Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting a breastfed baby to take a bottle - part 2

I use my pump to express straight into a bottle

From Boob to Bottle

We had made a decision that we wanted to try and give our breastfed baby a bottle. The bottle is not to replace breastfeeding but it's something we wanted out little one to learn to do. We nominated a day in the week where myself and hubs were free all day, as he was going to be the one to give her the bottle. Many people have said that breastfed babies can smell milk from their mums and often refuse to take a bottle from mum because they know there's better milk near by. So we decided that I was going to be in the house but not the one to offer IQ the bottle.

The night before the big 'B' day I let IQ play with the teat from the bottle. I stuck my finger inside the teat and let her put it in her mouth. She was in charge. I let her grab it with her hands and when she directed my hand towards her mouth, I let the teat touch her lips. SHE was the one to put it in her mouth. I think this was important  as the teat wasn't being forced into her mouth while she was hungry, she jut played with it while content and got used to how it felt. I also expressed some milk the night before (around 4oz) ready for when we offered her the bottle when she woke up in the morning.

The big 'B' day

Around 7am, when IQ started to stir, I crept out of the room before she was fully awake to warm the bottle. This meant she neither saw nor heard me. Obviously she was very hungry when she woke (she had slept from 10pm until 7am), hubs quickly changed her and then offered her the bottle. He warmed the teat a little so it wouldn't be such a shock for her in comparison to the warm milk.

I sat downstairs nervously while he went back upstairs to try. I sat in silence while I listened to my baby having a grizzle upstairs. To my horror this turned into full blown crying! I could hear hubs talking to her softly and after a few minutes her grizzles subsided and I heard no sound. The silence went on for around 10 minutes.

I was so pleased when he came downstairs with a big smile on his face. He asked if there was any more milk because she'd polished off the whole 4oz! I quickly expressed a little more milk for my hungry little baby. I was so pleased that she had taken this first bottle so readily. I thought it was beginners luck as the other times we'd offered her a bottle, she'd got so upset that she refused to feed at all - from breast or bottle!
Daddy feeding IQ

We kept up the bottle feeding all day and hubs gave her a bottle for every meal and to our pleasure, she took every bottle without too much issue. I couldn't believe it! I even managed to give her one around 6pm! I have to admit that I did nurse her to sleep this evening. I think she deserved it and I had missed this special time with her. She is now sleeping soundly and I think her little tummy is VERY full from all the milk she's had.

We are now going to try and give IQ a bottle every day (maybe I can do an end of week report to let you all know how we got on). The daily bottle will be hubs' job when he gets home from work. I think this will be a lovely job that he's going to enjoy and I know IQ will love spending this important time with her daddy.

Learning to take a bottle

It was really hard listening to IQ cry while hubs was trying to give her a bottle. It seemed so unnatural that someone else was feeding my baby. It also gave me a slight sense of relief, the immense pressure that I feel as the ONLY person to be able to feed IQ had been lifted. I now know that if I'm ill or have to be away from IQ for any period of time that someone else can feed her and she will be OK. I think this is a worry for most breastfeeding mums, "will my baby be OK if I can't be with her?". I'm so glad that I can now answer that question with a firm "Yes!".

With a little perseverance hubs can now enjoy feeding IQ and I feel that it's important for him to have that kind of bond with her. I felt that he was missing out on the lovely feeling you get when IQ looks me in the eye while feeding and I know she's really happy. I have also learnt to take a step back and let someone else take care of my baby. While it was hard at first because I wanted to step in and comfort her while she was getting upset, I kept my cool and let hubs take control and feed her.

The most important lesson we've learnt is that bottle feeding is a skill that breastfed babies have to LEARN! It's also something they will forget how to do so be patient with your baby, stay calm and offer the bottle every day so they don't forget how to use it. With a little planning, perseverance and learning from all - we've managed to achieve what we wanted and everyone stayed happy. IQ got lots of milk, I had my hands free for a few hours more in the day and daddy can now feed his baby.

The important steps that I feel worked for us:

IQ playing with the teat
  • Plan ahead - nominate a whole day to try your baby with the bottle
  • Choose one type of bottle & teat and stick with it
  • Let your baby play with the teat a few days before
  • Express some milk the night before (keep at back of fridge)
  • Offer the bottle as the FIRST meal of the day
  • Get your partner/husband to offer the first bottle (if possible)
  • If your baby pushes the bottle out of their mouth just back off, stay calm and try a few minutes later
  • Offer the bottle at EVERY meal for ONE WHOLE DAY

Are you trying or have tried to get your boobie-baby to take to bottle feeding? What were your reasons for trying and how did you get on? Do you have a bottle refuser? Do you have any tips you'd like to share?

1 comment:

  1. I think that was great how you let her play with the teat for awhile to grow accustomed to it! Definitely a good idea. I'll have to keep that in mind. :)