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Introduction to mixed feeding

If possible, try to make sure you and your baby are comfortable with breastfeeding before you start mixed feeding.

Exclusively breastfeeding helps stimulate your milk production, so it's best to do this before introducing bottle feeding.

Why combine breast and bottle feeding?

Mixed feeding may be a good option if you want to share the feeding responsibility with your partner or family members.

It may also be suitable if you're:

  • mainly breastfeeding but also want to offer expressed milk or infant formula
  • bottle feeding but want to start breastfeeding
  • returning to work or study and need to provide bottle feeds while you're away
  • struggling with breastfeeding and need to give your baby some formula

Whatever your reasons for mixed feeding, it's recommended that you breastfeed exclusively for 6 to 8 weeks after the birth (to allow you time to get the hang of it).

Ways of mixed feeding

There are different ways to combine breast and bottle feeds. You may want to combine breastfeeding with bottles of:

  • expressed breast milk
  • infant formula
  • expressed breast milk and formula feeds

Alternatively, you may prefer bottle feeding using:

  • expressed breast milk and formula milk
  • expressed breast milk

Hints and tips when starting mixed feeding

It may take a while for your baby to get used to a change in feeding methods, so take your time when starting mixed feeding.

It's recommended that you also:

  • introduce the first bottle feed when your baby is calm, not tired or hungry
  • use a slow-flow teat to mimic the flow when breastfeeding
  • express your milk regularly between bottle feeds to help maintain your milk supply
  • try to copy the positions when bottle feeding you would use when breastfeeding

If you have decided to cut down on breastfeeding, do this gradually to minimise the risk of mastitis.

Help and support

​If you're worried about any aspect of breastfeeding or bottle feeding, talk to your GP, midwife or health visitor.

National Breastfeeding Helpline

For confidential breastfeeding information and support, call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Lines are open 9:30am to 9:30pm every day.

Breastfeeding Friend from Start for Life

The Breastfeeding Friend, a digital tool from Start for Life, has lots of useful information and expert advice to share with you – and because it's a digital tool, you can access it 24/7.