Breastfeeding is wonderful and such a sweet bonding experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but my god, sometimes this mama needs a break! Whether that’s in the form of a date night with my man, a girl’s trip to the nail salon or just a nap while my husband feeds the baby, sometimes it’s just nice to have the option of feeding Baby with a bottle. So, when said baby refuses said bottle? It's kind of the worst.
With my first baby, we needed to supplement because he wasn’t gaining enough weight. At first, this was hard for me to hear. Like, really hard. All that it translated to in my mind was that I was not enough. Here I had been the sole provider of my baby’s nourishment—all of him was because of me. All of those sweet baby rolls, the dimples in his thighs, his little belly—it was all me. And now he needed more than just me. It was difficult to accept, but I did, because I had to, and because my baby’s well-being is clearly more important than my own silly pride.
He needed to take a bottle, we needed him to take a bottle, and he flat out refused. He wanted the boob, not the bottle!
Don’t get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with supplementing. Nothing at all. There's nothing wrong with bottle feeding, or breastfeeding, or formula-feeding or exclusively pumping for that matter. The main key in all of this is that Baby is getting nourishment. Period. From whatever source that might be.
But there it was. My pride. Being tested, surely not for the last time in this journey of motherhood. And then? He refused to take a bottle. He needed to take a bottle, we needed him to take a bottle, and he flat out refused. He wanted the boob, not the bottle! It’s all he’s ever known, of course he did! So to say that time was challenging and frustrating would be an understatement. It was full of tears on everybody’s part, and felt like it lasted an eternity.
We tried countless times to get him to take a bottle in various different ways. Finally, we succeeded by putting yogurt on the nipple. So simple, and yet so effective!
But this isn’t about how to get your baby to take a bottle, this is about how to deal with that bottle strike. You cry. You comfort your baby. You get out of the house when you feel like you might explode. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s hard. But nobody ever said motherhood would be easy, did they? You have meltdowns. Your baby has meltdowns. You lose sleep. And some nights, you feed your baby around the clock.
Above all else, you count your blessings. You realize this precious soul you have in your arms wants you, and only you, and isn’t that the sweetest feeling in the whole entire world? To be wanted. To be loved. To be needed so much that it’s all he can think about. I can’t think of anything more life-giving than that.
To you, the mom who’s tired and exhausted and who’s baby won’t take that damn bottle, I say this: I know how you feel. You are not alone. Hold that little one and cry right along with him and know that this too, shall pass.