The Bottle Battle

May 5, 2021  |  Published by

I gave birth to my third child in late February. Unlike my first two children, I felt a sense of calm and happiness taking care of my newborn. I wasn't a first time mother anymore. I knew what to expect and I wanted to enjoy this last moment of baby joy in my life.

Thank goodness I had some calm built up for my newborn, Hayden. He has colic, a cow's milk sensitivity through my breastfeeding, and will not take a bottle. You'd think the colic and a dairy-free diet for me would be the biggest issue, but nope! I am most panicked about the bottle.

Rebecca & Hayden
Rebecca & Hayden

The bottle is key to my freedom from motherhood again. Right now, I am a human cow providing milk on demand every two hours. I have friends that love to breastfeed and cherish that bond, but I don't fall into that category. I'm only half joyful about breastfeeding. Yes, I love the bond and the closeness. And I'm glad I'm physically able to provide for my child, knowing that some others cannot breastfeed. But I am still attached by the invisible umbilical cord of breastfeeding. I can't be away for more than two hours. It's actually more like one hour if I don't want to panic. I am a prisoner to my very hungry baby, unless he gets going on the bottle.

I'm doing everything I can to triage the situation. My friend provided us with unopened bottles from her baby that didn't work for them. They worked about 20% of the time for us. He would sometimes take milk, but most days he would stick it in his mouth, make a face, and scream back in my husband's face that this was not a nipple. How dare he try to feed him?! Please go get Mom!!!

This past week, he has not taken a single sip from the bottle. I cried out for help on social media. I read all of the articles and tidbits on Google, but I want real-life experiences from other Moms. Friends dropped off their best bottles to try... and packages of Oreos, which are dairy-free! I will try them all, even the $20 bottle. So far, the original bottle has worked the best, with Hayden taking an award-winning half an ounce of liquid gold. That's not enough to make me sleep any better.

My husband doesn't want to talk about our Bottle Battle. He reminds me that it "isn't a big deal" and that it will eventually happen. But there is a lot of pressure on him to get the bottle to work. While I'm home, he will try to feed Hayden outside while I try not to circle. I'll drop off the kids at school so he can feed him while I'm not home. Last night, Hayden was screaming (colic is great!) and my husband thought trying the bottle was a good idea. This was the opposite of logic to me. I locked myself in the bedroom and turned up the white noise so I wouldn't hear the screams of my hungry child. Needless to say, it ended within 10 minutes with my son latched back onto me.

I am returning to work today, with some in-home help from friends and family until Hayden starts child care next month. The funny thing about raising kids is that you need a good blend of sound information, support from others, and a way to regulate your emotions. No matter my research and education from the work I do at Candelen, I still have the same struggles other mothers do. I still reach out to family and friends for their advice. And as a seasoned Mom, I remind myself that this too shall pass. I will eventually have a 14-year-old that doesn't need a bottle to survive.

Madeleine Lovett

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