combination feeding

How to make combination feeding work for you

When it comes to feeding your baby, it doesn’t always have to be a choice between breast or bottle.

What is combination feeding?

Many mothers choose to do a combination of both. This is called called combination feeding, combined feeding, mixed feeding, or partial breastfeeding.

Why combine breast and bottle?

There are lots of reasons mums choose to combine breast and bottle feeding. From returning to work, needing a little freedom, wanting their partner to be involved, to experiencing issues with mastitis, milk supply and more – there’s not just one road to combination feeding!

“Combination feeding can be particularly appealing to first-time mothers who want a break and find the sleep deprivation a shock to the system. Some people tend to breastfeed during the day and do the bottle feeding at night,” says Cliodna Gilroy, education officer with NUK.

how to make combination feeding work

The challenges

Getting baby to take the bottle

If you’ve breastfed your baby from the beginning, do not be too surprised if the bottle is rejected at first.

Here are some tried and tested tips for getting baby to take the bottle.

  • A good time to introduce those first few bottles is during the second feed of the day, when your baby is hungry but not starving, and likely to be in good spirits.
  • It can help to have your partner or a grandparent feed your baby the first couple of bottles.
  • Use a bottle that closely resembles the breast. (See below for NUK’s latest Nature Sense range which was created with a mother’s breast in mind.)
  • Gently place the bottle teat against their lower lip, pointing upwards – they’ll probably open their mouth so you can then place the teat inside.
  • The bottle teat needs to be full of milk during the feed, so that your baby doesn’t swallow too much air.
  • When your baby slows their sucking and swallowing, you can help ‘pace’ the feed by partially moving the teat out and then letting them draw it in once again. This mimics the stop-start of breastfeeding, and helps you avoid over-feeding your baby.

Engorged breasts

Gradually cutting down breastfeeding reduces the chance of your breasts becoming uncomfortably engorged and leaky. It will also reduce your risk of developing mastitis.

If you substitute a breastfeed with a formula feed, it will take around three to seven days for your breasts to adjust to missing that one feed.

how to make combination feeding work

Mum’s story – Combining breast and bottle-feeding

“I exclusively breastfed my daughter for six months before attempting to introduce some formula feeds. She was due to start with ther child minder at six and a half months, so I planned to breastfeed in the mornings and nights and give bottles of formula during the day. She had happily taken a few bottles of expressed milk at around at three months, but I didn’t persevere with the bottle feeds. This was a mistake, as she simply refused to take a bottle later on. I began to panic, as I was due to start back at work in a matter of weeks. It took a lot of experimenting with three different types of bottles and also the discovery that I should have been using a faster flowing teat until she finally took the bottle a few days before I was due to return to work!” – Lucy Smith.

How NUK can help

NUK has developed the NUK Nature Sense Baby Bottle and a teat with a sense of nature, which, similar to a mother’s nipple, has several tiny openings.

Regardless of whether you are combining bottle and breastfeeding or would just like to get your baby used to drinking from a bottle – the NUK Nature Sense Teat offers you and your little one a natural drinking experience: the several tiny openings of the teat are modelled on the milk ducts in a mother’s breast and make the NUK Nature Sense a bottle with which babies can enjoy a familiar feeling when drinking and, above all else, a natural flow.

The soft zone is gentle on the top of baby’s delicate mouth and the wide lip rest lets your baby latch on in a natural way.

The innovative anti-colic vent makes it possible to drink as if from the breast without a pause which helps prevent your baby swallowing air and reduces the risk of colic. NUK Teats are approved by the Oral Health Foundation.

how to make combination feeding work

NUK Nature Sense is available in hard-wearing polypropylene (PP), in 150ml and 260ml bottles in a range of 4 gorgeous colours.  Prior to sterilisation we recommend using the NUK Baby Bottle Cleanser.

Washing baby bottles with soapy water alone doesn’t always remove ground in milk protein, and juice residues, which can cause baby stomach upsets.  In response to this NUK  developed the Baby Bottle Cleanser specifically for cleaning all types of baby bottles, soothers and accessories.  It is based on natural ingredients and contains specific enzymes which effectively remove milk protein, pulp and juice residues. Its mild formula makes it ‘baby safe’.

NUK is available at Mothercare, Sam McCauleys, McCabes, Hickeys and selected pharmacies nationwide.

For further information please visit or check our @NUKIreland on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….



Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.