I’ve been bottle feeding A for almost two months now. It was a difficult decision to come to terms with, but in the end I do feel it was the best decision for our family.
I felt guilty about this choice for a long time. I’ve finally accepted it, which has lessened the guilt (and thank goodness, ain’t nobody got time for mama guilt), but I still feel pangs of it whenever someone I know who has breast fed successfully says something on Facebook or their blog. I especially feel it whenever I read articles on “Breast is best” (I have learned not to read the comments of these articles as they only incite rage).
I do miss nursing, but bottle feeding does have it’s pluses. It does alleviate a lot pressure from me. I hated pumping, and I always felt so worthless when I would pump and pump and pump and only get an ounce or two. I can’t tell you how much happier I am not pumping. Making the trek to my car three times a day, and sitting there, literally counting my milk drop by drop, praying to get enough for half of a feeding, and inevitably not getting it, was extremely stressful. Eliminating that from my life has made me a better, more patient mother and wife.
I’ve decided it’s time to be at peace with this decision. I would love to be the crunchy granola mom who cloth diapers and breast feeds at least a year, but that is not and won’t be me (at least this go round). In order to support other bottle feeding mamas, I’ve made a list of things that have made bottle feeding easier for me (as well as general bottle feeding advice).
(Breast feeding mamas, don’t feel left out! I made a list of essential nursing gear back when I was BF’ing exclusively)
1. Some sort of bottle drying apparatus
A goes through anywhere from four to six bottles a day. Most of her bottles have several parts. A place to dry bottles that isn’t scattered across your kitchen counter makes using your kitchen a lot easier, especially if you have limited counter space like we do. I use this one made by Munchkin, and a lot of people swear by these really cool grass looking ones. Find one that works well in your kitchen.
2. Nipples in a variety of flows
Generally speaking, there are three levels of bottle flow: Level 1 for 0+ months, level 2 for 3+ months, and level 3 for 6+ months. This is not a strict guideline, by any means. A is almost seven months old now, and we mostly still use level 1 or 2 nipples. I have nipples in all three flows though, just in case. It’s also good to have extra nipples because they tend to tear after extended use. I found this out the hard way after A had formula streaming out of her mouth because it was coming so fast.
3. Wide neck bottles
You can formula feed with any type of bottle, standard or wide neck, but wide neck does result in less formula spillage. Trust me, you spend so much on this stuff, you’ll cry when it spills on the counter.
4. Baby friendly dish soap/dishwasher basket
John and I run the dishwasher maybe once a week (sometimes only once every two weeks), so for us the easiest way to wash bottles is in the sink. At the end of the day I just dump all my rinsed out bottles and pieces into the sink with hot, hot, HOT water and some baby friendly dish soap and let them soak. I adore BabyGanics Dish Dazzler foaming dish soap. It’s a little expensive, but it lasts forever. (I actually adore all of BabyGanics products. We use their bath soap/shampoo, face/hand wipes, and baby wipes on a daily basis. They just came out with their own diapers, so if they’d like to send me some for me to review I would totes be all over that, BabyGanics. Just sayin’, holla atcha girl).
If you do use your dish washer regularly and wash your bottles that way, one of those dishwasher baskets is a must. Trust me, all those small pieces are easy to lose.
Finally, a piece of general advice (which also applies to breast feeding): If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Bottle feeding requires a “can do” attitude (much like breast feeding). It requires a lot of patience, especially when you are trying to find a formula that works. I tried several different brands before finding one that worked for A (which ended up being a store brand, luckily for the budget). You might get lucky and have a baby that can eat anything, or you could have a baby at the opposite end of the spectrum. If you need a good online resource/support for bottle feeding, Fearless Fomula Feeder and Bottle Babies are both excellent.
Remember you should never feel guilty for how you’ve chosen to feed your baby, and why you’ve made that choice. Everyone has the right to choose which method of infant feeding is best for them and their families. What you’re putting in their bellies isn’t nearly as important as what you are putting in their hearts and minds.
Good luck, mamas, you are all amazing and you all rock!