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Dr Brown Saves the Day

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Dr Brown Saves the Day

IMG_5434When Lioness was first born, we learned to use the Habberman Bottle. It has a special valve and extra long nipple, which needs to be squeezed to shoot milk into the baby’s mouth. Because of the cleft palate, the baby doesn’t have a strong enough suction to nurse or even use a normal bottle. Dada was a pro at using the bottle and could feed the baby in record time, although most of the milk ended up on her clothing. Mama would spend forever feeding the baby only to realize I hadn’t been squeezing the bottle enough to accomplish anything. Sorry baby girl!

When Lioness was 4 weeks old, we had an appointment with a feeding specialist and were given the new Dr Browns bottle with a special pressurized valve. By chewing on the nipple, the baby controlled the rate at which milk shot into her mouth. Bottle feeding became much easier for all of us!

My mom came to visit when Lioness was 2 months old. It was so nice to have extra helping feeding the baby! Lioness would drink 2 oz in 20 minutes, then doze off, completely exhausted from the effort of eating. I had to feed her 10-12 times a day, to reach our quota of 24-27oz. That comes to a total of 4 hours a day feeding her. That’s on top of the 2-3 hours I spend making milk. Feeding this kid is a full time job!

Meanwhile, at 2 days old, our friend’s 5 lb preemie could drink an ounce in 10 minutes. You would think our 2 month old could eat faster than a newborn! So we tried using a stage 2 nipple (even though you’re not supposed to do that until 3 months old). What a game changer! Suddenly Lioness could drink her entire 4oz bottle in 20 minutes, and not even be tired! I had 2 hours of my day back! While my mom was visiting, she got Lioness to drink 30-35 oz 2 days in a row and did had nice jump in her weight gain.

At 3 1/2 months old, we suddenly had a bad week when it came to gaining weight. What went wrong? We weren’t doing anything different. I was giving her 24+ oz of milk a day, but each time I fed her, she’d soak 2 bibs and her outfit. We switched back to the stage 1 nipples, taking twice as long to feed her, but at least the milk was getting in her, and we had less milky laundry.

We had been told the Habberman nipples wear out, so maybe the Dr Brown’s nipples wear out too? We tried brand new stage 2 nipples and we were back in the game – drinking 4oz in under 20 minutes with minimal drooling! Woohoo!

The moral of the story is:
Dr Brown’s speciality valve is the best thing ever (for babies with cleft palate)!
– Using stage 2 nipples helps the baby can eat more without getting exhausted.
– Replace the nipples monthly, or when the baby starts wearing more milk than she’s drinking.
– The speciality valve fits in Dr Brown’s glass bottles, which leak less than the plastic bottles. Not to mention you get an extra workout holding such a heavy bottle.

As an extra bonus, I’ll add this tidbit of info: if the baby tries to suck on her fingers while drinking her bottle, she will end up very soggy!

Sometimes feeding this kid feels like a wrestling match. Keep your head on straight! Stop trying to look at your sister! Get your fingers out of your mouth! Stop trying to pull your bib off! Someday she’ll learn to feed herself, and I will miss bottle feeding her.

Becky is wife to Duane, mama to "Monkey-girl" and baby "Lioness" aka "PipSqueek." She is the administrative powerhouse for YWAM Bend and keeps our team grounded and organized. Her hope is to inspire and encourage other mamas in their journey to raise healthy, thriving families.
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