This isn’t a post about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding; but for those of you who want your baby to accept a bottle, whether that’s formula or expressed milk.
For what it’s worth I breastfed on demand for the first few weeks, but then I felt that for both my sake and for Mr Small we needed a bit more of a routine and frankly I needed a little bit of a break.
We decided to try and introduce a bottle of expressed milk for the last feed of the day at c. 10.30 pm. I also liked the idea of the potential little bit of freedom that having a baby who would drink out of a bottle would give me if I did need to go out for a couple of hours, and leave Mr Small with someone else.
Rightly or wrongly I wasn’t worried about nipple confusion as I had read quite a few articles that supported the idea that this was actually relatively unfounded.
However, Mr Small had other ideas and was entirely disinterested in the bottle….
We tried numerous brands…. Dr Browns, Philips Avent, NUK, Medela… all to no avail – he just wasn’t entertaining the idea at all.
At this point (and quite a lot of expenditure later) I felt like I had 2 options left to me:
MAM – which a friend recommended
Minbie – which was always popping up on facebook
I can’t actual comment on Minbie as I saw a glimmer of hope when I first tried MAM…. It wasn’t an immediate and instant success but little Mr Small seemed to take the teat into his mouth and suck a little and swallow the milk bit before pushing it away – this was a huge improvement on any other bottle so I thought I would try and stick with that!
Over the next few days at that final feed of the day (which was a bit of a dreamfeed that we would often wake him up for) I would breastfeed a little to get a sleeping Mr Small onto the idea that it was feeding time and then slip the bottle into his mouth and he gradually took more and more from the bottle until he was happy to have the whole feed.
Bottle feeding isn’t for everyone but for me it meant:
- I expressed on the sofa in front of the TV c. 8pm to keep my supply up but then I was off duty for the rest of the evening and my husband would do the dream feed with expressed milk in the bottle
- I also pumped with the Haakaa during the first feed of the day to build up a freezer supply of expressed milk so that I had some stores if either I needed to go out for a few hours or I planned to have a few drinks one evening!
- Longer term I knew Mr Small would happily take a bottle so when we gradually weaned onto formula later on there were no issues – for me this was necessary during the day when he used to get so distracted that a) he wouldn’t have a proper feed and b) I felt like my boob was constantly being fully exposed wherever we were!
I don’t know exactly what it was about the MAM bottles that he liked vs the others but the anti-colic mechanism definitely worked as I could here the air whistling out the bottom of the bottle as Mr Small gulped at the milk… 100% preferable to it ending up in his tummy and worsening the colic/reflux we were already struggling with.
The bottles are made up of 6 parts:
- plastic base with air holes
- rubber base seal
- body of bottle – comes in lots of different sizes (and the bases and tops are interchangeable)
- plastic rim
- teat – comes in different flow rates (we started with 1 and moved to 2 but never up to 3 as it seemed to make Mr Small splutter and I figured the slower flow made him work a bit harder so it was more like breastfeeding and I could switch back and forward without a problem)
- lid – this is also a measuring cup which is great for making up any medicines like baby gaviscon for reflux and the baby can then sip directly out of the out of the cup
This may seem like a quite a few parts but it does mean you can completely take the bottles apart and clean them properly so there’s no hidden hard to reach areas (they are also self-sterilising if you have a microwave which is definitely a bonus).
I’d highly recommend the MAM Starter Kit as a great selection to set you off once you know the bottles work for you.
The other accessories I bought were MAM Storage pots – they were some of the larger pots I found that were great for storing frozen breastmilk (and they have a volume scale on the side so you know how much is in there). They have continued to be super useful during weaning for defrosting portions of food and keeping snacks in on the go.
If you are starting your bottle feeding journey – good luck!
It can be a game of trial and error but well worth it so you can involve other people in feeding your baby and it gives you a well earned chance to have a rest!
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