All My Deficiencies as a Parent Laid Bare

So. Christmas happened. I made a fantastic 12 pound turkey for three people on Christmas Eve (four if you count Ruby twelve hours after I ate turkey. Or so. How long does it take food to turn into breastmilk?), and Kyle and I ate it for the next four days. Hello leftovers, you’re this cook’s best friend.

We opened presents, just Kyle and I (Ruby was sleeping), and it was really nice. Our tree looks particularly nice this year, with some garland we filched from a friend who is keeping stuff in our basement. We decided it was a tax for taking up basement space. I guess we’ll have to take the tree down at some point. But that point is not yet.

We flew to Fargo to visit my parents for New Years and met Matthew’s son Grady, who is a solid little boy. He’s four weeks younger than Ruby, but five pounds heavier and much taller. Every time somebody picked up Ruby after Grady we’d exclaim “She’s so light!” Grady also takes a binky, doesn’t have to be rocked to sleep, and drinks from a bottle. All my deficiencies as a parent laid bare. If I were more insecure I might care more.

Over all, it was a lovely trip where I bummed around, held babies, pawned my baby off on willing Grandparents, Aunts and Uncle (Wesley doesn’t do babies much. It doesn’t help that Ruby has started to scream every time he holds her). I watched seasons two and three of Downton Abbey and get to be all smug because season three hasn’t aired in America yet.

Smug smug smug.

Getting back to that bottle thing, I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding Ruby so far and occasionally I’ll dump her off on a babysitter (usually Amy) with a bottle of breastmilk. But in every instance except for one, she has refused the bottle and waited inconsolably for me to come home with the stuff straight from the tap. Fortunately, I’m usually only gone for an hour or two so she doesn’t usually miss a feeding, and it hasn’t proved to be enough of a problem for me to fix. But this morning I had to pick Wesley up from the airport, and I came home to a wailing Ruby in Kyle’s frustrated care because she was refusing the bottle I’d so thoughtfully pumped for her. I decided to bite the bullet and train her to drink from a bottle so that I can leave her with a babysitter and know that she’ll actually eat something.

We’re on top of things at the Meeks household, yes we are.

I mean, come on. I figured out breast feeding. You want me to do bottles, too?

…Yes, actually. I’d like her to take a bottle at this point. I retract my question.

So I went to Wal-Mart intending to buy one of those fancy-schmancy like-a-breast bottles. But as I was looking at them all, none of them really looked like a breast. And they were kind of pricey. So I did the cheap thing and bought the $0.97 not-remotely-like-a-breast bottle and a couple of fast flow nipples. (I have an overactive letdown, so I think part of Ruby’s complaint was how slowly the milk came out of the slow flow nipple on our bottle.) And when Amy came over I warmed up an ounce of breast milk and had her show me how to bottle feed a baby.

Yes. I’ve successfully fed exactly one baby exactly one bottle ever in my life, and it was not my own baby. Just a few days ago I gave Grady a bottle and he ate the whole thing. But Grady knows how to eat a bottle. He’s not bottle deficient like Ruby and I are. So I watched. Ruby started off having no clue what to do with it. She grabbed the nipple and tried to put it in her mouth, but her hands were in the way. Then she chewed on the nipple. She ended up taking about three quarters of an ounce on her shirt and in her mouth. I’m not sure how much ended up where.

But she did eat some of it. And about a half hour later Kyle got her to eat what was in the rest of the bottle. So I’m counting it a success. I’m going to start giving her at least one bottle a day to get her used to it.

And now I’m going to go to bed and not think about the fact that my baby is nearly six months old and has no idea what to do with a bottle.

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4 thoughts on “All My Deficiencies as a Parent Laid Bare

  1. Takes me waaaaaay back. Sophia refused to take a bottle period. It was awful. I always tell new moms to try and use the bottle once a day. I think nipple confusion is over-rated. I had to starve Sophia for 24 hours to break her. It was awful. My chest was killing me and she screamed the whole time but she finally took a bottle and was fine every feeding after that and I could finally go to the grocery store without knowing I had to be home an hour later to feed her. I give myself major mommy points for that 6 months I breastfed Sophia. Good luck. I am sure you both will be just fine.

  2. Not one of my 4 kids took a bottle… ever. They survived and so did I. She will start to eat solid foods soon and so won’t be so dependent on mom for food. Nursing isn’t quite so demanding as babies get a few months older.

  3. For the record…Grady was the same way when we first gave him bottles. He chewed on them, drooled the milk everywhere…it was a mess. We only gave him a bottle at church once a week back during the first three months and it would take him five or ten minutes to figure out what to do with it every time. He didn’t get good at it until I started exclusively pumping and giving him bottles. So…sounds like Ruby’s doing fine to me!

    • I figure she’s doing ok, too. It was just really funny to consider that she’s almost six months old and when I giver he a bottle she’s like “What is this strange object?” Also I don’t want her to starve when I leave her with baby sitters. You know. That thing. ;)

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