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Not Confused - Elizabeth Unexplained
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greyautumnrain
greyautumnrain
Not Confused
I read too many infertility-turned-mommy blogs before I had Margaret. It seems that many people have some issues with breastfeeding. I was therefore on alert about all the potential pitfalls that could keep a baby from being a good breast-feeder and I was bound and determined to avoid and/or overcome them. It seems that I was a bit too focused in that one direction.

Margaret is a champion breast-feeder and has been from the very start. She latches, she sucks, and the milk gets where it's supposed to go. Sometimes it comes back up, but generally not in any troublesome quantity. As of last check she was gaining weight well, and I think she still is given that her 0-3 month clothing is getting snug. Getting it from the breast has not been an issue. The problem seems to be that I have raised a little connoisseur.

One of the common problems that women attempting to breast-feed in our society run into is "nipple confusion". Actually, I doubt this is confusion at all, but as one woman stated, a preference. Namely a preference for the bottle which requires much less effort to suck milk out of than the more natural source. Young babies who are given bottles may not want to go through all that effort when they can get milk from a bottle instead, and thus wail when presented with the nipple that nature intended. You avoid this by not giving the baby a bottle until nursing is well established.

Given all the hype about nipple confusion I rather underrated the difficulty I might face when presenting a breastfed baby with a bottle. I have given Margaret a bottle before. At five weeks she had a bit of a cold and one morning was congested enough that she was having trouble nursing, so at that point I finally got around to unpacking the breast pump. I expressed a little and gave it to her, thinking the bottle would be easier with her cold. She sucked it down, went to sleep happy, and I figured I'd just successfully introduced her to the bottle. Then I didn't pump again for three weeks.

In my defense I will say that finding time to pump is hard. Margaret is a frequent nurser during the day. Once we're both out of bed she usually nurses every two hours, if not more frequently. This is fine by me since it means I get some four hour stretches at night, but it does make finding time to pump difficult. By the time there's enough milk in there to be worth the effort she wants to nurse again. (<lj user=outerjenise" suggested pumping from the other breast while nursing, and that sounds great, but her children must wiggle much less than mine.) Then I realized that my maternity leave was running out, and oops, I had no supply, no idea how much I needed, and I asked for advice. I was advised to make sure the baby got used to the bottle. That brings us to today. We tried giving Margaret a bottle. Clearly the experience of three weeks ago didn't stick because she was not happy with the bottle. She gave us her best suspicious look and barely took anything from it. When we tried to press the issue she screamed until I relented and gave her the source. So, in addition to her deep dislike of pacifiers, she is now dubious at best about bottles. It is clear that she is not at all confused about nipples. She knows exactly where her milk is supposed to come from. Clearly we are going to need to do some prep work so that she won't starve in a few weeks when she will be in Somerville and my nipples will be in Quincy during the day.
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Comments
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: August 18th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I seem to recall that a lot of babies I know won't take a bottle if mom's in the house? I don't know if you've tried that yet.


jaedian From: jaedian Date: August 18th, 2008 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)

nipple confusion

I don't think that is at all uncommon. We had that issue with S. I don't even think I bothered much with the others. But S. wouldn't take the bottle. I think when you wait long enough to avoid the nipple confusion, you then get to the point where they want the nipple because they want MOMMY!

It was hard, but it definitely worked better when I wasn't around. I tried being upstairs, you might even have to leave the apartment! And there was lots of screaming before she would even try. But she did eventually grudgely take the bottle. S. was and still is quite stubborn, so it was always a big struggle. I never pursued it aggressively as I wasn't going back to work. We waited until she was about 4 months and just did a sippy cup instead.

I recommend sticking with it and letting someone else try when you aren't there. She won't starve. She might nurse less during the day and make up for it at night though. (not exactly desirable) She might complain a lot before giving in and accepting the bottle too.
enugent From: enugent Date: August 18th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
She won't starve.

But yes, you do need to work on getting her to take a bottle. What kind of bottles are you using? Avent bottles seem to be pretty popular with breastfed babies, in my experience, but they don't make a BPA-free version yet. I don't know how important that is to you, if at all. (I will say that this materials engineer is still using our old Avent bottles after reading the research on BPA, so I'm not that worried about it.) If those don't work, Adiri and First Years Breastflow are also good ones to try.

I could never pump and nurse simultaneously, either. Try pumping after nursing, especially in the morning when supply is highest. Margaret may not be totally draining the breast. Don't wait for there to be "enough to be worth the effort" - you may need to accumulate it half an ounce or less at a time. One trick I learned at the hospital when I was still pumping colostrum and my output was measured in a few milliliters - you can point the pump horns up, not down, so the milk collects around your nipples instead of draining into the bottles, and then get a partner to draw it out with a syringe. You can suck up every drop this way, and you don't lose any in the pump valves.

Did you ever get a copy of Nursing Mother, Working Mother? I know it has some good advice about when to pump to maximize your output, as well as about how to get a reluctant baby to take a bottle. I'd go look it up for you, but my pregnancy and breastfeeding books seem to have disappeared during one of the moves. <a href="http://www.kellymom.com>KellyMom</a> is another good reference. Finally - do you guys have a dishwasher? You may want to consider it, if not. The amount of washing up you're going to need to do daily is somewhat staggering, between feeding bottles, pumping equipment, and storage bottles. If we skip even one workday, it means that the feeding stuff takes up the entire top rack, with no room for anything else.
countertorque From: countertorque Date: August 18th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
She won't starve. +1

When ours was very little, he'd drink cold milk from the bottle. At about the 3 month point, he stopped drinking from the bottle unless we warmed it up first.

When we took our kid to daycare for the first time (at 7 months), he wouldn't eat at daycare. Worried, we called the doctor and asked how long was it OK for him to go without eating. "Oh, about 6 or 7 days," was the doctor's reply.

firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: August 18th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Not Being Helpful Here...

She won't starve. +1

On the other hand, "The cat will come down from the tree when she gets hungry enough" is not always true. :)
jaedian From: jaedian Date: August 18th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Not Being Helpful Here...

" On the other hand, "The cat will come down from the tree when she gets hungry enough" is not always true. :) "

Well yes, but in this case, Margaret will make up for it by nursing like crazy at night. A few working moms have told me that.
jaedian From: jaedian Date: August 18th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, if you haven't already, I really recommend going to a LLL mtg. Even though the leaders are not working moms, they do a great job with info FOR working moms. The group I went to regularly meets in Arlington at night. The nighttime meeting is perfect for you, because about half of the moms that show up are working or going back to work moms. So you get some support and the discussion often moves in that direction.

I hated pumping, but some things that worked, were getting the baby to take one breast and pumping the other. (if you can't manage the simultaneous pumping) Also you can wait until you are full and pump first. The baby, being super efficient at this, will still get more milk after you are done pumping. And you may not get a whole feeding with one pumping, you might have to pool. This is why it helps to build up a supply. And eventually your body will start making more milk. I also think there are dietary things that are supposed to increase milk production. But the best way is to demand more milk (pumping and feeding) to get your supply up.
mijven From: mijven Date: August 22nd, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Clearly I didn't blog enough about our failures in this area. It was even worse with my very determined elf, who thought the plan of mommy putting big brother to sleep was plain AWFUL! (Although we're one of the few with whom the bottle feeding had MORE success if I was doing it. Not that I was all that successful... plus the agony of doing all that pumping just so I could inefficiently feed the kid was pretty darn depressing. Sigh.)

BTW, hope one of my buddies was adequately able to answer you w/r/t/ stash.

Also I'm assuming (hoping?) you'll be able to pump at work? (I.e. timeframe allows you to build up some supply and not be needed for further feeding immediately afterward.) I hear the hardest part of that is clearing your mind of all the work stressors thus allowing your body to relax and let down? I'm told having pictures of the munchkin about helps too.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: August 22nd, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
yes, thanks your friends were helpful, and I can pump at work.
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