Six months was a big transition time for Wyatt – I weaned him off of nursing, introduced formula for the first time, and introduced solid (pureed) foods. I know this is a challenging period for a lot of new moms, so I wanted to share what worked well for us in the transition. I knew I wanted to stop breast-feeding by 6 months, as Tom and I were planning a trip to India at 7 months where we would be apart from Wyatt for a week (so hard!!!). I wanted him to be fully weaned as I was worried I would get a clog and possibly an infection if he were not with me (I ran into this frequently while nursing and the only fix was to nurse again – no pump would do the trick!). The decision was definitely bittersweet as I loved the bonding time and the convenience of nursing – pumping, on the other hand, I was not sad to say goodbye to!
I started researching formulas early on and consulting with all of my experienced mom friends, including all of the physician moms I know! We ended up using Baby’s Only Organic Whey Protein formula after it came recommended by several friends as an organic, low-sugar option (apparently many organic versions are high in sugar). I was told that the Whey protein version is supposed to be the closest composition to breast milk and easiest on the tummy. One thing to note is that this brand, Baby’s Only, markets their formulas as “toddler formulas,” in order to promote breastfeeding (apparently they think all babies should be breastfed until one year old – that’s great if you can make it!). I have several friends who also used this for their babes beginning at around 4-6 months, and I also compared the composition of this to other infant formulas and did not see any differences in terms of key ingredients or % daily values. I am not qualified in any way to advise on this decision, aside from being a discerning consumer – so please bear that in mind. I would defer to your pediatrician, but this worked well for us and friends.
When I stopped breastfeeding, I transitioned Wyatt off of the Kiinde system and bottles (highly recommend for breastfeeding moms, read more in my Nursing Essentials post here) over to the Comotomo. We tested a variety of bottles and I found these are the most parent-friendly as they only have TWO parts – compare to a Dr. Brown’s bottle which has 4-5 parts due to the anti-colic straw/nipple design. (Okay fine, there are 3 parts if you include the must-have handles which are sold separately – link here). Wyatt did not have colic (counting my lucky stars), so of course this solution may not be right for everyone. We have just 2 bottles and have managed to hang onto them for about 6 months.
I hope these notes are helpful to plan for your baby’s transition to formula – I know it’s an emotional time for many moms, and can be super confusing considering all of the different options available. In retrospect, I think I put way too much pressure on myself to avoid formula until 6 months at all costs when I felt it was acceptable to stop breastfeeding. I would always advocate for breastfeeding for some time if you can, but Wyatt has continued to be healthy and strong with formula as his primary nutrition source. I think I would have cut myself some slack if I knew how successful he’d be with formula too – in fact, he’d do just about anything for a bubba!
Pretty soon we’ll be transitioning to whole milk from formula (I believe most babies do this around 1 year old), so I’ll update you there too. Any suggestions about what worked well for your babies to make the switch? I will also write another post soon about transitioning to solid foods – another adventure! Stay tuned 🙂