For some mothers the idea of mixed feeding may come as a relief, as their baby will still be getting the benefits of their breast milk but they get some respite from the often tiring job of breastfeeding.
If you are thinking about mixed feeding your baby, you may want to look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of mix feeding your baby with both breast milk and formula milk.
The advantages of mix feeding
Mix feeding your baby enables others, for example your partner, to be involved in feeding the baby. The benefits of this is twofold – as not only will having your partner, relative or friend feeding the baby with a bottle of formula milk give you a must needed rest, but it will also help others to bond with the baby.
Many women choose to express their milk so that other people can be involved in feeding the baby for the reasons mentioned above, although some mums find this time-consuming and messy and believe that mix feeding their baby is an easier option.
Babies can have a tendency to fall asleep on the breast. Some mums find that giving them a bottle of formula before bedtime for example can fill them up more and make their babies sleep for longer.
The disadvantages of mix feeding
Although your baby will be still getting some of those invaluable antibodies to help develop her immune system that breast milk provides, introducing her to formula milk as well will mean that her gut will no longer be as well protected against certain allergies and infections.
Breast milk works best on a supply and demand basis; with the more your baby feeds the more milk your body produces. Mix feeding your baby therefore may affect your milk supply meaning that you produce less and that your milk supply may eventually dry up.
Although this ‘disadvantage’ is by no means conclusive and whilst some women’s milk supply is affected by mix feeding, other women can continue producing milk in large quantities even when mix feeding.