I’ve Committed a Sin

Yesterday our son took his first bottle of breast milk. He was 21 days old, which is before the recommended time to introduce a bottle.

In our defense, there are so very many recommended timings.

“One month to prevent nipple confusion.”

“Six months before introducing a bottle”

“Never. Breastfeed for as long as you can.”

Which in my opinion creates a new kind of nipple confusion.

It’s been like this the whole time.

In general when you have a kid, even when you are thinking of having a kid, there are an infinite amount of recommendations on an infinite amount of topics. And — have no fear — they will all be conflicting. Reassuring isn’t it?

We gave him the bottle because, simply put, he’s a beast. He is hitting all the growth marks, laying pounds on like a wrestler after weighing in. I don’t mean to brag but he’s like in the top 1% of the Breastfeeding Club. He’s Valeniptorian. If he were left to his own (which makes no sense as he needs my wife to do this but for sake of the argument…) he would feed nonstop, coming up for air only to sleep on my wife’s chest. There’s no confusion. He knows what’s up. He’s clearly a smart boy and likely straight. We don’t judge.

My wife though, needs a break. Mastitis had appeared. And I don’t mean a break for a day. I mean a break for an hour. A chance to take a shower, eat at a table, stare out of a window…oh I don’t know, maybe breathe.

So I, the middleman, gave him the bottle. I mean, he’s no fool — he’s not going to take it from the source.

First though, to make sure my self-esteem about parenting would remain low, I made sure to google a bunch videos where baby after baby easily took the bottle on the first try. My son took 3 days to learn. The key to parenting at this point appears to be patience. That is the one recommendation I wish someone had said.

I did my best to do paced bottle feeding. Like I said, I’ve only been parenting for 21 days and I only heard about Paced Bottle Feeding three days ago, so ‘try’ is a key word. So you know Paced Bottle Feeding is controlling the flow of the milk to mimic breastfeeding. Give him some milk and then some time without milk when he continues to suck. That way hopefully my son doesn’t discover that technology has a faster, easier, and more expensive way to do this, and we can still keep him breast-fed for the majority of his food.

Now if only there was a paced parenting — a little bit of baby, and then no baby, a little bit of baby, and then no baby. Seriously, a learning curve with the life of your child at stake is bungee-lifing. I mean, where is my village?! If it takes one to raise a child — we’re fu*ked.

He took the bottle. My wife took a break. This might have been a mistake. This might be a miracle. Only time will tell.

I can’t live with the guilt that other people put on other parents. The constant sense of ‘you’re doing it wrong’. Everyone has an opinion, a recommendation, a tip, but in the end you can’t take them all.

The one thing I do know that is important to keep in mind in the face of the armada of advice you will receive is that people have been making babies since before they could make fire. So breathe. Village (yeah, that’s you), we’ll figure this out.