Who needs board games?
Let me preface this post by acknowledging that it has been quite a while since our last post. This post is more informational than cute baby stuff, which many of the family-and-friends readers are looking for. To that end, I’ve asked my husband to follow my post with a more “typical” post including baby updates and pictures. This post talks about our struggles with a baby that refused the bottle and finally figuring out the problem.
We have recently begun the process of introducing the bottle as Liam prepares to enter daycare and I prepare to return to work. Here is where I grab the box of tissues. The bottle battle, as I’ve come to call it, feels more like an old-fashioned game of Clue, just less fun since you have the addition of a crying baby. Getting Liam to transition from breast to bottle required finding the right combination of person, place and thing. Is it Daddy in the living room with the Dr. Brown bottle? No – okay it must be Daddy in the dining room with the Avent bottle. Wrong again. Then it is Mommy in the nursery with the Tommee Tippee bottle. Only that actually simplifies it too much. You also have to consider how old the baby is when you introduce it, the hunger level of the baby, temperature of the bottle, freshness of the milk, was it frozen or just pumped? Granted it isn’t like this for everyone. I had a friend who was lucky enough that her son had no problems transitioning, regardless of the temperature or bottle type. I was on the other end of the luckiness scale, but it wasn’t all Liam.
During one of Scott’s feeding attempts upstairs, I was downstairs (keeping the recommended distance from the baby for a mom) doing internet research to see what created success for others. After reading through several different pages, forums, etc., I came across a posting on kellymom.com that talked about lipase. I had never heard of this before, and believe me, I am a diligent pre-researcher! Lipase is an enzyme found in all breast milk that deals with the breaking down of fats. It is a good thing. However, some women have higher levels, which do not impact the nutrition of the milk, but can impact the freshness. It doesn’t cause the milk to go bad, per se, but rather causes the taste and smell factor to deteriorate. The milk, once refrigerated or frozen, develops “a soapy, metallic taste/smell.” Depending on the level of lipase, this can happen quickly – within the hour – or over a few days. Even then, some babies don’t notice or mind, and eat the milk just fine. My baby boy is a connoisseur of breast milk and would not eat it. To be fair, on the day of the fateful discovery, I ran upstairs and tried the milk myself. It was NOT good. I needed to rinse my mouth out. No wonder he was so pissed!
With this discovery came many emotions. Anger – why was this not ever mentioned anywhere before? I’ve pumped and frozen several bags in preparation for my return to work, all of which are “bad.”* Frustration – I have to get rid of these bags, my supply is now down to zero, and will I not be able to pump for my son? Guilt – We’ve been forcing yucky meals on our son!! Relief – There does appear to be something we can do about it. Stress – The solution looks like it may be time consuming and will require extra time/steps at work. And I only have a few days to get the process down, make sure it works, and stock up a day’s worth of milk before he starts daycare.
The best resource I found, perhaps the only real resource, was a forum on the La Leche League website. (La Leche Forum Link) This problem is fairly uncommon, which is why I received no information prior to pumping and having a problem with the bottle. When I called the local lactation consultant, she doubted me at first until I explained I found information on the La Leche League site, to which she replied, “Well it must be something that happens if they are talking about it online.” (Enter frustration again.) Still, if it happens at all and can save some women grief, why not provide just a small bit of info in your breast feeding classes or pamphlets? Some women on the forum had frozen hundreds of ounces of milk that they could not use!
The solution involves “scalding” your milk. Thanks to the forum, I found the best tools and tips for doing this as easily and quickly as possible. One woman on the forum posted a concise summary of her method on her blog, which was very helpful. (Summary on Blog) Liam has taken multiple scalded-bottles like a champ with no fussing at all. (Enter cheer here!!) I have yet to try it at work (Monday! L ) but hopefully it goes smoothly. I know worst case scenario, Liam takes formula at daycare, which isn’t a terrible thing. I just planned on pumping and providing for him for at least the first few months back to work so I’d like to stick to the plan (you know me!). Not to mention the pump wasn’t cheap so I’d like to get my money’s worth! 😉
That’s it for the infomercial. This was only a brief discussion on the lipase issue; much more information is available at the link above. I do hope it helps someone else out there. Since I came across so little information in my search, I figure one more site mentioning it might help. Maybe someone will do a search for “baby won’t take bottle” and will come across my post. If nothing else, let this be a notice to mothers-to-be – if you are planning on pumping and storing, do a test run with your milk before you stockpile a lot! And I can’t resist posting at least one picture – he is too cute!
Liam successfully taking the bottle!