When Ayla was born we decided that my wife, Rachel would give breastfeeding a go. The hospital were really supportive. When Ayla struggled to latch they offered an overnight stay to help my wife figure out how to breastfeed. From Rachel’s messages to me that first night I realised that this breastfeeding thing may not be plain sailing. Ayla managed to feed, despite Rachel being in great pain, we came home thinking it could only get easier.
Those first few weeks the pain was unbearable for Rachel. We had multiple conversations with lactation consultants during home visits (having to change out of pyjamas into respectable clothes, tut!). The consultants were lovely and offered some brilliant advice, as well as an electronic breast pump. Go, go gadget breast pump!
Rachel’s best friend who was a breastfeeding pro came by. Whisking her upstairs to try out different feeding positions (not what I had expected our bed to be used for) and Rachel came downstairs feeling like it could possibly work. Alas, when I found my wife crying with pain, toes curling and feeling like she was failing I decided enough was enough – ‘right we’re bottle feeding her’ I announced. At this point Ayla was 7-weeks old and I didn’t know why I hadn’t suggested it sooner. It would be ‘easy’. Then came our next hurdle.
The problem was Ayla didn’t know how to take a bottle, the health visitor told us about ‘nipple confusion’ which made me giggle, slightly (ok lots). We spent a fortune on different bottles and even borrowed some prem teats from the aforementioned bestie but Ayla was having none of it. She was used to the warmth and comfort of the bosom, just like her Dad….sorry. We tried multiple tactics to coax her to get her ounces. We dusted down the shot glasses and tried to cup feed her. Well, Rachel did – I would be chanting “DOWN IN ONE!” next to the feeding chair which offered little support.
Rachel had to battle on with the breast feeding, I had visions of Ayla being fully grown and still on there. A certain comedy sketch springs to mind. We kept trying to give her a bottle but it became an anxiety filled battle. She would become hysterical. Wondering where her best friend, mummy’s breast, had gone or why we kept force feeding her with these stupid plastic contraptions. We became irrationally worried about her intake and nutrition (looking back it was totally irrational as she was always on the 90+ percentile for weight).
While I went into an introverted panic mode offering little to no solution, my wife calmly did her research and found Mimijumi bottles. Mimijumi’s teat replicates the breast reducing nipple confusion. It actually really looks like a boob and feels different to the usual plastic teats. It’s also known to calm the baby which was a major relief as Ayla was having meltdowns without being fed. We ordered a set and anxiously awaited their arrival.
Ayla was now 16-weeks, the first time we tried the miracle bottle was a tense test of nerve. Ayla looked unsure, Rachel looked determined, I most likely looked dense. The feeling of relief when Ayla took the bottle was immense. Seeing your wife in pain several times a day to give your child the nutrition she needs leaves you feeling helpless. So, when we found the Mimijumi bottles, it was a ‘lifesaving’ moment. We combination fed Ayla for the next month then made the full switch to bottle only when Ayla was 5-months-old. This brilliant baby product has had the most impact on our day-to-day lives as parents.
Ayla is now 21-months-old and upon waking, the first thing I hear is “bot bot pease Daddy”. I am extremely proud of the progress Ayla has made and the perseverance and determination of my wife to find a solution. I could never have done it – quite literally – I have no boobies. In conclusion to the much debated question, breast or bottle, I’d say either… the most important thing is having a happy mummy and baby. It makes a Daddoo’s life much easier.