Friday, September 10, 2010

What do you mean she won't take a bottle?

Our Little Family

You always hear about the mom that breastfeeds her baby and gives a bottle too early to find that she then refuses the breast or weans early.  Everything you read and hear tells you if you're breastfeeding to hold off on bottles and pacifiers because there could be "nipple confusion".  So what happened to those that don't take the bottle after breastfeeding has been established?  At what point did I wait too long to give her a bottle?

I decided to breastfeed well before I even decided to have my baby girl.  I probably decided the minute I knew I was breastfed.  The breast milk is natural, made specifically with your baby in mind.  It was a no brainer to me.  I had convinced my husband it was the right thing to do...he agreed.  It was the master plan.  Breastfeed, give our baby the best, save some money.  It was a brilliant.  We bought the best pump we could buy along with the necessary storage bags, attended breastfeeding class offered by our hospital, and waited for baby to arrive.

Daddy Attempting Bottle
I had a wonderful pregnancy.  Did yoga pretty much half of the pregnancy, water aerobics the other half (until 2 days before due date).  I was very active, and ecstatic that I was not a couch potato.  I was probably the happiest pregnant lady you'll ever hear about.  I loved being pregnant.  My little girl loved being inside me too.  Her due date came and went, and I hadn't gone into labor.  My doctor scheduled an induction for 5 days after my due date (that's anther story).  My pregnancy had NO issues placenta spontaneously ruptured; I was whisked into an emergency cesarean.  The baby was out in 1 minute, thanks to my wonderful doctor.  She was fine; I was a bit out of it due to blood loss.  After monitoring us for a couple hours, they finally brought me my beautiful, baby girl to get some skin-to-skin contact.  She took to the breast like a natural.  I was very pleased.

SOME of the ones we've tried...
So I'm thinking we've pretty much conquered the world at this point.  Great pregnancy, dramatic birth, breastfeeding natural.  What else could I ask for?  There are a lot of women that don't get that far...soooo I'm thinking we're doing pretty good.  We get home, and I embark on breast-feeding journey without a lactation specialist down the hall.  I'm not in pain.  She's latching on correctly.  Two to 4 hour cycles.  I held off on pumping to get the whole thing down before I add something else to the mix.  Feed.  Pump.  Feed.  Pump.  Feed...I'm always engorged.  I thought that was supposed to go away.  So I cut out the pumping a little bit.  Hey, I don't need the milk stored yet.  I'm not working, no daycare, not leaving her with anyone for a while, right?  Turns out the pumping was making me produce more milk, and I was already producing way too much.  I was practically drowning my daughter in milk and spraying down the entire room.  So we figure out how to fix that.  Obstacle...overcome.
Should have been the one...

So when she was about 6 weeks old, we decided to give her a bottle.  We wanted her to take a bottle at least one meal a day.  Yeah...well, she had other things in mind.  She cried when we first tried.  She would choke on the nipple, so we switched nipples, bottles, brands.  We even tried to give her a pacifier to see if she would suck on that.  You nipple works, the others should work too, right?  WRONG!  "They" say to try for 10 to 15 minutes before giving up.  Have "they" ever been in a room with a screaming baby that's hungry?  I don't think so.  Because if they had been they wouldn't suggest to a new parent to let their hungry baby cry (and ignore the letdown...yeah, right).

Another one bites the dust.
She is now 3 months old and still cries hysterically when you put a bottle near her mouth.  I've tried; Dad tried; Grandma tried...not having it.  We've tried with me in the room, down the hall, on the porch, at a friends house, walk around the neighborhood...she doesn't care where I am, she's not having the bottle.  We've tried giving her a bottle right when we wake her up to eat, after diaper change, before diaper change, during the day, early evening, night.  We tried giving it to her through a medicine dropper, too.  You name it; we've tried it.  How can someone so small and with so little life experience already be so adamant about what she wants and doesn't want?  My poor husband can't stand to see her cry like that for food, so he normally calls in the reinforcements (Me) to handle the issue.  His philosophy is "as long as she is eating".  How can you argue with that?  You CAN'T.

After a while, I wanted to see what was happening.  I had to try to capture this because people don't believe she won't take a bottle.  It's unheard of, I know; but it is happening in my house.  So we only captured 2 minutes of this particular attempt.  See for yourself how she reacts to the bottle:

So what is a mother to do?  I turned to my handy dandy computer for some advice.  I attended La Lecha League meeting and asked tons of questions.  I got advice from family and friends.  Turns out this issue is a lot more common than you might think.  There are babies that don't eat the entire time they are at daycare because it is not directly from mom.  Although breastfed babies should eat every 4 hours during the day and no longer than 6 hours at night...when you're a parent you know your child.  You know how long she can go without often to change her diaper...when she just want/needs to be held...when she's tired.  You also know when she's had enough.

I decided to breast feed because it is the best for my baby. There are so many benefits.  She gets the nutrients she needs for free.  She is less likely to get sick, ear infections, even obese.  I get some benefits in there too...weight loss, bonding with my baby, a way to get away from it all.  Heck I'm even fighting cancer by breastfeeding.  Pretty awesome if you ask me.  So why is this bottle thing bothering me so? Is it because I can't go out for a night on the town with my husband?  Is it because I can't have a drink every now and then without A LOT of planning?  Is it because I need a break, and can't get one for longer than a feeding cycle?  (Oh did I mention...she's colicky)  You see, I'm torn because although the breast is best...I need a break sometimes.  At the same time...she is my baby, I gave birth to her, so deal with it?  With all the technology and convenience items we, as a society, feel that we should take advantage.  You can find out the gender of your baby you have to find out.  You can pump your breastmilk into a you must give your baby a bottle.

I'm lucky in that I don't work right now, so I don't have to give her a bottle.  I should be happy that I have the opportunity to breastfeed and be home with her to see all the changes.  There are a lot of women that don't have that luxury to do what I do.  The bottle is a convenience item that some of our ancestors did not have. (circa 1954).  They were invented, like, in the 1800s, but as far as wide use...we're talking about 50 years, but not the norm.  Bottles...not necessary for stay-at-home mom.  Pacifiers...well, I never liked them anyway.  The convenience of feeding her with a bottle is a why are we fighting this battle?  I have no idea.  It breaks my heart to see her upset over a bottle.  I mean, it's just a bottle; but it's like the end of the world for her to eat out of one.   No class, no book, no person has ever even mentioned this issue.  Nipple confusion...yes.  Nipple  She's getting older now, sleeping through the night, so if she chooses not to take a bottle I'm not going to fight her.  I'm not going to put my life on hold either.  If the hubby and I need some time away...I say we go for it.  She's happy, getting fatter every day, and loved...need I say more.

So Much Love

Happy Baby Danika
Milk Supply
       So what do I do with all this milk?