supplementing is okay


Why you may need to supplement your breastfeeding with formula.


Daniel and I appear ready for this baby. We are in the final countdown with about a month left to go! While I plan on breastfeeding, I feel like all the planning in the world will never prepare you for what is really about to go down. Who knows if it will work out, but just in case, we want to have the best formula on hand.

We met our pediatrician today and had a really informative discussion about what may lead to supplementing breast milk with formula. Afterwards I researched reasons and came up with the list below. My main concerns were with how exhausted I might get in the first few days, before the “good milk” comes in, when Daniel might need to take over with a bottle of formula. I have also read about moms having issues with latching and how, for the baby’s sake, we may need to whip out a bottle of formula to get her weight up as we continue to try and breastfeed. A friend of mine went through a similar situation recently, so I am aware of how important it is to keep formula in the house.

Reasons a new mom might need to supplement with formula:

  • Mom is exhausted and her milk supply hasn’t come in yet
  • Latching issues
  • Baby isn’t taking in enough milk during feeding [maybe she falls asleep or simply doesn’t drink enough]
  • Fewer than six wet diapers/day after day 5
  • More than 10% weight loss since birth [should be back up by the 2nd week]
  • Lethargy/fussiness most of the time


Why you may need to supplement your breastfeeding with formula.


After researching the best formulas on the market, and reading the amazing reviews, Daniel and I decided to go with Stage 1 Gerber® Good Start®. Gerber® formulas were in several “top brands of baby formula” articles, and I also feel good about going with a brand with which I am familiar. I grabbed the Soothe option just in case karma bites me on the butt and we have a incredibly fussy/colicky baby, but I will be purchasing the Gentle [green one seen here] option as well, as its purpose is specifically for supplementing. The Comfort Proteins® it contains are small proteins that are easy for baby’s teeny little stomachs to digest. It also contains a blend of DHA and probiotics [important properties also found in breastmilk!].



The formula was very easy to find in the kid/baby aisles at our local Target, after being only temporarily distracted by jogging strollers and adorable baby clothes. We’ll come back for those items and a few other necessities after the final baby shower [yay gift cards!]. 🙂


Why you may need to supplement your breastfeeding with formula.


Why you may need to supplement your breastfeeding with formula.


Even if you are set on breastfeeding, like me, consider keeping some Stage 1 Gerber® Good Start® formula on hand. You definitely want the best for your baby, but you also need to be prepared for any [literal and figurative] hiccups along the way! As someone who is obsessed with always having a plan, I just know this little girl is going to make me throw that aspect of my personality out the window – at least temporarily. 🙂

Be prepared! Grab your Stage 1 Gerber® Good Start®!




  1. I think it’s so smart to go in with an open mind. YOU DON’T KNOW. I’m a huge breastfeeding advocate, but also know that things don’t always work the way they are supposed to. For something natural, breastfeeding is really hard!! We always had formula on hand. We didn’t need to use it, but it’s great to have it!!

    • Thanks for the support! It’s good to know that I’m not just over-thinking. 🙂

  2. I know I’m not a mom but I know plenty of moms and hearing about their experiences makes me wish there was less stigma around formula feeding. Everyone knows breastfeeding is the best by now, but it doesn’t always work, and poor moms feel like failures when they can’t make the magic happen. Formula can be such a lifesaver! I think it’s really smart of you to be prepared for either situation.

    • thanks for the support! i keep thinking about my non-mom friends and how my FB might be annoying them, but it’s good to get an “outsider”‘s opinion since they’ve probably heard both sides and are unbiased. [hope you don’t take offense to the “outsider” bit!

  3. You are definitely not over-thinking it! I’m also passionate about breastfeeding, but I’m realistic, too. I know it doesn’t work out sometimes and I’m glad you have options you will be confident with. I think this will reduce a lot of stress when (if) the time comes!

    • thanks! and thank you for the FB comments, too! i know it got pretty hectic over there. haha!

  4. You have allllll of my support. We actually didn’t get to meet our pediatrician until Noah was born, so we didn’t prepare for what happened. My water broke at 36 weeks. Noah only weighed 5lbs, 11oz. And while I had enough colostrum/milk to get by for the first few weeks, our pediatrician gently recommended we supplement. While he didn’t have a hard time latching, he wasn’t gaining enough weight. He would get frustrated feeding and so would I. Looking back, I don’t think my milk ever came in all the way. Once we supplemented, he turned the corner, thrived, gained weight and my stress level went way down. I did breastfeed/pump the teeny amount I could for 10 weeks, but 100% needed the help of formula. All this to say, you just can’t predict how the birth will happen, how your baby will be with latching, OR how your boobies will cooperate. Way better to be prepared and not need it. You are absolutely doing the right thing. I’m sending you good juju!

    • thanks so much for sharing your story! i’m glad everything turned out okay, too. i keep telling daniel all these plans i have and then turning around and being like, or you know, none of that will work out. ha!

  5. Totally with you on the “just in case” boat. My baby girl is just 3 weeks and I’m trying to exclusively breastfeed but I also have a 7 year old who just started school and having formula available has made me feel less stressed. Every mom and baby are different. Do whatever is best for you both! Good luck!

    • Thanks for your support! I feel like whether I use it or not, it’s def a nice feeling to have a back up plan!

  6. At 18 weeks pregnant, and being a first time mom, and a huge breastfeeding advocate, I’m way nervous I’ll have to supplement. I don’t mean it in a bad way, I just want to be able to exclusively breastfeed as long as I can and I’m scared my baby will need formula. I know formula helps out a lot and there’s no shame in needing/using it, I’m scared of the ingredients and lack of ingredients (that baby would get from me) – in the end, I’m so scared I won’t be able to breastfeed! I don’t know how to put it in my exact words. I know I need to keep an open mind, but I’m so stubborn. They say to keep an open mind about the birth plan, and I’m trying really hard, but I don’t want drugs of any kind – ugh, haha! The worst thing, that makes me want to slap people, is when I tell them I don’t want drugs and they laugh in my face.

    • The parenting class I’m in today is really helpful in being supportive about standing up for what you want. Maybe you’ll feel better once you do one of those classes! 🙂

  7. It is awesome that you are already starting to think “flexible.” I went in thinking breastfeeding was the only healthy way. I learned quickly that supplementing was a necessity. I was only able to stay home 3 months after each child. So there where times that I could not pump at work and I found supplementing was a necessity. Great article!!!!

  8. I just recently had to start supplementing with my little one. I cried my eyes out! But then, when I saw that she ate formula and it kept her alive I thought “why am I so stressed about this?!”

    • Yes! My favorite comment from readers has been “a fed baby is healthy/happy baby.” Life isn’t perfect, supplementing is okay!

  9. i had every intention of breastfeeding, until i didn’t because it hurt SO DAMN BAD. i cried every time he cried from being hungry because i knew it meant searing pain and anxiety mixed with crashing hormones. i just couldn’t do it and get past it like everyone said. i was disappointed and stressed. i ended up exclusively pumping for 5 months and then when i lost my mind with that i went to formula and had a freezer stash last till 6 months (one bottle of frozen milk a day mixed in with formula so he was still getting some). if i had to do it again, i would probably start supplementing sooner to keep my sanity and give more time to my son instead of being hooked up to that damn pump 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 times a day! once i was totally off the pump and done with breast milk, the ease and quality of our lives increased substantially! plus, it’s great to have someone else get to feed the baby so you can shower or take a break for a bit.

    it’s great that you’re going into it with an open mind. no matter what you end up doing, someone will have something to say (“hey lady, put your boob away!” or “hey lady, why are you giving your child poison?” – ok thats exaggerated, but you know). so you just do you and don’t feel guilty about it, ya hear? you’re the mom, you make the rules 🙂

    plus, target is great for formula! they always have some sort of deal where you buy 2 or 3 boxes you can get a gift card for $10 or $15 back. same with pampers and baby foods.

    • I noticed a deal on the Gerber ones, too! Love Target.
      I took a parenting class today and the instructors were honest about how hard breastfeeding is. I never realized it – even from reading the books! I’m definitely going to try, and I already have a pump ready to go, but who knows what might happen, ya know? Thanks for sharing your story!!

  10. I plan on breastfeeding but I put a container of formula on my baby registry- just in case there are issues. I am more afraid of the stress of keeping up with being around for baby or having to pump in the future once I start to work again.

    • definitely! there’s plenty that can happen to intrude on a feeding. good thinking!

  11. I just had my first in July and went into it fully convinced I would only breastfeed and there would never be a reason not to. I’ve still only breastfed so far, but my opinion has changed SO much! It wasn’t easy in the beginning and led to a few concerns that formula may have resolved. I felt so lucky that I didn’t have to go that route, but I wished I would have been more open to how formula can help beforehand.

    • congratulations! i took a parenting class this weekend and they went through the physical and mental struggles a mom can encounter when trying to breast feed. I’m definitely a bit apprehensive, but hopefully will be able to get through it! And if a supplement is needed at some point, so be it! 🙂

  12. Congrats! you are going to do great! …I’ve had two babies [both boys] both breast fed…after 9 months they both got on formula. Every mom knows her body and her babies! You’ve got this! xoxox

  13. I used Gerber Good Start (it was a different packaging) w my daughter and it worked out great. Never had any stomach issues or spit up; though I attribute that partially to Dr. Brown’s bottles. I tried breastfeeding out and found it to be very painful, and I liked how formula feeding allows the dad to be more involved. If you do use formula, I encourage you not to heat it or your baby will want it warm only, which is difficult when you’re out.

Comments are closed.