This post was sponsored by NUK as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own.
Breastfeeding has been proven to be super beneficial for both mommy and baby, which is why I have breastfed all my children for up to at least their first five months. I breastfed my first child for five months and had to stop because my second child was on her way, causing my milk supply to slowly dwindle. By the time baby number two reached six months old I was (selfishly) over sharing my body with babies. This is when I started supplementing with formula. The thought of transitioning to bottles and solids with baby three came a little later than the first two. This time around I have cherished the infant months a little more so I’ve been in no hurry to rush her along.
There’s no perfect time or way to make the introduction but I’m sharing what I have done to successfully introduce the bottle and solids to my three children.
Transitioning Babies to Bottles
Do it when baby is ready
The longer a mom can breastfeed, the better. Bottles and solids typically come into play within baby’s first year. The 2014 CDC Breastfeeding Report Card shared that 79% of infants had been breastfed at some point, with 40% still being exclusively breastfed at three months, 18.8% at six months. Transitioning babies to bottles and solid foods from being exclusively breastfed often occurs between three and six months. However, there is no need to rush your baby. If your schedule requires you to be away from the baby then obviously there’s some urgency in getting baby used to the bottle. You may, like me, stay at home which means you spend a lot of time with your baby so bottles are only needed for brief moments when you are away. You could also just want daddy or baby’s older siblings to help with feedings. Whatever the reason, you’ll need to choose which bottle works best for you and your baby.
Find the right bottle
Nursing moms who want to introduce the bottle desire a bottle that will make the transition easy. The flow and nipple of the bottle is extremely important because we want baby to have a “close to mom experience” during feedings, even if mom isn’t near. The NUK Simply Natural Bottle has been my favorite bottle to use with baby number three because its design gives her that “close to mom experience”. It has helped there to be a natural transition between breast and bottle and our feeding times have remained just as special.
I honestly have not seen similar bottles. The NUK Simply Natural Bottles have up to nine nipple holes just like mine, is shaped similarly to a breast, is made of super soft silicone and moves flexibly like my breasts. These features explain why my baby has had zero problems adjusting them. Since they have three different flow rates, it’s a bottle that I’ll be able to use for my baby as she grows.
Transitioning Babies to Solids
Watch for signs of readiness
At about four months my little one started showing interest in food. As I sat at the dinner table, her eyes followed my fork from my plate all the way to my mouth. Just to be safe, I waited until she was five months old to give her her first taste of solids and eating from a spoon. It’s important to wait until baby’s stomach can handle food, their swallowing mechanism is mature enough. If baby’s tongue thrusts food forward, then they aren’t quite ready for solids. Like I mentioned with introducing the bottle, there’s no need to rush this introduction.
Slowly introduce solids with fresh foods
If baby is ready for solids, consider introducing fresh foods instead of “baby food”. Pureeing cooked veggies and fruit is simple to do and just takes about 30 minutes or less to prepare food for an entire week. Doing so has so many benefits! Your baby will most likely continue liking the fresh fruit, veggies and meats as they grow. I can attest to it. Our second child got a lot of jarred baby food and she is now the pickiest eater in the house.
Start with iron-fortified cereal, then move on to fresh vegetables, fruit and then protein. I typically start with orange veggies like sweet potatoes and carrots, then test a new veggie and fruit once a week after that.
Is your baby ready for the bottle or solids? How are you preparing for the transition?0