group. Keeping your baby close with skin-to-skin contact or a wrap can help boost your supply, and there's lots of tips and advice on expressing your milk on this website. It's not as scary as it sounds! The video below hears from mums and experts on ways to increase the amount of milk you make.

The health advantages for you and baby are higher if you exclusively breastfeed, but if you're one of the mums who cannot produce enough breast milk then be very proud of the lovely baby you have made and of any milk you do make. Any breastfeeding is better than none at all, you're doing just fine!

Formula milks

As long as you've been feeding whenever your baby shows signs that they're hungry, and your baby has shown healthy weight gain, there's no need feed them anything other than breast milk until the six months stage. Introducing formula after a few months will affect your milk supply, reduce the beneficial effects of your own milk, and may give your baby a sore tummy.

To find out more about safely feeding your baby formula, Health Scotland have produced a handy leaflet which you can download via the link below. You can also watch a video on how to safely make up a bottle in our section on Breast milk storage and bottle hygiene.

Avoid anything other than "First" formula milks

Pre-thickened, follow on and toddler milks should be avoided as there's no evidence they work and, again, they may upset your breastfed baby's tummy. 'Follow on' and 'Night-time' milks aren't necessary at any stage and should never be given to a baby younger than 6 months. If you are feeding with formula milk, stick to a first milk until your baby is a year old, then move on to full fat cows' milk. By that point, your baby will be getting iron from solid food and Vitamin D from the Healthy Start drops, which your health visitor will have recommended.

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Last updated: 16 Dec, 2019