Still More Bottlefeeding Multiples


Unexplained Crying

Hope someone out there can help with this one. My son, a little over four months old, has done this off and on since birth. By "this," I mean crying when trying to take a bottle. Here's the scenario: He gets hungry and begins to cry. A bottle is fixed for him. We calm him down a little and give it to him. He attacks it hungry as a little shark, but only for about 5-10 sucks. Then his face crumbles, and he begans to cry again, sometimes accompanied by a heart-breaking "I can't believe you're doing this to me" high pitched wail. :-(

This doesn't happen all the time, although for a while at around 2 months or so it was very frequent. Usually the only thing that will calm him down will be to lay him on his stomach in a lap, pat his back, and give him his pacifier. Then he'll drift off the sleep and just sleep through a feeding time. This behavior has become more common the past week, and it is frustrating to no end to not know what's wrong or how to fix it.

Here's what we've tried:
  • different nipples (for a while he liked playtex better than Johnson's; now that is reversed)
  • warming the bottle up to quite warm (sometimes works, sometimes not)
  • going to doctor (said ears & throat are fine and sometimes babies just do this)
  • sitting him almost completely upright (makes no difference)
  • get him sucking on a pacifier and make a "quick change" from it to a bottle (lately this has been working best)
  • holding it to one side of his mouth instead of dead center (worked one time)

Not only do I want to solve this just b/c I can't stand for him to have pain we might be able to solve somehow, but also because the daycare worker yesterday told me sometimes they have to just lay him down and let him cry it out, until he gets hungry enough to eat. :-( I know that's okay & won't hurt him, but it still makes me hurt inside.

What could it be? Gas? (tried phasyme twice, no relief) Early teething pain? Colic? (but it's only at feeding times, only sometimes, follows no set pattern of the day, and he's over 4 months.)I'm at a loss. Any advice appreciated; will try almost anything.

My daughter began to have what sounds like this same problem at 2 months. Her doctor said her gums looked like she was beginning teething (she didn't get any teeth till many months later). I figured that her gums needed soothing and thought that the rubber Playtex nipple that she was using might be causing too much friction on her delicate gums.

I switched her nipple to an Evenflo latex nipple (smoother against her gums) and gave her formula to her right out of the fridge (based on the idea of those cold teething rings). She loved her new bottle and continued to use it until she switched to a cup. When her brother started teething a couple of months later I switched him to the new nipple and he loved it too.

I hope this will work for you too. The Evenflo latex nipples for disposible bottles aren't easy to find. I only found them at a big Toys R Us store.

One of my twin girls occasionally has the same problem when feeding. Try a softer teat and perhaps warm the milk a bit more. Gentle head-stroking could also help! She doesn't cry when breastfeeding, only when I give her a bottle, so I thought it could well be related to the teat and or temperature. Also try and feed your baby rapidly before he gets too hungry. She is definitely the fussier of the two. You just have to try and continue feeding and ignore the crying.


Formula Foam

I'm using Gerber bottles/nipples with Similac Neo Care until I can switch my b/g twins to breastfeeding (another story on its own!). My husband and I were using ready-to-eat Similac with iron when the kids came home from the NICU until the ped told us to switch to Neo Care (powder). We didn't have any problems with the r-t-e, but we are having problems with a thick layer of "foam" in the bottles from the powder formula.

Are we doing something wrong, or is this to be expected from powder formulas? It really annoys me, and I can only imagine how it affects the babies. Would switching to Playtex nursers resolve this?

The formula shouldn't have any foam on it, unless, are you shaking the water/formula mixture in the bottle itself? Then it would tend to foam up. I used to mix mine up in two quart increments and use a wire whisk to mix it up. I didn't have any problem with foaming that way. What little did form went away quickly. I preferred the powdered formula because it was a lot cheaper to use.

The "foam" sounds like what we get when we don't rinse all the soap out of the bottles after washing them. It helps if you just use a small amount of soap with the bottles.

I have this same problem with powdered formula. I think it's just the nature of the beast!

We still got foam with the Playtex nursers, but not nearly as much. I would recommend the nursers if you're supplementing, though-- the sucking action seems to be closer to breastfeeding than with the other bottles.

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Clogged Nipples

We have several silicone nipples which seem to be clogged. Nothing comes out when we shake to check the temperature of the formula. Or no matter how hard the kids suck them.... They are 2 weeks old and washed in the dishwasher every night.

We tried the latex nipples and found that the holes would shrink in the dishwasher, this was *very* frustrating for the babies and for us, trying to figure out why they were still crying. We switched to silicone and they held their hole.

Make sure you haven't screwed the lids on too tight or too loose. Either way can prevent the milk from flowing good. I never had the silicone ones clog on me, but with the rubber nipples that would clog I would use a sterilized paper clip end to open the hole a bit. I suspect though that it's your lids causing the problem.

We have been using the silicone nipples by Gerber for 14.5 months now and we have never had a problem with them. I have never washed them in the dishwasher (don't have one!) I have always washed them by hand and when the babies were little we boiled them or put them through the sterilizer. Maybe you just got a bad package. The ones that I use have only one hole and it is very easy to see if they are clogged or not.

Maybe the formula isn't properly mixed and small chunks are blocking the hole.

One of the nurses in the NICU told me not to put nipples in the dishwasher at all because it causes them to get hard. I'm not sure which nipples she was referring to (latex or silicone), but I haven't listened to her advice and I haven't had a problem. I toss out old nipples every so often anyhow.


Leaking Disposable Bottles

Our disposable bottles leak. We have some of the Playtex system, some Gerber, and some Evenflo. We make sure to use the right rings and bases (the kids prefer the Gerber nipples). Any advice?

We have run into this on occasion. We primarily use the Playtex orthodontic nipples. We have a mix of Evenflo and Playtex bottles and rings.

What I observed was:

  1. Contrary to what you might think tighter is not necessarily better.
  2. Make sure the liner doesn't have any folds on the rim.
  3. Sometime in the last 7 months Playtex nipples got just a hair smaller and are more likely to leak. (probably not your problem since you use Gerber nipples)
  4. It doesn't seem to matter what mix of rings, nipples, bottles and liners you use.

Now item 1 sounds a little funny. What I finally discovered I was doing was overtightening the ring to try and compensate for the leak. What happens is the nipple "grabs" on the liner / rim and as you tighten it the ring tends to pull it out of position (off the rim) presto instant leak. At 0 dark thirty it is tough to figure these things out! Now I snug it down, check it and tighten slightly if needed. There is no good substitute for holding the bottle upside down over the sink for a couple seconds to make sure of your seal.

On item 2, folds will cause a minute gap that can (not always) cause some leakage. Minor ones are usually ok.

I will put in a plug for Evenflo bottles and Playtex liners. I like the design of the cap on Evenflo bottles much better because the inside of the cap stays protected even when the bottle is in use. You can set the bottle down on the ickiest of surfaces without worrying about the cap transferring it to the nipple (not true of Playtex caps). In fact, I am currently looking for a couple more 8 ounce Evenflo bottles. Everybody seems to be carrying Playtex only now - arrrgghhh!!!

We tried some off brand liners and they were no savings. They were very aggravating, didn't fit as well, and in general just weren't worth it. We pay the extra and buy Playtex liners now (haven't tried Gerber or Evenflo because Playtex is much more available in this area).

Good Luck - Wearing the bottle is no fun. I always seemed to end up with at least some of the leakage on me.


Nighttime Bottles

I need some advice on a problem I'm a little embarrassed to talk about. My 2.5 year old I/Bs take a bottle to bed every night (during the day they drink from regular cups).

I don't remember how or when I allowed this bad habit to become just that, but I'm sure it had something to do with being absolutely exhausted at the end of the day and desperately needing some time to myself. At least that is why I've allowed it to continue to this point, but it has left me feeling very selfish and neglectful.

I know the damage a bottle can do to their teeth and my only alternative at this point is to take them off cold turkey. Since I expect many hours of hysterical crying with a period of resentment towards me, I've planned a week off work to be with them.

Does anybody have any advice on how to help me help my children during this transition? It's going to be rough.

We had a similar problem. We had pretty much transitioned them to cups during the day, but we still would put them to bed for the night by holding them and giving them a bottle. One week, when they had colds and had trouble sucking anyway, Susan completely turned around the bed routine, reading them stories and giving them cups of water instead of the milk. I guess there was enough new going on that it worked, because they went to sleep pretty easily both that night and since then.

First of all, don't beat yourself up over this one. We all have done things that have developed into bad habits that need to be broken. Here are some suggestions (combination of what I did with my guys and what I've heard other moms do). Try what you think would work best with your kids. Good Luck.

1. Tell them matter of factly that they're big kids now and you're throwing the bottles out (and do it--if the bottles aren't in the house, you can't weaken. Maybe give them to a family with a baby that they know, so you can say, well, I gave those bottles to baby Peter, or whatever). (Are their other big kids they emulate? Can you say Mike down the street doesn't go to bed with a bottle, for example?) I'm not saying to say these things in a shameful way, but just matter of factly.

2. Give them a sippee cup (the Playtex kind that don't leak) filled with water. Tell them you need to save the milk for their meals during the day. (My guys will be 2.5 in a month and I try to explain as much as I can to them and remarkably enough, they usually understand, at least when I give them a reason they can understand).

3. I do think you're better off doing it cold turkey than stretching it out. But prepare them. For example, when they're drinking milk at dinner, tell them to drink as much as they want, because they won't be getting milk when they go to bed. Or offer them a glass of milk (maybe with a cookie) BEFORE they go to bed but then take the cup away when they finish before you actually put them in bed.

I, too, was guilty of getting into the bad habit of putting the girls to bed with a bottle. What I did was one day realized what a bad habit it was [ie: my brain started working again :)], and that night gave them some juice from a cup before bed and then tried a bottle of water at bed time. The girls HATED it. I felt horrible, but I told myself no more bottles to bed. That first night was not fun, but after 1 hour of crying (and checking on them), banging noises from their room (throwing tantrums - jumping up and down and trying desperately to break out of their crib), they were sound to sleep. (Bottle thrown across the room of course). After about one week of getting water, they really didn't care about a bottle. Each night got shorter and shorter with these tantrums.

Hang in there - you will eventually do it.

If you anticipate it being rough you may help make it rough. (self fulfilling prophecy)

What worked for us, with our daughter, was that in a store she spotted something she just had to have. (A Winnie the Pooh cup on a strap with a built in straw.) We told that she could have it if she gave us her bottle because it was for big kids and big kids don't have bottles. She must have been ready, because it went much better than we expected! It was late in the evening when we got home, so she was still excited about the cup the first night. The next couple nights she asked about it, but a reminder about the cup was all it took. You might see if you can find a pair of special somethings for your two.

Wendy, don't be embarrassed. There are lots of us who figured our kids might go to their high school graduation with a bottle (the kind with a nipple!). In our case, our daughter's bedtime bottle got entrenched during a period where we lived with my mom and dad for about a year. Once we were back home, there was just no getting rid of the "baba" without a horrible scene. Interestingly, a bout with diarrhea helped us, too. When she heard she couldn't have milk in the baba cause of her tummy she just howled. We finally gave in and allowed water. That week started to break the habit, but it hung on. Then we took her to the dentist for her first checkup. ("Dr. Vinnie," a kid's dentist). She liked him and wanted to do everything he said. So when I told her that Dr. Vinnie says kids shouldn't take bottles to bed, that also helped (she was unhappy, but wanted very much to please him) I also showed her the fillings in my teeth and explained that milk in bottles causes cavities, then you have to get fillings like mine and they're not very pretty (I thought I'd avoid the whole drilling and pain thing for now). Of course, what finally ended the nighttime bottle altogether was the birth of the twins. (So if you just want to have a couple more babies, you should be all set! :-) ) She started to associate bottles with the babies, and one day I realized she hadn't had one in a few weeks (come to think of it, we also associated giving up the nighttime bottle with going to bed in panties instead of pull-ups. Our deal was when she had 7 dry nights in a row, she could give up the pull-ups -- and there was no way that was going to happen till she gave up the bottles)

I don't think any one thing caused her to give up the bottles. It was really a combination of each one chipping away a little. And of her being ready. The nice thing is that by 2.5 or 3, you can actually reason with them a little. Hope some of these ideas help. Good luck!

I don't happen to think that what you have is really a problem! Our boys are not quite 2 1/2 and they take the Playtex spillproof cups to bed with them each night. We discussed it with the dentist who seemed to think that once they can fall asleep "by themselves" meaning having the cup nearby, but not actually in their mouths to drip puddles in their mouths all night long that it wasn't really a problem. We used to give them only water, but the dentist didn't seem to think that watered down juice or milk were a problem if we brushed their teeth in the morning. So far so good - beautiful teeth, no problems!

We live in a very dry climate and I sleep with a glass of water by my bed. If I can't make it through the night without waking up thirsty I don't expect my two years olds to do it!

I guess I would try to break them of falling asleep while sucking on the bottles if they still do that, but I'd recommend replacing the bottles with spillproof cups. Check with your dentist or doctor though!

Just my two cents!

Follow-up from Wendy: I just wanted to say, "thank you" to everyone who came to our aide and gave us great advice on weaning my twins from the bottle. IT WORKED!! We are 4 nights into no bottle and it went so much smoother than I thought possible. I think the boys were actually ready to give them up but not so on their own. My husband and I had decided to take the "cold turkey" approach when a friend of mine called and invited us to her farm to see her new baby lambs (twins!). My friend had been feeding the lambs with Evenflo bottles so I told the boys that 2 baby lambs needed their bottles. They said o.k. and put them in a bag and off we went. At the farm the boys got to feed the baby lambs. That night they asked for their bottles and when I reminded them that we gave them all to the lambs they had this look on their face like "oh no, what have we've done!" but they took the sippy cup and went to bed. The past couple of nights have gone equally as well. I can't believe we're done with bottles. Thanks again for all your help. Now on to potty-training!

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