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Mixed breastfeeding: reconciling breast and bottle

Mixed breastfeeding allows feeding a child both breast and bottle, with some breast milk and artificial milk according to schedules. Not always easy to set up and get baby to accept, mixed breastfeeding sometimes requires patience and flexibility in the organization of the parents and especially the mother. Detailed review to know how to do it and above all, hope to circumvent possible obstacles.

When to start mixed breastfeeding in practice

The idea that often hides behind mixed breastfeeding is that of a need for freedom, voluntary or not.

  • End of maternity leave : you have to go back to work and will soon no longer be entirely at your newborn's disposal to feed him.
  • Thirst for moments to oneself : you practice a sporting, cultural or relaxation activity that you wish to resume once or several times a week. You will therefore have to be absent, sometimes at mealtimes for your baby.
  • Want to share : you want to offer your other half the possibility of feeding your baby from the very first months. For this, you would like your child to accept milk bottles.
  • You just want stop breastfeeding.
Whatever your reason, for everything to go well, one watchword: an-ti-ci-per.

When to start mixed feeding from a physiological point of view

For a well-lived mixed breastfeeding, baby must accept both the breast and the bottle without it disturbing his way of eating. On your side, the lactation must be well established. Thus, it is advisable towait at least 6 weeks to set it up.

This precaution for also avoid breast/teat confusion – to prevent the baby from turning away from the breast for the pacifier, which requires less suction effort than at the breast. 

On the other hand, the WHO recommends for the health of babies, a exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.

Getting the right equipment for successful mixed breastfeeding

To pass the course, you will need some very useful childcare accessories.

  • Le draws milk. Not very sexy both from an aesthetic point of view and from its little name and yet, learning to use it is one of the almost essential steps for breastfeeding and, alternately, giving the bottle. To choose the right breast pump, you have to deal with single or double, electric or manual models and different technologies intended to stimulate milk flow. But thanks to it, your child can enjoy bottles of breast milk at any time.
  • And feeding bottle. It is among other things to facilitate the transition to mixed breastfeeding that we have designed our bibRond Elhée. In medical grade silicone, it is almost as soft and just as round as your breast, to accompany baby during his milk break. Her pacifier is also in extra soft medical silicone, protects the health of your little one and helps him learn to suck. Also, its physiological shape adapts perfectly to babies' mouths. Finally, an anti-colic valve facilitates digestion after the meal. 
  • A infant formula adapted to the age and nutritional needs of your child, which you will give him alternately before weaning him from your milk.

Of course, some small jars to transport doses of powdered milk and freeze your own may be useful, as well as some cleaning equipment.

Bébé qui boit son biberon anti-colique en silicone médical Élhée

How to alternate breast milk and powdered milk?

The main thing here is to find the right rhythm to satisfy both your infant's hunger and your need for contact.

To wean your baby from milk, start by replace a single feeding for at least 5 days. If everything is going well, baby is eating well and you are not suffering from engorgement, you can proceed in the same way to gradually replace each of the other intakes of the day.

Note: for continue breastfeeding in a mixed way over time, keep at least 2 feedings a day. They will stimulate your milk production and help your little one to maintain the habit of latching on. The morning or evening feedings, but also the one when you get home, are undoubtedly the most important.

Which infant formula is closest to breast milk?

Difficult and almost impossible to answer this question since breast milk regularly changes its taste and consistency depending on the period and what you eat and drink.

However, choose a infant formula adapted to the age of your baby (first age, second age or follow-on milk) and avoid classic cow's milk, goat's milk and vegetable milk before at least 12 months.

How much milk to give baby?

Exclusive breastfeeding is on demand while bottle-fed babies are fed at fixed times and amounts. So, is mixed breastfeeding a real headache or a total feeling? In reality and again, it all depends on your baby.

If, since the introduction of mixed breastfeeding, you have prioritized morning and evening feedings to gradually replace those during the day with bottles, follow the guide: that is, baby! Is your child a regular eater of small quantities? Plan several light intakes during the day. If, on the other hand, he or she likes to suckle for a long time, a large 330 ml bottle (equipped with a slow flow teat) is more interesting.


What if baby refuses the bottle?

Breastfeeding by alternating bottle and breast may be the ideal solution for you, but may totally displease your child. Disturbed in his habits, he may refuse the pacifier and push away the bottle each time you present it to him. How to do ?

First and foremost, and especially if you want to prolong mixed breastfeeding, reserve the feedings and delegate the other meals. Pass the baton to the dad or the person who shares your life, the nanny, the nursery staff or the eldest siblings. This dissociation helps children get used to and initially accept both the breast with you and the bottle with another person.

Still stuck? Maybe you can test the lukewarm bottle at the temperature close to breast milk (37°C) or vice versa, the bottle at room temperature for a completely different feeling that she might like.

What if you don't have enough milk?

Maman montre à son bébé son biberon de lait maternel Elhée


Reducing the number of daily feedings can lower your milk supply. To avoid this situation, keep stimulating your breasts as much as possible. The remaining feedings contribute to this, but apart from these moments of sweetness, do not hesitate to express your milk, if possible at regular times. You can freeze it in ready-made doses for baby, or if he refuses to bottle feed it anyway, then throw it away, just to maintain lactation.

Galactogenic and tasty, do not forget the breastfeeding teas ! In addition to being beneficial for your baby's belly - they usually contain fennel which helps relieve colic - they stimulate the flow of milk.

3 additional tips in case of obstacles

Because things don't always go as planned, here are some additional tips to reconcile breast and bottle.

  • Offer him the bottle often without waiting for his hunger to be too great. Thus the meal is not rushed, baby can take the time to discover this new mode of feeding and the risk of failure is lower.
  • Dip the teat in breast milk one or two minutes before taking the bottle so that it retains the smell.
  • Keep or resume skin-to-skin. Being against you reassures your child and soothes him. Take the opportunity to offer him the bottle instead of the breast, then you are more likely to see him accept.

Finally, to best respect the rhythm of the child, the LecheLeague advise to give the bottle horizontally. Baby is installed in a seated position in your arms and his drink, presented horizontally in relation to the line of the ground. He takes a few sips and you lower the bottle to give him time to breathe and find his own rhythm. The milk does not flow too quickly, baby does not get scared, he breathes calmly, without risk of swallowing air and takes pleasure in this new form of meal with you more easily.

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