Breastfeeding AND Bottlefeeding?
I always knew that I wanted to nurse my baby. It just seemed like something natural to do. When I researched all the benefits breastfeeding has for babies AND Moms, it was pretty much a no-brainer for me. All the passive immunity, nutrients, and the rest of that good stuff just seemed like the only way to go for me.
When my daughter was born prematurely, the nurses, lactation consultants, and doctors encouraged me to give my little 980g preemie breast milk. Breast milk is good for babies, and even more so for preemies with some of them having reduced immune systems.
I had this idea in my head that my child would NEVER take a bottle. I did not want her to use a bottle, for fear that she would not nurse. This said, in the beginning of Little One’s time in the NICU, she was fed via NG tube. It wasn’t until only two weeks after she was born that I was able to start “kangaroo care” and attempt to nurse her. I’d pump every three hours and the expressed breast milk would be given to her via NG tube. It was hard for me to not be able to nurse my newborn right away.
Little One started rooting during kangaroo care and eventually I was able to nurse her. She nursed like a champion too.
There was a time during her NICU stay that she wasn’t gaining weight fast enough and there was concern that she wasn’t getting enough milk. The solution? Bottle feeding. I protested at first and cried A LOT, but in the end I decided that if we can make sure she was getting enough into her, that it didn’t matter. It was still breast milk she was getting. She was just getting it from the bottle. Plus, amongst the criteria for Little One to be discharged from the hospital were: A)She had to be able to breathe on her own, without the aid of the CPAP or extra oxygen, B)She had to be strong and healthy enough to leave, C)She had to be able to feed on her own (without the NG tube), which meant nursing or bottle feeding.
The questions I had were: Would she have nipple confusion? Could a baby who is bottle fed still nurse? Would she just end up preferring the bottle because it is easier for her?
To my surprise, we discovered (in our case, at least!) that a baby who takes a bottle can still nurse. In fact, she nursed so well! She was a little milk monster for someone who only weighed 2 lbs, 3 oz at birth. Sure, the bottle was easier for her and required less effort and energy for a tiny preemie, but Little One still wanted to nurse too.
Everyone always told me that “Breast is Best” and I knew I wanted to be able to nurse Little One. When I was told that I may have to start her on the bottle, it was hard for me. In the end, it worked out best for our baby and for our family. The bottle feeding came in handy when we were finally able to bring her home from the hospital and Hubby could take some night feedings. At first, I felt a bit guilty from friends telling me that their babies never had a bottle and they would never give their babies a bottle. I’ve learned that whatever works best for your family is what is right. I stopped feeling guilty for letting Hubby give Little One a bottle of breast milk at 2AM.
While Little One was in the NICU, the nurses who cared for Little One told me to go out and find a few different kinds of bottles and nipples to try on Little One. I used a couple of different ones and by trial and error, discovered that BornFree bottles and nipples were my favourites. I also used the BornFree sterilizer. I’m not just saying this because I’m on the BornFree Mom Panel! This was way before I got on board as a BornFree Mom!
The funny thing is that Little One self-weaned at 16 months and stopped taking a bottle before that. She went straight to sippy cup and is now in love with her BornFree Twist ‘n Pop Straw Cup.
Christine is a blogger and member of the BornFree Mom Panel.
What are your thoughts regarding breast vs. bottle? One person who comments will win a Twin Pack of Eco-Friendly bottles! If the winner is also a Facebook Fan, he or she will win a Breast Pump Adaptor!
The winner is Charlene with the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org