Q: I want to give my baby some formula now and then. What’s the best way to introduce a bottle?
A: When your baby is nursing well (usually by 2 to 3 weeks old), give her a bottle at one feeding—or, better yet, ask your partner to do it in the wee hours so you can get some sleep. Don’t wait longer than 4 weeks, or she’ll be more likely to refuse it. Also try not to give more than one bottle per day; switching back and forth too much may cause nipple confusion. If you hope to breastfeed for months to come—and experts recommend continuing through the first year—beware of topping off your nursing sessions with a bottle. “The baby will start taking less and less from the breast in anticipation of the bottle, which has a faster, easier flow,” Lawrence explains. Above all, don’t feel guilty for giving an occasional bottle so you can catch some z’s or give yourself a break: If you’re happier and less stressed, your baby will be, too, no matter how much breast milk she’s getting.