So I haven't wanted to say anything for fear of jinxing the success, but after 3 days (clarify: last Thursday, then this Monday and Tuesday) of success I have to say: I think Jack is officially taking BOTTLES!!!!!!!! There aren't enough exclaimation points to emphasize that.
If you're loosely interested in our timeline, this has taken 6 weeks...only 4 weeks of me being back to work though, so I suppose we should just count those weeks really. Okay so 4 weeks of all day, every day effort. Let me tell you Andy is a fucking saint. Not only has he had to be home trying to stay calm and patient while Jack fusses and melts down, but he has also had to deal with all the comments we received from outsiders....mostly his Step-Mother-In-Law who apparently is some sort of bottle feeding expert...Oh wait! No she isn't. Ironically the day I heard back from the lactation consultant was the day he started seeing major success. But wait I am getting ahead of myself.
Okay last time I told you all that Jack was "reverse cycling". Well a week of that would have been okay, but three weeks later and Andy and I were both really frustrated....I guess Andy was really the one dealing with it, but I was stressed out by the fact that he wasn't eating during the day. I want a happy baby and a happy husband. The Friday before Memorial Day I called two lactation consultants in the hopes that one of them would be able to help. Well Tuesday rolled around, I went back to work, and we still hadn't heard from either. I figured with the long weekend they were both probably getting to their messages that day.
In the meantime Andy's SMIL had e-mailed me saying she was really worried because Jack is not getting enough nutrients. She said that we should have called them for help and they would have come down. She had a load of suggestions including me giving a bottle when I get home to see if he will take it and to keep up the schedule on the weekends so he doesn't get confused. I assured her that he was getting at least 3 ounces a day and that from everything I read babies will not starve reverse cycling. I told her Andy was doing really well and neither of us saw a point involving more people. If he can't get Jack to take a bottle after doing everything we've read then the only thing that will happen from them "coming to help" is that they would flip out (they aren't exactly the "calm and patient" type) and probably just add stress to the situation.
She replied back saying Andy was just being stubborn and last she knew they don't teach bottle feeding in the Marine Corps. I was so pissed by this comment I didn't respond back to her e-mail......and I definitely did not tell Andy about that. He has enough beef with her anyway....and what? just because she had a kid 24+ years ago, does not make her an expert bottle feeder either. And with our Step Sister in Law's daughter, they went to formula really early on, so of course she took a bottle easier. She had to. Ugh I was so pissed I basically didn't respond to her e-mail, texts or calls all weekend.
On Wednesday of last week our SSIL sent me an e-mail saying she talked to the pediatrician at her clinic (she is a nurse....and a hypochondriac...hilarious combination, but I digress). He said, note "HE", that if Jack doesn't get at least an ounce per hour then he will burn brain cells. Even if it appears that he is gaining weight and looking healthy, it is still a bad thing. So if he isn't taking a bottle Andy should force feed him with a syringe. Again I didn't respond.
I was relieved on Thursday to talk to the L.C. She assured us that everything we were doing was right. That I should not try to keep Jack on a schedule and I shouldn't try to give him a bottle. She said that is going to frustrate him more. Let him know when he is with me he can nurse. She said that contrary to popular thought, when babies prefer the breast you should give them a bottle least like the breast. She suggested getting a cheap bottle, nothing fancy. She also said that despite how people say to give them a "newborn" nipple so they will have to work for their food, that for babies struggling with the bottle it is better to poke more holes in it or get the higher flow nipples so the milk is basically pouring into their mouth.
I told her I had read the trick about trying apple juice, but didn't want to do that since he is too young for anything but milk. She said she was so glad that we didn't do that! Their digestive systems are too undeveloped for that. She basically told me that we were doing everything right and that he will come around. Just hearing her opinions and having her eliminate all the suggestions we got from people/books/websites that were bad was nice.
I got off the phone with her really excited to tell Andy all about the call. When he picked up the phone I told him the things we talked about and at the end he said 'cool, well he just took 7 ounces and this morning he took about 3'. Guess I should have asked him how the day went before I went on my rant. For those who might be discouraged by bottle feeding, something you should know. When Jack finally took the bottle Andy had been using the Bre.astFlow bottle for the past two weeks exclusively. He finally took it and is still drinking from that bottle only, but I am curious if we would have gotten him to cooperate sooner if we had known about giving a bottle least like the breast first? Anyway I would be curious to know. Please report back if you have/are going through the same thing.
So here we are....sure it has only been three days of success so far. But the fact that he did it Thursday, then spent Friday-Sunday exclusively nursing and still took at least 12 ounces on Monday and Tuesday makes me think we are out of the water.
Something else I thought of while all this was going on, Andy and I both think Jack is teething. He has started gnawing on everything in the way babies do when they teeth. And OH MY the drool. It is insane. Those combined with an increase in crankiness and the fact that his gums seem to bother him makes us think this might have contributed to the issues as well......Now don't call CPS on me yet, but one thing we tried, for the teething, was rubbing a bit of bourbon on his gums. We weren't certain he was teething and I didn't want to fork out the money for that tiny bottle of baby mouth numby stuff, and we had a bottle of bourbon on hand....so you see how this became a logical thought. Turns out his mood significantly improved upon rubbage of the bourbon. Note: I just dipped my finger and rubbed. So he didn't get very much and I only applied it once in the afternoon when his crankiness and gnawing amped up a lot.
Once I applied the bourbon I thought I should just try putting the bottle in his mouth (this all happened during Memorial Day weekend FYI). He didn't drink from it, but he did play around with it in his mouth which was a good step forward. Yeah so here we are. Hopefully completely done with this Ultimate Bottle Feeding Battle. I will keep you updated.