Which formula milk to give a breast fed baby (who is weaned just before 12 months)
*Every baby is different and every parent is different. What works for some, doesn't always work for others. Also, it's important to note that I'm a blogger - not a medical professional - so these are my personal views and experiences. I hope you find them helpful* Alison x
If you breastfeed, you'll be told by medical professionals do so for at least 12 months because babies don't get all of the nutrients they need from solid food before then and normal cow's milk doesn't have everything they need either. After 6 months, whole milk is OK on their cereals etc. but not as their main source of milk until they are a year old.
But here's the thing they don't tell you - what happens if you stop breastfeeding just before 12 months? What do you do?
Both of my babies weaned themselves early at 10 months. I really wanted to get to the 12 month mark but not everyone can. And some families choose to, or need to, stop for many different reasons and that's OK!
One day my daughter just turned her head away from me and that was that. She was, and still is, very independent.
So, the burning question at the time...what milk was I supposed to give her until 12 months?
Here's the problem a lot of mums face: after breast milk, some babies don't like the taste of standard formula and believe me, I tried a few brands. At this stage you really need them to want it! Pumping breast milk is not always possible for some either. I was not a pumper and it wasn't through lack of trying. I really struggled with both children (and I hated it) so that wasn't an option for me.
I discussed the problem with a few friends who had also stopped breastfeeding before 12 months. And amazingly two of them (and my hairdresser) let me in on a little secret: HiPP Organic First Infant Milk. This is not a sponsored post for the company. I'm just passing on this tip because my friends passed it on to me and their friends before them and so on...
My friends told me that breast fed babies love HiPP Organic and it actually tastes ok (I tried a bit). In all honesty I have never tasted breastmilk (sorry but no!!) so I can't compare the taste but my babies took to this brand really quickly.
If introducing formula to a breast fed baby after 6 months, which stage formula should you buy?
This question comes up a lot. I was told by a medical professional in the UK that it makes no difference if you use Stage 1 or follow-on milk for babies older than 6 months as long as they are also eating a variety of solid food (after 6 months). Like I said, I'm not a medical professional but I gave both of my babies stage 1 milk from age 10 - 12 months and they were absolutely fine, healthy and happy. But my babies were really good eaters - from 6 months they just loved food (and still do!). So they were getting a lot of nutrients from solids as well as the Stage 1 formula.
For anyone reading this with fussy eaters, this had nothing to do with me. My kids were born to like food but if it makes you feel any better, they were terrible sleepers from Day One ;-)
HiPP Organic is expensive!
This is very true. It works out around £1 for the 200ml pre mixed carton, or a bit cheaper if you buy the powder. It is one of the more expensive brands but I do think you pay for what you get. I would not have been able to afford to give it to them from birth!
Bottle or beaker?
My daughter took her formula in a bottle but my son preferred to have his in a beaker (or "sippy cup"). I was a little concerned about introducing a 10 month old to a bottle so late in the process and one nurse told me it wasn't a good idea. But actually, it wasn't a problem. I made sure she still used her beaker all day. And she just had her bottle at night for comfort. Then gradually I switched over to normal cow's milk which we put in her beaker from 12 months. She did not become "addicted" to the bottle as feared.
How much formula should you give a formerly breastfed baby?
When you breastfeed your baby you have no idea how much they are taking in. It really was a complete mystery to me. The general advice was always to feed them until they were satisfied but there was no way of measuring that amount! It does actually say how much formula they need on the back of the carton. But I also visited my health nurse and she made me write down exactly what my baby was eating , how often I'd been breastfeeding and we discussed how much formula my daughter needed and how often.
As I said, my experience isn't going to work for everyone but worth a try if you find yourself in the same position.
I've included an Amazon affiliate link for your shopping convenience but you can buy HiPP Organic from most supermarkets and Boots in the UK. In France, I've seen it in Carrefour. Or you could try searching elsewhere online.