Bottle-feeding Avery has been no easy feat! And if I’m being completely honest, sometimes it’s been a bigger hurdle than sleep-training. Gasp, right?! All of my babies have taken bottles differently and I’ve talked about those experiences here on this blog post. It’s been an adventurous journey breast-feeding and bottle-feeding 4 completely different babies. Nothing makes me feel like a first time mom as much as learning the quirks and preferences of each new babe. With my 1st baby, we did a combo of bottle and breast for the first 2 months and then she went straight to bottle. For the twins, we did a combination of bottle and breast for the 1st year until they went straight to breast for another 6 months. And Avery has been mostly a breast-fed baby with a weekly Philips Avent Natural bottle. I’ve enjoyed this last experience SO much but it has certainly come with it’s own set of challenges. I’d love to share tips for successfully bottle-feeding a breast-fed baby and I would be thrilled to hear yours!
I have LOVED my nursing experience with Avery but I also needed the flexibility a busy mom requires to have bottles as a reliable option. For a few months, I had a babysitter come over for a few hours 2x each week so that I could work on emails/ blogging/ errands. This, along with needing date nights with my hubby and girlfriends is what encouraged me to work on introducing bottles to Avery. From my experience, I don’t think it’s very healthy for a mama to have the sole responsibility to provide for the baby. Sometimes anxiety and resentment can build if that’s the case and I’m all about protecting myself from unwanted and unnecessary stress as a mom to a new baby (Can I get an amen?). The 1st month of breastfeeding Avery was incredibly difficult! She was trying to figure me out and I was trying to figure her out. It hurt, she started a new thing of popping off and on, etc.. It wore me out. I’ve had the same experience with all my babies and so I wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t going to be all unicorns and rainbows, but I knew that with time and effort (working on proper latching!) breastfeeding would become much easier. And, big sighs, it did. Since breastfeeding became easy for us, trying to remember to introduce bottles once a week was completely forgotten. And ugh! It was difficult for both Avery and I to juggle that into the mix. I highly recommend consistently adding bottles from the very beginning! As long as you pump while offering a bottle, you’ll be golden and baby will become flexible. Always pump when you give baby a bottle to keep up your supply. That was my mistake when I breastfed my 1st baby, I offered bottle often and never pumped to keep up my supply. By 2 months, my supply had dwindled and she preferred the bottle. I didn’t mind switching over to a bottle exclusively since I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on with my supply.
If your baby doesn’t like a certain bottle, try-try again! With my others, they were a little more relaxed, but Avery was SUPER picky with the bottle she would take. One night when she was around 3-4 months old, I went out with some friends and poor Avery and hubby had a terrible night because she refused over and over to take the bottle he made. (The one she liked was with me in the car because I brought my pump!) Avery LOVES Philips Avent Natural bottles. The nipple has an ultra soft texture, designed to mimic the feel of the breast. Our biggest problem with other “breast-like” bottles is that the nipples cave in, ugh! I found these had a flexible spiral design that created a more natural feel without nipple collapse. Avery naturally latched on to the bottle since it had a wide breast shaped nipple making it easy for her to combine breast and bottle feeding. The bottle was also designed to vent air away from the baby’s belly to reduce colic and discomfort. This bottle has everything Avery seems to be looking for in a feeding session.
I remember having such a rough time trying to get Avery to take a bottle one evening a few months ago. Her frustration matched mine. The standoff lasted over an hour. I warmed it up. I had sung every nursery rhyme in the books. I moved on to singing hymns because Lord knows I needed to feel the spirit to keep my nerves at bay. Nothing worked. I hadn’t given her a bottle in weeks (my fault). I threw in the towel and breastfed her until her eyes went heavy and she drifted off to sleep. I had the feeling that I should try again in the morning. The following morning I woke up before she did and pumped 9 oz. I put the milk in a bottle and warmed it up. I went into her room and woke her up and she drank 6oz from the bottle without even flinching. YES, Y’ALL. She figured it out and so did I. Consistency. Trying new times. New bottles. New milk temperatures. Bottle feeding a breast fed baby can be challenging and exhausting when you’re at the starting line. Have you had success at doing both?? What obstacles did you learn to overcome. Leave any advice you have in the comments; can’t wait to hear!
Thank you Philips Avent for sponsoring this post!