CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

Should I Supplement With Formula?

I'm breastfeeding, but my two-day-old is losing weight and seems hungry. Should I supplement with formula until my milk comes in?
save article
profile picture of Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Specialist
Updated March 2, 2017
Hero Image

According to Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, the answer is no. “It’s totally normal — and expected — for your newborn to lose up to 10 percent of his birth weight in the first two days,” she says. “Babies are born waterlogged (imagine taking a nine-month bath), and a good bit of what comes off is water weight. Plus, baby is adjusting to living without the constant stream of nutrition that he was receiving in your womb.”

For the first few days, baby has been receiving your colostrum — super-healthy, nutrition-packed “first milk” that will protect him from illness and infection. “He’ll only receive a few drops at a time, but that’s all he needs,” says Mohrbacher. “His little tummy is only the size of a marble, after all. The coming few days, your breasts will fill with mature milk, and baby will start packing on the pounds (okay, ounces). And he should be back up to birth weight within a couple of weeks.”

“If baby is sucking at your breasts, pooping, peeing, and has lost less than 10 percent of his birth weight, there is no need to supplement with formula in these first days. In fact, doing so could keep your little one from taking enough colostrum, and introducing a bottle so early could make it more difficult to establish a good breastfeeding relationship.”

“If your baby seems hungry, nurse more often. Newborns don’t tend to get hungry at regular intervals; baby may need to feed as often as every half-hour at times, particularly at night. This doesn’t mean he isn’t getting enough or isn’t breastfeeding correctly. It just means he’s doing his job. If you are worried that baby isn’t taking in enough (or any) milk at your breasts, have a lactation consultant or nurse help you make sure that you have a deep latch, and that there aren’t any other issues preventing baby from sucking effectively.”

Related Video

When you should worry: if baby drops more than 10 percent of birth weight and/or if he isn’t back up to birth weight by two weeks after delivery. If this is the case, talk to your pediatrician. Also, let a doctor know ASAP if baby isn’t dirtying diapers as he should.

This is the minimum number of bowel movements he should have each day:

DAY 1: One (black and gooey)

DAY 2: Two (black)

DAY 3: Three (black or greenish)

DAY 4: Three to four (greenish or yellowish)

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

mother breastfeeding infant baby
How Many Calories Do I Burn From Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Parent wearing a nursing top and holding a baby on their chest
Where to Shop for the Best Nursing Clothes
By Martina Garvey
 Kourtney Kardashian Barker on the today show Monday, September 12, 2022
Kourtney Kardashian Reveals She Drinks Her Own Breast Milk
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
mom breastfeeding baby
Olympic Committee Will Provide Breastfeeding Athletes Hotel Rooms
By Wyndi Kappes
mother breastfeeding infant at home
How to Get a Proper Breastfeeding Latch
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
mother breastfeeding baby
Breastfeeding Let-Down 101: Everything You Should Know
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
sad mother breastfeeding baby
Is D-MER the Reason You Feel Sad While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
baby with mouth open breastfeeding
Mom's Impression of a Baby Who ‘Can’t Find the Nip’ Goes Viral
By Wyndi Kappes
mom holding baby while drinking coffee in kitchen
Can You Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
The 9 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags-Hero
The 10 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags to Preserve Your Liquid Gold
By Korin Miller
ADVERTISEMENT
mother feeing bottle to baby
Can You Mix Breast Milk and Formula?
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
Kelly Mi Li at Vegan Fashion Week held at California Market Center on October 9, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Bling Empire Star Kelly Mi Li Opens Up About Breastfeeding Struggles
By Wyndi Kappes
Best Nursing Pillows-hero
The Best Nursing Pillows (Plus How to Use One)
By Kathleen Harris
ADVERTISEMENT
entrance of disney world
Photo of Mom Breastfeeding Her Baby on Disney Ride Goes Viral
By Wyndi Kappes
a mother breast pumping milk while sitting on bed at home
Why You Might Consider Power Pumping (and How to Do It)
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
young woman pouring a glass of red wine in kitchen at home
Breastfeeding & Alcohol: Is It Safe to Drink?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
closeup of baby breastfeeding
Are There Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
Cluster Feeding: Everything You Need to Know
Cluster Feeding: Everything You Need to Know
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
black mother breastfeeding baby at home
Black Women on Finding Joy in Breastfeeding
By Ashley Simpo
Mom Responds After Video Shaming Her for Breastfeeding Goes Viral
Mom Responds After Video Shaming Her for Breastfeeding Goes Viral
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List