Friday, November 11, 2011

The Battle of the Bottles

I posted the other day about the end of our breastfeeding journey and I wanted to follow up about our transition to Grace being formula fed. We were certainly not ready for it and we felt like we were brand new parents trying to figure everything out all over again. I had no clue how much Grace had been eating while nursing and we didn't know much about using formula and bottles in general.

To make it worse, when we started trying to use formula, Grace refused every bottle and any sippy cup that contained formula. She would scream the moment she saw it and would push it away from her face as hard as she could. For 3 days, we mixed as much formula as we could with her solid feedings to at least try to keep her hydrated. We were basically feeding her fruit and veggie soups and still only getting about 8 oz of formula in her per day. We decided to take her to the pediatrician to make sure she wasn't getting too dehydrated. While we were there, I begged him for any ideas on how to get a 9 month old to take a bottle. Luckily, with his advice and lots of persistence, Grace is now happily taking formula in a bottle and actually grabs at it and fusses when I don't get it in her mouth fast enough.

Here's what worked for us: The pediatrician said that we needed to get her hydrated and recommended letting her drink as much water as possible. Also, while they normally wait to switch babies to whole milk until the age of 1, in this situation, he felt that if she wasn't getting enough formula, whole milk would be better than nothing. He said to slow down on the solid feedings, because she was probably just filling herself with those and not getting hungry enough for a bottle. And finally, he said that bribing babies this age with their favorite foods normally works well.

I figured bribing would probably be our best bet as Grace is very strong willed, so we bought whole milk and a bunch of her very favorite food, Plum Organics Just Fruit Peaches. I mixed some of the peach puree with about 3 oz of whole milk in her favorite sippy cup and then with her watching (she recognizes the peach pouch) I put a little bit of the peach puree on the straw. And tada, she drank all of the milk in a matter of minutes. This was the most straight liquid she'd had in days so I was pretty excited.

For the next feeding, I did the same mixture, but put it in a bottle. Again, I let her watch me put peach puree on the nipple and she drank all of it again. We used this method for a day to get about 20 oz of whole milk in her. She no longer screamed when she saw the bottle, which was huge progress! I was focused on getting her re hydrated, but I knew that I wanted to try to switch over to formula if at all possible because it is better for her than whole milk at this age.

The next day, I started to do a half formula/half milk mixture to get her used to the taste of formula. We still used the peach puree on the nipple trick and she still took the bottles just fine. Finally, I got extremely brave and switched entirely to formula. Within days, she was taking the full 6 oz bottle of formula without needing the puree on the nipple. Now she takes close to 24 oz of formula a day out of the bottle with no problems.
She wouldn't hold the bottle of course because I was trying to take a picture!

It made for an extremely stressful week, but thankfully everything has calmed down. We're still getting used to having to make bottles and make sure all of the bottles are clean, it is definitely more work than breastfeeding. But Grace is hydrated and full and that's what is important to us!

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