I was one of those mums to be that always knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I also wanted to be able to give my baby expressed milk from a bottle. I was told by various friends how much of a sanity saver it had been for them, and also how lovely it was for their partners to be able to help with feeding. These same friends advised to start her on the bottle early, because she would be more likely to take it from the off.
When P was two weeks old I got my trusty electric expressing machine out of its box for the first time, and filled up a little bottle with mummy’s milk. Hubby gave it to her, and she drank every single drop without fuss. We were expecting it to be a lot trickier than it was, and were pretty pleased with ourselves afterwards.
“Wow that was easy wasn’t it, no issues at all! Isn’t it great knowing we can get her to drink from the bottle if we want.”
Oh how we ate our words!
A few days after this I saw my
lovely health visitor, who told me that I’d end up giving P nipple/teat confusion by giving her a bottle. That she might develop feeding problems if I continued giving her expressed milk. Her advice was to wait until she was about three months old before introducing it.
To be honest this woman ended up having a lot to answer for. I would regularly be reduced to tears after seeing her, because she would fill my head with with all kinds of nonsense, but being a first time mum I didn’t know any better. This is the same woman who told me in one visit that P did not have eczema, only to diagnose it herself a little while later. By that time it had gotten so out of control that the only thing to shift it was steroids. She also told me point blank that I was being paranoid about allergies, and look how that turned out!
Anyway, I digress.
Our original plan was to get P drinking expressed milk in preparation of going to a wedding, when she was ten weeks old. While I was still pregnant hubby and I had discussed leaving her with his parents for the weekend, so we could have some time off. As soon as she was here though we realised that wouldn’t be happening because we couldn’t bear the thought of parting with her. This meant there was no big rush on getting her bottle feeding, so I diligently listened to the health visitor and decided to introduce it at three or four months.
By that point P did not want to know. She was adamant that mummy’s milk would not be drunk from a bottle only the boob.
I bought every bottle known to mummy-kind, but she would not drink from any of them.
I let her go well past her feed until she was screaming with hunger, but she stood her ground and would not budge.
I fruitlessly tried various bottles and methods, about a dozen times in all, over the course of a month.
Nothing worked. I literally ended up with a freezer full of breast milk going wanting (true story, ask my NCT gals).
The memories were so harrowing that I didn’t even bother trying second or third time around!