How I Got My Baby to Take a Bottle
I fought the mom and the mom won.
My mother-in-law told me once that her son (my husband) didn’t take a bottle for the first year of his life. “How did you get away?” I asked. “I didn’t,” she said. There was a sadness in her eyes.
We had this conversation, back when my son was 5 months old and refused a bottle. We tried all the bottles out there. I tried scalding my milk to control for a lipase issue (I read about it on the internet, it could not be a real thing for all I know), I gave him formula, I gave him pumped milk both hot and cold. We tried low flow nipples, fast and medium flow. We tried bottles and sippy cups. We fed him lying on the floor and propped up by the boppy. We had him sitting up with a shirt that smelled like me and we had him in the car seat with a lovie. My mom tried. My sister tried. A friend who claimed she could get kids to do anything tried. Nothing. Without fail, every time he was given a bottle he would scream.
It’s hard for me to explain my desperation after five months of not sleeping; not going anywhere except frantic one-hour trips to the grocery store that usually ended in a phone call from home. My husband’s strained voice on the other end and a baby crying in the background. “Are you coming home soon?” He was as polite as anyone can be while watching a screaming baby and a toddler. I used to take the trash out and lean against the ally-side wall of the garage just for some peace. Sometimes I cried. My son was an evil jailer, my boobs the heavy weight of my bondage.
But at 8 months old, my son finally started taking a bottle. And at 9 months, I was able to take a short trip alone. I relished every layover and weather delay. I read two books in three days. I ate really spicy food and drank beer. I was a free woman.
What did I do? What hope can I offer you other women in similar positions, chained to your children through your boobs? What advice can I share to lift that heavy milky burden you bear?
That’s right. There were no tricks. I did nothing special. I did eventually find a bottle that he liked (Lansinoh mOmma with a medium flow nipple). I also learned he likes formula in a bottle better than pumped milk. But all of that was just incidental.
Parenting sometimes feels like the will of the parent locked into an epic battle with the will of the baby. Some babies just don’t want to take bottles and some moms just want to spend three free hours without having their boobs assaulted. Some babies want to wake up at night and some moms don’t want to go crazy. In the end, the battle is yours and yours alone. Will your kid be the worse for the battle? Probably not. Will you? Well, that’s the question isn’t it?
I could have given up at any moment. And there were some months that I did. But I kept pressing the issue with my baby because having a night out with my husband is important to me and so is my ability to have some alone time without going insane. Other mothers have faced this same battle and decided not to push the issue. I admire them. Their crazy threshold is a lot higher.
Someone once told me, “Every parent has their crazy thing.” Whether it is food, clothing, sleeping or breast feeding, we all have those issues that are important to us. Battles we keep fighting even when other people give up and seem happier. Our battles mean nothing except that they are ours and ours alone. I fought the bottle battle and eventually won. I’ve been fighting the sleeping battle with this baby too and he finally sleeps more than 10 hours at night.
So, bottom line: If you are a crazed mom who is sobbing behind the garage on a Tuesday night. Fight the bottle battle. Keep going. If you are fighting and you want to give up, do it. Either way, your kid won’t be the worse for wear.
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