I'm thinking of giving my 5-month-old a bottle of formula at night before he sleeps so he'll sleep longer. Been exclusively breastfeeding all this time. Is there really a benefit to exclusive breastfeeding vs. "mostly" breastfeeding?

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Most of the time, mothers start to consider adding or switching to formula because of considerations such as supply issue, returning to work, and being concerned about baby’s weight gain. In general, having a combination of both breastfeeding and formula will not cause any direct harm to the baby. As long as you are breastfeeding, the baby will be able to get the antibodies produced by the mother’s body to help protect them against infections. That being said, if you baby is below six months of age, consuming anything other than breast milk may expose his/her immature immune system and gastrointestinal tract to inflammation and disease. Also, there is a chance that your supply may be affected because the production of breast milk is related to the frequency and amount of breastfeed (especially if your baby is a newborn). Here’s an article that touches on mix/combination feeding: http://www.wewomen.com/baby-first-year/everything-you-need-to-know-about-combination-or-mix-feeding-your-baby-s429192.html There is no ultimate right or wrong in whether to exclusively breastfeed or not. You should decide based on what that will be most suitable for you and your baby.

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In fact, your baby's night waking doesn't really associate with whether his tummy full or not. Some babies wake up at night to seek for comfort. If you suspect the night waking is due to hunger, you can tank up your baby during the day by nursing more frequent instead of introduce formula milk. There is nothing wrong to feed formula milk. However, when you read up the label for the ingredients from formula milk, you will realise actually the major ingredient is the corn syrup (sugar) and many other artificial supplements. Since you have the best milk for baby, please do continue to offer breastmilk.

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It is highly recommended to exclusively breastfeed until your kid is at least 6 months of age as it protects the infant against infectious and chronic illnesses. Exclusive breastfeeding also helps the infant to regulate day and night patterns. Feeding formula in between will disrupt this, thus if you are able to breastfeed for longer, please do! http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/

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