July 5, 2019

The Battle of the Bottle: Our Feeding Story

From the day they were born, our girls have been very different. From the colour of their hair, to their demeanour and everything in between, they are almost complete opposites.

how to get baby to take a bottle

This is especially true when it comes to feeding. 

From early on, our oldest was formula fed. And our youngest? At 11 months, is currently still being breast fed. I can count the number of times she's taken a bottle on two hands. The number of times it being formula, even less. The number of times I have been away from her and not nursed her, even less than that. So very different than my oldest. 

But, that all is about to change. As the end of my maternity leave quickly approaches, it’s time to start transitioning her off the boob and onto a bottle. And since I didn’t have to do it with my first, it gives me anxiety just thinking about it. BUT, it must be done. 

Today, I’m sharing our family’s feeding story - or, more appropriately, our “battle of the bottle”.

how to get baby to take a bottle

Before we get started, I think it’s important that I start at the very beginning, and share our breastfeeding journey to date (read more, here). It hasn’t always been smooth.

When we left the hospital with Morley back in 2016, I felt nothing but confidence. At least, as much confidence as a new parent could have. However, shortly after bringing baby home, I started to struggle. Breastfeeding became a struggle, and baby wasn’t gaining enough weight to make our family doctor happy. The next day, we made an appointment with the hospital’s lactation consultation. Minutes after stepping through the door, all of the confidence that I originally had flew out the window. “You’re doing it wrong” and “Try harder” are not words a new parent wants to hear. A new parent wants support, and that’s not what I was getting. I left the hospital feeling absolutely defeated - like something was wrong with me because I couldn’t feed my baby “like nature intended”.

After shedding many tears, I pulled myself together and realized fed was best. 

We turned to formula. She instantly took to the bottle and pretty soon after was at the top of the charts for a baby her age. This route also allowed dad to take some of the midnight feeding shifts and allow me to rest. Amen to sleep. 

And then, two and a half years later, little sister Berkley was born.

how to get baby to take a bottle

Like Morley, I thought her taking a bottle would be a walk in the park. How different could they be?

The answer? Different. Very different. Unlike her big sister, Berkley did not instantly take to the bottle. 

Unlike her big sister, Berkley was born on a weekday when the hospital offered a morning breastfeeding class. Having nothing but time while waiting to be discharged from the hospital, we went to the class. Why not, we thought. All I can say is that if that kind of support had been available when Morley was born, there’s a strong chance that I wouldn’t have felt the way I did.

Berkley instantly took to the boob.

how to get baby to take a bottle

Now that Berkley is almost 11 months old, and I’m starting to think about going back to  work and sending her to daycare, it’s time to start transitioning her off the boob and onto the bottle.

For 10 plus months, she has been used to the comfort of being breast fed, something taking a bottle lacks for her. I knew the transition would not be a walk in the park. 

So, how are we making out? Well, let me just say, we’ve still got some work to do before the end of August rolls around…

BUT, we have made progress. 

One thing that’s helped are the Philips Avent products we use. During her meals, she typically drinks water from a Philips Avent Spout Cup. Since we would be giving her a Philips Avent Natural bottle at night, one thing I did was switch out the spout cup nipple with the natural bottle nipple so that she would get used to it. These BPA-free bottles have an ergonomic shape for maximum comfort, making them easy to hold and grip in any direction. The ultra soft nipple more closely resembles the breast, making an easier transition from breast to bottle. Luckily, she had no problem drinking her water from the sippy cup with a bottle nipple. I thought it would be smooth sailing from there.

But then I remembered, there was the issue of my supply. Having introduced food months before, my milk supply has decreased and I stopped pumping months before. The freezer stash had been depleted. So, we turned to formula. But, she refused to drink it. So, with guidance from our family doctor, we introduced whole milk at 10 months. Now, that’s a different story. 

how to get baby to take a bottle

She isn’t 100% hooked on drinking whole milk from a bottle, but like I said, it is still a work in progress. The clock is a ticking though, and if I’ve learned anything from baby number 2 it’s that time flies and the end of August will be here before we know it. That battle of the bottle has got to end at some point.

So moral of this story? ALL kids are different - in shape, in size, in demeanour and even, in the way they feed.

My advice to new mamas? YOU do YOU. Do what feels best for you, best for your babe and best for your family. 

But it’s also good to have some trusted tools, like Philips Avent, in your back pocket. 

What are your tips for getting baby on the bottle? I’d love to hear!

You can find more about our parenting adventures AND our favourite Philips Avent products, here:

*Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Philips Avent. I received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions and advice shares are 100% that of To & Fro.


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