Bottle Review Part II + Tips to get your baby to bottlefeed!
21 May , 2014
#throwback #3mo bottletraining
One of the biggest challenges that I faced as a breastfeeding mom, ironically had nothing to do with bf, but bottlefeeding. I was always told that baby may have nipple confusion, and not want to latch, so I insisted upon exclusive direct latching until a week before I was to return to work, thinking that baby would have no issues with bottlefeeding. What a mistake! Gargantuan mistake, if you had read my Bottlefeeding Article Part I.
Finally, after 1.5 months of struggle, we finally managed to get babyray to bottlefeed. Credit goes to my MIL, who had to have the patience, time and adequate hard-heartedness to withstand his crying and thrashing about, to get him to his peaceful milk drinking state today.
I couldn’t do it. As his mom, whenever I saw him crying and thrashing about the way he did, my heartbeat would quicken each time, and not in a good way, I assure you. I’d feel this nasty, dark wave of helplessness and heartache wash over me in a suffocating blanket, and I had to resist the urge to latch him immediately to comfort him. Apparently babies can learn that refusal can equate to boobytime, so you gotta wait 15mins or so before latching bubs again.
During times like that, I wished I could talk to Ray and get him to understand things like a little adult, the way I always speak to my 3yo niece. Of course, he can only babble which is cute, but oh-so-frustrating during such times.
In any case, Pips and I tried many countless teats and bottles, before he finally took to one. Shopping for teats and bottles and musing about its possible efficacy and suitability was our little weekend activity. With every purchase of a bottle/teat, we bought into a hope, that babyray would drink from the bottle happily without fuss.
Well, as things are right now, he is drinking from the bottle without fussing, without turning his head left and right, and crying the house down. I don’t know about happy though. Doubt he has or will achieve true happiness with the bottle haha.
I shall start this article with a bottle review, reviewing the pros and cons of the different bottles I’ve tried, before giving my own conclusion on which bottles I like based on my experience. I will then talk further about my overall experience with bottlefeeding, coupled with research that I’ve done, as well as other mamas’ experiences. I really hope it will help you if you are suffering in bottle hell, or stop you from taking that step into bottle help if you are unwittingly walking down that path!
BOTTLES REVIEW(See pic of the different bottles below)
After fussing and throwing babytrums for 1.5mths, the bottle that Ray has taken to is the Playtex drop-in liner. I will be reviewing the different bottles/teats that he has used below:
Avent Classic: A bottle given to us by my SIL. The teat shape is not flared wide like the boob, so I’m not too sure whether it will cause nipple confusion. I didn’t really fancy this bottle, so didn’t try hard enough with this.
Avent Natural: This was the first bottle I bought for Ray, (I was sold by the marketing – “natural like boobs” etc) when I was still preggers. At that time, I was naïve enough to think that all babies take to bottles, and hadn’t done any research on the art of bottlefeeding. When using it, I found the teat quite hard and stiff, and threw it aside when it was not working out.
Comotomo Natural Feel: I had high hopes for this bottle, because many mommies said that their bubs took to it immediately. What is great about this bottle is that you can squeeze the bottle (yes, it is actually soft!) so that milk gets squirted into the baby’s mouth. The teat itself is quite soft and wide, and the saleslady recommended it. We had small-moderate success with it during the initial period, but it wasn’t like he suddenly took to it.
Tommee Tippee: The nipple gets inverted rather easily, so didn’t try this one for too long. Not too impressed by it though it worked for some moms.
NUK First Choice Latex: I bought latex ahead of silicon because it is supposed to be softer, and more booby-like but Pips hated the rubbery smell of latex. I affixed the teat to the Avent bottle that we have, but it would sometimes leak cuz it doesn’t fit perfectly, though it was a good enough fit for baby to drink from. Ray did suck from it in the initial stages, and we thought that this could be it. Not a mega success though we didn’t try long enough for it to be a mega success. I read from a bottlefeeding article though that NUK teats are not recommended for breastfed babies because the teats are nothing like mommy’s nipples (which is true. It’d be quite scary if my nipples look like those teats hahah!). Due to that reason, and the fact that Pips hates latex, we didn’t push much for this teat, though it could possibly have had greater success. Some mothers swear by the NUK teats, so it may work for you.
Playtex Drop-in Nurser: This bottle felt abit strange to me, because it has holes at the sides cuz milk is supposed to go into these liners (white transparent plastic bags of sorts) which are then attached to the bottle and fed to the baby. You gotta throw the plastic liner away each time after baby drinks and thus, is not too environmentally friendly. Didn’t like the idea of that at all and so, we got rid of the bottle, and affixed the teat to the Avent Natural bottle and it fits perfectly. Damn, should have just bought the teat. We started with the medium flow/fast flow teat but when I noticed him fussy at the boobs, changed it to the slow flow teat and he still took to the bottle without a problem. I have since discovered that his fussiness at the boobs has nothing to do with the bottle, (no nipple confusion) but has everything to do with the use of a pacifier (urgh…my in-laws have been giving it to him and due to miscomm, I was completely clueless about Ray’s use of pacifier until last week, and now my in-laws insist upon the continued use of a dummy)
Mimijumi: This is another bottle that I really like, because it actually looks like a boob (shape and colour), is soft, and is not made of latex. I also like that the bottle itself comprises of only two parts, the bottle and the teat, which makes washing up a breeze (I hate plucking out the teats, scrubbing the teat ring and the bottle). The first time we tried it on Ray, he fed like a dream and we were soooooooo hopeful and overjoyed that Pips and I almost teared with joy. (see video below)
Strange how these little things can actually give us parents unbridled happiness lol. Sadly though, the next time he tried the bottle, he was back to Bottle-hating-Ray. I swear babies have more mood swings than the PMS-ing moms. The only grouse I have with this bottle though, is that the bottle cap/cover can’t seem to cap onto the bottle nicely, so it may be problematic when parents actually use the bottles outside of the house? I don’t use bottles when I’m out, so the cap/cover poses zero problems for me.
CONCLUSION: During the period of extreme bottle-hating, the bottles that we semi had success with was (in no particular order), (1) Mimijumi, (2) Comotomo, (3) NUK Latex, (4) Playtex drop-in nurser. My definition of semi success is that Ray would drink from the bottle without taking us both to hell and back, but would still fuss and make noise. Sometimes, he would take 20 or 30ml, and then decide he wanted nothing more to do with the bottle. That’s my definition of semi success.
Based on the entire bottletraining period, I now believe that whichever bottle/teat that we continued to press on with during the semi-success period would be the bottle of his choice today. My MIL, who was the main bottletrainer, pressed on with Playtex, and that is the bottle he would drink from now. Not others. So if you do spot a period where your LO is still fussing, is still drinking little, is still crying but lesser than before, that is possibly the transition period, the semi-success period that will ultimately tip over into bottle acceptance. So if you spot that stage, do NOT give up. You are a little away from success, I assure you. It may just be weeks away! Hopefully days, rather than weeks, but with babies, we never know.
And if there is a particular bottle that you like, go ahead and press on with that bottle. It will eventually be the bottle of your baby’s choice as well.
TIPS AND ADVICE vis a vis BOTTLETRAINING
After doing a mixture of relentless research, trawling endlessly on forums to read up on other parents’ experiences, and now, coupled with my own experience in trying to bottlefeed Ray, I have concluded the following:
Immediate liking to teat/bottle: Some babies take to a certain teat/bottle right away. If yours is like that, perfect. Good for you. You are one lucky mama and you are making me downright green with envy. Now bugger off, before my jealousy drives me mad.
Only time and patience can help you: If yours is particularly stubborn like mine, let’s just say, I feel you, and you are NOT ALONE. For sad sods like us, I believe a more suitable teat/bottle helps, but it will not be the magical instrument that will suddenly turn a stormy, rainy day into a sunshine, rainbow-filled one. There will be no easy, short solution if you have a resolute, stubborn little munchkin like mine. You will need to persevere, and please know that however tough those crying days are, I promise that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Please keep in mind that I took 1.5mths (7 weeks!!!) before I saw any pathetic streaks of light, so good luck! I really wish you all the best
Sudden Love/Progressive Love: Some people reported that their babies had a sudden taking to the bottle one fine day, when the parents were just about tearing half their hair out. Others like mine, had a shit time for a long time, until it became slightly better, over a protracted period of time. Some people took days to bottletrain, some weeks, and some, months. I read that one parent took 3 months to bottletrain their kid. OMG. Sounds like crap.Don’t know if they were as extreme as my bottletraining though (I had no choice, I went back to work and couldn’t bring an attention-seeking bub with me, could I?).
Latch after a long period of bottletraining: I called the lactation consultant, who advised me to be patient in feeding him., She essentially told me there was no other way other than to be EXTREMELY PATIENT and have LOTS OF TIME to train him. My MIL believed that he should be given the cold turkey treatment, which meant NO boobs during the day, and only after he headed for his night sleep does he get boobies (nighttime nursing). My mommy instinct fought this thought with every fibre in my being, and though I semi-incurred the wrath of my MIL, I chose to latch my baby whenever I reached home, though there were times where I acquiesced to my MIL’s idea just to keep peace in the house (I’m staying with my in-laws on weekdays and my parent’s place on weekends, as my house is not ready yet). The LC also advised me to latch baby when I’m back from work, so go ahead and latch your baby after a long period of bottletraining. It will not derail your efforts. Your baby needs you (and more importantly, your boobies)
Use different methods to feed your baby to supplement his milk intake during the day: If your LO is taking very little from the bottle (my baby’s record was 50ml in 12hours, with half ending up on his hankie), you can supplement milk by spoon, syringe, or cups and sippy cups if your LO is older. Use a small spoon, and keep your spoon at his mouth in case he spits some of the milk out. My LO is very crafty at doing that. Pools the milk and spits them out after some time. Sheesh. Some moms skip the entire bottle period and move on straight to sippy cups, cups, or straws, Again, different sippy cups matter too, apparently. Sounds like sippyhell to me. Shudder.
Different temperature of milk, different temperature of teat: According to different parents, some babies like their milk to be especially warm (make sure to test the temperature on your wrist!), some babies can deal with room temperature or even chilled milk. So try different temperatures and see if your baby has a preference for any. You may also want to try to warm the teat (cuz the boobies are warm) to replicate the breast feeling, or cool the teat if your baby is teething (soothing for their gums). I tried chilled milk once and LO took 30ml. Think he might have enjoyed it like how we enjoy a cold drink in the sweltering Singapore heat. These days, he drinks warmed milk cuz my MIL believes that chilled milk is bad and upsetting for babies stomach (not true. Chilled milk has more antibodies properties than warmed milk because the process of warming the milk further kills those antibodies. Still, BM is better than formula milk!)
Mamas, please disappear!: This is an advice that I particularly like when bottletraining. It was too much for my heart to take, to see him cry so loudly for an extended period of time, so I’d leave the bottlefeeding to my in-laws or Pips. Baby can also smell mom, and be confused as to why he is getting that yucky artificial bottle crap when he can have milk straight from the tap. So chill and get out of the house. Let others deal with this big hurdle!
OTHER THINGS THAT WILL HAPPEN WITH BOTTLEFEEDING
Your baby will scream and cry blue bloody murder. This is normal, so don’t panic. Too much. I’m in the been-there-done-that mode now. Yes, it is shit, yes, it will kill you as much as it seems to be killing him, but calm your heart, and be patient. Your frustration can be channeled over to baby which will lead to even more chaos, and if one party has to be calm, it’s gotta be you, not the kid, yeah?
Reverse Cycling: If your LO takes very little milk during the day, be prepared for reverse cycling. This means that your baby may awaken more often during the night to nurse to make up for missed feeds during the day. Make sure you give your LO free and unrestricted access to the boobies. Some moms encourage reverse cycling so they don’t need to pump as often during the day, especially for busy moms in the office. It’ll be tougher on the moms though. My LO is still reverse cycling with or without bottlefeeding now, cuz the bottletraining period has destroyed his nighttime sleep, sob. So trust me, when I say I know exactly how crappy you feel at months of interrupted sleep.
Your baby’s pee will be supremely yellow to the point of looking brown, and his diapers will be very dry. This got me very worried the first few weeks, and there was once when I was changing Ray’s diaper halfway when he peed, and Pips thought Ray pooped instead. That was how YELLOW/BROWN his pee was. It crushed my heart to think that he was suffering and dehydrated, but during the night, his diaper would be easily soaked because of reverse cycling. As long as your LO gets enough milk during a 24 hour period, there is no need to worry too much.
PEOPLE WILL ADVISE YOU TO FEED WATER. Because you fear dehydration, there will be suggestions to feed water, or to feed formula milk. However, there is a very big LOOPHOLE in this line of thought because the problem lies in the bottle, not the content. If you introduce too many new elements, you won’t know where the problem lies. So stick to the one variable, and keep the milk constant. Moreover, breastmilk is made of 88%water and exclusively breastfed babies do not need water for the first 6 months of life. If your baby takes formula however, and doesn’t take water, he may not have adequate water intake. In any case, taking water or formula means that instead of filling his tummy with breastmilk, some of it is going to water or formula instead. NO! keep to BM. Be clear on where the problem lies.
Initial days/weeks will be tough. Very tough: But it will get better I promise. Just look at the vids in my first post to know how shitty life was for all of us when he refused the bottle.
*** WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY ***
There is a singular thing which I’m convinced I will change with my next kid – and that is to start bottle training much earlier. Perhaps at 2 weeks old? Perhaps at 1 month? It really depends on one’s gut feel. Trust your instincts. On hindsight, starting Ray on the bottle at 3mo is in my opinion, too late. He was too aware, too smart, and would loudly make known his obvious preference for the boob.
For the breastfeeding mom, bottlefeeding is a delicate art. We have to maintain a fine balance between bottle and boobs, so that baby can switch seamlessly without fuss. If we favour one over the other, it can lead to problems either way. So if baby is partial to bottles, give more boob time. If baby is partial to boobs, more bottles.
More often than not, in our quest to provide the best for our babies, where we try to breastfeed them, we are told about the rejection of boobs but no one would tell us about rejection of bottles. I wish someone had told me that bottle rejection is a very real and common problem when I started my breastfeeding journey, just so I could prepare myself and start training Ray to take and accept the bottle earlier. Because he started late, it led to 7 weeks hell for all of us, and destroyed his once beautiful night sleep. This could have been easily avoided.
Other than that, I would have pressed on with Mimijumi or Comotomo as the bottle of choice, primarily because of the design, and the feedback that I hear about these two bottles. Of course, I am aware that my partiality is also because I am stupidly buying in into the if-it-is-expensive-it-must-be-good argument haha. But really, the softness of the teats and the shape of them really remind me of boobies, so that really makes me partial to these two bottles. That said, the above bottles that I bought and tried above, with the exception of Avent Classic, is based upon my extensive research into the most suitable bottles for the breastfed babies based on other mothers’ experiences. Those bottles are less likely to cause nipple confusion, and should be easier for your breastfed baby to drink from. So take your pick, and hope for the best. There is another bottle that I have not tried, which also seem to have a pretty good success rate, and that is the pigeon peristaltic wide neck bottle. Many moms reported success with that for their bottle-hating bubs.
Good luck on your bottlefeeding and breastfeeding journey! Hope your bub takes to it soon! 😀
Follow me on Facebook to get more updates on parenthood journey, articles and tips! Let’s form a supportive network together! www.facebook.com/jashuatbaby OR you can click on the facebook icon in this website to get updates on new posts!