Thursday, June 2, 2011

Introducing the bottle to the breastfed baby

FINALLY!  Sorry for the delay on this one, folks!

Let me start by saying, we did this completely wrong.  We waited far too long to introduce the bottle to Goose, and, ultimately, it has made the experience so so SO much harder than it needed to be.

When Lucy was a whooping four days old, her pediatrician was concerned about her weight loss (13 percent of her birth weight - anything over 10 percent is alarming); she said that we needed to supplement each feed with formula to get her weight up.  This broke my heart.  I instantly started crying in the doctor's office, and I was sobbing uncontrollably that night as Casey tried to feed Lucy by bottle.  But that girl wouldn't have it; Goose refused to use the artificial nipple.  Casey eventually got a few drops in by syringe, but Lucy spit it up within minutes.  Fortunately for us, my milk came in the next day and all was well in the world. you can see, my little Goose has hated artificial nipples from day one.  Cool story, huh?

I had read that the ideal time to introduce the bottle was between four and six weeks, in order to avoid nipple confusion.  Our first attempt was May 4 (Lucy was just over 6 weeks old), and it was a massive fail.   

We got loads of advice from friends and family beforehand.  One friend told us about Breastflow bottles; the nipple on these bottles is supposed to be very supportive of breastfeeding.  So we stocked up on Breastflow bottles, and only Breastflow bottles.  Many people had told us, "It's trial and error, you need to try out different brands to find what she likes."  And I thought, "Nah...I want a nipple that will support breastfeeding.  Surely she'll love the first brand we try!"  Not the case, my friends.  NOT.THE.CASE.

The second time Casey tried, she took the bottle.  He had to fight her for 45 minutes, but she eventually ate.  Well after that second attempt we had a whole lotta inconsistency.  Sometimes she'd take it, sometimes she'd play with it, other times she would have no part of it.  All the while we insisted on using the Breastflow bottles.

Fast forward a few weeks, and we fly across the country for my last week of maternity leave (post on that to come, I swear!).  Lucy didn't get a single bottle that whole week.  Needless to say, we were all a little worried for her first day at Grandpa Daycare.  What if she won't eat?  What if she's inconsolable?  Well, thankfully, that big bag of bottles paid off.  Grandpa found a brand (Medela) that Goosey would trial and error.  Lucy continues to improve each day with the bottle. 

Side note:  Goose is still doing great with breastfeeding.  She only gets the boob when I'm around. 

I hope this post will come in handy for those who plan to bottle feed eventually.  Despite our stubborn attitudes in the beginning, I really think trying out different brands is key.  I also think starting the bottle closer to four weeks would significantly lessen everyone's stress once the momma returns to work.

Someone has a full belly!

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