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Formula: tips to help you supplement.

Why would you need Formula?

When I first started to exclusively pump, I supplemented in very small amounts whilst my supply was still coming in. I didn't know a lot about formula. I bought the pre-made bottles which provided enough formula for several feeds throughout the day when my baby was a newborn. After one or two weeks, I was pumping enough to feed my baby and no longer needed formula (however, I always kept a bottle for emergencies). After a few months without using it, I soon forgot the rules of how long you can leave a feed and how long before a bottle goes bad, so I wanted to share some tips on formula for those who need it, whenever they need it.

Why did you supplement from 6 months?

Quick bit of back story, I tried to breastfeed for the first few days of my babies' life, then decided to express as pumping was easier than directly nursing. The 6 month milestone became my EP target. I was determined to stick to it. As if by magic, around the 6 month mark one of my pumps broke and my nipples were hurting with the backup one I had. The pain meant my enthusiasm slipped and I wasn't happy to pump anymore so I decided to begin my weaning process. I go into this more in another blog. But for now, I'll just explain how this was the turning point where I began to use formula on a daily basis. I found dropping the middle of the night pump combined with stopping any form of tracking apps made me so much happier. I didn't resent pumping anymore, I felt in control again and because of it I'm still pumping 2 months later.

But yes, formula, it was needed because my supply of milk reduced with decreasing pump sessions so I needed to use it when my freezer stash wasn't available. I found myself feeling like a complete newbie again. I was the queen of pumping but I was useless when it came to formula.

I turned to fellow parents, I explained how I wanted to supplement but didn't know the tricks surrounding formula. The responses came in and I found there were so many ways to do it. Did you know there are quicker and easier ways to use formula other than the back-of-the-packet method of boiling the kettle, waiting half an hour and adding the powder?

I want to share these tips with you - we are breast friends here!

Products which will help you with formula

These are linked above for you to make life very easy, however this machine will make supplementing with formula even easier. When you need a bottle of formula, just press the button, add the powder and a minute later there's a bottle made at the right temp. Brilliant. *The day and night version is very similar to the original but much quieter and has lights added, so easier to make bottles in the dark.

Place the required amount of formula for a bottle in each compartment to make feeds on the go so much easier. You can also use these containers as a handy way to organise and prepare for bottles for the rest of the day.

Fits easily in your changing bag so you're able to carry around a bottle warmer for whenever you need a bottle. Some parents have these in their rooms for night feeds too.

Cleaning is something you'll definitely find yourself doing. Here's a few things to consider:

Tips from your breastfriends

If you prefer to measure out the water first, then measure the powder into a separate container first so the steam doesn't make the powder stick to the spoon - L, Mum to 14 month old.

We used glass bottles as we found them easier for warming, a bottle warmer helps for our night time feeds and a formula divider is essential - A, Mum of two.

I love my perfect prep machine, couldn't live without it - L, Mum to 13 month old.

In the morning, pre measure all the formula for the days bottles - K, mum of twins.

If formula says it's okay, make all bottles in the morning and keep in fridge - M, Mum of 3.

Self sterilising bottles and a separate bowl for all the bottles! - S, Mum of 3

Please ensure that you follow the safety guidelines of your chosen formula. Some but not all cannot be stored in a fridge, cannot be left out for an hour or cannot be made with a perfect prep machine. If you are ever unsure, check with your health visitor or the manufacturer.

Best Practise for Formula Use

  • Wash & Sterilise all feeding equipment before every use

  • Air dry all feeding equipment

  • Always wash hands before making formula

  • Follow specific formula manufacturers instructions on how to make their product (As some vary depending on recipe and formula type).

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