Mixed feeding: Supplementing your breast/chest fed baby

If you are worried about your milk supply talk to a lactation consultant, Public Health Nurse or your Health Care Provider. Sometimes babies need more calories and you will need to give your baby a supplement. This can be done with expressed breast milk by hand or with a pump. If you are thinking of giving formula to your breast/chest fed baby it can further decrease your breastmilk supply and could cause you to stop breast/chest feeding before you planned. It is recommended to breast/chest feed your baby first then if extra calories are still needed, to give a top up. If you are supplementing your baby (topping up), it is recommended to try this order of supplementation:

  1. Your own fresh expressed breast milk.
  2. Your own expressed breast milk that was frozen and has been thawed.
  3. Commercial formula that is a cow milk base and iron fortified.

How to Sterilize your Breast Pump and Equipment

Note: Specialized formulas should only be used if your health care provider has recommended it.

Ways to feed your baby a supplement:

cup feeding

From an open Cup (not from a sippy cup) or spoon.


finger feeding baby

Finger feeding baby or lactation aid which uses a tube at your breast (also known as supplementation nursing system-SNS)


feeding supplements to baby skin to skin

Bottle feeding using skin to skin


For information on skin to skin click here.

Important information for keeping equipment clean:


Infant Formula: What you need to know- A best start Ontario Resource