What does it mean to "combo-feed" a baby?

Updated: Jul 13

Most American babies (80%+) start out being fed human milk. We believe in human milk, and believe that it takes education, access, and support to achieve feeding goals. We're here to help you meet your goals.

Sometimes, either by choice or circumstance, breast/chest feeding goals cannot be met, and babies require supplementation.

There's a common misconception that once your baby receives a bottle of formula, that's it. It's all over. You've failed as a parent.


It doesn't have to be all or nothing! We need to stop thinking this way.

According to the most recent available data from the CDC (babies born in 2017), Minnesota has the highest rate of exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months: 38.7% of babies. And 79.1% of Minnesota babies are still receiving some human milk at 6 months. Note that it's not clear exactly how they define "breastfeeding" (is the baby fed directly at the nipple, pumped milk, donor human milk, etc?).

But what about the other 62% of babies? How are they being fed?

You don't have to feed your baby 100% with one single method. In today's world, in the US, that doesn't make sense for most families. Some families will do 100% human milk from the breast, and other families will do 100% formula from a bottle. But many families will fall in the middle.


Combo feeding is generally understood to mean feeding a baby partially with human milk and partially with formula. But it can really be any combination of things! Breast/chest feeding, bottles, pumping, cups, formula, donor milk, supplemental nursing systems.... there are so many possibilities!

Your doula can help introduce you to solutions that might work for your family and get you connected with lactation pros if you need extra support.

If you need help feeding your baby, schedule a virtual consult with Tabitha today!

Check out other other lactation-related blog posts: here.

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