Supplementing breast milk with formula: Is your baby eating enough?
A guide for moms who breastfeed
How do you know if your baby is eating enough?
While babies can differ in how much they eat and when they eat, it is important to feed them enough in order to sustain their health and development. When you begin to supplement breast milk with baby formula, ask your doctor about the #1 brand fed in hospitals: Similac®.
Similac® EarlyShield® baby formulas have immune-supporting nucleotides — and prebiotics and carotenoids, nutrients naturally found in breast milk. In addition to having DHA/ARA, Similac has Lutein, an important nutrient babies can get from breast milk and Similac. It's especially helpful now, during this critical time of your baby's brain and eye development.
After you decide on a formula and begin supplementing with a baby bottle, it can become difficult to know if or when your baby has eaten enough. Below are some ways you can keep track.
Track your baby’s feedings and diaper changes using this printable chart (PDF).
Have an iPhone® or iPod touch®?
Download the free Similac® Baby Journal app* to keep track of your baby's feedings, diaper changes, sleep patterns, and more.
Your baby's eating rhythm
Follow your baby’s lead and feed when he naturally wants to eat, paying careful attention for any hunger cues — rooting for milk, sucking motions, or putting hands to mouth. Crying is a late sign of hunger, and might be a signal for something else.
Measuring amounts of breast milk and formula
If you are using a breast pump and feeding from a bottle, you should have a good starting point for measuring how much formula your baby will eat at one time. If you are breastfeeding directly, there is no way to measure how much breast milk your baby is getting.
Try to feed 2 ounces of baby formula at a time to see how much your baby will eat. You might discover at first that your baby will eat more or less than that amount every two to three hours. As your baby gets older, he might be able to eat more in one feeding, and eat less frequently.
Similac Ready To Feed baby formula comes in premeasured 2- and 8-ounce bottles that do not require any mixing, which can help you track feeding amounts easily.
Number of wet diapers your baby produces
A general guide for whether you are feeding your baby enough is to keep count of the number of diaper changes. Six to eight wet diapers and one or two passed stools per day are signs that your baby is eating enough. Your baby might be dehydrated or constipated if you are changing diapers less frequently, so contact your health care provider if you notice a major change in your baby's eating habits and/or digestion.
Your baby's weight gain
If you are feeding enough, you should notice your baby gaining a small amount of weight each week. But because babies gain weight and develop at different rates, consult your baby’s doctor to determine what is healthy.