weeks of blissfully (okay, painfully) nursing my newborn daughter around the
clock, it was time to try giving her a bottle of pumped milk. Surely, it would be good for daddy to share
in the joy of feeding — and give mama and her sore nips a break. So I
strapped on the agricultural grade pump and filled a freshly sterilized baby
bottle, handing it off to my husband.
started crying, and it wasn’t the baby.
I don’t know
quite how to explain my reaction. With
someone else feeding my baby, I had the strangest sensation of being fired from
my job. I felt possessive and anxious. It
is my mother’s opinion that my 2-week-old picked up on this anxiety and decided
to help me out by NEVER EVER TAKING A BOTTLE EVER.
many more attempts at bottle feeding after that day. The next time we tried, I
left the house so that not only would I not cry, but the baby wouldn’t be able
to smell me, which I’d heard could be an impediment. Even
in my absence, the baby politely declined the bottle (i.e. clamped her mouth
shut, turned her head and made a grumpy cat face).
suggestions for us, starting with our choice of bottles. “You must try Dr. Browns!” one friend
evangelized. Another swore by Born Free. Over a period of months, I nearly cleaned out
my local Babies ‘R Us, sampling every brand on the market (and I think some
bottles that were meant for Corolle dolls). We also varied the nipples, from slow-flow to fast, flat to pointy,
mechanical to life-like. No go, no
I loved my baby but I missed being alone occasionally.
At our next
pediatrician’s appointment, we begged the doctor to give it a try — maybe we were
doing something wrong? But even a professional was no match for our
boob-lovin’ baby. The doc handed me a list
of tips and wished me luck. So we tried
different holds: facing away, feeding while walking, feeding while sleepy. Nothing worked, and the baby looked at us
like we were crazy, right before lunging at my chest.
I loved my
baby but I missed being alone occasionally. My big fantasy was going to the supermarket by myself. I tried the nurse-and-run one afternoon when
my husband was home, but I’d barely made it to the frozen food aisle when the
phone rang. I heard bitter wailing in
the background and could just make out a panicked plea to “Come home now!”
So we kept
experimenting. There was a lactation
consultant, a post-partum doula and handful of “miracle” babysitters — none of
whom could get my daughter to drink from a bottle.
So you know
what I did next? I stopped trying. I gave up on me-time and date nights (there’s
always next year!) and relaxed into the notion that I would simply be tethered
to my baby for the time being. I wasn’t
working outside the home, so there was no pressure. I could go with the flow, just like my
And you know
what? It wasn’t so bad. Freed from the shackles of the pump, I never
had to wash a bottle, pack feeding supplies or worry that I’d run out of milk
again. And I became an amazing nursing
multi-tasker. I could breastfeed while
walking down the street (baby in carrier), while eating a plate of spaghetti
(so what if a little sauce dripped on her head?) and even while sleeping.
Now that my
daughter’s an independent preschooler whose favorite kind of milk is chocolate,
I have to say, I kind of miss being joined at the boob. But if my husband and I ever have another
baby, I vow to start bottle practice even earlier, and I definitely won’t