March 21, 2019

Can You Use Breast Milk Instead of Water to Mix Formula?

If you are also supplementing breast milk with baby formula, can you combine the two by using the milk instead of water?

Breast milk is the number 1 choice of nutrition for all babies. There are many mothers who can nurse with few, if any problems. Some produce enough milk to store it for later. There are other mothers who struggle with low supply. Every drop that the baby can get is another drop that promotes brain development, a stronger immune system, and the right balance of nutrients intended by nature.

Pediatricians will strongly recommend that mother nurse their child for the first six months. Some will go longer and others will nurse as long as they can. One option is expressing breast milk for later. It can last up to five days in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Unlike baby formula, breast milk can be frozen for up to twelve months. 

Can Breast Milk Be Used Instead of Water to Make Baby Formula? 

Honestly, if breast milk could be used as the liquid to mix formula milk powder, it would be in the instructions on the package. However, it is not.

The reason is as much about balanced nutrition as it is about your baby’s wellness. If you mix breast milk with baby formula powder, you are actually creating a mixture that has a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals. Each scoop of powdered formula has the right amount of vitamin A, C, D, iron, and potassium that your baby needswhen it is mixed with water. When you used breast milk instead, you are doubling those nutrients. While some of the excess vitamins such as vitamin C will pass through the body without an issue, other minerals can do damage to the vital organs if consumed in excess. The water in baby formula helps the developing kidneys to process proteins and salts. This is one of the most important reasons why baby formula should be mixed according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Can You Mix Breast Milk With Baby Formula?

There is a way to combine breast milk with baby formula. If, for example, you know that your baby consumes about four ounces per feeding, you can prepare two ounces of baby formula according to the directions. You can then add two ounces of breast milk to the bottle and combine. It is the easiest and safest way to ensure that your baby’s bottle has the right balance of water and nutrients for its growing body.

The greatest downfall of this method is if your baby is not interested in an entire bottle. One way to ensure that your baby gets the best part (the breast milk) while still feeling full is to use two different bottles. Start with the bottle of breast milk and feed your baby until it is gone. Burp as you normally would halfway through feeding. Finish the feeding with the bottle of baby formula. While it does mean that you are washing more bottles, it is a minor inconvenience when you know that your baby is getting the best food every time.

This method of mixing breast milk with baby formula can also be used if you are weaning your baby off of the breast. If you don’t want to stop abruptly, your baby can get used to the difference in texture and flavor of formula but still get the nutrition your little one needs. When you offer organic baby formula such as Hipp or Holle or Lebenswert, your baby may notice subtle differences. If you opt for Stage PRE for any of these products, Stage 1 in Lebenswert, and all stages for Hipp, you will know that they use organic lactose as the carbohydrate that naturally sweetens the formula. Lactose is the same ingredient that is found in your breast milk. It is just one way that organic baby formula is a close second to breast milk.

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