Can giving a night-time bottle of formula affect your breast milk supply?
The answer for many mothers is yes it can. Why? Most women who plan to breastfeed would be familiar with the term supply and demand. I encourage women to think more in terms of demand and supply. When your baby breastfeeds (demands) your breast milk, supply is stimulated.
If you give your baby a bottle of formula overnight instead of breastfeeding, your body may react to a decrease in ‘demand’ by decreasing the milk supply.
In addition to this, skipping breastfeeds and giving formula can leave you prone to mastitis, an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection.
Signs and symptoms of mastitis can include a red sore area on the breast and feeling hot and cold with muscle aches.
It goes without saying that how you choose to feed your baby (breast or formula) is absolutely your right and your decision should be fully supported.
And personally, in my role as a midwife, if a mother chooses to exclusively formula feed her baby I would not suggest that she breastfeeds once a day.
Equally it may not support, help or validate a woman who wants to breastfeed to suggest a routine bottle of formula overnight – especially if baby is feeding well and there is no medical indication for formula.
Some parents may have heard of a suggested night-time routine of giving a bottle of formula before the night-time sleep.
If you are considering using the ‘bottle, bed’ routine I would encourage you to first do some research about breastfeeding and mastitis. If you do decide to use the ‘bottle, bed’ routine I would encourage you to stay ‘tuned in’ to your supply and to regularly assess for any signs that you may be developing mastitis.