Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The bottle battle wages on…

As some of you know our little girl won’t take a bottle. It is very distressing, especially now because I’m back at work so she doesn’t eat anything from 7:00am to 5:30 pm. She just tries to sleep most of the day so she can avoid being hungry. When we first brought her home we had been scared into submission by all the people who advised against giving her a bottle. Everyone we talked to, the lactation consultant, the nurses, La Leche League members and the internet, said the only way to avoid nipple confusion was to avoid bottles and pacifiers all together, so we did.

Breastfeeding was so hard in the beginning, I remember sitting with her at 2:00 in the morning and thinking, “ouch…ouch…just go get a bottle”, but I didn’t, I stuck it out so we could avoid nipple confusion. Eventually, feeding got easier and easier and soon we both knew what we were doing. When she was almost a month old, Phil and I decided to go to his work holiday party, which meant leaving Natalie at home with a bottle as her only source of food. I was confident she would take it – it was breast milk, and the internet said babies love bottles!

We left her home with her grandparents, Auntie Laura and Uncle Phil and a bottle… We arrived home to hear that she had taken the bottle and was a happy camper and to our surprise, no nipple confusion – I fed her and she slept through the night for the first time! We had done it, avoided nipple confusion and got our baby to take the breast and the bottle. Or so we thought…
The next night I had a meeting to go to, so I left Phil home with another bottle of breast milk and wished him well. About three hours after leaving I received a call from Phil saying Natalie wasn’t happy and was refusing the bottle. “Refusing the bottle?!?” I thought babies loved bottles and you wanted to avoid them because they wouldn’t go back to mom after having a bottle. How could she refuse a bottle? By hour four she was so hungry that her dad finally got her to eat about an ounce. Then she ate like a mad woman when I got home.

Phil and I often look at each other and think, “What did we do wrong? Why doesn’t she take a bottle?” She is very stubborn, and has already figured out that when the bottle is coming at her face that she should start throwing her arms up and swatting at it – that way it won’t go in her mouth. Phil has tried feeding her using the breastfeeding pillow, in her bouncer seat, in the swing, laying on a pillow, watching TV, in a quiet room, and while wearing my shirt. Nothing works! Auntie Ashley and Grandma have also tried – the girl just won’t eat.

I hope she figures out that she needs to take the bottle. We have already spent a small fortune on bottles, nipples, bottle warmers, and breast milk storage bags. I’m not sure there is a bottle or nipple out there we haven’t tried.
And I have enough frozen breast milk to keep the octuplets in milk for a month. (Maybe a slight exaggeration…but there is a lot of milk in my new freezer!)
Lesson learned – don’t avoid the bottle, babies are smart and this whole nipple confusion story was clearly made up by crazy anti-bottle people! Our next baby will be on the breast and bottle right out of the womb!


  1. Oh. I feel for you my dear friend! If it isn't bottles, it's something else. The thing about babies is they apparently don't read the same books, articles, websites that we do. I was terrified of putting Griffin into any type of swing, bouncy seat, or thing that vibrated, because the "experts" said he would never learn to fall asleep on his own. Later, I figured out that I could have saved myself hours of frustration and sleep deprivation, and that avoiding those things make no difference in his sleep patterns whatsoever.

    Hang in there. You'll all get through it eventually!

  2. Hang in there. Remember that Noa refused the bottle for days on end and lived! :) Plus, he moved to a regular cup pretty quick since he skipped that whole bottle thing. Don't you think that someone should have a company that allows you to create bottle nipples out of a mold of your own. It might make life easier or moms like you. I swear, if someone comes up with that, I will be pissed...like that damn Snuggie! I digress.