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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Why Use Infant Formula – When Breastfeeding No Longer Works

My first child was formula fed. I remember feeling so down on myself because I was not breastfeeding him. I vowed to myself to make breastfeeding work with my next baby, and I did it. I nursed her for two years. She only had a very small amount of formula during her first week when I was in so much pain I could not nurse her. My third child? He never had a single drop of formula. I thought I was some sort of breastfeeding rock star.

Then, my fourth baby was born. Breastfeeding went wonderfully with him, too, until I got pregnant again only five months postpartum. If you’re wondering to yourself, “Why use infant formula?” I have a few reasons that call for supplementation, or switching to infant formula before your baby is ready to wean.

Why use infant formula--when breastfeeding no longer works

Why Use Infant Formula?


Mom Gets Pregnant Again Before Baby’s First Birthday

I’m very familiar with nursing while pregnant. I have breastfed two babies through pregnancy, but they were both over a year old and eating lots of other food. By the time I reached my second trimester during my last pregnancy, my fourth baby was only eight months old, and my supply plummeted.

After nursing him all night he was waking with completely dry diapers. He was fussy, and miserable. I couldn’t pump more than a few drops. As heartbreaking as it was for both of us, my milk supply had dwindled to almost nothing, which is common for moms beginning in the second trimester of pregnancy.  

At his nine month check-up, he had not gained any weight. That was the point when I knew he had to get on infant formula to get the nutrients that he still desperately needed and my body could no longer supply. As hard as it was to get a nine-month-old to take formula, he did eventually. My supply was gone, and there was no way to bring it back until after the birth of my fifth baby.

Mom Goes Back to Work

I have known many mothers who have successfully given their babies both breast milk and formula. Pumping breast milk is always an option, but there may be times when you cannot pump as much as your baby wants. Formula can be a great option to fill in for you while you are not with your baby. Once your supply is well established, your baby can receive formula while you are at work, and then nurse when you are home.

When Mom is Sick

I’m not talking about using formula when you have a cold or stomach virus, it’s actually good to continue breastfeeding through those illnesses, but if you have a major illness that requires hospitalization or medication not safe for breastfeeding, it may be necessary for you to supplement with infant formula. Unless you already have a freezer stash of breast milk, you can supplement with formula and pump and dump until the medication is out of your system. Pumping will help you keep your supply.


Sometimes using infant formula is inevitable. It may not be your first choice, but the most important thing is that your baby is eating and gaining weight. I was initially upset when I had to put my baby on infant formula, but in the end it wasn’t so bad. He is still happy and healthy!

Joanie Boeckman is an Army Reserve wife and homeschooling mama to three (soon to be four!) beautiful children. She is passionate about living a simpler life, attachment parenting, homemaking, and homeschooling. You can find her blogging at Simple Living Mama where her mission is to empower women in their roles as homemakers, mothers, and homeschool teachers.

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