5 Tips for Introducing a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby

This post was sponsored by Philips Avent as part of an Influencer Activation for 
Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Just like that my maternity leave is over and I had to send another little piece of my heart to daycare this week. We kept Finn at home with the help of family through the flu season (so thankful for that!) which gave us additional time to prep for the transition. I'm not sure how ready anyone can be when handing off the care of your child while they're so little (I was a hot mess in case you're wondering, it wasn't pretty) but nailing the bottle for our little breastfed babe definitely helped to reduce the stress level.

I could go on and on about how important it is to introduce a bottle even if you're breastfeeding, it honestly saved my sanity with both boys after weeks of being the sole source of food for our babes. Between the cracked nipples, dreaded pump sessions, stress over keeping up your supply, and trudging half asleep through cluster feeds, giving up at least one feeding a day to your significant other can do wonders for everyone.

If you're like me and need some solo time strolling through Target aisles or your husband wants to be involved and share some of that bonding time, get out that pump and try these tips for introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby!

ONE. Wait until breastfeeding has been well established between mama and baby

I highly recommend pumping about 2 weeks postpartum to build up a freezer supply. Then by the end of the first month, when breastfeeding has been firmly established and baby is gaining weight, start to introduce a bottle for one feed. My Lactation Consultant was fully supportive of this!

Save your pumped milk in small (1-2 ounce) increments at first. Then as the baby eats more at each feed, save in both 1 ounce and 3-5 ounce increments.

TWO. Use a bottle that mimics breastfeeding 

We used Philips Avent Natural bottles with both of our boys. I love that the shape and feel of the nipple closely mimics breastfeeding (this was the main reason I chose to register for Philips Avent Natural bottles three years ago!) and we were so successful using them with our oldest, that it was an obvious choice for baby brother!

We never had any nipple confusion with either of the boys and I credit that to the breast-shaped nipple of these bottles. They also have fewer parts to clean than other bottles on the market... bonus!

THREE. Have someone else do the bottle feed at first

To avoid confusion, have someone else do bottle feedings for the first week or so. This is the perfect time to let your husband get that quality time with baby (my husband loves it!) or let Grandma get involved.

Remember, you'll need to pump anytime the baby takes a bottle to keep up your supply.

We do a bottle feed every night during the last feed before bed. This way we know how much the baby is getting and they will often eat the most at this time as they gear up for a longer stretch of sleep (hallelujah!). I then pump around 9:30 PM, because that gives me a break to relax after the boys' bedtimes and have a glass of wine after the previous feed!

FOUR. Use the slowest flow nipple baby will tolerate

Even if you think you have a fast flow when nursing, start with the beginner nipple level to reduce the risk of choking and make sure the baby still has to do some work. The Philips Event Natural bottles come with a level one nipple which has worked perfectly with Finn at 2 months old. Their design helps to vent the air to help reduce discomfort and colic for babies, which has been great with his reflux.

FIVE. Expect it to take a couple of weeks

This is so important! Don't expect your sweet babe to get the hang of a bottle overnight. We always start with just an ounce or two for the first few bottles so we don't waste any of that liquid gold!

Lactation Consultant tip: Use the 'Rule of 5' for storing breastmilk.. 5 hours at room temperature, 5 days in the refrigerator, and 5 months in the freezer.

If you're starting to introduce a bottle and have any questions please don't hesitate to ask!

Easter Basket Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

I've tried my best to be on top of my Easter basket game this year, since I've been feeling a bit behind in the festive department lately. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime... and Target Dollar Spot.

After Christmas and birthdays, we're totally over the toys and I'm trying really hard not to include any in the boys' baskets this year. We're basically bursting at the seams in the playroom. 

The only exception is Tegu blocks for Rowan because he has a small set already and loves them! They are magnetic so perfect for keeping a set in the car to keep kids busy at restaurants or on road trips. 

I think I've gotten the Easter Baskets down to a science though, sans toys. That is until my kids are old enough to catch on to the Easter Bunny's strategy and then I guess I'll have to mix it up. 

The basic ingredients of a good toddler Easter basket go like this: 

1 - Swimsuit, Rash GuardBeach Towel, Sandals (we also like Natives), and/or Beach Toys

You're going to need these for the summer anyway so why not put them in the basket? Bonus points because they take up a decent amount of space. 

2 - Outdoor activities like bubbles or chalk

I'm looking at you Target Dollar Spot... I always find festive options here when it comes to outdoorsy things. 

3 - Bath gear like a hooded towel, bath bombs (love these all natural ones that color the water!), or bath paint

Our toddler loves anything that has to do with bath time - probably because playing with it helps him delay bedtime - but I'm on board when it doesn't count as a toy and he still loves it. 

4 - For babies, wooden toys and teethers

I love shopping small for cute little wooden toys and teethers (these delivered really fast and are so cute!) but when in doubt this rattle is a good Prime purchase!

5 - Books

Our toddler loves books and even though we have a million of them already, I rarely say no to a new book. These flap books are perfect for baby's first Easter basket! 

Again, something your babe will probably need for the Spring and Summer so why not throw them in? We're heading to Disney this Summer so I bought the boys matching Mickey jams

7 - Crafts

Paint sets, coloring books, or basically anything that entertains a toddler for longer than 5 minutes is perfect.

8 - Hats, baby bonnet, and/or sunglasses for summer

I love the look of bonnets, even on boys, so I can't wait to see my littlest in a brimmed version!

And in case your kid randomly asks for a Jellyfish kite like mine did, I've got you covered. 

Ok tell me some of your go-tos for Easter baskets! I'm always on the lookout for more variety! 

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Minimalist Hospital Bag Must Haves

You guys! I've had so many requests for this post and I originally planned on posting it pre-baby, but I'm glad I didn't because I used very little out of my hospital bag!

Apparently I'm meant to have middle of the night babies, because both of my boys were born between the hours of 4 AM and 5 AM the day before their due dates. Luckily we were all healthy and the hospital discharged us both times before we were even there for 48 hours.

Crazy fast, right?!

The fact that we had such short stays in the hospital really helped me narrow down my absolute favorite items to pack in my hospital bag, rather than overpacking and forcing my sweet, exhausted husband to carry all the things to our hospital room.

Nursing Tank - I love this Belabumbum layered tank, its so comfortable! (This color is on super sale!) It also had better coverage while nursing so every hospital staff member didn't get a show when they walked in the room.

Pajamas - Get yourself some really soft pajamas that are nursing friendly if you're going that route. The hospital sheets aren't great (big surprise!) so having something comfortable is key. I loved the tank and robe from my Belabumbum Starlit set but I left the light colored pants at home for before and after baby... post-birth isn't pretty and I loved those pants too much to ruin them!

Black Pants/Leggings - Bring 2-3 pairs. I love these affordable high waisted yoga pants for during the day so you can reserve these for your going home outfit. I personally like tight yoga pants for this because they keep those giant postpartum pads and ice packs (if your really lucky) in place.

Nipple Balm - A little tip from my lactation consultant was to let breastmilk dry on your nipples after a feed and it really does help the most! If you really need another layer of protection, I like this Earth Mama nipple butter.

Toiletries + Cosmetic Bag - I personally chose to buy the travel-sized toiletries that I needed so they were easier to pack in advance. For makeup, have all of your must have items (concealer and mascara for me!) in a travel bag sitting on your bathroom counter. That way you can use them and throw them back in the back each day, but they are ready to go if you have to run out the door for the hospital!

Extra Long Phone Chargers - Go ahead and order yourself the extra long phone charging cords if you don't already have them, they are a must!

Camera - If you don't have one, be sure to hire a photographer for a Fresh 48 session! I know the thought of having pro photos done is daunting, but I promise you will cherish them forever! We had a session set up for Finn's birth but were so exhausted that we pushed them to the 2nd day in the hospital, but then they discharged us and we had to cancel. To this day I regret not getting them done the day he was born, so I'm extremely thankful I took some of our own!

Towels from Home - Our hospital didn't even offer towels but I'm sure if I asked they wouldn't have been half as nice to use as ours from home. Make sure to bring towels that are something other than white, so they don't get mixed in with hospital supplies.

Flip Flops - For the shower and while walking around. I didn't want to take my slippers there because of the germs, so if you do bring cheap ones you don't mind throwing away after.

Going Home Outfit for Mama - Don't think too much about this! Get yourself some high waisted Zella leggings, a tank, and a cardigan and call it a day.

Sweater via Old Navy sold out (Similar). Tank. Leggings.

Going Home Outfit for Baby - Newborns are floppy so try to keep it simple and bring something easy to put on. You'll want to wash everything from the hospital as soon as you get home so they won't wear it for long anyway.

You really don't need any other clothes for baby. I know its hard to resist but save them for at home! If you do want to bring some things, think hats (they need to keep a hat on and two blankets at all times in most hospitals) and a swaddle blanket.

The hospital provides a snap shirt and diapers, and since skin-to-skin is so important when they are brand new, that's all we kept either of our babes in during our hospital stays.

Pillow from Home for Dad - Use a pillow case that isn't white so you don't get them confused with hospital pillows.

Snacks - Hospital food is hit or miss so bring some things that can fill you up easily like bars, almonds, etc.

Gift for the Nurses - Don't search on Pinterest for ideas, just buy a big bag of Dove chocolates or mini packs of MnMs and your nurses will love you. Both times I gave birth we did this and all of the nurses kept thanking us!

Honestly these are the ONLY things you need! Leave your nursing pillow at home (the lactation consultants prefer you learn to use with regular pillows in my experience), pads, Dermoplast, squirt bottle (if you tear you need this), etc. You can even leave underwear at home because the disposable hospital underwear are really good at holding the giant pads in there, and you won't risk ruining any of your own.

After packing just these essentials I easily fit everything for Finn and I into one bag plus my camera bag and it was SO much easier on all of us!

If you need help finding the perfect nursing bra don't miss this post or shop the post below!

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