From the moment they arrive, you want to give your toddler the best start in life, so they can achieve every crucial milestone as it comes. Breastfeeding has many wonderful benefits for mothers and their bubs, but exclusive nursing can mean that your time is required around the clock. For some women, this is why they decide to start expressing and storing breast milk, so other carers can step in and feed the toddler in her absence.
Expressing milk also enables the other parent, grandparent or a trusted friend to experience the bond of feeding your toddler. It is a beautiful and relaxing way to spend time with a toddler that many people do not get to experience!
Introducing formula feeds whilst still breastfeeding is called ‘mixed feeding’ and is an option for mothers who are unable to keep up with demand, want to involve other carers to help feed their toddler, or are heading back to work and are unable to express. For many women, extended periods between feeding reduces milk production, and it can be difficult to reverse this process.
It’s a good idea to seek advice from your healthcare professional before you decide to transition from breastfeeding to mixed feeding or formula feeding. A healthcare professional can also provide you with some great mixed feeding guidelines to get the process started.
The right bottle-feeding equipment is so important in this overview of mixed feeding guidelines. You will need at least two, and up to six bottles. As toddlers grow, the volume of breastmilk or toddler formula which is needed to meet their nutritional requirements increases and by four months, toddlers typically drink around 220mL at each feed. Select bottles with leak proof caps, discs and teats.
Ensure plastic bottles are labelled ‘BPA-free’ and have clearly marked measurement guides. Bottles with a wide rather than a narrow opening can be more easily cleaned with a brush. There is no one teat that will suit all toddlers, and as you try a few you will discover which teat works best for your toddler.
Check the product label to confirm that the teat design is appropriate for your toddler’s age as different teats will have different flow rates and it is important that the flow rate is comfortable for toddler. Check and replace teats regularly. Discard as soon as you notice any signs of deterioration including discolouration, stickiness, swelling or cracking. All toddler feeding equipment should be sterilised until the toddler is at least 12 months old. Bottles and teats should be sterilised after each use and stored safely for as long as you use them.
Oli6® provides this information to help parents make an informed decision about how to feed their toddlers.
Mixed feeding can be an option for mums who want to make the transition from breastfeeding to formula feeding, without eliminating the option of breastfeeding completely. Since switching from breastfeeding to formula feeding can be difficult, mixed feeding enables mums to do both and still switch back to breastfeeding fulltime if the switch does not work out for their child. Of course, mixed feeding can have additional benefits, as described earlier, because mums could enjoy a little more time to themselves.
Before you start with the mixed feeding process, it is always a good idea to notify your local paediatrician, midwife or another licensed health professional with knowledge of formula feeding and breastfeeding. Since some children find it difficult to make the switch, their advice could be crucial to be successful.
A health professional can also monitor the growth, development and overall health of your child while you use a mixed feeding technique and spot a problem early if your toddler has tolerance issues with certain formula products. Fortunately, there are many natural formulas parents could take advantage of, including our natural goat’s milk formula, which takes advantage of the natural benefits of goat’s milk. So, if you have not chosen the formula for your child yet, be sure to consider Oli6, which is not only available in our online store, but also with your local chemist or pharmacy.
Wait 6 weeks. After the birth, wait for breastfeeding to become established (at least 6 weeks) before introducing your toddler to a bottle. This gives your breasts a chance to make the right amount for your toddler’s needs.
Offer breast first. Breastfeeding is a fresher milk source than an expressed and refrigerated bottle of breast milk, it is more nutritious, and should be offered first. Use the expressed bottle as a ‘top-up’ if your toddler is still hungry. Likewise, if you are using a combination of expressed breast milk and toddler formula, offer the breast milk first.
Express at regular times each day and night. If your toddler is being bottle fed whilst you are away from your toddler and your circumstances allow it, try to express at feeding times to maintain your supply.
Buy good quality feeding equipment. If you intend to bottle feed your toddler, you will need to buy appropriate toddler feeding equipment, including bottles, teats and sterilising equipment.
Research to find the formula your child will take, including reading the labels on the formula packaging.
Prepare formula correctly. Always follow the guide for preparing your toddler formula. Improper use of toddler formula may cause reactions from your toddler and can make your toddler ill.