I wasn’t made to survive in the wild.
My labor/delivery/nursing stories involve phrases like “failure to progress,” c-section, and “low milk supply.” But, my babies have survived nonetheless in this not-so-wild world, thanks to medical technology and bottles. Yes, I bottle-fed my babies, another reason I have that Mother-of-the-Year trophy so prominently displayed on my living room shelf. It’s not that I didn’t try to nurse, I did; it just didn’t work out for me. As a result, I’m a wealth of information when it comes to formula and bottles, but not so much when it comes to breast milk, nursing, and pumping.
So, when two of my best friends recently encountered problems introducing the bottle to their nursing babies, I had no wisdom to pass along to them. They tried different kinds of bottles, different kinds of nipples, cold milk, warm milk, cuddling, no cuddling, walking, sitting…the list is endless, but still Baby squished up her face and waited (impatiently and loudly) for Mommy. In the meantime, Baby became increasingly more hungry and agitated, making the bottle less and less appetizing as the day wore on. It was the definition of a negative feedback loop: baby gets hungry, baby refuses bottle, baby cries, baby gets hungrier, baby cries harder, baby hates bottle even more, baby blames bottle for all unhappiness in the world.
It’s been a few years since my days centered around bottles, diapers, naps, and those wonderful amazing baby smiles. But, I remember worrying over each feeding, counting ounces, and calculating how much was going IN verses how much was coming OUT. I also remember analyzing that OUTPUT praying THAT was normal, too. I critiqued every little cry, coo, and peep. Being responsible for a WHOLE PERSON stressed me out when I thought too much about it, so I stopped thinking so much (good or bad?). Hey, maybe I would survive in the wild. Isn’t that what they call instinct? Anyway, I say this because, I can retreat right back to those baby days in a second; I can FEEL the stress on my mommy friends, and I want to help.
So, how do we convince Baby that the Bottle can be almost as good as the real thing?