It can be so stressful when baby won’t drink from a bottle. My oldest boy absolutely refused the bottle, and now my youngest boy is taking after big brother.
What a challenge for the breast feeding mom when you feel like you will never again have longer than three hours at a time to yourself. You do all you know to do. You pump, freeze, thaw, warm and still your baby wants nothing to do with it.
I have been there. Twice now!
Let me encourage you on two things:
First, there might be a reason why your baby won’t drink from a bottle.
Second, this won’t last forever.
I really needed to hear both of these things when I was a first-time mom.
I tried EVERYTHING with my first. I spent so much money trying all different kinds of bottle, warmed the milk to different temperatures, had different people offering it. You name it. I tried it. He refused every time.
The worst was when I went to an all day women’s retreat when he was 3 months old. I got a call every couple of hours from my exhausted husband who told me our son wouldn’t drink any of the milk I left and just screamed and screamed. Needless to say, I had to leave the retreat early, full of insecurities and questions of what I was doing wrong.
Not too long after that, I decided to taste my milk. Right away I knew why my little guy wouldn’t drink it. Yuck! It was disgusting. I felt so bad for trying to force him to drink it.
We figured that our freezer must have been too full and thawed all the milk I had placed in breast milk storage bags in the door of the freezer, then spoiled when it re-froze. Let me tell you, it was painful throwing away all that frozen milk (all that pumping literally down the drain!).
That very night we went out and bought a deep freezer chest, which ended up being one of the biggest blessings in my mom life. (You can read more about that crazy story here).
The same thing happened, even with our giant brand new freezer. Still spoiled. Baby refuses it. No bottles for us.
This is the part where I encourage you on point #1.
But I was hoping for a different story when baby #2 came along.
And FINALLY the mystery was SOLVED!
After a bit of research I finally discovered why my milk spoiled. If you’ve experienced a similar story, it might be the same reason for you.
Here’s why: some women have extra protein in their milk, which is a condition known as excess lipase activity. This will cause the milk to taste horrible after a certain amount of time passes after pumping, unless you scald the milk first before freezing it.
There wasn’t much info on this a few years ago when I first made this discovery, but since then more and more women are sharing their stories and finding help.
I found an awesome resource for you that explains all about excess lipase activity and answers questions like how to properly scald the milk. Here’s a link to her ebook, Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Bad? I so wish I had this when my first baby refused the bottle.
Because this is so near and dear to my heart, I also placed a link to this ebook on my homepage sidebar. Let’s spread the word and help all those mamas who have this milk experience!
And this leads me to #2. Whether or not you are able to solve the bottle issue, it’s so important to keep in mind that–
It won’t last forever.
Despite your very best efforts, your little one might never drink from the bottle. You will get through it! Though it seems like forever in the moment, those tiny babies grow so fast and they approach their first birthday before you know it.
We ended up transitioning our oldest son to cow’s milk (in a sippy cup) when he was about 11 months old per our pediatrician’s advice. He never did drink from a bottle!
And we’re right back there again with baby #4 who refuses a bottle. I’ve made sure my milk is nice and sweet and warm. I’ve tried all the bottles in our huge stash of bottles. Little boy wants nothing to do with it. And it’s totally fine with me. Here’s what I’d encourage you to keep in mind if you’re facing a similar story:
Savor these moments
There is just nothing like baby snuggles. This baby is our last, so I’m all about savoring every moment I can. I’m counting it a blessing that I get all this time with him, nursing him. Even those middle of the night feedings (that are still happening) are a chance to spend a bit more time bonding, praying, and savoring. They grow so fast. Nursing around the clock is a gift of time.
Don’t feel like you need to make excuses
I’m going to an event tonight where I’ll probably be the only one with a baby. I actually have to speak at it and it falls right when my boy needs to eat. So we’re going! I might be speaking and nursing at the same time, but I don’t feel bad about it. I’m a mom. This is the season I’m in. Nursing a baby is not something you need to apologize for!
Being able to breast feed is such a gift. I know tons of moms who–for a variety of reasons–couldn’t breast feed when they had hoped to. What a blessing to be able to provide for our little ones in this way!
Many things you can take your baby to, but there might be some things that are particularly not baby friendly that you might have to say no to. That’s ok. It’s just for a short time and then life will get back to normal as your baby grows less and less dependent on you for sole nourishment.
I guess there’s a theme here–and on this blog in general–about savoring, savoring, savoring. Savor all we can. These moments we get with our babies are the most precious moments we’ll ever have in life. Let’s not get so hung up on things that don’t go quite as we had planned that we miss out on the blessings in front of us. I know as a first time mom I could have spent a whole lot more time enjoying instead of worrying and stressing.
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