Lets start at the beginning. First things first. The worst thing about breastfeeding is pumping. It's not latch or chapped nipples or waking up at night to feed. It the damn pump. Attached to you, draining every drop of gold, just for you to spill it on the counter because the baby is crying and you are rushing to transfer it into a bag to store. I HATE pumping, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that found their roll as Bessy enjoyable. But, alas, we are not here today to dream about the moment we can finally set fire to are milk expression machinery. We are here to talk about the holy shit moment when I thought I had been wasting my life pumping and storing over 500 oz for my impending return to work all for...my baby to refuse a bottle. ALL THAT FROZEN MILK Y'ALL. Ready for the thawing. Waiting to nourish my sweet babe while I returned to the world of the living from Mombie land. Don't let this happen to you, don't be like Shauna.
Think of how you baby learned to nurse. Practice. Time. Repetition. They don't have the slightest clue what to do with this faux nip you are shoving at their face that is not attached to their source of comfort. YOU. This is brand new, on top of being brand new around here. Your sweet babe may not get it the first time, or even the second or third time maybe? Set a time of day EVERY DAY that you give a bottle. Yes, everyday, I do twice a day, no matter what. Even if you are home all day long with them. Do it. Does it suck to get a bottle when you have perfect, hot and ready milk at the tap. YES. It sucks. Does it pay off yes. You had to be diligent and CONSISTENT then when you are away it is no big deal they know how to take the bottle and know that they are still getting the goods. Just because they get it for a day or a week do no mean that you can ease up. Trust me on this one.
Bottle feeding is a whole different ball game. The feeds may not look the same as when baby is at the breast. The PACE may be different, or it may be the same but feel different, depending on the flow of the bottle the baby may have to work harder, or not as hard to get the milk to flow. Also, they may be taking or breaks on the breast than you realize but it looks different when they bottle feed because they completely unlatch for a breath, or slam it. Just be patient and let them lead. The first few times I attempted to bottle feed when we had to get serious after being to lax, my daughter just played with the nipple. That's ok! Let them get the feel of it and go at their own pace once they are familiar. It may also take longer for the feeding session as well for any number of reasons, trust the babe and the process, they will get it.
Not all bottles nor babies are the same. We tried five different bottles before one stuck. There is really no other way to do it but trial and error. My oldest took the first bottle we offered her with no questions and never had any issues even when we were consistent. My second went through about $100 worth of different bottles before she decided the one that she like the best was one I got free from a mom's event. GO FUCKING FIGURE. So I stocked up on those and we are all happy. Sometimes it's the tools not the method. You had to just try to gauge your baby and see if they just aren't feeling the equipment or is it something else. This can get expensive and be very frustrating but keep at it. I recommend having at the least three different bottle brands on hand and giving them a try for at least three days before giving up, almost like when you introduce a new food, give adequate time to see if it is the baby fussing or the product not working.
I hate to admit that I tried to bypass this trick and failed miserably. For the first few bottles while you are still trying to convince your baby that the bottle is a good idea, you likely can not be the person trying to give it top them. Put it like this, turkey bacon sounds like an excellent idea until there is the option of the real thing right next to it. If they see and smell the teat they want the real deal. Get a bottle of either freshly expressed milk or milk warmed to body temp, leave the room (maybe leave an item of your clothing) and let someone else delivery the goods. Maker sure to be READY! offer the bottle before the meltdown starts just shy of when the feeding is expected, it is hard to come back from full on wailing.
They might not be happy about it but they are going to have to take a bottle at some point because we have to like pee and shower, and maybe go back to work. I highly recommend starting to bottle feed once you are out of the age where nipple confusion occurs after the first few weeks. Just make it a habit, breath through it and give yourself some grace. It is really hard to be the sole source of nutrition for another person. It is even harder when you have to physically be there for ever feeding, next to impossible and absolutely draining. What a beautifully exhausting journey and we can do it mommas. xoxo
Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.