What is Combination Feeding?
Parents often worry about making the best choice for their baby when it comes to feeding. While breast milk is the optimal first food for infants, it’s not always possible or desired to exclusively breast feed. At the same time, some parents aren’t comfortable making a complete switch to formula.
Here's the good news:
It doesn’t have to be one or the other! It can be BOTH.
In some cases, the best option for a particular family is to offer a mix of formula and breast milk.
This is called combination feeding and it’s a choice many parents make to support their feeding goals. Combination feeding gives the relational and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding that some parents desire while also providing the practical benefits of formula feeding. With combination feeding, you get the best of both options.
Why Combination Feed?
There are many benefits! Let’s break them down:
- Combination feeding allows a partner to participate in the feeding process. This can promote parental bonding and provide some much needed extra sleep or space for mom!
- It can reduce the frequency or duration of pump sessions at work. This removes pressure from mom to be the sole provider of nutrition for the baby.
- Combination feeding can provide peace of mind for moms who have low milk supply. It’s a great solution for moms who don’t produce enough but for whom breastfeeding is important.
How Do You Combination Feed?
Combination feeding can take many forms. Some parents choose to alternate breastfeeding and formula feeding throughout the day or to designate certain feedings as formula-only (such as a middle of the night feeding or all feedings during the workday).
Others may choose to mix formula with breast milk for bottle feeding using a 25:75 or 50:50 ratio. There are also moms that nurse almost exclusively but may leave a bottle of formula for a babysitter once a month, while others formula feed for all but one feeding in the morning.
Any of these options work!
The important thing is that it works for you.
What is the Right Formula for Combination Feeding?
One concern parents may have about combination feeding is that their baby will prefer formula to breast milk or breast milk to formula. In order to reduce this possibility, we recommend using a baby formula with a make-up that’s similar to breastmilk. While our Organic Baby Formula Buyer’s Guide shares about all of our great products, here are a few options to consider:
Lebenswert’s Stage 1 formula is for you if you’re looking for simple ingredients with clean production and processing practices.
Made with organic skim milk, this formula is gluten-free and free from added sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin and starch. Produced by Holle, this is a trustworthy formula that is certified organic using Bioland standards-- one of the strictest in the world.
Additionally, parents have reported that its taste and texture is very similar to breastmilk.
This formula is nutritionally complete, non-GMO, and made with whole milk! This means that your baby gets more of that needed, good fat from milk rather than from added vegetable oils. Additionally, Holle Bio PRE is free from maltodextrin, starch, and artificial flavorings and colors.
We recommend this formula for combination feeding as it does not include added probiotics; breast milk does! Certified organic to Demeter standards, this formula meets the highest quality benchmarks and is appropriate from birth onwards.
This formula is nutritionally complete! With organic skim milk as its base, it includes prebiotics, probiotics, and lactic acid bacteria cultures similar to the ones found in breast milk.
HiPP Bio Combiotik is GMO-free and shelf-stable with no synthetic preservatives. It is also free of starch, gluten, and maltodextrin while boasting omega 3s, 6s, DHA, and other essential vitamins and nutrients.
This formula is also certified organic to European standards which are stricter than US standards.
This formula, made from whole organic goat milk, is a great option for combination feeding as the proteins in goat milk are smaller and more similar to those found in breast milk. It’s also a good option for babies who do not tolerate cow milk-- either in their formula or in their mother’s diet.
Holle Goat Stage 1 is GMO-free, soy-free, and free of artificial preservatives, chemicals, flavors and colors. It’s certified organic and unlike goat milk options typically available in the US, this formula is appropriate from birth onwards.
No matter which formula you choose or how often you formula feed, rest assured that European-sourced formula is the best you can buy for your growing babe. Your baby is unique! Their feeding journey is too. Happy feeding!