Can You Give A Breastfed Baby Formula For One Night? (Tips For Formula Feeding For The Night)

You can give a breastfed baby formula for one night without any issues. Be it for one night or introducing a combination feeding to your little one, make sure to be persistent and see if the formula suits their digestive system. Even if for one night, maintain your milk supply by pumping as an excess of milk production could lead to breast engorgement. When giving formula, try to get another parent or person to bottle feed the baby as they might recognize their mother’s breastmilk if getting formula from them. It’s helpful to prepare it beforehand and store it in the fridge than making it when the baby is crying from hunger.

We are familiar with exclusive breastfeeding benefits for a baby for the initial six months, but sadly most parents don’t have the luxury to do so.

When it comes to feeding your baby, you want to ensure they’re fed on time with proper time intervals so their development isn’t hampered. But there are times when you want to rely on formula.

There’s nothing wrong with this combination feeding; you don’t have to feel ashamed. It helps ease your parenting journey a lot.

Is it okay to breastfeed during the day and formula feed at night?

When you rely on breastfeeding and formula, it’s known as supplementing or combination feeding. It’s completely okay to do so and safe for the baby.

There could be multiple reasons parents might choose this kind of feeding pattern out of necessity, convenience, or a personal choice.

Some other reasons for combo feeding include:

  • Mother might have a low breast milk supply.
  • You’re returning to work.
  • Your employer isn’t flexible and understanding of your situation.
  • Your partner wants to participate in the feeding journey.
  • You have multiple babies, which can’t rely solely on breastfeeding.
  • No other reason. You prefer to formula feed your baby as it’s your personal choice.

When to introduce formula to your baby?

Be it for one night of supplementing with a bottle of formula or choosing to combo feed, one thing to remember is to not give your newborn formula for at least one month after birth.

Experts recommend that one month after birth is essential to build a healthy milk supply and get your baby used to breastfeeding. It’s vital because your little one’s stomach and digestive system aren’t fully developed to handle heavier liquids or food.

Only after six months can a baby handle solid foods because their stomachs have grown. 

An exception could be made in the first months for parents whose baby has a medical issue preventing them from following this rule.

Again even if it’s for one night, you should talk to your pediatrician and figure out the best formula for your baby’s age and health requirements.

How to give formula to a baby for one night?

Giving formula for one night is as tricky as introducing formula to a baby and making it a combination feeding experience for them.

It’s only normal for them to reject or not like it initially. However, there are situations when we don’t have a choice other than giving formula to them.

If you’re only feeding them the formula for one night, ensure that someone else introduces it. For babies, it’s easy to smell their mom and breastmilk, making them more determined not to feed on the formula bottle.

Don’t forget the night-time pumping

For breastfeeding mothers going even a single night without feeding their little one can make them feel uncomfortable in their breasts.

Mom is done pumping breastmilk and is now playing with her baby on the bed

Remember, just as your baby is used to breastfeeding, so are you or your body.

When the time comes to feed, and you don’t feed, the milk production will accumulate without being expressed and could lead to plugged ducts and the risk of mastitis.

So, even if you’re feeding formula to your little angel for one night, it’s important to express milk.

🍼 It’s recommended to pump 8-12 times in 24 hours, for 15-20 minutes, to mimic your baby’s eating pattern.

This will support your body and keep a healthy milk production flow while preventing engorgement.

You have to understand that this is essential. Skipping pump time will signal to your body that the milk production process isn’t needed anymore, so gradually, the flow will decrease and stop.

If you’re experiencing early weaning, refer to a lactation consultant to improve your milk production.

Tips for formula feeding for the night

There are always ways to make feeding easier and parenting better for you. Here are a few things you can do to make nighttime formula feeding easier for your little one:

  • Make sure you have someone else to feed your baby so they’re not distracted by your breastmilk smell.
  • Make sure to pump and express breastmilk even if you’re not breastfeeding for a single night.
  • Preparing formula earlier can be helpful when suddenly your little one wakes up crying in the middle of the night. Instead of reading the instructions and taking time to make it right then, ensure it’s prepared before and store it in the fridge.
  • The best thing about formula feeding is that it’s not solely a mother’s responsibility but a collective responsibility of both parents. You can depend on your partner, and they can easily feed the little one.

Will giving my baby formula at night help them sleep longer?

Mom is bottle-feeding her newborn baby at night

Many parents believe giving formula at night to their little ones is the best way to ensure longer stretches of sleep, preventing them from waking up every two or three hours.

This could be the case as formula protein consists primarily of casein which is more complex for babies to digest. This keeps them fuller for a long time and sleeping longer than breastmilk.

Breastmilk protein consists primarily of whey which the baby easily absorbs.

But there’s no scientific explanation behind this theory. It’s good that the breastmilk has a lighter consistency and is easy on the baby’s digestive system.

Initially, their gut is sensitive and isn’t developed to handle heavy things, be it liquid milk.

Waking up every couple of hours is good for preventing SIDS too. Once they turn five or six months old, their digestive system improves, and their stomach becomes bigger to handle food. Then they’re able to sleep for more extended periods.

So, formula-fed babies don’t necessarily sleep longer than breastfed babies.


Can a switch between breast milk and formula upset a baby’s stomach?

When you’re introducing formula to your little one, it might not be easy at first. They would be less interested in taking formula if they’ve been feeding on breastmilk all along.

There will be a lot of changes as you keep trying to feed formula. They might even become less interested in breastmilk, their stool might become different with a stronger odor, and they go longer between two feedings.

All of this is normal, but if you see them developing a rash, vomiting, getting diarrhea, crying excessively, fussing, or producing gas after starting the formula, you might need to discuss it with the pediatrician.

How much formula to give to breastfed baby at night?

It depends on how old your baby is to decide their feeding amount. A two-month-old baby requires 4 to 5 ounces of milk every 3 to 4 hours.

At 4 months, they must drink about 4 to 6 ounces of milk, while at 6 months of age, they may drink 6 to 8 ounces.

It also depends on a lot of other factors. But if you see your baby becoming too hungry too often or remaining full for a longer time than necessary, do see a pediatrician because that might not be normal.

How long does the baby’s stomach take to get used to the new formula?

A baby might need a week to get used to the new formula transition, but each baby’s habits might differ. They might react to it differently, such as developing digestive issues and other things that could be problematic.

If you’re starting with the formula for the first time, they need even more time to get used to it as they are entirely new to the idea.

Can you switch from breastmilk to formula cold turkey?

You can’t switch from breastmilk to formula cold turkey because it would be a significant change for the baby to handle.

When introducing formula, keep breastfeeding sessions until you find the formula suitable for the baby.

Even your body needs time to wean, and suddenly stopping could cause breast engorgement.

To summarise

Introducing formula is a whole new process and a significant change in a baby’s life. Even if for one night, ensure you’re prepared for rejection first and find ways to feed them, such as tricking them by letting another person than the mother feed them.

Was this article helpful?

As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

Leave a Comment