Relacatation : Going back to Breastfeeding after Formula Feeding

Is going back to breastfeeding after formula feeding possible?

I had to supplement breastfeeding my 3 months old with formula for last 1 month due to some problem. I now want to breastfeed exclusively. Is it possible?

Relactation: Going back to breastfeeding after breastfeeding


Going back to breastfeeding after formula feeding is definitely possible but may not be easy. The process of rebuilding milk supply after breastfeeding has been stopped for some time is known as relactation.

Good thing is that you have breastfed your baby for first 2 months. Depending on how often and how much you supplemented with formula, going back to breastfeeding after formula will be an easy to not so easy process. If the supplementing was only a feed in a day or so. It may not have affected your breast milk supply too badly and you may just need to offer breast in place of bottle from now on.

Important thing is to understand how the body produces milk. Milk production is a mother’s body is directly related to how much milk is being consumed. So, if you want your body to produce more milk, you must empty your breasts more often either by feeding the baby or by pumping and storing the milk. It is not going to be easy and may take several days and it will certainly require persistence.

If the amount of formula replaced many breastfeeding sessions, it may take longer and could be a slow process.

Keep in mind below points to make it a smooth transition from bottle to exclusive breastfeeding:

Be patient

Accept the fact that the process will take time and do not expect miracles. Remember that start will be slow and once your baby has started accepting the breast and your milk supply is restored, progress will be much faster. It may take several weeks for your milk supply to restore completely.

Do not stress

Stressing over how much or less milk your breasts are producing will not help.  Infact, studies have shown that stress may affect the milk production adversely. Once you have accepted the fact that the process of relactation takes time, you will be more relaxed and your body will respond to stimuli better.

Keep at it

Persistence is the key when it comes to relactation. It will be tough few days at first but must provide as much stimulation to your breasts as possible. So offer your baby the breast first whenever she is hungry and only after some time if baby is still not satiated offer the bottle.

You may also keep pumping every hour or so to stimulate the breasts to produce more milk. The body increases production of milk to meet higher demand, so it is more stimulation will send signal that more milk in required.


Try different positions to help baby latch

If your baby has become used to feeding from a bottle, s/he may have trouble while going back to breastfeeding. Feeding from a bottle is much easier as they don’t really have to work as hard as when breastfeeding. So, be prepared for a few failures the first few times you offer breast after a break.

If you feel that your baby is having trouble latching on, then try different latching positions. You could also try feeding lying down or in a easy-chair.

breastfeeding positions


Make it easy for the baby

Baby may not be comfortable sucking from breasts after having it easy with the bottle.If your baby is rooting, but not able to suck, make it a little easy for baby. Try expressing a little milk before offering it to baby. If baby gets the milk initially without much effort, s/he may work harder to suck further.

Keep an eye on baby’s intake by these tips to see if your baby is getting enough breastmilk

Take help of a professional

If all these tips do not seem to work and you are too anxious, do not hesitate to consult a lactation expert. The doctor will counsel you about the breastfeeding process and also guide you about how to counter problems you are facing. 

Try foods known to increase breast milk

There are many foods which are known to increase breastmilk supply naturally. You may try those other than checking with your doctor for medicinal supplements to increase breastmilk supply.

Some foods which increase location are:

  1. Fenugreek seeds
  2. Sago (sabudana)
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Bottle gourd
  5. Garlic
  6. Ghee
  7. Milk
  8. Drum sticks
  9. Poppy seeds
  10. Almonds

Also drink plenty of water every day. Avoid having too much tea or coffee.

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Mixed Feeding: Is It Ok to Combine Breastmilk and Formula?

What is mixed feeding?

Can I supplement with formula if breastmilk is not enough for baby?

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had read up a lot about breastfeeding and formula feeding and how breastfeeding was the best thing a mother could give to her baby. I had resolved to breastfeed exclusively, but I had also read and heard about how sometimes you may have to supplement due to diverse reasons.

When my daughter was close to 5 months, it was time to rejoin my work and I was still contemplating whether to continue with my job or quit and be a full time mother. At that time, I supplemented breastfeeding with formula just to get my baby used to formula and the bottle, so that she does not have any problem once I go back to work if and have to stay away from her and breastmilk is not available for her.


mixed feeding: Is it Ok to combine breastmilk and formula


I had spoken to my baby’s doctor about this and he assured that mixed feeding or  combining breastfeeding and formula feeding will not hurt either baby or my supply as long as I was supplementing only a little. I used to give her one feed of formula during the day of about 4 oz.

In the longer term, I decided to stay at home and then went back to breastfeeding. But I know that that mixed feeding or combining breastfeeding and formula feeding does not hurt a baby.

Read more about basics for successful breastfeeding

In what situations, mixed feeding may be necessary:

  • In case, mother is not able to produce enough milk due to medical reasons like diabetes or hypothyroid or other reasons despite trying all options and baby is not growing as expected.
  • Baby is not able to extract enough milk from breast due to any reason.
  • Mother has to go back to work and is not able to express enough breastmilk to meet baby’s needs completely. You do not want baby to be hungry if you are breastmilk is not available at any time.
  • If you are a mother of multiples, you may find that you might need to supplement a little despite everything going well. 


How to have a successful mixed feeding journey:

Combining breastfeeding and formula feeding can sometimes jeopardise breastmilk supply but it may not if you follow these points:

  • Breastfeed as often as you can.  It not only gives your baby your precious breastmilk but also the much needed closeness and cuddle time which important for baby as well as mother.
  • If you are supplementing by choice and want to continue breastfeeding as long as possible, ensure you breastfeed exclusively for atleast first few weeks to establish good breastmilk production.
  • Use breast pump to pump breastmilk as often as you can.This will help in stimulating your breast and maintaining breastmilk supply. I know a few ladies who have managed to breastfeed their babies  successfully till over a year by pumping regularly.
  • One more pitfall of giving a bottle early is that baby may start preferring the bottle to breast. It is easier to get milk from bottle than breasts. Baby needs to work to get milk from breasts while bottle just provide a steady supply without doing much. This may eventually affect your breastmilk supply.
  • Talk to your doctor and see if any supplements may help in your situations.



Most doctors will tell you that you should feel good about any amount of breast feeding that you can do. You are doing your best and you baby will always benefit from whatever amount of breastfeeding you are able to do.


Going back to exclusive breastfeeding after Formula supplementing

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

How to know if your baby is getting enough breastmilk?

How to know if baby is getting enough breastmilk?

Is my baby feeding enough?

Is my feed enough for my baby?

How to know if baby is full after breastfeeding.

For most new breastfeeding mothers, whether their baby is getting enough breast milk is one of the biggest concerns. After all, your breasts seem to have little milk and there is no way of measuring how much your baby has actually had unlike a bottle which you measure and serve.


Breastfeeding basics

Continue Reading

Importance of Colostrum – The first yellow milk

Colostrum : The first yellow milk?
Why is it important to start breastfeeding ASAP?

What is Colostrum ?

Colostrum is the first thick discharge produced by the mammary glands. Its production starts during late pregnancy and continues during the early few days after delivery. Colostrum is thick, sticky and yellowish to orange in color. It gradually changes to mature milk over the first couple of weeks after delivery.




How does Colostrum help my baby ?

Colostrum is the reason why there is so much stress on starting breastfeeding as early as possible, since it is produced only for the first few days.

  • Colostrum is produced by mammary glands during late pregnancy. This happens during the last trimester and the production usually starts just before delivery.
  • Colostrum is very rich and concentrated in nutrients.
  • It is low in fat and high in carbohydrates, protein and antibodies, which help in building immunity of the baby. It is in a way baby’s first immunisation provided by nature.
  • It provodes antibodies against pathogenic bacteria and not the useful bacteria.
  • Colostrum has a mild laxative effect, which helps in passing of the baby’s first stool, the meconium. Meconium is blackish-green in color and once it has been passed, the traditional stools start.
  • It also clears excess bilirunbin. Excess bilirunbin is the cause of infant jaundice, thus colostrum also reduces chances of jaundice.

Read what is normal and what is not – green poop in babies

  • Colostrum is also known to line baby’s intestines, thus protecting them from absorbing anything offensive that mother may have ingested.


colostrum- the first yellow milk


Amount of colostrum produced is so little, is it enough for my baby ?

Colostrum is produced in very small quantities and a new mother often wonders if it is enough to feed her newborn. Many mothers panic and unfortunately resort to top-feed such as a formula.

However, mother nature has taken care of everything and we should trust how nature functions. A newborn baby’s stomach is very very tiny and hardly hold 5-7 ml of milk. The colostrum produced is enough for the baby.

As baby grows and tummy becomes bigger, your breasts gradually start producing transition milk, which is orangish but thinner, and then mature milk, which is white in color and thin and more in volume.

Feeding baby frequently will make sure, she gets all that she needs. If you try feeding too much at one time, baby will just spit it up.

Thus colostrum is necessary for babies and the mother, doctors as well as the family must ensure that breastfeeding the baby is started as soon as mother is well enough to do the same.

Breastfeeding: Basics for Breastfeeding Success

“Breastfeeding is the best gift  a mother can give to her newborn child. “

But not all mothers have a successful breastfeeding relationship with their baby. There are various reasons for that. Most common reason being not knowing how to approach it the correct way. There are many steps you can take to ensure you are able to breastfeed your baby as long as you and the baby wants.

I will share my own breastfeeding journey with you all. It was easy to start with. My baby could not latch properly. It seemed she wasn’t able to suck at all. I had to ask for nurse’s help every time I wanted feed my baby and that was almost every hour. I was feeling full and engorged and a sense of despair was coming over me. But I persisted and consulted a lactation consultant. She advised me on latching position and how to hold the baby and within a week, we were both comfortable that was the beginning of a beautiful breastfeeding journey which continued till she was 13 months old.

Breastfeeding basics



Getting Started to Breastfeeding

It is advised that mother should start breastfeeding her child as soon as she is brought to her. Babies are programmed to suck and they need to suck for a long time. Offer the breast as long as comfortable. Even if the baby does not show eagerness to suck, keep offering.

Many well-wishers around you might tell you to wait for that you do not have enough milk, but that’s not what it is. Babies need very tiny amounts of milk the first couple of days, so your body is producing just the right amount. The first yellow milk or colostrum is necessary for baby, so start as soon as your baby comes to your baby for long-term breastfeeding success.

Read more about colostrum and its benefits to baby

No Other Feed

Ensure that hospital staff or nurses do not give any alternate feed to the baby. In some places, sugar-water or formula is given to baby. This can fill your baby’s tiny tummy and there will not be any room or inclination left for the nourishing breast-milk during the first few days.

Keep offering every hour till you and your baby get the hang of latching and feeding.

 BreastFeeding on Demand

Some doctors advise feeding babies on a schedule like every 2-3 hours. However, consultants across the world these days, advise feeding on demand. It means you should feed whenever the baby wants to feed rather than following the clock. However, if you feel that baby is going without feed for more than 4 hours, you should wake the baby up gently and feed the baby.


Offer both breasts for feeding the baby

Offer both breasts to baby, so that both get stimulated enough to produce sufficient milk. Human breasts produce milk on the basis of demand and supply. When your baby sucks more often, body ups milk production to meet the demand. Similarly, if one of the breasts is ignored continuously, body adjusts the production due to low demand. Even a small gap during initial days can affect milk production, which can be very difficult to bring up again, thus leading to failure.

Use a Breast-pump

If you are unwell or are not able to feed your baby directly, express milk using a breast-pump and give it to baby with a bottle or a spoon or paladi. It will not be same as when baby sucks, but aleast your baby will get breast-milk and your milk-supply can be kept up till things become normal.

Be Patient

Even if you hit a few bumps, do not get discouraged. Every mother goes through these hiccups and persevering is the only way out. Babies also take some time in learning how to latch on to the breast.After a few days, it will become second nature to you and the baby.

Take Medical help when needed

If you have any issues, do not hesitate to talk to a lactation consultant. These consultants are specialists in field of breastfeeding and can answer all your questions and correct any issues with your technique. Take help of the nurses, if you have trouble with baby latching on.

However difficult it may seem, always remember that you are not alone in this and all mothers hit a few bumps before it becomes a smooth ride. And if at all, you are not able to breastfeed your baby for as long as you would like, remember that bottle-fed babies also develop equally well. See pros and cons of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding

Breastfeeding Vs. Formula Feeding

Breastfeeding vs. Formula feeding 

Choosing how and what to feed your baby is a personal decision that deserves careful and thorough consideration.


breastfeeding vs.formulafeeding 

 Pros and cons of breastfeeding and formula feeding

Breastfeeding has many advantages. 

Breastfeeding is the natural nutritional source for infants less than one year of age. Most health care professionals recommend breastfeeding for your baby’s first year if possible.

Experts agree that breastfeeding your baby for any length of time, regardless of how short, is of benefit to you and your baby.

Even if you are not able to breastfeed exclusively, you can supplement by formula and continue mixed feeding.

Mixed Feeding : Can you feed breastmilk and formula

You can provide your baby with breast milk by either breast-feeding or by feeding your baby breast milk from a bottle.  


  • Health Benefits : It has been proven by research that breastfeeding is nutritionally best for babies. Breastfed babies are less likely to contract infections as mother’s antibodies are passed to baby through milk.

  • Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for the first 6 months of life. It contains appropriate amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat, and provides digestive enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and hormones that infants require. Breast milk also contains antibodies from the mother that can help the baby resist infections.
  • There is less likely-hood of mother developing breast or ovarian cancer

  • Perfect for babies : Breast -milk is meant for human babies by nature and is unique. It is impossible to replicate it artificially. Milk changes consistency during day and night and based on baby’s requirement.

  • Always available : You do not have to worry about carrying bottles, water and other equipments when you travel with baby. You can feed the best food for baby whenever required.
  • Bonding : It establishes a beautiful bond between mother and baby.

  • No sterilization required: Breast-milk is ready to serve whenever baby is hungry. No worries about sterilizing equipment or infections.

  • Inexpensive : Breast-milk is free as oppose to formula which can be quite expensive.

  • Baby gets used to different tastes : Babies get used to different variety of foods through mother’s diet

Challenges of breastfeeding

  • Mother has to be near baby all the time to feed.
  • Mothers have to be careful about their diet and cannot have anything that may not be suitable for baby.
  • Initial breastfeeding days can be quite challenging for mothers both physically and emotionally.


Even though breastfeeding is recommended by doctors, many women are not able to breastfeed either due to choice or medical reason or work. In such cases, bottle feeding can be the saviour.


Bottle feeding has it’s own advantages


  • Anyone can feed : Biggest advantage with bottle feeding is that mother need not be with the baby to feed. Anyone can feed the baby at any time. If mother is away for work, she can express breast milk and that can be given in a bottle by a care-giver.

  • Baby feels full for longer : Formula makes baby full for longer duration.

  • Easy to keep track : One can know exactly how much a baby has fed on a particular day.

  • No restriction on mother’s diet : Mother does not have to worry about how what she is eating can affect the baby.

  • Fortified formula : Formula is fortified with vitamin and minerals in exact quantity. Especially after 6 months, formula-fed babies get appropriate amount of iron from formula.


Bottle feeding also has its challenges:

  • Baby does not get natural antibodies present in mother’s milk
  • Baby does not regulate intake hence you don’t know how much to feed.
  • Formula is expensive and costs can pile up after a while.


It should be noted that though breastfeeding has serious benefits and should be encouraged, formula-fed babies develop and thrive as well as breast-fed babies.