B: Baby Bottles (#AtoZChallenge)
January was a crazy month in our house. On the day of a very important meeting that was 2 hours away and would require that I leave Baby Diva for the longest time yet, we’d had a rough night. She’d been up multiple times, felt feverish, was slobbering and almost inconsolable. I assumed she was working on a couple of teeth (my kids teethe early), and just chalked it up to basic baby teething problems.
I had the perfect plan for being away that day. I would wake and get myself all dolled up for my very important meeting. Then, she would wake, I would nurse her, and I’d be on my merry way while Math Man and Nana took care of the rest of the kids. I even had a bottle’s worth of milk ready for her to have for lunch right before I would return.
As you have likely already guessed, my plan was foiled.
Baby Diva woke and refused to nurse. She didn’t just sort of refuse — she acted like I had skunk juice all over me.
Panicked, I pumped quickly to leave her enough to get through two feedings without me and hurried out the door — after trying multiple times to get her to drink, I’d already lost almost 40 minutes of my driving time (the time that would keep me from feeling rushed).
After my meeting, I checked in. Mom said that Baby Diva was not napping well, continued to be sad, and continued to refuse the bottle I’d left. They’d gotten her to eat some cereal that morning with my milk mixed in, but she was otherwise unhappy.
When I got home, I realized she was running a fever…then, I noticed spots in her diaper area. I assumed she was just dealing with a teething diaper rash. But the next day, she showed up with spots on her face, her hands, her feet. It was all of a sudden. We went to the doctor to see if it was something goofy, and my doctor assumed it was teething and maybe a yeast rash and definitely an ear infection. Another day later, and we knew it was also Hand, Foot, and Mouth.
That started her nursing strike. I tried everything I could think of:
I ran around the house topless.
I attempted to snuggle with her kangaroo style.
I didn’t offer nursing for a full day and then offered the next day.
I tried to act like it was no big deal.
I attempted a nursing shield.
Nothing was working. Fast forward, and it’s now April. I haven’t nursed Baby Diva the “traditional” way in almost 3 full months. That was not the way I intended our nursing relationship to end.
It has been emotional, to say the least. My goal was to nurse for 12 months and then slowly wean her until she’d finished around 13 to 14 months. After all, that’s what I did with the other three kids, so it would certainly work just fine this time. But, as each of our kids has taught us in their own special way: every baby’s different.
Giving a bottle was completely out of my element. Knowing how much, how often, how to burp — all those things I should have been prepared for as I’m not on my first baby, right? But the older three never would take a bottle. They were all mine for a full year.
While this has been very difficult in many respects, I will admit that knowing I can be gone longer than 2 or 3 hours because Baby Diva will take a bottle from anyone has been rather freeing. I’ve begun to crawl out of the funk that I was feeling because I felt almost prisoner to the demands of a nursing baby.
If I could, I’d get her to nurse again (believe me, I’ve tried — she ain’t havin’ nothin’ of that), but for now I feel at least assured that I’m doing the next best thing for me. I’m providing her the milk for the length of time I’d hoped to. We will make it to her first birthday and, if my current set-up allows, into her 13th month.
Join me as I play along with the A to Z Blogging Challenge.AtoZChallenge, parenting