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Why do lactation consultants in the hospital terrify you by constantly saying that if you bottle-feed a baby at all after birth, s/he will never breast feed? I did both, and was very glad I did, because not only did my son take a bottle as needed, but he also nursed until he was 27 months old. We clearly were fine but when he was born, I was completely freaked out by the dogma they were peddling. Maybe I just had a bad experience….it would be nice to hear other people’s great experiences with lactation consultants.
While I’m far from being a lactation consultant, I have nursed 3 babies for nearly 6 of the last 8 1/2 years. I gave birth to my first two children in the hospital. The lactation consultant was pretty much useless with my first, and I was never seen by one the second time! However, I did have the best post-partum nurse, who put a diaper on my son’s teddy (a.k.a. my “newborn diaper model”), and would give my guy the cutest little old man combover, hee hee. She encouraged me not to worry, that only one of us (my son) was new at this, that there was no need for formula (I was worried about being bullied like I was the first time), that his belly was small & that’s why he had all his newborn chub (to sustain him until my milk came in.) 🙂
I had the same concerns about “nipple confusion,” which often I think has more to do with the baby developing a preference for the easy flowing milk from a bottle vs. working to breastfeed! Unfortunately, purposely delaying introducing a bottle led to my oldest refusing it entirely. By the time I had my second, I discovered that excess lipase in my breast milk was partly the reason she refused anything other than freshly pumped milk. I purchased special bottle nipples which had the hole at the distal end to encourage a similar latch. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t going for it.
When I had my second child, I had to leave my son for several hours, due to an issue totally out of my control. He screamed the entire time and refused bottles. :-/
When I had my third child, I swore this wasn’t going to happen again! Darn it all, I was introducing a bottle & pacifier right away! He took the pacifier for about 6 months, but was still not a fan of the bottle.
When he was 4 months old, my Grandmother passed away. He stayed with my husband and his brother and sister while I attended the visitations and funeral. He was not happy to be away from mama, but eventually took a bottle and then passed out. 🙁
Ideally, your child will never need to take a bottle, but that’s simply not always the case. Particularly if you need to go back to work. My suggestion would be to wait until breastfeeding is well established, then do try the bottle! Consider allowing someone else to give the bottle, and make sure you are nowhere nearby. Don’t stock up on one brand of bottles, but try several until you find one baby likes, and stick with slow flow nipples.
Not all lactation consultants are created alike, so consider meeting with several, and also get involved with local breastfeeding groups if you can!
What is your experience with breastfeeding & bottles?