Whether parents opt to breastfeed or formula-feed their baby, chances are that bottles will be involved at some point along the way. Nursing may go smoothly, but parents may opt to bottle-feed pumped milk sometimes, or supplement with formula if supply dips. Nursing may also end sooner than hoped: While the benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable, the unfortunate reality is that it’s a round-the-clock job, and mothers often can’t be available to nurse for as long as everyone would like.
Some parents, on the other hand, go straight for formula, a choice sometimes fraught with emotional weight due to the heavy responsibility of parenting, societal expectations, and a cottage industry of gurus who seem to delight in spinning unrealistic narratives about parenting perfection. But in real life, nursing can be impossible for a wide variety of reasons, and bottle-feeding is a legitimate choice that parents need not be ashamed of.
Just because bottle-feeding is healthy for babies, though, it’s not necessarily straightforward, especially if it’s being done in combination with breastfeeding. Here’s everything you need to know to get bottle-feeding off to a great start.