The battle of the bottle

Although I have loved every moment of feeding Isla, the fact that she only knows how to feed from my breast is something that worries me and weighs heavy on my mind.

Without sounding morbid or completely irrational, I often find myself worrying about how Isla would feed if anything was ever to happen to me. Being exclusively breast fed also means I can’t be away from her for any longer than 2/3 hours and when she starts nursery the middle of next year we would have no choice but to overcome this battle then. I have noticed that the older she gets, the more set in her ways she has become so I decided that there is no time like the present to get bottle feeding underway. She is nearing 5 months old and before we start full on teething and weening, it seems sensible to start her on a bottle and set upon one challenge at a time.

Being completely honest, this has been difficult for me. Although I have my concerns about her exclusively feeding from me, I have known no different but to gladly be at Isla’s beck and call every 2/3 hours day and night and I have enjoyed every single moment. However, all of me wants nothing more than to encourage my daughter to be a strong, independent person and for that reason although my feelings are warranted, I have ignored them and strongly encourage her to accept bottle feeds from family and friends.

As I write this post, we are 10 days into part bottle and part breast feeding and I’m really pleased to say that we have got off to a good start!

You will know if you have read my previous breastfeeding post, that I had milk in abundance when I first had Isla which I expressed and put in the freezer to use in bottles later down the line. Well, well, well… this didn’t go to plan! We first off tried her on a Dr Brown anti colic bottle of thawed breast milk, warmed to room temperature, which she blank right refused and I just assumed this was because she wasn’t used to taking milk from a bottle. In actual fact it was because the milk tasted awful! After doing some research, I learnt that this is quite common. Some breast milk contains Lipase which is an enzyme that breaks down the fats in your milk to help your baby digest it. When lipase occurs in excess, this process happens much more rapidly and can make the milk taste off or sour after a period of time which is what I’m sure happened to my milk. Milk with excess lipase is safe to drink, but some babies dislike the taste and refuse it, which is exactly what Isla was doing!

This was quite soul destroying, especially when I threw all 20 of my expressed sachets in the bin – 5oz in a pack! Agh!

We moved forward by trying Isla on a bottle (still using Dr Brown anti colic) of freshly expressed milk and this was far more successful. It was clear that she could taste and smell my milk which she was trying to drink but was struggling to get on with the long teet. I just so happened to have some new Tommee Tippee bottles in the cupboard which when I looked were more representative of my nipple shape (please do not look the bottle up on goggle!) and she took to the Tippee with a lot more ease.

I found that if I gave Isla her dummy just prior to putting the bottle into her mouth it was a lot easier. Starting her off on her dummy meant she started the right suction action which made getting that first intial drop of milk from the bottle into her mouth a lot easier. As soon as she tasted the good stuff she was away with it!

The final battle was getting Isla to take the bottle from James, rather than me. The first few times she refused to take it from him because understandably, up until that point, she associated all feeding with me. We found that if I left the room or sat out of sight she would feed perfectly fine with him so we done this for the first few times and now she will take the bottle from either of us without a fuss.

Our boob to bottle journey hasn’t exactly been plain sailing but I know that it could have been far more difficult and I’m very proud of Isla for making such a smooth transition. For other parents experiencing this battle, I have read brilliant reviews on MAM and Minibie bottles for converting a baby from breast to bottle.

Wishing you all the best of luck and as always I’m very happy to help anyone!

Lots of love

G

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