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Friday, August 19, 2011

The Great Bottle Debate

Since I was planning on breast feeding I didn't even look into bottle feeding at all. Of course, all of that changed when I had my preemies. Eating from a bottle is easier so when they're so small and just developing the muscles they need for sucking and swallowing, it's important that they get practice and learn how to eat before they can really conquer breast feeding. So after 2 weeks of attempting to breast feed, I gave in and let them give my babies bottles. They took to the bottles quickly and really, that's the only reason we came home at 35 weeks.

My biggest worry with giving them the bottle was that they'd never have the urge to breast feed, since that's so hard to do and the milk just drips out of the bottle. It doesn't seem to be quite an issue yet. They nurse fairly well but only have the strength to do it for 10-15 minutes, which isn't long enough for them to get the 2-3oz of food they need. The options then are bottle feed them afterwards so they can get everything they need in that feeding OR feed them every 2 hours or so. I chose the bottles, mostly for my sanity, so I'd have at least a little chunk of time in between meals to do crazy things like laundry, eat food, SLEEP, or go to their many doctor appointments.

But then, reflux happened. and now bottles are my nightmare.

Any new mom who is trying to register for baby items knows there's about 109380 different choices for some products (like pacifiers, bottles, blankets, soap...) and every bottle says they fix a problem. So allow me to help you, new moms who are interested in bottle feeding. Or preemie moms bringing your babies home with bottles.

We came home with a good chunk of volufeeds from the hospital.

Easy to use, disposable, quick and simple. Problem: we went through them like candy with the 2 babies. We went through a big bag in about .6 seconds. So obviously, finding a non-disposable bottle was our only option.

So walking down the baby aisle, there are a few bottle options. I had no idea what would work best. At the time, Amelia was a burpy and sloppy eater, but she ate and she was still only 35 weeks so she had a bit of growing up still left to do. So we got the Playtex VentAire bottles.

They worked great, for a little while. Then Mia started throwing up half of her feedings. When she did eat, half of the food dripped out the side of her mouth. She didn't cry a lot because she was hungry and was still having the right amount of dirty diapers for a day so we let her go. But it kept getting worse and worse. Before we took her to the doctor we thought we'd try a few tricks.

First, we put her in her carseat (because that's the only baby item I have that has her sitting upright) for about 30 minutes after she ate. And second, we thought we'd try a new bottle.

Our first attempt was going back to some volufeeds and other disposable type bottles from stores. Since she was eating better with those before, maybe she'd go back to that. No such luck. She got even burpier and when she burps, she spits up.

So back to the baby aisle we went, looking for bottles that help with gas and reflux, since those seem to be her big issues. We landed on the Playtex Nurser Drop-Ins. 

The disposable liner was kind of my favorite part about it. I really wanted them in the beginning but it didn't seem very practical for the costs of all the liners for 2 bottles so many times a day, when we could just wash and sanitize the bottles ourselves. Being preemies, the twins will be eating newborn style (many times a day and overnight) for many many weeks, so that would be a lot of liners.To get Amelia to eat though, we figured it would be worth trying.

And it worked. For a little while.

We finally went to the doctor who gave her zantac. Finally, all the stars alined and she started eating better. Still not eating great, she still is a difficult child to feed. She will punch and kick and scream when you put a bottle near her. She still spits up, but not nearly as much. The big test that she passed was finally gaining some weight.

So do I think the bottles did the trick? Do I think the Nursers are a part of Amelia's success. Yes, I do think she prefers those bottles, the nipple, and flow of things. Maybe it's because she nurses too and these are supposed to minic breastfeeding so she's just more comfortable with them. I don't know. The easy clean makes them pretty nice for me. But they're expensive. And we go through a lot of liners.

The VentAire was supposed to have a lot of the same benefits, but the small nipple, and the flow didn't seem to be up her alley. The other big issue with those is they get messy. Please tell me if I'm using them wrong but when you remove the little plastic piece on the bottom to let the air out, you can't put the bottle down. So when you need to burp the baby, adjust them or do anything that requires you to put the bottle down, it leaks everywhere. I've read reviews that there are certain tricks to this, but I can't get it to work. So we put it on the side, but then it rolls off of chairs and nightstands. So things got very messy. Also, apparently it's supposed to eliminate the need for the baby to burp mid-feeding. I don't know if Amelia just likes to burp but she ALWAYS has to burp, regardless of how and what bottle we use. We still give those bottles to Jackson and we actually just leave the plastic piece on, don't do anything special for him. He is totally fine with it, but I think he'd do whatever he had to do to eat. Boy loves his food. They're like night and day with their eating.

So parents, any advise to help Amelia eat better? I'll try anything at this point. She's eating now, and getting what she needs, but I'd love to avoid the fighting and arm workout it is to get her to eat.

1 comment:

  1. You may have already resolved this bottle issue since this post but here is my insight for you from my experience... We had to try multiple different bottles brands before finding one our little guy liked.

    We ultimately found the AirVents with a rubber nipple was his favorite.

    The gaskets you are talking about are what lets the air out and keeps it from getting into your little one. In fact, once your little ones get older (assuming you keep using these bottles) you will hear a rush of air when you open it after they have finished because the gasket is letting the air out while they are eating and then tightening back down when they are sucking-- you can even hear this faint clicking sound as they drink from the gasket letting the air out. Amelia may not have a strong enough suck yet to get the gasket to move enough to let the air completely out.

    Another problem we had was when our little guy was kicking and screaming but wanting to eat he was taking in a lot of air from that process. We resolved that by changing to rubber nipples which are much softer and more like the feel of mommy's breast. Biggest problem there was not many brands make rubber nipples these days. Our solution was using the rubber nipples that are marketed for the Playtex Drop-Ins but with the Playtex VentAire Wide-- the Wide part is important for the nipples to work with the bottle. We didnt want to use the Drop-Ins for the same reason you don't-- too expensive in the long run!

    Since finding this combination hes a happy little eater :-) Hope this may help!