When to supplement your baby with extra milk.
Your health care provider may recommend you give extra milk to your breastfed/chestfed baby. This may happen when:
- Mom/Birth parent is very sick.
- Mom/Birth parent and baby are separated.
- Baby has a medical condition requiring extra supplements.
- The baby has not regained his birth weight by two weeks or is not gaining enough with increased breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
- Mom/Birth parent has a low milk supply. The baby may need extra milk while mom’s/birth parent's milk supply is being built back up.
What to give
- First choice is always parent's own expressed breast milk.
- Second choice is pasteurized human donor milk. Donor milk is available at some hospitals in Fraser Health only with a doctor’s prescription. It is used in small amounts when medical supplementation is needed and when it is available.
- Third choice is a non-human milk/ formula.
Tips to give extra milk
- Wait until you notice early hunger cues like rooting, sucking on fingers.
- Hold your baby close to your breast/chest and skin-to-skin whenever possible.
- Breastfeed/Chestfeed first whenever possible.
- Be sure to express or pump your milk each time you give your baby extra milk. This way your breasts/chest will continue to produce milk.
- Many mothers notice their babies will not go back to breastfeeding/chestfeeding after getting bottles. Try options that are less likely to interfere with breastfeeding/chestfeeding such as tube, spoon, dropper or cup feeding.
If you prefer to use a bottle, try to make it as close to breastfeeding/chestfeeding as possible.
- Use a slow-flow nipple which is soft, round and broad at the base. This is more like breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
- Hold your baby in an upright position. This decreases the risk of tooth decay and ear infections.
- Wait for a wide, open mouth. Brush baby's lips with the bottle nipple until her mouth opens widely. Don’t push or screw the nipple into the baby’s mouth.
- The nipple should be deep in the baby’s mouth with lips on the wide base of the nipple.
- Hold the bottle almost horizontally. The milk should just cover the nipple inside the bottle. This keeps the flow of milk slower. Avoid using bent bottles.
- Switch sides from one feed to the next. This may help develop both sides of the brain.
- Let your baby pace the feeding. Encourage frequent pauses.
- Signs of fullness can include:
- Sucking and swallowing slows or stops,
- Mouth closes,
- Baby pushes or turns away from the bottle,
- Baby falls asleep
- Teach others. Everyone should give your baby a bottle in the same way to support breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
- Spend time skin-to-skin and continue to make breastfeeding/chestfeeding attempts. Bottle feeding is often just done for a short period of time until your baby can get back to the breast/chest.