Mixed feeding challenges

mum expressing breastmilk

Whether you want to introduce formula feeds or restart breastfeeding, it can be challenging and time consuming. Try to be patient and allow time for you and your baby to get used to the change in routine.

Milk supply

Introducing bottle feeds may reduce the amount of breast milk you produce, as there will be longer gaps between breastfeeds. These gaps signal to your body that less milk is needed, especially during the first 6 to 8 weeks of breastfeeding.

However, your breast milk supply will usually not be affected if you start bottle feeding your baby when they are a bit older, you are both comfortable with breastfeeding, and you breastfeed every day.

Find out more about adjusting milk supply.


Mastitis is usually caused when the milk in your breast builds up faster than it's being removed. This creates a blockage in your milk ducts (known as "milk stasis").

Mastitis makes your breast tissue feel swollen, hot, painful to touch. You may also have red patches, but redness can be harder to see on brown and black skin. Sometimes the inflammation turns into an infection. Mastitis can make you feel achy and run down, with flu-like symptoms or a fever.

You can learn more about in our guide to mastitis.

Baby will not take the bottle

Your baby may not take to a bottle at first, it might take them a while to get used to the feel of the teat. Babies are less likely to take to something new if they are tired or hungry, so it's best to practice at other times.

Check out our guide to bottle feeding where we have more information about introducing bottle feeding.

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.

Combining different feeding methods

Mixing different feeding methods can be quite tricky and some mums find it time consuming and tiring as they and their baby get used to it. If you have any worries or question around mixed feeding talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP.

You may also find your baby has other feeding challenges – we have lots of guidance about bottle feeding challenges and breastfeeding challenges.

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.

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