Looking back I feel pretty silly about this, but i’ll be honest, when the babies arrived and it became clear I wasn’t going to be able to exclusively breastfeed them I had no idea how much milk they needed. I had brought formula prior just in case but had not even read the packaging (Like I said I feel abit silly now). Part of me had presumed I would breastfeed and then you didn’t really know how much they were getting anyway? Right. I really hadn’t done my research on all the different options, how much formula they would need / how often and what if I combi fed.
I remember asking the question at our twin course – ‘how much formula should I take into hospital’ – she just said, why would you need formula, there is no reason you wouldn’t be able to breastfeed! There can be so much pressure on us, but the truth is we never know what our feeding journey will be like.
Being the control freak I am, i’m surprised I didn’t have all the facts ready, I guess there was just a lot going on.
I had gestational diabetes so they had said those first feeds would be important to try and steady the babies blood sugar levels, I was so lucky with my midwife who helped and advised me to collect colostrum while we were waiting for the babies to arrive, so we had a small stock all ready for them. I would really recommend doing this if you can.
Great – they had that and we did start with breastfeeding. But they didn’t put on the weight they needed and they kept us in hospital. We had abit of a scary experience when one was sick blood and it actually came from me (I know right – know one tells you your nipples may bleed and the baby will ingest it – what the hell!) I kept pumping and feeding but the poor little lads were still not getting enough. Looking back we didn’t really get an awful lot of help, we were in a room and although they would pop in to check latching I felt like I didn’t have a clue if they were getting enough. I understand now that it takes a while for milk to really come in, but I think when you have 2 tiny babies relying on you and you are desperate to get home it can feel abit much.
They did then put us on a feeding plan which helped and they soon started to put weight on.
I would breastfeed one for 30 minutes, then offer a formula top up, then I would pump for 30 mins. It would alternate so the one I breastfed would get the pumped milk on the next feed. And I would feed the other.
Anyhow I wanted to just put down some basic guidelines, these are all from the NHS and babycentre websites. My advice is to be open to different types of feeding, go with it and have the knowledge ready for all types. I think I would have felt a lot more in control with better knowledge. In the end for us combi feeding was what worked but I never even thought about this prior.
Newborn babies need quite small amounts of formula to start with. By the end of their first week, most will need around 150 to 200ml per kilo of their weight a day until they’re 6 months old. This amount will vary from baby to baby.
In the first four to six months when your baby isn’t eating any solids, here’s a simple rule of thumb: Offer 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day.
For example, if your baby weighs 6 pounds, you’ll give her about 15 ounces of formula in a 24-hour period. If she weighs 10 pounds, you’ll give her about 25 ounces in a 24-hour period.
These numbers are not rigid rules. They give you an overall average for what your baby is likely to require. His daily feedings will vary according to his individual needs – in other words, he may want a bit more on some days and a bit less on others. Most new babies want to eat every few hours. Start with 1.5 to 2 ounces at each feeding for the first week, and work up to 2 to 3 ounces every three to four hours.
As your baby gets older – and his tummy gets bigger – he’ll drink fewer bottles a day with more formula in each. By about 1 month, for example, he may be down to five or six bottles of 4 ounces every 24 hours. And by 6 months, he’ll typically be down to four or five bottles of 6 to 8 ounces per day.