Bottle Shock

I hate bottle feeding.

It’s messy, inconvenient, and expensive as hell. It’s time consuming — all that washing, sterilizing, and preparing. And pumping.

But it’s what I have had to resort to to feed my son.

For the record, I’m not impuning formula or formula feeding. Hundreds of thousands of babies are successfully formula fed every day. The important thing is to have healthy, growing babies. I pump and use formula; I have breastfed successfully and used formula in the past.

I am disappointed that breast feeding was such a bust this time around. Again, for the record, I am not blaming myself or my son for our lack of success in bf’ing. Michael had a poor latch — he still has a poor latch. Everyone and everything I consulted regarding his latch had pretty much the same advice for me: give him all my time and attention so that we could get the latch done the right way.

Unfortunately, this level of time and attention would have required the constant presence of another adult in my household to tend to everything else while I tended exclusively to Michael. In theory, this was fine with me, but in practice it was completely unrealistic. As it is, it’s a good thing my older children are moderately self-sufficient. Someone would have starved to death by now if they couldn’t get their own snacks. (Hyperbole alert.)

I never make the claim to be a “single” parent. Yes, I do a lot of things, especially regading child care, on my own, day after day and night after night. Dan works a lot of hours and is in the midst of starting his own practice. When he is here, he helps out a lot, with the kids and otherwise. No one cleans the kitchen better, for instance. Dan comes home every night, is there every morning, and his income keeps us in diapers and pays bills. (My income helps, obviously, but I’m not back to work yet.)

So, it’s been the bottle for Michael for a while now. I’m resigned to it. Sometimes I still nurse him, especially when we’re waiting for water to boil to warm a bottle. I’m not sure it’s the greatest idea, because he’s shredding my nipples, and I have no idea if he’s getting much in the way of milk. I continue to pump even though it’s hard. I’m still of the mindset that some breast milk is better than none at all.

A couple other things that bother me about bottle feeding: Michael’s a snacker, so he either sucks down 8 ounces at a go (usually the first bottle of the day — and yes, that seems like a lot for an eight-week old to eat to me) or he has two ounces every 15-30 minutes over the course of two hours. It’s just not as instinctive as breast feeding seemed to me. Later in the day, as he’s snacking, he often dozes off. Babies’ enviable talent: eating and sleeping at the same time. So efficient!

Also: smelly poop.

I cannot wait until Michael is eating cereal and baby food. I look forward to the world of finger foods and spoon feeding. Only four to six months to go!