First Foods is a mom-founded start-up that offers bottle and nipple starter packs (a $79.99 value) consisting of the most popular models on the market in order to experiment with what their baby responds best to. Their First Foods Baby Bottle and Nipple Variety Starter Pack includes one Playtex Drop-in Nurser 4oz bottle with four Playtex Slowflow Nipples, one Comotomo 5oz bottle with three Comotomo Nipples, one Dr. Brown’s Glass 4oz bottle with three Dr. Brown’s Nipples, one Tommee Tippee 5oz bottle with three Tommee Tippee Nipples, and one Avent Natural 4oz bottle with 3 Avent Natural Nipples.
To learn more about what this start-up is all about, and why purchasing a bottle and nipple variety pack is a great value on all fronts for new parents, we caught up with First Foods founder Elina Shinkar.Interested in stories like this? Sign up here for our eNewsletter New York Family Baby
What was the seed of the idea for First Foods and how long have you been working on it?
I came up with the idea for the Baby Bottle and Nipple Variety Starter pack when I was five months pregnant while putting together my baby registry. I launched the company just two months after that in December 2014.
Why is a starter variety pack for bottles and nipples a good idea? Both from usage perspective and from a value perspective?
Imagine this: Mom is creating her baby registry and registers for one of the standard baby bottle starter sets on the market. These sets usually have five bottles of the same brand in two sizes, small and large. A few months later baby arrives and mom’s plans to breastfeed don’t go as smoothly as planned and mom has to supplement with her own pumped milk or formula. Mom goes to give bottle to baby but baby refuses it and is now hungry and crying, loudly! The mom has four other bottles in her starter set, but they are exactly the same. What now? Send the dad to the store to pick up another type of bottle. When dad gets home, mom eagerly tries giving the new bottle to baby, but baby again refuses. Looks like it’s time for another trip to the store for dad. I think you see where I’m going here!
We have done extensive research to find the most popular and loved-by-moms-bottles on the market and put them into one set. We have also included three nipples for each bottle in varying flows–from slow to fast. When a baby refuses bottle, sometimes the issue is the type of nipple, sometimes it’s the speed of the milk flow, and sometimes it’s the bottle itself. With our set, we’ve given parents a plethora of options. Now you’re probably thinking “this makes sense, but can’t I just put this set together myself?” Yes, you can. But be prepared to spend 30-50 percent more. Many bottles come in sets of two or more, and all nipples come in sets of two, so automatically you are paying more for the extra product. And remember, once you open a bottle or a nipple, regardless of whether your baby likes it or not, it can’t be returned.
In your experience in your research, do most moms and babies kind of settle in to a brand they love? Or, just as you’ve put together a starter kit, are you think your next good idea is to put together a kit for 6 months, 12 months, and beyond?
Ask 10 different moms to share their baby’s feeding experience and you’ll get 10 completely unique stories. That being said, in my research I have found that it is more common that a baby will switch either both bottle and nipple or at least just the flow of the nipple over time. A common transition I have seen is from Dr. Brown’s bottles to another bottle like the Comotomo. When a baby is just a newborn, parents worry about colic and Dr. Brown’s bottles are known to be especially good for colicky babies. As the baby gets older and colic is no longer an issue, parents often don’t want to wash the many parts of Dr. Brown bottles and switch to a simpler bottle like Comotomo or Tommee Tippee. The great and unique feature of the Baby Bottle and Nipple Variety Starter pack is that it is designed to take baby from newborn-hood to toddler-hood.
What was your professional background prior to this?
Prior to starting First Foods, I spent seven years with the NY Kids Club, initially on the management team and then on the executive team in a business development and operations role.
What’s it like balancing new motherhood and a start-up?
During the day, my No. 1 priority is my daughter, and from 7:30pm to midnight and on weekends I focus on my business. Right now this is the perfect situation for me and my family and I am grateful to be able to do both… It’s certainly challenging at times [to balance everything], but I have established boundaries for myself to keep me anchored. When I’m with my daughter, she has my full attention and I make a conscious effort to be 100% present and in the moment with her. When I’m working, I give the same 100 percent to my business.
To learn more about First Foods, visit firstfoods.co!