Having been asked about combination feeding as an option for feeding from birth recently, I’ve been reflecting on my own experience. Although we just fell into it, I always knew that information on it was lacking. From asking Dr’s about vitamin D for my baby with no solid information given to stressing over the “correct” bottle teats and a guideline change on mixing formula with breastmilk, I did feel left in the dark with some of my burning questions! So, pandemic aside, why was the information not there for me??
Before I started combination feeding, I had no idea it was even an option. The information I had read to prepare for breastfeeding implied time and time again that any formula given would tank my supply and wasn’t worth the risk, so just forget it. I was very much of the opinion that it was all or nothing, stashing bottles in the cupboard ‘just in case’.
Reading available information on mixed feeding, it’s clear that this isn’t a topic either side of the infant feeding spectrum are keen to objectively discuss all that much. Issues are raised around supply, risks of formula, nipple confusion, politics, bonding, practicalities and many more. The lack of open discussion about the possibilities of combination feeding were the cause of confusion and anxiety for me in the beginning, particularly when faced with the unforeseen challenges. But having stumbled across this method with no preparation and just making it up as we went along, I wasn’t sure which information to signpost to when I was recently asked.
So I wanted to share my experience of combination feeding and balance that against some of the issues in the formula/breastfeeding spectrum in hopes that it helps someone make an informed choice with some level of success and maybe continue giving breastmilk longer than they thought they could, as happened with us. I hope this helps to add to the conversation around combination/mixed feeding to allow more families to enter the infant feeding world with confidence and not worry that their feeding journey doesn’t look as perfect as they might once have imagined. I have also asked my partner for his reflections on the experience to hopefully facilitate some discussions for you to take to your partner if there are any reservations for anyone there.
Look out for my reflections on my experience coming soon.