Bottle Strike: My Babies Won't Take Bottles!

No bottles?!
No bottles?!

When you hear moms say the first few years are the most demanding, they aren't joking. I'm not even sure what it's like beyond the first three years yet, but having two little ones has been more intensive than I thought it would be pre-kids. Lots of things haven't gone quite as planned, like our sleeping arrangements, or regularly scheduled nights "off."

When my daughter was a newborn she took a few bottles, but as she grew she refused them. It didn't matter who offered them or what brand they were-she wanted nothing to do with them. My son is the same way, preferring his milk straight from the tap or not at all.

This makes being away from my babies for more than a few hours tough. And a trip away? Forget about it!

Related: 5 infant feeding issues... solved!

Most of the time it works fine for our family since I'm home, breastfeeding on demand. However, it can prove tricky for date nights, me time, or any sort of solo trip. With my daughter it made me feel trapped. It is hard to get a break when you're afraid your little one won't have enough to eat without you. I struggled with feeling touched out since my daughter was a heavy comfort nurser as well. It was suffocating to be so needed and depended upon in those days.

For awhile we worried we did something wrong. People would tell us we needed to offer her more bottles. I don't think they realized how much extra work that was for us. Still, we tried, but my daughter would hardly drink any pumped milk while I was out.

Things got a little better when she started drinking from a cup and eating solids regularly. At that point I knew she could go longer between nursing sessions and could be offered food or a little water to tide her over. She always nursed immediately upon my return-sometimes even making up for a lost session. After her first birthday we were more comfortable knowing she could drink cow's milk or coconut milk if needed.

When my son was born, I dug out my breast pump thinking I would build a small freezer stash for nights out. I worked hard to add in pumping sessions, taking a few days to collect enough for one feeding. Whatever milk I'd collect would mostly go to waste while dad or grandma watched him. My body hasn't been responding well to my pump so I gave up. It seemed pointless to force bottle use in case we went out. My kids just weren't interested in bottles.

So how the heck do I ever leave the house? I do my best to plan time away between nursing sessions, preferably during the day. Otherwise I take little man with me (yes, even to conferences!). I know in a few months he won't rely so heavily on breast milk, but until then, I'm okay with him wanting mama rather than a bottle. The first year goes by so quickly that the thought no longer makes me feel trapped. It's a bittersweet relief knowing it's temporary.

Do your babies take bottles easily? What kind has worked for you?
-By Darcy Zalewski

For 13 bottle-feeding essentials, visit BabyZone!

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