What if breast-feeding isn't going well?

If you're struggling, ask a lactation consultant or your baby's doctor for help. If your baby's doctor is concerned that your baby isn't receiving adequate nutrition or hydration, he or she might suggest pumping and supplementing with expressed breast milk or formula.

Breast milk is the ideal food for babies — and the best way to keep a baby healthy — but proper nutrition and hydration are absolutely essential for your baby.

Does infant formula pose any risks to a baby?

Commercial infant formulas don't contain the immunity-boosting elements of breast milk. For most babies, breast milk is also easier to digest than formula. When prepared as directed, however, infant formula supports healthy babies who have typical dietary needs. A baby who has special nutritional needs might require a special formula.

Can I combine breast-feeding and formula-feeding?

Exclusive breast-feeding is recommended for the first six months after birth. A diet of breast milk only provides the best nutrition. Formula supplementation can disrupt breast-feeding as well as affect milk supply. However, some mothers are able to combine breast-feeding and formula-feeding — especially after breast-feeding has been well-established.

If I choose not to breast-feed, how should I handle the resulting emotions?

If you're considering formula-feeding, do your research so that you can make an informed decision. Then focus on nourishing and nurturing your baby — instead of dwelling on negative emotions. You might also share your feelings with your doctor, your baby's doctor or others in your support circle.

Remember, parenting is an adventure that requires choices and compromises. What counts is doing the best you can as you face this new challenge.

April 23, 2015 See more In-depth