As I scroll through my blog posts, I realise poor Baby G hasn’t had a lot of air time. Story of their lives, those second babies!
One of the biggest hurdles in raising our gorgeous little bundle, has been around feeding her up. You see, she has always been weeny. Not premature, not even officially ‘low birth weight’ but just very petite. 5lb 12oz at birth, and always following the 2nd centile. She has thrived, hit all her development milestones, made our hearts burst with love…but boy does she not like milk.
Her sister was the total opposite. Both girls were breast fed exclusively and successfully for around four months, until I felt ready to have my own body back and allow other people in on the feeding. I have so much respect for anyone that breastfeeds for any period of time, long, short, at all. It’s flipping hard work – nothing prepares you for that. It’s something I wanted to do, as a Biologist, for all the goodness reasons, but I certainly don’t have any issue with all the goodness of formula either. And in all honesty, I never really got over the anxiety of worrying about having to get my boobs out every 5 minutes. It made me feel a little house bound, or having toplan with military precision visits to the outside world between feeds.
So, both girls took to the bottle fine. Our eldest, with gusto. Her and I both seemed to enjoy the freedom of getting on the bottle (mine more of the sauvignon blanc variety!). The little one, was, in all honesty a little more reluctant, but never to the point I worried. I introduced one bottle every 2 weeks so it was very gradual and she was doing fine. I even breast fed her a month or so longer than I planned because I was so busy running around after 2 kids.
As I got to the point of bottles by day, boob by night (where I was happy to stay until the night feeds disappeared) we had to intervene because something changed and she wasn’t settling after any booby milk. Reluctantly, we felt she was getting used to the formula, or my milk was drying up, so we switched to bottles for night feeds too. The health visitor advised us that due to her weight we had to continue with night feeds until 6 months (unlike her sister who dropped the breast night feeds by 5 weeks! How lucky we were…).
Once exclusively on the bottle, things started to go a little pear shaped. She just slowly seemed to go off the milk. We tried changing the teats up up the next size, which worked for a few weeks, but again she just seemed to lose interest. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that as a mum, there is little more stressful than a baby that won’t feed. She’d take a little here and there, but turn her head away leaving me feeling tearful and worried. Another 7oz down the sink. We used every minute of the 2 hour life of the bottle, trying to get a little more in every 20 minutes or so. It meant we were feeding her constantly, and each feed pretty much ran into the next.
The relief came a little when we tried her on a bit of baby rice around 5 months. She loved it, and we were greatful we could find another way of squeezing some nutrients into her. Weaning in general has been a success. She loves eating and has a stick of cheese starter with every meal, and a yogurt desert. The health visitors assure us that’s enough calcium. And of course, we make sure we give her plenty of water as she isn’t getting hydrated from her bottles. It still doesn’t make it less stressful that every feed continues to be a battle. We are still on 3 bottles a day, morning she’ll have maybe 1 or 2 oz. Some goes into her porridge. 10.30 she’ll do her best feed – maybe around half of a 7oz bottle. Bedtime is often a disaster, we are lucky if she has one drop.
We continue to make 7oz bottles, just in case shes having a hungry moment, but I dread to think of the money we’ve wasted on formula.
If you are what you eat, shes 60% cheese, 40% petit filous. We’re just pleased shes eating. She does love a varied diet of fruit, veg, meats, bread so she’ll be fine, but we can’t wait until the day those bottles go in the bin. There’ll be no ‘clinging on’ to the baby feeds in our house!
I wonder if you mums out there will be ready to attack me for having given up the breast feeding? I have of course felt bad about that myself, but I am not psychic and had no reason to think we’d end up here as my first weaning story was a success. I guess each child is different, and as parents we do what we think is right at the time.
I’m sharing this because I’m sure there are other parents in the same boat – it is a stressful situation, and one you don’t often here of out in the baby circles. I have so many friends who tell me their baby can’t get enough milk…so we’re here representing the other end of the spectrum.
Like so many parenting worries, I wish we had the text book that covered this one!