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Breast Feeding

formula and breast milk use

01/25/2000

Question:

My daughter is currently 10 weeks old and has been bottle fed breast milk and supplemented with formula since birth. My supply has always been low and has become even lower since my return to work. Currently she is being fed approximately 1/3 formula, 2/3 breast milk. At what point do the hassles of pumping outweigh the benefits she is receiving from a diminishing supply of milk?

Answer:

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter and on your dedication to "breast-milk-feeding" by providing your daughter with your own milk. First, know several recent studies indicate that "mostly" breast-milk-fed infants still receive substantial benefits from the antibody properties in human milk. For instance, the babies studied had significantly fewer ear infections, upper respiratory illnesses and episodes of diarrhea compared to the "mostly" or fully formula-fed infant. One study showed continued advantages for the infant receiving any breast milk until the point mother`s milk made up less than 20% of an infant`s diet.

Low supply or the degree of "hassle" often is related to a mother`s pumping routine or the type of breast pump being used. If you are interested in increasing milk production, please feel free to contact NetWellness again and include your current breast milk pumping routine with any questions.

All the best to you and your new baby!

References:

Raisler, J, Alexander, C, & O`Campo, P (1999). Breast-feeding and infant illness: A dose-response relationship? American Journal of Public Health, 89(1 ), 25-30.

Scariati, PD, Grummer-Strawn, LM, & Fein, SB (1997). A longitudinal analysis of infant morbidity and the extent of breastfeeding in the United States. Pediatrics, 99(6), p. e5.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC
Adjunct Clinical Instructor
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati