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05/09/2009

Introducing: the bottle

-6 My first daughter, Jade, got all her milk from the boob until she was seven months old.  It's not that I was averse to the idea of bottle-feeding, but with all the broo-ha-ha about nipple confusion, we waited until she was five weeks old before giving her her first bottle.  Of hard-earned hand-expressed breastmilk, of course.  By then she would have nothing to do with a bottle.

Over the next few months (I lovingly called my daughter "the barnacle") I swore that when I had my next kid, I'd introduce the bottle way earlier, because, oh my God, Mama just needs to leave the baby once in a while. So then daughter number 2 came along and did I learn my lesson?

Nope, I did not.

I debated it in those early weeks after Halia was born.  I considered the pros and the cons.  I waffled.  But I kept putting it off.  Thing is, now that Jade is 3 years old (and I breastfed her until she was 2) it doesn't feel like that whole dependent stage really took that long.  Plus, I'm seriously lazy about expressing milk.  And I didn't want to introduce formula if it wasn't really necessary.  (Anyone else freaked out about reports of melamine in baby formula?  Anyone?)  And, the truth is, I am a closet perfectionist; somehow giving formula to a baby who is doing perfectly well on breastmilk seemed like cheating.  Not that I would judge anyone else for doing so, no, no.  I'm the only one who has to live up to these standards.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that six-month-old Halia loves drinking water.  When I give her a cup, she makes happy gurgling noises, and she reaches for the cup if I take it away.  It's a messy business, though (well, wet, anyway) so I tried giving her a bottle of water instead.  She took to that like a duck to water (erm, no pun intended) and she was even able to hold the bottle herself for short periods. 

If you'd been there, you might have seen one of those cartoon lightbulbs appear above my head.

Perhaps it was time to introduce the baby to the bottle.  Additional incentive: I'm going to be attending an event in two weeks that will require me to be away for the kiddies' bedtime routine.  It might not be the kindest thing to do to my hubby if that's the first time the baby gets a bedtime bottle, hunh?

I have no idea how much milk Halia has in a feed, breasts not coming with handy volume gauges, but being of a lazy practical nature, I realized it would be much simpler to use formula, and less heart-breaking if some of it got wasted.  (To mitigate the guilt, I paid the extra ten bucks for the organic stuff.  Because I bet that's oodles better than the regular stuff, right?)  Since all the "experts" suggest that hubby be the one to introduce the bottle, I made up a batch and sent hubby off to put baby to bed.

Much screaming ensued.  (Not from hubby. Though he was a little frustrated.)

Halia ended up taking 3 oz. from me when I tried bottle-feeding her.  And then she sucked on a soother for a while (something she would never do before) and almost fell asleep, but couldn't quite manage it.  Much screaming ensued.  She always falls asleep at the boob, y'see (I know, I know), but she was too full to have the boob now.  I gave up on bedtime for a while and then boobed her down after she got a little room in her tummy.  Phew.  Exhausting.  I hoped that at least she'd sleep through the night; I'd heard that formula-fed babies sleep longer because formula takes longer to digest.  But she woke up twice that night.  So much for that theory.

So the first introduction to the bottle wasn't exactly a rip-roaring success.  Maybe we should try introducing it for the morning feed instead.

How about you?  Do you have any tips or tricks?  Advice?  War stories?

This is an original Canada Moms Blog post.  Fawn also laments her inability to control her children over at Fawnahareo's Place.

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