I put mascara on today... Having a baby with a Bottle Aversion stripped me of everything. It stripped me of my confidence, my identify, my belief in myself as Claire and as Mum, but most devastatingly it stripped me of my relationship with you, my beautiful Sofia.
Before becoming a Mum I was a very self assured woman. I was balanced, rational and above all else happy in myself and loved my life. Then you came along and, gosh, you were perfect. How did we manage to create such an incredible little human being? You. Were. Our. World. Fast forward two months and our world was becoming a lot more challenging than we ever expected it to be.
You were diagnosed with chronic reflux and a cows milk allergy, prescribed medication and specialised formula. Then you were weighed and I think that was the beginning of the end. You should weigh more. They say you need to weigh more. Why don't you weigh more? The 'Curve'. You're not where you should be on the 'Curve'. We aren't doing this right. We are failing you. We aren't good parents. If you're not gaining weight, we are failing you! So the simple solution? Drink more milk. You need to take more milk. You have to take more milk. You must take more milk. You have no choice. Drink the milk, drink the milk, Sofia, just drink the bloody milk. You can't be underweight, you can't be under on the curve, we are awful parents if you don't put on weight.
The professionals say we must get the milk into you, try even when you are sleeping...Drink. The. Milk. Turns out that wasn't the simple solution. In fact, pressuring you to drinking the milk was the worst thing we could have done. Who would have known that a 3 month old babe could give you the big FU and just stop drinking. Point blank refusal. This wasn't due to the initial days of discomfort drinking cows milk. This was very clearly due to the pressure we put on you and, quite rightly, you took matters into your own hands.
Riddled with the most awful anxiety, a shell of the person I once was, frantic Google searches about the bottle refusal commenced and we stumbled upon Rowena Bennetts book, Your Babies Bottle Feeding Aversion. Gosh, this book was you. Every single word, it was you. And more importantly, it was us. At the advice of the professionals, we had done this to you.
Another Google search and we found the people who was going to save me, save you and save our family, Lindsay from Rowena Bennett's company Baby Care Advice. Someone who we owe everything to. There are very little words that exist in this world that could ever describe the gratitude we have for Lindsay. As a fellow Aversion Mama, Lindsay, a Feeding Consultant, got it!! And some! And so the teaching and support began.
To say it was the most difficult thing we have gone through would be an understatement. Allowing you to refuse every bottle, removing all the pressure, watching your volumes drastically drop, feeling like we were on the cusp of an admission to hospital was the worst time of our lives. However, Lindsay was there every step of the way. Providing gentle guidance that was honest, raw and invaluable. Every question was answered, every fear was acknowledged and every doubt was balanced beautifully with hope. Lindsay taught us the most important lesson that we will take with us through the rest of your life, trust.
We learnt to trust you. 3 months of hard work getting her to eat and 2 weeks to regain her trust and for us to learn to trust that she knew all along how much she needed to eat You started accepting your bottles and we couldn't have been more proud. We stopped pressuring you and let you be in control. Something we would have never achieved without Lindsay’s daily support. Finding Baby Care Advice and Lindsay felt like we had been sent a Guardian Angel to rescue us from the hell we were living. She will never, ever, understand her true worth, not just as a Feeding Consultant but as a beautiful human too. Her kindness, love and selfless nature is in abundance and those who know her are very lucky to have her in their lives. I put mascara on today. A little bit of me was back. I finally felt like you were beginning to love us. I finally felt that we would be ok."
Want to learn more?
Learn more about feeding aversions here.