Why I Went from Exclusively Pumping to Supplementing with Formula
Feeding your baby is an incredibly personal decision.
I didn’t know what to expect when it came to breastfeeding. I just knew my goal was to try. When it worked out, I made a goal to make it to one month… after one month, I aimed for three. Somewhere in there, I switched to exclusively pumping. Right around three months I became very overwhelmed with my pumping schedule. I went from four pumps a day to three pumps and felt significantly better. However, a few weeks later my supply dropped. I knew that I would soon start supplementing with formula.
I had always been an overproducer of breastmilk, up until Sasha was three months old. Fortunately, I have built a large freezer stash of pumped milk. On July 11, I gave Sasha her first bottle of formula, with breastmilk mixed in. Supplementing with formula, or giving straight formula, is not something I was worried about. I know that fed is best. I know she will grow either way, but I still have mixed emotions about our breastfeeding journey ending.
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Even though I was exclusively pumping, when Sasha would wake up in the middle of the night, I would give her the breast. On the night of July 9 to 10, Sasha woke up and I gave her the breast for the last time. I took a picture, knowing that our days with her waking up could be limited and I am so glad I did. This precious time with her would be what I missed most.
Pumping was never easy for me.
Mentally it was tough on me and physically I required nipple butter to make it not painful. It was so hard to know that every day I’d spend 1.5-2 hours attached to the wall. I knew that supplementing with formula would take that stress off me.
Currently, I am giving Sasha one ounce of breast milk at each feeding, along with four ounces of formula, mixed into the same bottle. I have also since given her a bottle of straight breastmilk, and she still took it.
My supply, since the day I started to supplement, has increased again. Personally, I believe this is because I’m no longer stressed about making enough. Because of this, I am still pumping to freeze milk! I did the math and if I add an ounce to each feeding, I will have enough breastmilk to get me to 8 months! Sasha will be getting a little bit of that custom liquid gold while getting most of her nutrition from formula! Making the change to supplement from exclusively pumping is what I had to do.
Things That are Different When Supplementing with Formula
In order to supplement, I obviously had to get formula. My pediatrician gave me samples of this one, as a recommendation. So far, it is working for Sasha. It also comes in ready-to-use liquid and little travel packets, which may be convenient when we go to Florida next month. I didn’t order one of these travel containers, but I know lots of people love it for short trips!
I also purchased a second set of Dr. Brown’s bottles. Prior to this, I was washing bottles after every other feed. Since I am heading back to work soon, I wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible for whoever will be watching Sasha.
One more thing I bought was a formula mixing pitcher.
I figure it will be easier to make a big batch since I was definitely spilling powder when trying to mix directly in the bottles. So far it has been pretty easy. The only thing that is tricky is not losing count when pouring the powder into the pitcher. I’ve learned to instead pour the powder into a bowl first, in case I need to remeasure. Guess what? This pitcher is also dishwasher safe!
When switching from pumping to formula I had to teach myself the rules of how long formula can be in the fridge as opposed to breastmilk. While breastmilk can remain in the fridge for four days after it is pumped, the formula can only stay in the fridge for 24 hours.
For me, the most important thing to keep track of was that I could mix formula and breastmilk into one bottle. That combination bottle can stay in the fridge for 24 hours. My plan is to make a pitcher of formula every evening and pour it into bottles for the next day. Every evening I set up my Dr. Brown’s bottles and add in one ounce of breastmilk. Then I add in the formula from the pitcher. These bottles are safe for Sasha to drink in the morning the next day while I am at work!
Remember: a combined bottle of breastmilk and formula can stay in the fridge for 24 hours.
So far, Sasha is thriving on formula, and it has taken a huge load of stress off of me. I’m so glad I made the decision to supplement instead of trying to get my milk supply up again!
Did you breastfeed or formula feed? Did you have to switch from one to the other? Let me know in the comments.As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This includes sales through affiliate links on this page.