Are you using supplements in addition to breastfeeding and would like to wean your baby off of them? It will be necessary to collect some information about your baby's feeding and your milk supply to create a plan for safely reducing formula while increasing your milk supply. Breastmilk math can be challenging. You can measure formula, but when your baby is feeding directly at the breast, no measurements tell us exactly how much milk they drank at that feeding, and their intake can vary from one nursing session to the next. You can get support and guidance as you navigate the transition from your IBCLC.
Your baby’s intake will remain the same as you adjust the amount of breast milk and formula they have. Between the ages of 1 month and six months of age, babies take between 22-30 ounces per day. (1) Babies need to nurse a minimum of 8 times per 24 hours, although it is normal for babies to eat 10-12 (or more) times per day when following the baby’s natural feeding cues.
- Gradual adjustments: As you begin the process of reducing formula and increasing breast milk, keep in mind that your baby's intake will remain the same. They typically consume between 22-30 ounces daily, nursing about 8-12 times in 24 hours. You'll ensure a smooth transition by gradually replacing formula with breast milk.
- Plan and record: Before you start reducing formula, focus on increasing your milk supply. Address any underlying issues you faced with breastfeeding or milk production, and record your baby's present supplement use along with their wet and dirty diaper output. This information will help you gauge progress and adjust accordingly.
- Strategies for success: Implement a pumping schedule that includes additional sessions to boost your milk supply. Consider using a supplemental nursing system (SNS), which allows your baby to nurse while supplementing with formula if needed. Take advantage of middle-of-the-night milk removal to stimulate milk production and support your body with nutrient-dense foods and lactation supplements. Slowly decrease the amount of formula while monitoring your baby's satisfaction and weight gain, and remember to maximize skin-to-skin time and avoid pacifiers to encourage nursing.
Believe in yourself and your ability to nourish and comfort your little one. Each step forward is a success; you're giving your baby the best start in life. Communication with your baby’s health care provider and your IBCLC will help you stay on target with your relactation goals and ensure your baby is gaining weight while you shift from formula to breast milk. Each mom and baby is different and may experience a different timeline for making more milk and reducing formula with breast milk. Each drop of milk you provide your baby is amazing and beneficial. You’ve got this!