Breast & Formula Feeding

Combination Feeding

Combination or mixed feeding is when you feed your baby breastmilk and formula milk in a combination of breast and bottle feeds. 

This is a choice that many parents make once their baby is breastfeeding well, but there are some things to consider when making this decision. Watch the video below which will help if you are thinking about combination feeding.

Dive Deeper

Choosing Combination Feeding

Lots of parents choose to combination feed their baby. You may make the choice for the following reasons. 

  • Your baby may need some formula in addition to breastmilk due to prematurity or a medical condition and you have been advised by a clinical professional to include formula milk in your baby's diet. 
  • You are bottle feeding your baby but would like to breastfeed. 
  • You are going to be away from your baby and someone else is caring for them.
  • You are returning to work and need to express milk.
  • You may want to give most feeds by breast but offer formula at 1 or 2 feeds per day. 
  • You may be worried breastfeeding is not giving your baby enough milk or your are experiencing challenges with breastfeeding. If this is the case please call Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Our team will be able to discuss this with you and if needed a member of our infant feeding team can be asked to give you a video call if you need further feeding support. 

Top Tips

If you choose to introduce infant formula to complement your breastfeeds. Even when combining breast feeding with formula, your baby will still see the benefits of breastmilk. For example they will still gain some of the antibodies that will protect them against infection.

Make sure your breastfeeding is established and going well before introducing formula milk or expressed breastmilk in a bottle. This usually takes about 6 weeks after the baby is born. 

It's best to go slowly and gradually. This gives your body time to reduce the amount of milk it makes and lowers your chances of getting uncomfortable, swollen breasts, or an infection such as mastitis.

  • Introducing formula feeds will reduce the amount of breastmilk you produce. Expressing between feeds can help with this.
  • Any amount of breastmilk is good for your baby. The more breastmilk your baby has the more protection they have against illness.
  • Always feed your baby responsively so they can lead the way. 
  • If you're going back to work, start a few weeks beforehand to give both of you time to readjust.
  • If your baby is older than 6 months and can drink milk from a cup, you may not need to introduce a bottle at all.

Read more about drinking from cups

Will This Effect My Milk Supply?

Breastmilk supply is created by feeding often and responsively. This means feeding your baby when they start to show hunger cues.

Giving your baby formula can affect your milk supply, especially when you first start breastfeeding. It means your baby breastfeeds less often so your body produces less milk. Expressing milk between breastfeeds will help with this.

The NHS suggest that it can take up to six weeks to successfully establish breastfeeding. It is recommended to wait until feeding is well established before introducing a bottle.

If you are considering combination feeding because you think your baby is not getting enough milk, please call Just One Number on 0300 300 0123to speak to one of our skilled team members.

Responsive Bottle Feeding

When introducing a bottle to a baby, it's best to:

  • Hold your baby in a semi-upright position, close to your body.
  • Offer the teat so that they can draw it into their mouth.
  • Hold the bottle at an angle so that they can suck milk in avoiding air.
  • Take the bottle out of your baby's mouth as soon as they begin to show signs that they've had enough.

This all helps to build a close loving relationship whilst avoiding overfeeding.


Read more about introducing a bottle

It's important to sterilise all your baby's feeding equipment, including bottles and teats, until they're at least 12 months old. This will protect your baby against infections, in particular diarrhoea and vomiting.

Read more about sterilising

Your baby's immune system is not as strong as an adult's. That's why bottles, teats and any other feeding equipment need to be washed and sterilised before each feed.

Read more about preparing & storing milk  

Expressing milk is when you take milk from your breasts so you can feed it to your baby straight away, or store it in the fridge or freezer to use at a later time. 

Read more about expressing milk

Who can Help?

If your baby is less than 28 days old you can contact your local midwifery team or you can contact the Healthy Child Programme at any time following your baby's birth by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590.

Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Norfolk Healthy Child Programme has a team of infant feeding champions who can contact you by video call/telephone initially to discuss your questions and refer you to further help if required. All of our staff are trained to Unicef standards to provide you with the best possible breastfeeding support and advice.

Norfolk’s Early Childhood and Family Service (ECFS) offers support for all parents and carers with children aged 0 to 5 years.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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