StorkNet interview with
Anne Smith, IBCLC
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Q's and A's:

FORMULA DURING THE DAY, BREASTFEEDING AT NIGHT

Jenny: I have been breastfeeding, I started back to work this week, I am giving formula during the day and breastfeeding at night. How much benefit is my baby losing?

Anne: Your baby will continue to get the benefits of breastfeeding for as long as he nurses. Any amount of breastmilk is beneficial, and your baby will continue to receive the immunological advantages of your milk even if he is getting formula too.

The concern that I would have is whether you are going to be able to maintain your supply if you are only nursing at night. Unless your baby nurses often during the night, then your supply is likely to drop significantly unless you pump at least once or twice during the day. Breastmilk production is based on supply and demand, so if you go from emptying your breasts every few hours to only emptying them a few times a day, you can expect your supply to drop. Some babies are willing to continue nursing even after your supply goes down, but others will get frustrated and start refusing to go on the breast at all. The older your baby is when you return to work, the easier it is to manage without pumping during the day. A six month old who is eating solids and going long stretches between nursing sessions is more likely to adapt to a part-time nursing arrangement than a six week old who is used to nursing many times a day and whose diet consists totally of breastmilk.

I think that it is great that you want to continue nursing after returning to work, but it can be challenging, especially if you are unable to pump while you are separated from your baby. I hope that everything works out well for you, and wish you all the best.

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