Monday, July 20, 2009

Bye Bye Bottle!

Well, folks, as of today Connor is officially off the bottle.

Yes, I have a child who is three years old and still uses a bottle. He doesn't chew, and he has trouble swallowing, so a bottle was the only way we could get enough nutrition down him before the g-tube placement to keep him from starving. There he is at around four months old, eating for his Daddy. It's apparently a very serious business.

The crazy thing is that I never intended to have him on a bottle in the first place. The original plan, way back in the naive early stages of my pregnancy, was for me to breastfeed for the first year and then switch him directly to a cup. Even after we found out (at about week twenty) that Connor would have multiple medical issues, I still thought that I'd be able to breastfeed. After all, it was the natural thing, right? Surely it couldn't be that hard.

Then Connor was born. And for the first month of life, due to intestinal malrotation he didn't take anything by mouth at all. He spent the next month with an NG tube, and after that he needed so many extra calories that my milk alone wasn't going to sustain him. So much for breastfeeding.

I pumped every four hours around the clock. For six months, I did this. I had one of those loud beeping alarms I'd set, and every four hours, when it went off, I'd hook myself up to what I called my "Madonna Bra" (You know the one I'm talking about) and spend the next half an hour watching trashy late-night shows on my parent's television. It got to where I didn't let down to Connor crying-- I let down to that alarm clock, elevators sounding the floors, trucks backing up, fire alarms . . . you get the idea. I never had much of a supply, and our move cross-country when Connor hit six months old killed it entirely; I dropped down to using the machine only at night for the duration of our trip when I discovered to my horror that if I pumped while sitting in the passenger seat no matter how I arranged blankets, sweaters, etc I gave every trucker passing us on the highway a perfect view of the proceedings. I've never been honked at so much in my life. At any rate, by the time we reached the Pacific Northwest and I tried to resume my former schedule it was too late and my supply had dried up.

Now that you know way, way more information than you ever wanted to know about my boobs, back to the present. One of the reasons that we had the g-tube placed was that we wanted to start trying to work Connor down off the bottle and on to a cup, but we needed a safety valve to make sure he was still getting all of the nutrition he needed. There was also the fact that every time he gets sick or stressed, he refuses to eat. Like right now, for example. For the past four days, Connor has completely refused to take any liquid by mouth. I suspect this is yet another reaction to Jer being deployed; he shakes his head no when I offer it to him and says "Daddy," which I assume means that he'll drink again when Daddy gets home. He's staging his own little hunger strike in protest of the current situation. Maybe he's been surreptitiously been reading up on Gandhi when I think he's napping.

He'll take a few bites of pureed food, and maybe a couple of sips from a cup, but he's totally rejecting the bottle. Before we had the g-tube, this kind of behavior usually resulted in me becoming increasingly frantic in trying to get food to pass my son's clamped lips, a trip to the hospital for fluids after a couple of days, and him losing nearly all of the precious weight he'd gained over the few months prior. The g-tube has taken nearly all of the stress and danger out of the situation. He doesn't want the bottle? Fine.

Since we're trying to wean him off of the bottle anyway, there seems little point in trying to get him to drink from it again just so we can slowly transition him to the cup. So Connor's speech therapist and I talked it over today and decided to quit the bottle cold turkey. This means that most of his nutrition will probably be coming through a g-tube while he slowly, slowly learns to drink more than an ounce at one sitting out of a cup, but at least his teeth will be safe from bottle rot. It also means that I should probably talk with our nutritionist about making my own enteral formula, as I really don't care for the stuff I have to put down his tube at night (do you know just how much of that formula is made out of corn? A whole lot, that's how much) so I'd rather not make it his whole diet if I can help it. At any rate, we'll see how things go.

Not really sorry to bid the bottle goodbye, though.



leah said...

Good luck with switching to the "big boy cup!" Are you going to a plain, open cup (yikes!) or to one of those with a sippy lid? We love those tupperware cups that have a lid with a spout, but no spill proof valve for learning to drink out of a cup. Nolan still drinks out of a sippy cup with a valve (so that it acts much like a bottle).

We've been given DuoCal to try up up the calorie content of what Nolan does drink (he doesn't eat much, but he'll drink)! I can see the benefit of a g-tube, where you don't have to panic while working on getting them to learn to eat.

Julia said...

Oh, yes -- I remember the Madonna bra. I'd be sitting at a stool at the counter, hooked up to the machine, and Neil would walk into the kitchen and I'd just moo at him. That gentle lullaby of "SQWOOOSH hummmm SQWOOOSH hmmmm" ad nauseum. Good luck with the transition!

Lucas'Mommy said...

ahhhh, the dream of breastfeeding. I tried for 3 months, with 45 minute feedings every 3 hours and a nipple shield. It just wasn't working. So, from 3 to 12.5 months, I pumped with my Madonna bra like clockwork, just like you. Near the end, my supply also dwindled. I always thought breastfeeding was supposed to be so easy and natural! Not for this mama....

terena said...

wow. big step. congratulations Connor for starting this big transition.

Kierstyn said...

lol!!! Elevator beeps and fire trucks! That's hilarious!

Good luck with the big switch.

Katy said...

My little one has cp and at a certain point he just start boycotting the bottle completely. Now he only drinks from a regular cup, which usually results in plenty of water all over him. We just swaddle him a big towel and let him have at. . . as long as he's drinking, right?

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