Bottle and Combination Feeding

Breast, bottle or both. Let's take it back to basics on your feeding options

The choice to feed using a bottle or the breast is yours and yours alone. This guide by Tommee Tippee simply outlines the options available to you.

Getting down to basics

There are five options when it comes to how you feed your baby, even if you have already chosen to feed using a bottle. The typical feeding options are as follows:

  1. You can feed from the breast for all feeds, in which case you do not need baby bottles.
  2. You can express your breastmilk into a bottle and feed exclusively breastmilk via a bottle.
  3. You can feed only formula milk to your baby and allow your own source of breastmilk to dry up.
  4. You can use a bottle only and supplement your expressed breast milk with formula milk.
  5. You can feed from the breast for some feeds and use formula feeds for other feeds.
Mum Bottle Feeding

What is combination feeding?

You may have heard the term, combination feeding. Usually this refers to mums who feed from the breast for some feeds and from a bottle for other feeds (whether breastmilk or formula milk). However, some mums can refer to it as bottle feeding and switching between breastmilk and formula milk. This is a less common usage though.

Why do people talk about combination feeding?

It’s a common subject usually in regards to the following two circumstances:

  1. When mums are feeding breastmilk from the breast and then via a bottle, a baby has to get used to the difference between accepting milk through your breast and the teat of a bottle which may feel different. The goal here is for the baby to accept being fed via both breast and bottle.
  2. When a mum decides to stop exclusively feeding from the breast and wants to move the baby on to using a bottle for all their feeds (often by formula milk).

The challenge of getting your baby to use a bottle if they are used to feeding from the breast is usually termed ‘acceptance’. If this is you, our bottle feeding hints and tips are worth a read. 

Dad Feeding

Are there advantages to using a baby bottle?

Whichever of the above options you choose, using a bottle to deliver breastmilk or formula has some benefits. This includes:

  • You know exactly how much milk your baby has had.
  • You do not need to be present each time the baby has to be fed – bottle feeding allows others to share the feeding, allowing you to take a break or go back to work at the appropriate time.
  • Bottle feeding also helps dad to get involved and bond with their baby too. Although there’s lots of other ways dad can get involved.

But of course breastfeeding is a unique experience. So ultimately whether you choose to feed from the breast, from a bottle or combination feed, the choice is yours to make. Just be sure to decide what’s right for you and your family. 

Bottle feeding hints and tips

How do I prepare a bottle of formula milk?

When baby number 2 came along, it was me that had the problem.
Read Rachel's story

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