With the unpredictable baby formula supply, of course Mothers everywhere are asking this question: Can I breastfeed again after feeding my baby formula milk? The answer is YES! A million times, yes! In fact, it might be easier than you think.
A mother’s body is capable of producing milk even if it has been months (even more than 6 months) since she “dried up”. So if you chose to formula feed early on, or at any point, you can switch back to breastfeeding and no longer worry about this formula shortage.
How Do You Switch From Formula to Breastfeeding?
To get your body to start making milk again there are some crucial steps you’ll have to take. It’s not as simple as cold-turkey quitting formula. And not all moms and infants can switch to breastfeeding over night. It will take at least 2 weeks for you both to START to make progress toward the goal of breastfeeding after bottle feeding. So my #1 tip is to be reasonable about this goal and keep the pressure, and expectation, at bay.
Here are a few other tips to get you started:
- Take 2-4 days to have nothing else to do. You will need to treat this time as if you’re back to the newborn days. Don’t worry, it’s a short time! Be lazy and spend 99% of your days close to your baby. They will thoroughly enjoy this. And this calm, peaceful, closeness is going to inspire relactation.
- Drink more water – ONLY water.
- Eat oatmeal, however you want, eat oatmeal every day.
- Take a supplement like fenugreek or fennel seed.
- Stay calm. No pressure. No urgency.
In my other article, How Long Does it Take to Wean from Formula to Breast Feed Again, I go into even more detail on how to do this successfully. Click here to read my step-by-step guide to switch from formula to breast milk.
Switching from Formula Milk to Breast Milk – Side Effects
You might be wondering if switching from formula to breast milk will cause diarrhea, constipation or other side effects. Just like switching formulas might cause stomach upset, switching away from formula to breast milk may also cause gas and stomach upset, but the side effects should be minimal, lasting only a day or two. With any baby, you may notice no changes or you may see more wet diapers or less. In general, babies who are breastfed tend to have less poop diapers than those who are fed formula milk.
The same is true when you begin to introduce solid foods to a baby, so please do not be too fearful if you notice some changes to your baby’s bowel movements when you first begin switching back to breast milk.
Is Mixed Feeding A Good Idea?
No. Of course you should consult your pediatrician, but in general mixing baby formula milk and breast milk is not the ideal way to switch off of formula to breast milk. Mixing baby formula and breast milk can cause side effects like diarrhea, gas, stomach upset and fussiness. The better way to transition your baby off of formula is by gradually reducing the formula bottle feeds as your milk supply increases. This process usually takes 2-4 weeks, but could take longer for some.
Like I mentioned above, this article goes into more details about how long it takes to build a fresh milk supply.
Should You Try to Breastfeed Again?
This is a really hard topic for moms to talk about. More often than not, they will find very few people who support and encourage them to try to breastfeed again. You may have NO ONE who believes that it’s even possible, and that can make you feel super alone. I want you to know you are not alone and they are not right. Returning to breastfeeding is not a new thing. It’s not an impossible goal. It’s not even that hard – when you have the right information and belief in yourself.
On this website you’ll find many articles about switching back to breast. I encourage you to come back here when you run into issues like:
and much more!
Also, although this is a controversial topic, breastfeeding prevents infections and other conditions in babies. HopkinsMedicine.com goes into great details on the nutritional advantages of breast milk and why it is, in fact, better than formula feeding.