Combination Breastfeeding/Formula Feeding?

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by linz, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. linz

    linz Well-Known Member

    I have not had my twins yet but for some reason I have been stressing out about how I want to feed them. I have a 3 year old son, which I bottle fed, and it was a great experience. At first I thought I would BF them just b/c there is less involved with making and cleaning all the bottles, etc. But I must admit the thought of bottle feeding them really appeals to me too b/c I am familiar with that and it just seems like overall it would be less stressful mentally and physically and I know that will be a big help too. question is, is there a way to do a combination of both? Breastfeed them 4 times a day and bottle fed with formula the other 4 for example? If so, how does that work? Thanks for any advice you can give me.
  2. excitedk

    excitedk Well-Known Member

    It is definitly a possibility. You would just need to stay consistent with which feeds were by bottle and which ones were by breast so your body knows how much and when to make milk. You could also always nurse one baby an bottle feed the other.

    But in reality, to make enough milk to satsify them you will most likely need to nurse alot in those early weeks. And some babies tend to perfer the bottle when given many in the early weeks also.

    I say do what feels right once they are here :)
  3. bekkiz

    bekkiz Well-Known Member

    My kids wouldn't latch for the first few weeks, so I fed them formula for most feedings. In the hospital, we used a syringe and a little tube to kind of thread into their mouths so they could practice sucking on the breast, but still eating. It was so much work and a total balencing act that I gave up on it when we got home, and after three days of finger feeding (they suck in your finger, while you put the little tube in their mouths), I just resorted to bottles.

    In retrospect, I wish they never gave us that tube thing. I wish I just would put them on the breast for a while and then go straight to a bottle. Because I was so fed up and stressed over the suplimenting system, they didn't spend that much time on the breast, and my milk supply never really came in. Pumping, even every 3 hours, wasn't enough to get my body going.

    Now I only give them a bottle of breastmilk when I've collected enough by pumping. However, now they latch much better and so I try to let them nurse every day, even if they only get a little.
  4. heathertwins

    heathertwins Well-Known Member

    First off tell yourself "no mommy guilt" I think women put so much pressure on themselves. I read a ton on bf beforehand but it still took help from the nurses to get things going. While in the hospital you will need to express every 3 hours even during the night. In the first 3 days you express into a syringe and get 1 ml at a time. Later on you can use a pump. The baby is the best pump so don't be surprised if you don't pump a ton. Every little bit is liquid gold. Have a picture of your baby handy when you pump to help with your let down.

    Mine had formula before my milk got going. I would pump after each attempt at bf the girls. We would give them EBM (expressed breast milk) and top them up with formula. I loved how you can keep the EBM on the nightstand for 8 hours and not have to refrigerate. I did hate my pump after awhile though in those beginning months.

    My one twin wasn't good in the beginning so she got the bottle but a MONTH later I stuck her on, and she didn't want the bottle after that, and was a great feeder. so don't believe any of the rules, make your own.

    The biggest thing is supply and demand. So you have to keep feeding/pumping to keep the milk going. Look for the phone number for the breastfeeding association so you can call them 24/7 if you need help. Watch out for any bf Nazis though. You need to do what is best for you, and if that means going just to the bottle than do that. If it means bf one and not the other, that might happen too. On the otherhand don't be put off by less than supportive family/friends who dont' support you in your desire to bf. Try to ignore the outside influences and just do what is best for you and your babies.

    I also found with bf twins you need more privacy in the early week to get things going. Try to limit visitors until you feel more confident.

    hope this helps.
  5. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I too don't have my twins yet, but my plan is to breastfeed every feeding but to supplement with formula as needed. I'm going to nurse first, one on each side and if they are still hungry feed them a bit from a bottle afterwards. I'm hoping I won't need to supplement, but I already know I won't be pumping, I have 2 other kids to deal with too. If this gets to be too hectic we'll just go straight to formula.

    I nursed my son for 7 months and my dd for 3 months, they both got full formula after that, and neither one is a "sickly" kid, they are both very healthy and rarely see the dr.

    I agree about the mommy guilt, throw it out the window right now! Especially with twins it's going to be a matter of survival of the fittest, and you gotta be ready to roll with the punches if you are going to survive! :)
  6. fuchsiagroan

    fuchsiagroan Well-Known Member

    It is definitely doable! And please do visit the TS breastfeeding forum anytime. We have an awesome bunch of ladies who have done literally every combination of breastfeeding and bottle feeding imaginable.

    I'd think it would be easier to just BF, instead of feeding two different ways. You can always give bottles for when you'll be out or need some sleep, but BFing the rest of the time might keep things simpler.

    I too don't have my twins yet, but my plan is to breastfeed every feeding but to supplement with formula as needed. I'm going to nurse first, one on each side and if they are still hungry feed them a bit from a bottle afterwards.

    You come on by the BF forum too! :D Just a bit of advice - giving bottles right after nursing is the kiss of death for your milk supply. Like I said, it is great to give a bottle now and then so you can get out of the house or catch up on sleep. But if you follow up nursing with bottles, that tells your body to make less milk. It's that much milk that they aren't getting from you, and topping them off will make them go longer until the next feeding - which also tells your body to make less milk. If they're hungry after nursing, just nurse them again! Your breasts produce milk constantly, so you're never empty. And don't worry about not pumping - lots of moms nurse successfully without pumping after feedings.

    Anyway, here's a great big YOU CAN DO IT to you guys and anyone who's thinking of nursing their twins! :)
  7. jschiess

    jschiess Well-Known Member

    I did both for a while. Ultimately I ended up bottle feeding exclusively with a mix of formula and EBM, which worked better for our family in terms of how we shared the round the clock schedule at the beginning. But it can be done quite successfully.

    We started supplementing in the hospital on day 3 due to weight gain issues, which was hard for me because I planned on exclusively BF'ing for at least a few months. When we got home, we switched every other feeding during the day who was BF and who got a bottle; and my boys adapted well to that. Eventually (around 6 weeks), though, I was getting run ragged with all the feeding and pumping; and I ended up deciding to pump and bottle feed, which worked better for me/us. I know plenty of twin moms who managed both just fine.

    My advice would be to take it easy on yourself and be flexible. Every feeding decision I made at the beginning felt like a failure to me because my original plan had been to exclusively breast feed until I went back to work, and there was a lot of stress as a result. My boys are healthy and happy, well-adjusted, and totally bonded to both their parents; so there's no one "right" way to go.

    Good luck!
  8. Lizzybo

    Lizzybo Well-Known Member

    I was separated from my boys a bit in the first couple of weeks due to HELLP so they got both bottle and breast early on - and no nipple confusion, but I have always been a step behind in supply.

    Currently, I bf each baby 4x/day and bottle 4x/day. I bf at night so I can take the babies to bed with me and nurse lying down while sleeping. They sleep in their cribs most of the night and I bf them in the wee hours of the morning. I continue to bf them in the mornings until they scream out for more, basically when my breasts stop being able to keep up with their demands (when breastfeeding, at first I get 2-3 hours until the next feeding, then 1-2 hours, and then they start demanding near constant breast, at which point I just get them a 6 oz bottle, which satisfies them for up to 4 hours). They get 3-4 bottles a day. I pump 2-4 times a day, about 8 ounces per session. They get breast milk in bottles until I run out, at which point we supplement with formula. About 1/3-1/2 of their bottles are formula.
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