Monday, August 11, 2008

THE BOTTLE

I did talk about this a bit in my previous post. But it's on my mind.

As we speak, Sacha is downstairs with my mother. She is attempting to give him a bottle (of pumped milk) for the third time this week. (The third attempt in one week time. So far: bottle 0.) We think it's best if I stay away while she tries, hence my sitting here typing.

I know: it's not necessary for him to take a bottle. It just means that I can't leave him for more than 3-4 hours during the day, and if we want to go out at night we have to wait until Sacha is asleep at 8 or so.

I actually never thought this would be an issue. I thought I wouldn't care if he took a bottle. At the very end of my pregnancy I bought an inexpensive (relatively speaking) pump and some bottles almost on a whim. A total whim, as I really was leaning very granola in my child rearing ideas.

I thought I would co-sleep. We purchased a co-sleeper and used it as a bassinet in our room for 3 weeks. That's all. I thought I would baby-wear all the time. Which I did often at the beginning of Sacha's life, but he quickly became to heavy to wear constantly. And, of course, I thought my baby would only eat from my breast. No nipple was going to touch my boy's mouth but my own.

(I have other convictions that I'm happy to report that I am sticking to, but that's not the point of this post.)

What I found out very quickly after Sacha was born was that I like my independence. (Which is not to say that I'm not thankful for my baby being in my life, we all know that I am, I don't have to go there, do I?) I just thought that I would be alot more... attached. To be honest, I didn't even read anything about attachment parenting before Sacha's birth. I only found out there was a name, a movement, for what I thought I wanted to do as I began to read baby development literature.

Can I tell you how thrilled I was to have my room back after only 3 weeks of sharing it? I didn't mind going to the next room when Sacha woke at night. In actuality it was easier to change feed and put him back to sleep in his room than in mine.

And can I tell you how thrilled I was when other people wanted to hold the little guy? And how comfy he seemed in his vibrating chair? And in the stroller? And anywhere I would put him down to sleep? Sacha didn't seem to mind, and I certainly felt a whole lot lighter not carrying him around all the time. I may have persisted if he didn't seem happy being put down, but in truth it seemed as if he didn't notice that he wasn't with me! (I know that baby-wearers will refute this, but again... not really the point of this post.)

And can I tell you about the concert tickets that my husband bought for us when I was about 7 months pregnant? The ones for a concert 5 weeks after my due date (Which he didn't even realize! and which ended up being only 3 weeks after Sacha's birth)?

We had to leave Sacha with my parents. And we had to leave a bottle. And he took it. No problem.

I liked the independence of that evening. My husband and I had a great time out. After only 3 weeks of parenthood we were able to leave the baby. It felt amazing to have some sort of semblance of life back if only for a few hours courtesy of Billy Joel.

I made certain that my mother was available to give Sacha a bottle about once a week. And he was always game. Sometimes it took a little coaxing, but my mother is patient beyond belief and Sacha always drank it down in the end.

Until this week. I don't know what is up!! We have tried 2 different types of bottles. I even went out and bought a sippy cup. Let me tell you- he loves that sippy cup. he figured out how to hold both handles, and that the spout goes in his mouth (a genius I tell ya!), but he can't suck hard enough yet (or hasn't figured out that he should suck the spout.)

I'm at a bit of a loss... Like I said, in terms of parenting issues, this doesn't rank so high in the "I have a problem" area.

But I like the little bit of independence that I had. It was what was keeping me sane. I knew I could go out and have a bit of me time at any point as long as there was someone to take care of Sacha. I haven't really written about this at all, but being a mother is alot more difficult that I could have ever imagined. And it's been very very hard on me. So my me time was important, even if it was infrequent.

And I am scared to lose it.

16 comments:

Ashley said...

I wanted to thank you for your honesty. I'm a soon-to-be mommy and I have ideas of things I want to do or don't want to do but I'm learning more that even the best laid plans aren't always how it goes. I've witnessed so many of my friends struggle with guilt and feeling like a failure for switching parenting routes after baby arrived. I admire your ability to be open and honest about things not being the way you thought they would be. This post will help all mommies or to-be mommies that read it. :)

Aurelia said...

Sweetie, he will take it if he is hungry, seriously.

He might not be hungry right now. Or he might not be able to take a bottle this week, just for now because he has a sore throat or an earache or something.

As for the attachment stuff, don't worry, this stuff ebbs and flows. You will feel differently about this kid at different points in his life. Not everyone talks about it, but it's true.

One minute you want to snuggle all day, next you want to go to work and see him only morning and night. Just the way it is.

serenity said...

I was going to say the same thing as aurelia - he'll take the bottle if he's hungry.

The other thing - and Baby O went through something like this too - is he using a Level One nipple? I use the Dr. Brown's bottles, and Baby O decided recently that he wasn't interested in eating from it. I went out and got the next level up (i.e. more flow) nipple, and he eats from a bottle like a champ now.

So it might not be the bottle, but the nipple.

If you've already tried that, then you can ignore my comment on this. :)

Hang in there. If all else fails, he'll eat when he's hungry. He really will.

*hug*

Erin said...

Why in the world should you feel guilty over wanting to have some space to yourself? Every person wants space to themself, and no one but moms feel guilty about it. It took me a good year to figure out that I don't need to feel guilty about enjoying work and not minding that P was in daycare.

If you really want to wear him more, I'd recommend an Ergo-type soft carrier with a back hold. I've used it with P and K, and it's the only thing that's comfortable. K is about 28 lbs and I wear him frequently. I carried P in it when he was almost 4 years old and it was still comfortable.

Last piece of assvice: if he loves the sippy cup and sucking hard enough is the big problem, do you have the Gerber sippy cups up there? They have a removable valve thing that fits into the spout so that it doesn't spill. (It's very useful when they can suck hard enough.) If you take the valve out, the fluid drips out pretty freely. It might be a good option for Sacha!

Hugs. We've all said "I'll do this, I'll never do that" before our kids were here--and all of us have retracted some of those statements.

sky girl said...

I'm with you. I sorely missed a little alone time. Mommyhood has been a hard journey for me and I'm glad to see that it's not just me. I think we have a lot in common. (Coming to Ottawa soon?)

As for the bottle, I have to disagree with Aurelia. They won't always take it even if they're hungry. Sorry, but they won't. Maybe most babies will but not all. In fact it can just turn into a power struggle. I've heard of some Moms leaving for the day and the baby wouldn't take the bottle for 8-10 hours! (I'm sure it won't come to that for you.)

Getting Chicka to take a bottle was hell on wheels. I had to leave the house entirely for the first few times. Couldn't just go downstairs, had to full out leave.

Anyway, have you seen those great bottles that mimic the shape and feel of the breast? I couldn't find them anywhere when I was trying to get Chicka on one but now I see they all over the place. Might be worth a try.

xo

Karen @ Chez Perky said...

Okay, leave the mom guilt out of the equation, first of all, because that does no one any good at all, least of all you and Sacha. Really!

If he's not taking the bottle, that's okay! If you leave the house and he doesn't take the bottle while you're gone, what is the absolute WORST THING that happens? The absolute WORST THING that happens is that he misses ONE FEEDING, right? ONE FEEDING. Sacha is not going to waste away into nothingness if he misses ONE feeding.

And he might, just MIGHT get hungry enough while you're gone to take the bottle.

Also, if he loves the sippy cup but can't suck hard enough? Just take the valve out. It'll make a big mess, since it'll drip freely, but he'll still get a fair bit of the milk at the same time.

Hang in there, you're doing great.

Get your mom a set of earplugs, some flowers and some chocolate and thank her for putting up with the screaming and let him miss a feeding. Then GO OUT. I'm not a big advocate of "cry it out" or anything like that and I'm not suggesting she can't try to comfort him if he's upset or continue offering the bottle, but honestly? If he's not taking the bottle, there may just be something else going on right now. And when he works that out, he'll take it. And if he doesn't, he'll be okay until you get back. Honest.

Anonymous said...

My little one recently started refusing his bottle too. He had done fine in the past and all of a sudden he went on a bottle boycott. We eventually found that we were able to get him to take a bottle by following the exact routine I follow for nursing...lay him on the nursing pillow, arrange his burp cloth, etc. But instead of getting my breast he got the bottle. He immediately took the bottle again! We practiced this a few times each day for several days and now he'll take the bottle without the whole routine.

Anonymous said...

my ds also started refusing the bottle at 11 weeks. he was in the NICU so was bottle fed from day 1 - after he came home, we started bf'ing. he HATED to bf. many tears were shed, and and LC came over and finally after 1 month, we got really good at it. too good apparently, bc after a few weeks of both breast and bottle - he didnt want anything to do with the bottle anymore.

i switched from doc brown's to born free for daycare. the daycare people were great in getting him to take the bottle. he's fussy on mondays, but is great after that. he'll take it if he's hungry.

also, i have Sassy Mam bottles at home. the nipple is what your boob would look like in his mouth - kinda clamped down. he likes these nipples a lot. there is another brand that is supposed to be great for bf'ing babies, but i dont think its bpa free - i forget what it was called though.

my son takes the bottles pretty well now, but there are still days when he will fight it.

good luck!

Cibele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cibele said...

my baby was born March 30th, I read many of your posts today and I kept saying AMEM!!! I can relate with so many of the issues your brought up... motherhood is great, but very difficult

Amanda said...

I am so with you...it is so hard, and people can tell you it's hard, but you just really have no idea until it's you. And then it doesnt seem like it could possibly be as hard for anyone else as it is for you. Sigh.

As far as the feeding stuff, Nuby makes a bottle that has handles you can take on and off. We are using the bottles but haven't tried the handles yet. They are very slow flow and work great for my breastfed baby. Maybe Sacha would like that since he likes the sippy cups.

Beth & Steven said...

You are a wonderful writer and your honesty is so appreciated. So much of what you write about rings true. I didn't feel like myself again until my son, A, was about 6 months old. He was never BF (my milk never came in completely, which I felt guilty about) but he had terrible reflux and I was the only one he would let feed him (and that was on a good day). So for about four months, I had to give him each & every bottle. I remember calculating the time and realizing that I spent 1/4 of each day/night feeding him! Fortunately, his reflux started to clear up around 7months and he was able to be fed by anyone. I also love my independence so I wind up staying up WAY too late most nights since it's the only time I have to myself. I also never co-slept and never wore a baby sling. A is very bonded to me (he says "mama" at least 50 times a day!) but he's also quite independent. It's not that I had anything against baby-wearing or co-sleeping, it just wasn't the best choice for me. Fortunately, I never felt guilt about it. A is now 16 months old and an absolute delight (except when he's having a temper tantrum!). I'm enjoying motherhood SO much more these days even though it can still be exhausting, frustrating, etc. My friends and I joke how the baby books never truly mention how incredibly tough the first 3 - 6 months are! Hang in there. The cliches are true... the days can be looooong but the time really does fly by. I got very nostalgic thinking of A as an infant. Sacha is gorgeous and is clearly thriving! :)

A New Beginning said...

I completely agree with you. As much as I hate to leave my child at daycare, I do like the fact that I can leave her there just a little longer so that I may go run or do something else by myself. I think your me time is very important.

JV said...

Some babies will starve themselves for hours and hours before they take a bottle - I can relate. My baby stopped accepting the bottle at 3 months, and only now at 6 months she is starting again. In the mean time we have tried everything and almost every bottle on the market. The Adiri was the one she tolerated the most, it helped breaking the ice, but she still wouldn't use it, she would just bite it and play with it. We tried with me in another room, and out of the house altogether. We tried when she was more hungry or less hungry, and we tried different sippy cups too. It was kind of consuming, but I just wanted the opportunity to go get a haircut or schedule a dentist's appointment or have a little time.
In the end one day it just worked. What was different was that instead of my husband or someone else offering it, it was me, and me alone. Nobody else around. I made it nice and warm and the stas were aligned and she just figured "why not". It was like it suddenly was no longer a threat. I was told all along that it had to come from someone else, but it wasn't so, she took it from me and I wish I tried it sooner! I know every experience is different, so I wanted to give you my 2 cents. I also want to tell you that Sacha is so cute, and thank you for your honest writing.

Geohde said...

I have no idea why the bottle is suddenly such an issue, but my three whole weeks of parental experience with two bottle fed babies (no boob juice! ever, sadly and I REALLY wanted to breastfeed and was shattered when I couldn't) suggests that my babies at least will fuss some feeds and gulp others down like there was never any problem. It's mysterious.

J

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