Reasons to Avoid Supplementation

By Sue Bedard

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “No supplements - water, glucose (sugar) water, formula, and so forth - should be given to breastfeeding newborns unless a medical indication exists.” ​

Supplementing Blog
​Reasons to avoid supplementation and exclusively breastfeed a healthy, term baby: 
  • Encourages early milk production. Supplementation may delay the onset of mature milk and the amount of milk produced. The more often the baby breastfeeds, the more milk is removed, the more milk is produced
  • Decreases the chance of jaundice. Human milk acts like a natural laxative, helping the baby to pass meconium
  • Higher protein levels in colostrum have a more stabilizing effect on blood sugar than glucose water or formula.
  • The first fluid, colostrum, is medicine. The purpose is to provide protection to your baby from bacteria and viruses. Iron fortified formula interferes with this critical function of colostrum.
  • Cow’s milk formula and soy formulas can set up a potential allergic response.
  • The suck on a bottle is different from the suck on a breast.  A breast fed baby can develop a “nipple preference” and have difficulty latching on to the breast.
When supplementation is necessary, it is usually temporary and can be done safely by methods other than with a bottle, such as spoons or at the breast.

If you choose to supplement your baby, we encourage you or a family member to give the supplementation:
  • Only after breastfeeding for at least 20 minutes
  • Limiting the number of times per day that you offer supplementation.
  • Limiting the amount of the supplementation to teaspoons  
If your baby is 5 days old and you are still supplementing, please call Lactation Support Services for information and assistance to wean from the formula and move to exclusive breastfeeding.