Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nipple confusion

I've heard of this thing called "nipple confusion" -- wherein breastfed babies who are given a bottle then get confused and will not breastfeed again. I was a little worried about this, but luckily in our case, when we had to give Will bottles of pumped breastmilk during the first several weeks of his life, he had no problem going between the two. Well, the first time we tried to give him a bottle (during which my heart was breaking, even though it was my own milk in there), he seemed confused and furious (he was always furious back then though, and sometimes still is now too). Once he realized milk was coming out of it, he closed his eyes and sucked it down.

Gradually, I was able to stop giving him pumped milk and just breastfeed him. We gave him a bottle on Halloween so that I could have some booze at Pablo's party, and then I don't think he had another bottle until my dissertation defense in December, when I was away from him for several hours. Everything was fine. Then last weekend, I set out to do an 8-mile training run, with the intention of Rob giving him a bottle of pumped milk. All hell broke loose, and he completely refused it. He just cried for the entire time I was gone. I thought maybe it was a fluke, and I tried to give him a bottle a few days later. Same thing. It was awful.

I consulted some of my mom friends, who had a lot of suggestions. Somebody suggested getting a different nipple size for the bottle he was drinking out of. I was vaguely aware that bottle nipples come in different sizes, but I hadn't thought too much about it. We were using some Dr. Brown's bottles that somebody had given me at the baby shower, and I was just using the nipple that came with it. There was nothing on the box or in the lengthy instruction booklet (yes, an instruction booklet with a bottle) about different nipple sizes and when you should be using which size. It just said that the bottle came with a Level One nipple. So I looked online and saw that there are actually 6 different nipple sizes that go with Dr. Brown's. Level 1 is for newborns-- age 0 to 3 months. No wonder he didn't want it! I went to the store and found some Level 2 nipples, which is for 3 to 6 months. I actually went to 3 different stores looking for the other sizes, just in case he was ready for a Level 3 (afterall, he is already wearing 6 to 9 month clothes!) or even a Level 4, which is supposed to be for "more aggressive feeders." If ever there were 2 words that could describe Will, aggressive feeder would be it. I never found any of the other sizes besides Level 1 and Level 2, so I was hoping that the Level 2 worked.

And it did! We got home from the shopping excursion and I got the new nipples cleaned and ready to go, and Will took a bottle with no problems whatsoever! I was so relieved. It will make marathon training and dissertation revising so much easier if he will take a bottle of pumped milk. I don't really know what the difference between the Level 1 and Level 2 nipples is, but whatever it is, Will knew. I guess it turned out that I had nipple confusion and not him.

At any rate, it is a good thing that he will take a bottle again. I have lined up a part time day care for him so that I can do the stuff I need, such as revise my dissertation. I did a trial run on Friday-- just left him there for an hour. And I have to say that I hated it. Nothing against the day care itself or the people who work there. They seemed really nice and everything, it was just a really awful feeling to hand my baby over to somebody else and then walk out the door. When I came back an hour later, Will was still being held. They said he hadn't cried at all. Which sounds about right. There were lots of people to hold him and walk about, so he hadn't had a chance to get bored and fussy. My friends who have done this before assured me that it get easier. I hope so.

One other thing. Will rolled over for the first time on Thursday evening! I was really excited about this, because he is 5 months old now and all the baby books say he should have been doing it by 4 months. For a long time, he has been really, really close to rolling over. In fact, even just hours after he was born he would roll onto his side. In the past couple of weeks he's been side rolling more and more frequently, and even doing a 3/4 roll a few times. Well on Thursday night, I had him down on the floor for "tummy time." I got beside him and was holding a dragon toy that our little friend Annika gave him. He was looking at me and looking at that dragon and then all of a sudden he just flipped onto his back! I was ecstatic. Before he even knew what happened I picked him up and was hugging and kissing him. He had this expression on his face like, what is all the fuss about? Since then he has shown no interest in wanting to roll over again!

A million things to do, that's all for now.


amypfan said...

Way to go, Will (and Mommy)! We had this problem with pacifiers with Bryn--who knew they came in multiple sizes? So glad he's doing better now and seems to be enjoying the childcare gig. People always tell us that Bryn and Shay are perfect angels in childcare, which they are certainly not at home, so kids must just know instinctively when they need to be on their best behavior! Congrats also on the rolling over--time to babyproof! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on Level 1 verses level 2 nipples. I am about to start a bottle of breast milk and was confused as well. Your blog helped me out!! THANKS!!