My first few weeks back at work after giving birth were not easy. While my previous law firm allowed me to express milk in the office whenever I wanted, giving Meia the milk I pumped was another matter. Back then, she absolutely hated the bottle and would sometimes go on what my husband and I would call bottle strikes — like a real hunger strike, she would refuse to eat as long as I wasn’t direct feeding her. Needless to say, I racked up plenty of absences and half-days in the office. Sometimes, I would drive an hour to work only to have to come back home to make sure Meia doesn’t go hungry.
Things have gotten a lot better since then. I can now go to work without having to check every 2-3 hours to see if she actually ate something.
Here are the strategies my husband and I employed to make sure Meia eats even when I’m not around:
1) We tried different bottles until we hit the jackpot.
Meia prefers these bottles by Nuby. However, before we discovered Nuby, we tried Avent bottles with mixed results and Medela bottles (the ones that come with the breast pump) – the latter was a complete failure. From my conversations with other moms, it seems that each baby has a particular preference, so just keep trying different brands of bottles until you find out what suits yours.
2) I disappeared for a while.
From reading various articles, I thought all I needed to do was to be in a separate room while Meia was being fed. I would hide in the study while my husband and the nanny would try to feed her in our bedroom to no avail. After half an hour of struggling, I would give in and feed her direct.
One day a few months in the bottle strike (yes, the bottle strike period lasted a couple of months!) and after 3 days of being absent from work (it’s a wonder I didn’t get fired), I decided to leave the house on a hunch. I did our grocery in the supermarket 10 minutes away from the house so I could easily rush back in case she goes on strike again. When it hit her 2 hour mark, she cried and cried and only ate an ounce from the bottle. Then she slept. I decided to wait a little bit more, to see what would happen next. An hour later, Meia woke up again, hungry, and started drinking from the bottle! She finished a good 3 oz.
I tried it again the following day just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. It worked like a charm. All this time, niloloko lang pala ako ng batang ito!
3) After a night’s rest, her first meal should be from the bottle.
We noticed that Meia would “reset” each day. One day she’s be on a strike and the next day she’d be happily drinking from the bottle. From our observations, it seemed that her first meal each morning would dictate how she wanted to be fed the rest of the day.
4) We’ve learned to be creative when it comes to feeding her.
I’ve lost count of the many different positions we’ve tried while feeding her. Sometimes we hold her in a cradle position, other times she wants to be in her crib and we’re just cradling her head to drink, other times we have to be standing up while feeding her. I’ve also seen babies Meia’s age being fed from the bouncer. To each her own.
If I’ve learned anything this past 7 or so months, it’s that feeding a baby takes a lot of patience and practice. When all else fails, perhaps it’s time to try another method of giving milk, such as dropper, syringe, or cup feeding.