January 19, 2009

All Nipples Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

About a month or so ago, I the hubby and I had a conversation about bottle nipples. PK was just over 4 months old, and we were still on the 0-3 months nipples. I remember that our discussion went something like this:

Me: PK is now 4 months old. I wonder if we need to go to the 3-6 month nipples
Hubby: Hmmmm...I don't know...

Me: Nah...it can't be. It makes no sense. After all, moms who breast-feed don't all of a sudden don't have their nipples open up, do they? Must be the bottle companies just trying to suck more money out of you.
Hubby: You're probably right.

Well, I was wrong. Early last week, PK was being IMPOSSIBLE! She'd be really hungry, crying and motioning for a bottle, but then when I'd give her the bottle, she'd take a few sips and just push it away. She'd cry because she wanted the bottle, and at the same time, she'd cry because the bottle was making her mad. One time, it took me over one hour to feed her. And it wasn't just me. My mom had experienced the same thing with PK when she was babysitting for me last week.

I was this close to taking her to the doctor, because she was so fussy. At the same time, it wasn't an emergency or anything, because she did take all of her bottle eventually. It was just a painfully slow process. I ruled out teething - no major drooling, red cheeks, playing with nipple in her mouth, or sucking her fingers excessively. She didn't seem to be sick, either - no sniffling, coughing, or fever. So what the hell was wrong with her?

Well, it finally dawned on me. I'd noticed that she had been sucking vigorously on her bottle nipples for the last few feeds. My mom had noticed the same thing, and so had the hubby. So I began to wonder. PK was just over 5 months old, and she was still on the 0-3 month nipples. Could it possibly be that she needed to move up to the 3-6 month nipples? It was a definite possibility. So that night, I sent the hubby on a mission to pick up the nipples on his way home from work. We use the Born Free glass bottles (awesome bottles, by the way), which have pretty wide nipples. The hubby went to 3 Shoppers stores plus our regular supermarket, and could not find any of the Born Free nipples. We weren't sure if we could use wide nipples from other brands such as Avent (though in hindsight, I think they would've fit), so we were pretty SOL. The hubby did find another brand of BPA-free plastic bottle and a set of higher-flow nipples, so he picked those up just so that we'd have something for PK for the next day. I would then go to Toys R Us the next day in the hopes of finding the elusive Born Free 3-6 month nipples.

The next day, I met up with a friend for lunch, and I took the new bottle with me for feeding PK. Well, missy took quite the hissy fit when I gave her the new bottle. The nipple on the new bottle was a so-called standard size nipple, which isn't as wide as what she's used to, hence the freak-out. The funny thing is that she DID take about 75% of that bottle in spite of her protests. The next feeding was out of her usual Born Free bottle (with 0-3 month nipple), and she just downed her formula. I guess taking formula from the lower-flow nipple was the lesser of two evils in her world!

Anyway, I did find the Born Free level 2 nipples after all, at Toys R Us, thank goodness. At almost $10/two-pack, they certainly weren't cheap. I bought a whole bunch of level 2 (3-6 month) and level 3 (6 months +) nipples, and it ended up costing me like $70 before tax. (Yes, we have THAT many bottles.) Just crazy! Fortunately, there is a happy ending. The new nipples went over very well with PK, and feeding is no longer an ordeal.

I am still quite perplexed by this whole thing, and I certainly don't understand how a baby would expect a higher-flowing nipple from a bottle, and not from a boob. And while we're at it, why is it that we need to sterilize bottle nipples, but not boob nipples. I remember reading somewhere that you're technically not even supposed to wash your boobs that often because otherwise it makes your boobs smell funny to baby. I think stinky rotten milk boobs would smell less appealing than Dove-scented boobs to a baby, but that's just me.


Anonymous said...

You're supposed to wash your boobs, just not with soap - LOL. The rest of your body really doesn't need much soap, either. That's just the soap companies trying to suck more money out of you. ;)

We use the Born Free bottles, too. I don't think you'd be able to get the Avent nipples to fit because the rim of the nipples fits differently. When I first bought them, I had to order them online from the US. But now they're sold at both Shoppers Drug Marts and the Riverside Grocery here in town. I guess they're gaining in popularity!

Meandering Michael said...

Apparently, (most) breasts will increase/decrease their production and flow rates depending on the demand. Don't ask me where I heard that.

Mr. Shiny and New said...

My mother was told to sterilize her nipples... the ones on her breasts, not the bottle ones (well, those too). If that sounds like bad advice, it was. But just goes to show that doctors did think of that. But then again, babies at the time were born in an OR, not a birthing room like now. It was much more sterile than it needed to be.