I vividly remember the first time I left the house on my own after Connor was born. I went to a mall about 10 minutes from our house and it felt monumental. Significant. Almost like a prison break.
He was only two or three weeks old at the time, but we hadn’t introduced a bottle at that point and all I could think about was that I was carrying his sole source of food around with me. He was totally reliant on me and my body for his nutrition and there I was walking around a mall.
I got over that feeling eventually, of course, but breastfeeding made me feel tethered to him for a long, long time. He didn’t have anything else at all—no formula, nothing—until the day he hit six months and we gave him some rice cereal (and I cried because he was no longer dependent on me for nutrition. Apparently being a hormonal mom with PPD made me a little nuts in more ways than one).
We did introduce a bottle when Connor was five weeks old, and I remember the weird feeling of relief and pride. No, he wasn’t going to starve if I left the house and, yes, it was cool to see my husband feeding our baby. (And, oh, was he ever in love with giving Connor a bottle. I’ll never forget that first time.) Mostly, though, I was glad we had a way to feed Connor that didn’t require me to sit on the couch for an hour.
And then, when he was three months old, he started refusing to take a bottle. One night Rich did all the night feedings so I could sleep and after that, no more bottles for Connor. It was his way of protesting, I assume. He did start taking one again after we started solids, but the freedom ship had sailed at that point. For those months I was well and truly (and literally) attached to my baby.
With Ethan, however, it’s been totally different.
We started him on bottles slightly earlier and he has always taken them happily. I actually once came home right as Rich was feeding him and Ethan may as well have just said, “Hey, Mom! I’m having a bottle.” He was totally unfazed at me being there and finished the bottle happily. He’s still a champion nurser, too.
Naturally, I have taken full advantage of having a baby who will occasionally take a bottle. I’ll admit that I hate pumping as much as the next mom, but it’s been worth it in order to have some freedom.
In the early months, Rich gave Ethan a bottle in the mornings so I could sleep (and that right there is worth every single mooing sound the stupid pump makes). We’ve also used bottles a few times when I’ve gone out at night. I pumped when I got up or when I got home, and it worked beautifully. (The one Rich is using here is Dr. Brown’s, which we really liked – they’re easy to hold and easy to clean, and their bottle brushes actually get in all the little curves. My brother and sister-in-law have used this brand exclusively with their twins, if that tells you anything.)
But here’s where giving bottles has been really amazing: For the last several months Rich and I have been trading time off; we’ve each had two afternoons a week to work – time for me to write and time for him to work on illustrations. I wave goodbye to my husband and my baby and my freezer stash and happily sit at Starbucks. For, like, four hours. It’s new-mama heaven, I tell ya.
As I’ve sat there with my hot drink and my laptop and my headphones, I’ve often thought back to my time when Connor was a baby and wondered if I took for granted the freedom pumping and a bottle offered. Could I have bought myself more sanity? Maybe. But maybe not. We did what we could when we had the opportunity, but when a stubborn baby steadfastly refuses to take a bottle there’s not much you can do.
I try not to mourn the loss of freedom and sanity from that time around. I’ve just really, really enjoyed it with this one and I think, just maybe, it’s been one of the things that has made a difference.
Disclaimer: This post was generously sponsored by Dr. Brown’s, but the opinions and images are my own. And in thanks for the support Dr. Brown’s has given me, I have chosen Dr. Brown’s bottle-feeding supplies as part of my donation to community organizations helping with the recent flooding in Alberta, where I live.
Some of the key features of the Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow bottles, which are available at retailers across Canada:
- Helps reduce feeding problems – The Dr. Brown’s bottles are known for reducing colic, spit-up, burping, and gas.
- Proven to help preserve bottle milk nutrients.
- Vacuum-free feeding helps digestion – Good digestion is essential for babies, particularly newborns.
- Patented Vent System and silicone nipple work together – Controlled flow so babies feed at their own pace.
For more information, visit www.drbrownsbaby.com/.