Supplementing breastfeeding neonates with formula is necessary in some situations, but the practice may be used in situations where supplementation is not medically needed. Researchers from the Universite Francois-Rabelais de Tours in Tours, France recently published a study on the topic. The study utilized 281 neonates were born between March and May of 2010 at the Maternity University Hospital of Tours.
Only 99 neonates received formula supplementation during this time, which accounted for 35% of newborns. The reasons for supplementation included birth to mothers with no breastfeeding experience and C-section births. The aim of supplementation is to maintain healthy body weight, reduce hunger and fend off hypoglycemia, but not all supplementation was offered for medical reasons. As many as 29% of the neonates received supplementation for no medical reason.
Conclusion: Researchers revealed about 33% of newborns born in this hospital received supplementation while breastfeeding, but not all required supplementation for medical reasons. Many experts believe offering supplementation in the neonate stage can make exclusive breastfeeding difficult for mothers after leaving the hospital - thus reducing the overall number of breastfed children.
Source: Bigot S, Lionnet C, Perrotin F, Saliba E. Use of supplementation for breast-fed neonates in the maternity ward. Arch Pediatr. 2012 Oct 26. pii: S0929-693X(12)00427-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2012.09.006.