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Formula Top Ups

We asked a question on our Facebook page and got our community of mums to reply with their experiences.

Are there any mums that give just one formula feed a day, (and all other daily feeds breastfed)?

Read their answers below.  Due to the responses, we also need to note that 'Dream Feeds" are very popular amongst mums.  This is where baby is fed late at night, without waking them.
  • A dream feed is thought to help baby to sleep through the night.  Though its not necessarily formula that helps baby to sleep through.
  • Please also remember that many babies cluster feed in the evening, and this is NOT a sign that you don't have enough breastmilk.
  • And also don't expect your baby to sleep through the night too early - they only have small tummies so need to feed in the middle of the night too :-)
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I offer breast 1st still but my little man gets super hungry at night and I feed, feed, feed and he still isn't content until I top him up

I did my daughter just so I could get her ready for the next baby so I didn't have to BF both to put them to sleep at night. Am considering doing it for some ME time with 2nd baby (who's now 1)

Yes we had to for a little while as I was having problems with supply and my daughter had 1 bottle at night for about month while she was going through a growth spurt but hasn't seemed to need it for about 6 weeks now though I'm looking at expressing full time now instead from seeing how well she did on the bottles and I tend to have to give her more formula when I have my period as it does weird things to my milk and gives her really bad reflux

Yes I did and it was fine! I gave my girl formula jus so I know she is getting all the vitamins iron and other supplements that she needs

Yes I give my son one formula feed at 5.30 he is 4 and a half months old,

I sometimes do a formula bottle before bed and she has one while at day-care but breastfed the rest of the time :-)

My girl's 21 months but from about 3 months she was having 1 bottle a day (expressed to begin and then formula from about 4.5 months). She went between breast and bottle with no problems. She had her bottle with her dad while I made dinner :)

I give one bottle at night as a dream feed. Started at about 4 months doing that so dad can give it sometimes. The rest of the time I BF and he eats A LOT!

Did night feed of formula and day feed breast at 5months....slept through the night straight away, not me though, had to get up a few times to express a little off but after a few days they (boobs) settled down enough for me to continue sleeping through the night

Yes, I tend to most days, bubs is 8 months old, and just seems to sleep better on a formula than a breast milk so most nights at around bedtime or first wake-up I give him a formula just to give me time to build-up again, coz I have always had supply issues. I take daily Domperidone tablets, as well asTiger's Milk smoothies and regular feeding, but still my milk is touch and go most of the time. Although this time I'm not giving up like I did with my first two, 8 months on and we're still managing :)

I wish my son actually liked it that would be so much easier too... my family don't like to babysit because he won't take it. I have our 5 yr anniversary coming up and I want an evening and night off. Tried different formulas, tried expressed, tried cow's milk... hmmm maybe I'll just let him get rocked to sleep.

My 6 month old twins have a bottle of formula at about 6pm when my milk is low and I am racing round doing dinner etc and BF for the other 3 feeds. That way I find they have a much better feed off me before bed and we all have a peaceful night!

Yes I do she is 7mnths old now and now my husband gets to feed her and now I can say to him  "she's hungry, feed her" Hahaha! She's satisfied after a bottle to!

I did for quite a while - started with expressed milk then formula then moved to just formula at night - DD now 7.5mths slept much better - however she did self wean at 6mths.

I do his 2 night time feeds formula and the rest breastfed

I give my 8 week old just one formula feed at night so both of us can get a better/longer sleep during the night... I might be selfish but find it hard during the day to get on with other tasks if I'm sleep deprived. I no longer go to Baby Group because I asked them questions on formula and got a rather nasty "we don't advocate formula so don't care!" would love to be able to talk to someone about formula without feeling guilty by offering it to her

I did with both my babies. I did the last feed of the day as a formula feed from about 3 months. I continued to BF my first to 10 months and my wee one is 13 months and just weaned 3 weeks ago. Like others have said I started with a bottle of EBM to supplement low evening supply and then used formula when the expressing became exhausting.

We did with my second. Dinner feed was formula....just so I could cook/ clean and dad could do it.

My girl 8 months and she's just started to take a bottle so she has a formula feed before bed for last week and for last week has been sleeping 12hrs at night :)

At the moment though my third is 5 weeks and exclusively breast fed and has slept from 10-6 every night for ten nights...so I'm not changing anything until the invites to the Xmas parties come in (haha)

My son has been having a bottle since I went back to work. I do two shifts a week 6pm-11pm, so miss his bedtime feed. He happily takes a bottle from dad those nights. Won't take one from me! He's a year old, and I have been back at work a few months.

I keep trying to get miss 7months to take a bottle at night but she's not having any of it !!!!!

I breastfeed then top up after every feed with formula

Am about to go back to work part time and Dad will be on duty with her - aiming to express enough to cover day feeds but am realistic that we'll have to go to formula soon.

Yeap I started a dream feed of formula at about 4 weeks, the best thing I ever did as my lil man slept all night, he never woke

Just 1 formula dream feed for my 3 months old, sanity preserved and best decision made to help continue breastfeeding.

I give my little man a formula feed for his last bottle for the night. I breastfeed him for all his other feeds. I decided to do this when he was 4 months as I just didn't have enough milk by the end of the day and he wasn't sleeping through the night. I gave myself an extremely hard time about it as I wasn't ready to put him onto formula and I cried the first time I did (anyone one would have thought I was giving him rat poison the way I acted) but he is no worse off, sleeping through the night and still feeds off me with no worries at all.

I did, as my bub didn't get back to his birth weight till 6 weeks. Turns out I was anaemic post birth and we swapped my poorest breast feed for a formula feed - last one at night - and he did really well afterwards and no issues mixing the two

Yep - for baby #2 from 6wks we used formula for the last feed of the night. We had troubles with #1 baby and bottle feeding so wanted to introduce it as a supplement for emergencies, daddy back up (and because I never got the hang of expressing).

When my daughter was 4days old, I came down pretty fast while still in hospital with an infection and her dad went and got a bottle and packet of formula to try her on as I was so weak I couldn't get out of bed and I was highly worried I couldn't feed her. That was also when my milk started to come in. She gets the odd bottle of milk but only about 100mls, it varies as to how many bottles each day she gets. Sometimes its one, sometimes two, sometimes none at all....I only get the packet formula and divide it in half to make up a small bottle. I found that she reacts to the formulas with GOLD in them which are more aimed to fully bottle fed babies....she gets most of her vitamins, minerals and immunity from my milk so doesn't need it. When I was in hospital they weren't OVERLY happy with it, but all the midwives I have seen in my aftercare haven't had a major problem with it. It's only a comp. She also gets bottles with EBM especially when staying over at her dads...or if I'm so tired and my mum decides I need some sleep.

Yes, my son gets one bottle of formula a day as he needs the formula top up. He has it as the 6pm feed during the week so that dad can give it to him, on weekends he tends to have it as the 6am/7am morning feed when dad gets up to him, feeds him and then they have daddy and son time while mum has a lie in.

I have just been reading through all the posts on this topic and I just want to say "thanks" to all the Mums that have posted. Whilst I am ok with giving my little man formula at night now, I initially gave myself such a hard time and shed a lot of tears over giving my little boy formula for 1 feed a day due to low milk. The pressure to breastfeed our babies is huge and I felt like such a failure for not being able to breastfeed my little man at night. It is comforting to know that there are other Mums who have done the same thing and I was not committing the ultimate sin by substituting with formula....so once again thanks :-)

I debated for so long as to giving my boy formula at night to 'top off the tank' but am so glad I made the change. It's helped him sleep through the night which has given me my sanity back (although with him being sick with a cold that's gone down the drain) and meant I could get a full night's sleep. This meant all of us were feeling much better during the day and ready to tackle anything. Now he's much better I'm going to try formula again tonight - sick of the 3, 4 and 5 am feeding frenzies!

Thanks for all the advice. My little boy is 6weeks old and extremely unsettled in the evenings and wanting to feed constantly from 4pm. We've just started topping him up with formula for his 6pm feed and fingers crossed, it helps as we are running out of ideas on how to settle him.

At about 8months I gave a bottle of formula at the before bed feed in the hopes that it would extend night sleep (dream breastfeed at about 9.30pm as well) and at about the same time I gave up expressing for her day-care midmorning feed and gave formula instead. Continued to BFeed all other feeds until she self weaned at almost exactly a year.

Yes - my wee girl would NOT take a bottle and I was getting a bit down about not having any independence. Was fine for the first month or so, but at 7 weeks started giving a bottle for the last feed of the night. Because it was so difficult to get her to take bottle, I stopped expressing (she is also my number 2, so too hard to do this with a toddler), and started giving her formula at this feed too. Too depressing to watch the non-drunk breast milk tipped down the drain! I think it was easier to give formula this time around. 1st time around I really felt pressure to do the "right" thing. Then I saw all the babies around me that had had all sorts of different approaches to feeding, and all of them have turned out to be happy healthy 2-3 year olds. I also feel much better myself that if I have to be apart from baby I can, and if I feel better then that has to be good for baby too.

I used to when I was BFing. Last feed before bed was formula. I was pretty depleted by that stage in the day so the flow and quality was less than satisfying and my girl would get frustrated and quite rough with me (for a 4 month old!!). I found she slept better and longer once we started that.

with dd#1 I had supply issues and while I managed to bring my supply back up using a pump and basically providing Expressed Breast Milk, by 6 months I couldn't keep up with her, so supplemented with formula, and this was how I eased her into having formula, essentially reducing her EBM and she hated the taste of EBM once I became pregnant again, so I felt the transition to formula could have been a lot rougher, but wasn't, and with dd#2, she was an impatient wee soul to start and always hungry so on the way home from the hospital we stopped for some formula as I felt she needed top ups until my milk came in, and since I am expressing for her as well, I will do the same when the weaning time comes....

Wow! I had no idea this was done- I had always thought it was breast OR bottle. So many people said it would affect my supply. I wish I had have done this with my first son who 'failed to thrive'- I was expressing between every feed and topping up him up with it. The echo didn't once suggest formula top-ups or a formula bottle a day.

Yep. I did the top up feed at night with formula as I had supply issues and all three bubs would be screaming even after feeding for an hour... Worked like a dream for me and by the time they woke around 2am for a feed my supply was enough for them.

Yep. That's me! My daughter is 9 months. Since about 3 months she has had 1 formula feed before bed, all the rest of her feeds are boob. I get so mad that people make it seem like you have to do boob OR bottle, mixed feeding is awesome and a great comfort to women who might worry about their baby not getting enough milk etc.

Thanks so much for bringing this up! And thanks for sharing ladies! My (first) son is 10 weeks today, and pretty much exclusively breastfed, except for a couple of occasions when he was with his daddy and drunk him dry of EBM. My wee man is INCREDIBLY thirsty all the time, lucky I don't really have many problems with supply, but for awhile he started to have a 6 hour sleep then wake up 2-3 hours for feeds, but has gone backwards these last few weeks and will only sleep in 3hour stints and wake up HUNGRY! I've been pondering a formula feed before bed...

I have done one formula feed a day since about 2½ months old, it's been great as a quick easy feed if out and about (have always used a bottle in public whether it has breast or formula in it). Has meant that my daughter is good a drinking both breast milk and formula. Also since starting the formula feed around 5 pm she started sleeping through the night. Giving one bottle a day has not upset my milk supply that I have noticed.

I did from when my daughter was very little right up until I weaned her. I usually gave it to her just before we put her down for the night (then she'd get a late breastfeed and an early morning one as well)

Yes, my daughter had one formula feed at her 7pm bedtime from 3 months. My milk seemed to run out towards the end of the day and become quite watery and no amount of expressing, BF cookies and milk thistle helped. So a 7pm formula feed got her sleeping through the night instead of waking every 2 hours hungry. It was also nice that dad could do the feed and enjoy a cuddle.

I also have just started this at night time because my wee man (8 months) refuses solids but he wont take the bottle without a massive fuss at first, its hard to watch but I know I'm my breast milk is not keeping up with his needs

I have just been going through this, after having a c-section I was determined to breastfeed (& do something natural) but she's a big bub and it took her four weeks to get back to her birth weight & the paediatrician said I needed to EBM all milk to get 800ml a day- and if I wasn't making that I needed to top up with formula. I took blessed thistle& drugs to get supply up. Now at 6 weeks supply is well and truly up now- no need for formula ( as I was told she's putting on to much weight now-can't win!) and got mastitis from all the mucking around. Moral of the story do what feels right for you and your baby.

Sincerely wished my son would've taken to the bottle of either EBM or formula. Would have been a much welcome break! At the time especially in those first initial weeks after c-section (and shock of being' a new mum!), but he refused to take. So he was exclusively bf with regular feedings right up to 18months! He's now 2.7yrz and still feeds once a night, more a comfort thing for him I now think.  But all we can do is what's best for mums and bubs! Whatever the case maybe! breast/formula or both!!

Yep :) bubs get fed 3 times a day breastfed and 1 formula. Just found by dinner feed didn't have enough milk to satisfy him.

Hate that SOME Baby Group nurses are so closed minded to formula. My Baby Group nurse suggested I might like to try it with my 2nd for the before bed feed to help him sleep longer. He had chronic reflux and fed 2hrly day and night a lot of the time. It's supposed to sit heavier in their tummy. Didn't work so went back to boob after a couple of weeks.

Btw I was reading a nagazine last night and there was another letter from someone wanting to know about bottle feeding that couldn't find any info and got shut down when asking people. SEE OUR BREASTMATES Formula Articles

Yep, from about 5½ months the last feed is formula. Used to be expressed milk, but couldn't get enough at that point for my hungry girl. 8½ months now and still just last feed is formula

I truly believe in doing what works for you and your family I have combined fed all 3 of my children, BF the top up with expressed milk or formula whatever I have. Please don't beat yourself up mummies over the bottle/formula issue there are starving mothers in the world bf their starving babies they would not object to feeding their babies formula, it is food made to the highest standards. Just feed your baby whichever way works and enjoy your baby xx

Yes did that with #1, helped with getting him to sleep through the night, however I have heard it doesn't work for all babies. #2 is only 2 weeks old so am still exclusively b/fing. Will see how he goes.

My 3 month old gets a formula feed for dinner after his bath/shower. We tried solely breastfeeding but he wasn't putting on enough weight. It's much easier than topping up after every breastfeed which I was doing previously. Also Dad can give him the bottle which is nice. Doesn't make him sleep any longer though!

I did that with my first child when I went back to work. She had a bottle during the day of Formula and morning and take breast. But my second child wouldn't do it...he wouldn't take the bottle and just held out till breast time so we had to go all the way with bottle. I was really bummed about it!

I've been mixed feeding since my daughter was a week old. I had low supply so had to BF, express and top up with formula. As my supply improved I slowly weaned her off some of the formula top-ups, but have kept the night time formula feed. She is now nearly four months old and sleeps well. I won't be stopping the night time bottle any time soon for fear that it will mess with her sleeping!! I have come across a lot of mums who are mixed feeding. It seems to be incredibly common and yet there is so little info available about it and sadly so many mums feel guilty about doing it.

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