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supplementation tips

so your pediatrician has asked you to supplement your baby, now what?

Let’s set the scene…

You go to the pediatrician for your baby’s well check visit. It could be that initial newborn visit, your two month visit, or whatever… you’re there in order to assess your baby’s growth and development.

these visits can already be kind of nerve-wracking, right? as a parent, you can feel this sense of it being an assessment of what YOU’RE doing. so when you eventually hear the words:

"I think you need to start adding formula to your baby's diet"

it might sting a little bit.

i’m here as a mother, registered nurse, and a lactation consultant to help take some burn out of that sting and encourage you to find the silver lining in this situation!

this post is going to be all about the next steps after discovering that you and your baby will need to supplement. i’ve personally worked with a lot of families who have said they were instructed to supplement but were not given any guidance on what to do. hopefully this post helps other families in the same situation. 

most important to disclose, this post MAY have affiliate links. you can learn more about those in the disclaimer section. another thing to mention, i’m a lactation consultant but my advice is generalized. this means unless i’m working with you personally, you should make sure to speak to your health care team about anything regarding you and your baby’s feeding journey. 

so let’s get into it…

one | embrace your feelings

anytime we hear something that we can improve upon, a lot of us naturally go into defense mode. a lot of feel upset at our failures. we, generally, have a lot of BIG feelings whenever given any sort of criticism, even when it’s constructive. 

so take some moments to process your feelings and acknowledge whatever they may be.

you may feel disappointed, confused, upset, or even relieved. 

no matter what you feel, it’s valid. and you deserve to make space to deal with those feelings.

once you’ve come to place of clarity, it’s time to get to work!

two | open communication with your pediatrician

yes, they made a suggestion of something for you to do BUT DID Y’ALL HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT YOUR GOALS AND YOUR NEEDS?!

communication is always key! in this case, it can be super helpful in making sure that things are going according to plan. 

here are some examples of questions to ask your pediatrician if supplementation is mentioned:

– do you have any referrals that can help with us feedings?
– for how long are you instructing me to supplement?
– how do i incorporate supplementing while still supporting direct feedings?
– do you have any recommendations or education on formula and formula preparation? (this link has the CDC recommendations)

three | get connected with an infant feeding specialist

if you’re planning on nursing or pumping, definitely reach out to a lactation specialist or infant feeding specialist. once you begin to work with lactation, they may refer you to other modalities that may be beneficial to your feeding journey as well!

this is an ever-growing list of lactation professionals where you can get some help!

a lot of the questions that are asked to the pediatrician, can also be asked to your feeding specialist. here are a few more:
– can we construct a plan of HOW to incorporate formula into our feeding schedule?
– what type of bottles are the most conducive to our feedings?
– what tips do you have on bottle feeding?
– can we do a weighed feeding?
– can you demonstrate paced bottle feeding?
– more information regarding triple feeding
– more information regarding pumping and pump usage

four | know your options

you’re going to get a lot of information from your pediatrician and lactation consultant. here are a few more things to know whenever you need to supplement.

1) supplementing does not always mean formula only. you also have options to incorporate your own pumped milk or donor milk! i say this because people tend to assume that supplementation is formula only. 
to find a milk bank for donor milk, you can check here at human milk for human babies.

2) your pediatrician may be able to help you narrow down formula options. at the end of the day, choosing the formula is up to you! This website has a lot of information on choosing formulas and information regarding different formula types. 

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