Jul 16, 2010

Bottle Boot Camp

We gave Aedan his first bottle when he was 2 weeks old. He took it like a champ and had no problem switching between bottle and breast until he was about 2 months old. Then it became harder and harder to give him a bottle. By the time I went back to work when he was 3 months old it was next to impossible to get him to take a bottle. He would skip meals and end up being very cranky during the day and wake up at night to make up for the lost calories. It was getting pretty stressful for me.

I am thankful that breastfeeding has worked out for us so well. From day one his latch was pretty good and I haven’t had too many issues the whole time. I have been able to pump a ton of extra milk (seriously I am not sure we will ever be able to use it all). However I was beginning to feel stressed out about the whole thing. I felt like I couldn’t leave for more than 3 hours (which is hard since sometimes work requires me to be gone longer) and I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere with Aedan for longer periods of time unless I nursed him in public. I am not opposed to this but he is getting bigger and it is getting harder, plus the boy does not like hates the nursing cover. Whenever we were hanging out with friends or family I would have to go to another room to feed him, plus I was the only one who could put him down for the night and feed him during the occasional nights when he would wake up. Sigh.

We tried different bottles, different nipples, different nipple flows, different temperatures, different feeding positions, just pumped milk, different times of the day…you name it, we probably tried it. Some things seemed to work for a while, but then quickly stopped working. I had tried to do a bottle bootcamp before but I would always end up nursing Aedan after each feeding because I knew he hadn’t had enough to eat and I didn’t want to mess up his great night sleeping. Well over last weekend Jon and I decided enough was enough. It was time for some serious bottle bootcamp. As in bottle or nothing for 3 days straight. We planned a time when Jon was in town since we figured the nights would be rough. It also happened be a time when my parents were in town which turned out to be perfect. My mom spent 2 days helping out and I could not have done it without her!

Day One (Tuesday): Jon tried to give Aedan a bottle for his first feeding. Aedan is always in a great mood when he wakes up and he usually isn’t very hungry (even when I am nursing him) so of course he just smiled and cooed while playing with the bottle. After Jon went to work I finally got him to take a few ounces. My mom came over later in the morning and we spent the day trying to get Aedan to take a bottle. He actually did much better then I thought he would. He took about 3-4 ounces at each feeding. I figured he needed about 6 ounces so I knew he wasn’t getting quite enough but he was in a great mood all day. He went down for the night right at his bed time. Jon and I figured he would be up during the night since he hadn’t had a lot to eat all day. I thought he would be up more than once, but he only woke up once around 12:30. He drank 3 ounces and went straight back to sleep.

Day Two (Wednesday): Aedan didn’t take much at his first feeding as usual but during all the rest of the feedings he did great. I had a work meeting that morning so my mom watched him for me. It was so nice to not have to worry about Aedan being super hungry and cranky because I was not home by his next feeding. What a relief! He went to bed that night right on time and slept through to his new normal wake time (which is now 7:45, yay!).

Day Three (Thursday): Aedan took a bottle really well. He still only had about 4.5 ounces in the morning but the other feedings were closer to 6 ounces. He did wake up around 5:30am, but Jon just went in and patted him back to sleep (he had gotten some vaccines that day so maybe that caused him to wake up early).

Day Four (Friday): Aedan is still taking a bottle pretty well. He put up a little bit of a fight when Jon started to give him a bottle instead of me but he calmed down and finished the bottle just fine.

I was going to go back to nursing him first thing in the morning and right before bed today, but it has been easier to just give bottles. I am able to pump enough the night before and in the morning before he wakes up to make almost 3 bottles. Plus at before bed Aedan used to nurse for sooo long. I knew he was mostly just sucking and not really eating, but since I was only nursing I was afraid he needed to eat more before bed so I would just let him keep nursing…talk about a bad habit! Now he takes a big bottle (7.5 ounces) after his bath then we read a book or just snuggle before we put him down for the night. It is so nice to know that when he starts fussing it is because he is tired and not because he needs more to eat.

It looks like we survived bottle bootcamp! What a great feeling!! We will probably go back to nursing a couple of times a day, and using bottles for the other feedings but it is great to know  that he can take bottles all day if he needs to. Plus it is nice to know we will be able to put the excessive amount of frozen pumped milk in our freezer to good use, even though right now I am able to keep up with him plus some extra.



Shannon said...

Yay! I'm so glad this worked! That is awesome. I'm not to the desperate phase yet but I'm getting close. :) I'm getting more confident nursing in public so it's not too bad yet. I just really want to be able to go somewhere for longer than 2 hours. :) I'm bookmarking your post so I'll know what to do when boot camp starts! Haha

Chelsa said...

I'm so glad this helped you! I'm sure you'll feel much less stressed out about it now!