Ah, the age old question! How do you get a baby who loves the boob to take a bottle?
I really enjoyed my latter part of breastfeeding Harper. Especially because it was easy and she drank so quickly. I did say though that I would stop as soon as:
- She got teeth (gum bites in the beginning were bad enough).
- She knew how to “help herself” to it.
- She turned one.
I made it nine months and was happy to go until a year, however, I was advised to no longer continue. I must admit that I was somewhat sad when I had to stop, because I was not necessarily choosing to.
Breastfeeding began to take a toll on my body. My hair was falling out. My teeth were sensitive and my gums sore. I was losing a lot of weight. My blood pressure was dropping. After awhile of this, I decided to stop and wean her off, from medical recommendations.
The humour? From struggling to breastfeed to not wanting anything but to be breastfed, hating the bottle to now loving it more than anything. What a journey! At least solids never gave me an issue (we have to have one easy feeding area right? haha)
I thought transitioning her to a bottle would have been easier considering she had already taken a bottle when she was two weeks old (for a week she drank from one). But, it was a battle.
She hated the bottle. She hated formula.
- I tried putting formula in her cereal – she caught onto that.
- I tried four different formulas (I even tasted some drops of them).
- I tried three different types of bottles (NUK, Avent and Tommee Tippee).
- I tried feeding her or having other people feed her (they recommend the dad giving the bottle or a nanny etc).
- I tried giving it to her when she was full and happy (she refused).
- I tried when she was starving (that felt like a nightmare).
It was overwhelming. And there would be times I would get so frustrated. And then feel bad for being so frustrated. She would fuss and scream, push it away, cough, twist her body. She fought me.
So, I took a week’s break to gather my thoughts and come up with a strategy that I would be able to persevere through. I think it is helpful to have a game plan before trying, like sleep training, otherwise you just feel like you’re floundering.
So I decided I would let her get used to the bottle first. I put water in her bottles, because I know she likes the taste of water and it is familiar to her. I also did not force her to drink water from it. I let her play with it. Explore it. Try a bit. Leave it. Try again.
Once she was happy to drink water from her bottle, I felt secure that she was happy to take the bottle. Then I tried my fourth formula, that tasted and smelt the best out of all the ones I tried. This time I heated it up. A warm bottle. She took 40ml the first time. 90ml the second time. The third time she drank the whole bottle. She fussed a bit all three times, but did not fight. By the fourth time she was taking it easily. Once I knew how much she liked it, I warmed it up less and less so that she would get used to drinking it no matter the temperature (I did this to save myself the hassle of a fussy baby if we are out and I cannot heat it up). It worked on Harper.
Now she loves the bottle so much. She gets excited to see it. She pulls it out of the bag to drink it herself. She does not even let me finish shaking it sometimes because she is keen to drink it. She giggles at the first two shakes.
I personally found, against advice and everything else I read, that she would take the bottle better from me than any one else. I guess that is where our own maternal intuition kicks in – you somehow just know deep down how to do it for your own baby. But once she was happy to drink it from me, then she drank the bottle with other people.
I am not claiming my way is full proof. It might not work on my second baby. But this was my journey, and it worked well for Harper and me and so if you can find some advice here that is helpful to incorporate into your plan, then I am happy.
Keep at it mama!