Feeling like the worst mum ever! BF related...

(23 Posts)
Paintyourbox Thu 20-Dec-12 12:36:34

DD is 6 months old today and in 3 weeks starts nursery. She has had 2 settling in days so far and was really upset during both.

Today the nursery manager called and told me they were concerned as DD won't take a bottle. This has always been the case (and I have every brand of bottle/teat/formula etc you can imagine).

I have always been straightforward with the nursery about this and we have had limited success with a doidy cup so have sent that to settling in days with her. I have raised my concerns during the 4 previous meetings we have had with them and they have always just dismissed it and said it will be fine. (I get the impression they thought I was being a neurotic new mum!)

Today the nursery manager told me if DD is upset for more than an hour we will have to come and take her home. Easier said than done given that I work in a different place every day and DP is a doctor in a busy hospital.

She asked why DD wasn't weaned off the breast yet and said I need to do this ASAP. I am weaning her on to solids but its a slow process. Now I feel like I have let DD down by not getting her off the breast quick enough.

It's really getting me down having tried bottles every day since she was 12 weeks old. I feel bad enough that I have to go back to work and leave her but this is making me feel worse.

Sorry for the rant but have been in tears for the past hour and really need to get it off my chest.

tiktok Thu 20-Dec-12 12:58:54

Aw, Paint sad sad

The nursery manager should not be pressurising you to wean.

Weaning from the breast will not help the situation.

Instead, it risks distressing your baby even more.

She is only a young baby still, and getting used to new people in a new environment is a huge change for her. Helping her acclimatise to this can be done in different ways - smaller lengths of time, or staying with her for some of the time, until she builds up to the time she needs to be there. Taking away a major source of comfort and connection - breastfeeding - at the same time as getting used to this different place and people makes no sense at all.

Nurseries don't have to give a bottle. Your dd's distress may be linked with them pressurising her to have one, rather than being gentle and persuasive with a doidy cup. Your dd does not need that sort of fight.

This is something that would make me wonder how suitable the nursery is to care for your baby - they're the ones who should be feeling bad not you!

BurnThisDiscoDown Thu 20-Dec-12 13:05:23

My DS started nursery at 8 months and was still bf; he wouldn't take a bottle either and just fed like mad off
me when we got home. I appreciate it's different for your little one being a bit younger and not on as many solids yet, but of she'll take a bit from a doidy cup to get her through it might not be too bad? Don't think the nursery sound very helpful though sad

Aloha31 Thu 20-Dec-12 13:07:45

Please do not worry!! My DD started creche at 7 mo and would hardly take the bottle. She was fine! They kept trying one bottle in the middle of the day (before or after her nap) but she was ok just on my bf in the morning, when I got home and before bed. She wasn't feeding through the night at that stage, they just self regulate. A baby won't ever starve his/herself.

This may make you feel even better - a friend had to go away when her DS was 7mo for 2 nights so suddenly had to stop bf. Granny was there and her DH, DS wouldn't take a bottle off anyone. She didn't return to bf and kept trying the bottle. He would not take a sip of any liquid until after the age of 1! She even tried to reestablish bf, but he was having none of it! The HV was unconcerned - he was happy, putting on weight, and taking in bits of milk with his food by this point, as will your dd in a few weeks. Babies usually self regulate.

I remember ho stressful it is trying to introduce the bottle - it can lead you to tears!! The point is - do not worry! Your baby will not starve herself. I had a few comments from the creche worker, but I knew DD not taking much bottle was unrelated to my bfing, so just got on with it and thanked them if they ever said anything. I only just stopped bfing a few weeks ago when DD was 17mo (was just one morning feed).

Enjoy your last couple of week of maternity leave, relax lots and don't worry! The bond just keeps getting stronger and stronger, you can till have lots of quality time when you go back to work!

smile

ZhenThereWereTwo Thu 20-Dec-12 13:10:01

I agree with everything tiktok said.

You are not a bad mum!

You have done the right thing and exclusively breastfed your child to six months of age as per the current advice.

The nursery are wanting to make life easier for themselves, not make the transition as easy as possible for your baby.

I would seriously consider changing to another nursery or a childminder.

My dd1 bottled refused so just had food and water during the days that I worked from 7 months old. She reverse cycled and caught up when I got home. She just needs time, tlc and patience.

mellowcat Thu 20-Dec-12 13:18:14

You have not let your daughter down.

However, I can see this from both sides, having cared for babies in nurseries who will not take a bottle. It is awful for everyone involved. As a practitioner, you feel desperately sorry for the baby and the parent as well as guilty that you are unable to provide good enough care for them.

I think that the nursery manager was wrong to speak to you in the way that she did, but actually right in insisting that you come to get your baby if she is distressed for more than an hour as this can feel like a lifetime to an infant so young. It can also be very distressing for the other babies present.

More practically, could you meet with your baby's key person and devise an action plan as you still have three weeks to go? This should include persisting with the doidy cup, but could also include offering your baby fluids from a spoon. Could you leave a top or blanket that smells of you for the kp to drape over themselves as they try to feed your baby?

Other things I have done include asking the mum to record themselves singing to play to the baby during the day and having lots of photos of family and other familiar objects around.

Is there any way at all that you would be able to pop in to the nursery to feed your baby during the day? Or do you have any options at all for your baby to attend half days until she is more settled?

Finally, I know this is next to impossible, but try to stay positive and calm...this too will pass...as your baby will pick up on your anxieties.

neontetra Thu 20-Dec-12 13:20:44

The nursery are being awful. There is absolutely no need for you to stop bf just because you are returning to work. I work full time and bf my 8 month old dd every morning, evening and weekend - if I'd had to stop I and she would have been so sad. If you are anything like me and dd, being away from each other all that time in the day you will crave the closeness of bf in the evening.
The nursery need to get a grip on this, and I'm surprised that experienced cc professionals cannot cope with an upset child. Your dd can have formula in cereal, and should take enough liquid from her cup to stop her dehydrating, which is the issue here. The nursery sound very bullying - is there another in the area, or a childminder who may have spaces?

you are not a bad mum and don't need to rush weaning. i had the same problem with ds. he wouldn't take a bottle but eventually had water from a cup at nursery. he made up for it with night feeds. so long as she is hydrated and taking some solids i wouldnt worry to much.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 20-Dec-12 13:37:51

You are not a bad mum, you have given your dd a fabulous start. I would hower advise finding childcare that is much more supportive of bfing. My bf is a cm and she copes with bfing bottle refusers just as well as ffers.

Paintyourbox Thu 20-Dec-12 17:19:42

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your responses, I decided to pop in and visit the nursery and explain my concerns. They don't have a designated key worker for each child so you seem to explain things 3 times over to the three girls who work in the baby room.

I asked the manager if we could go over the notes about DD's settling in days together as I was worried about the milk issue. It turns out that although I supplied the formula and doidy cup (and explained to the staff they needed to give her the milk from the cup), they decided to just use the bottle instead and then DD got upset and refused any milk at all!

I clarified the point about upset babies and when they decide to call parents, the manager told me that they will call any parent if their DC is upset for an hour or more and ask them to come and collect their child. I said that I believe that is a fair point but what about when they are having a bit of an off day and just generally grisly? The manager said the same policy applies.

I said that I felt the best way to move forward was for us to try and get milk into DD via other routes I.e. I will provide her food mixed with some milk and she will drink water from a cup and that to my mind this would be an effective way of keeping her hydrated and fed. The manager seemed to agree with this suggestion.

I think I may look for other childcare providers as I get the impression they very much want DD to be set into their routine of eating so it saves time sitting with her and giving milk from the cup.

tiktok Thu 20-Dec-12 17:45:11

Good for you for persuing it, Paint.

The lack of a key worker would raise my eyebrows - good practice is for each baby to have one, yes?

PolterGoose Thu 20-Dec-12 18:08:54

Just to add, stopping BFing isn't going to make your dd take a bottle, seems a bizarre suggestion to me confused

I'd be looking at other childcare providers too.

EMS23 Thu 20-Dec-12 19:09:15

I can't help with the bf issue as mine are/ were ff but the nursery doesn't sound great.
I got an unexpected job offer when DD1 was 6mo and lucked out getting her into a fab nursery. They very much do whatever they can, for the child, which it doesn't sound like yours is doing.
Are there any other nurseries you could look at? 3 weeks isn't too late, if you could get a place.

DD1 is 2yo now and along the way there have been various things I've needed their help and support with and they've always been great. This is a pretty big issue and there will be others (potty training etc), so you need to feel like they're on your side and that you trust them.

PoppyWearer Thu 20-Dec-12 19:22:59

I haven't had a chance to read all of the other posts but wanted to offer my support.

My DC1 was a bottle-refuser when she started nursery at 6mo. Nursery were fine with it and worked on her patiently. Eventually (many weeks later) she cracked and took a bottle. In the meantime she had a big bf before and after nursery (in the car park!) and was given lots of yoghurt, cheesy mash, milky cereal in between.

In the weeks before she started nursery I had tried everything to get her to take a bottle and had become very stressed and unhappy about being a mum because it worried me so much. Going back to work was a huge relief. It shouldn't have been like that - the nursery were superb.

A friend has a similar story about one of her DCs, refused bottles and just never had bottles at nursery. The nursery dealt with it.

The first thing I would say is that the nursery should be supporting you. You won't be the first or last mum in this situation. This is their job (that is what my nursery told me).

The other thing I would suggest is trying a straw cup with your baby? My DC2 wanted to copy his big sister from a young age and whilst he will take bottles has done really well with straws too.

Good luck OP, and don't let this spoil your last weeks at home together x

Find another nursery.

My DS started nursery at 5.5 months as an avid bottle refuser. The nursery weren't bothered at all. The only thing that has bothered them is he's ruined their perfect record of turning bottle refusers around! Seven months old now, and he still won't have a bar. They've patiently and persistently tried a cup with him - I've bought the same cup which I've been trying to use every day with him at home. They also mix my EBM into all of his food for him. They are not telling me to wean him off the breast ASAP (we would have got him out of there SO QUICKLY if they had) - instead, they provide me with a chair as soon as I get there and I BF him while they tell me about his day.

Take your business elsewhere! Stressful at such short notice, but not as stressful as knowing your baby's getting sub-standard care.

leedy Thu 20-Dec-12 19:50:06

The fact they didn't even try baby with the cup you provided makes me think you should definitely find somewhere else - that's really inconsiderate and unhelpful.

Skiffen Thu 20-Dec-12 20:14:29

I would definitely have a look round at some other nurseries and childminders. It is an unusual nursery these days that doesn't operate a keyworker system, as so much research shows that children under 2 need one figure with whom to build a relationship and feel safe. I would worry about having to repeat info so many times as their communication strategies clearly aren't working. 6 months is tiny, you need to be really happy that she's in a good, repsonsive childcare environment. I think the bf/cup/bottle issue is secondary to all this.

FWIW, my DDs have never taken bottles or had any formula, and DD1 was barely eating when I first went back to work (although she was older 10 months ish) and the CM was brilliant, did a really gradual settle programme and never panicked me. It worked out fine as they both got a bit more into solids when the milk bar wasn't on perma-offer and they saw other children eating. I kept bf when at home with them with no issues. There is no need to stop bf if you have good, supportive childcare in place.

Good luck.

SeeYouSoon Thu 20-Dec-12 22:10:59

I went back ft when my ds was 7m old, he wasn't a bottle refuser before, but decided that he wasn't happy having ebm when he was at the cm, I think just because he associated milk (bf) with mummy and bottles with daddy and not the new lady, even though he was in all other ways perfectly happy there and settled in easily. it was fine, he caught up on feeds when we were together and just ate food and drank water there. After about a month or so, he started taking the bottles as the cm just kept gently trying him with them with no pressure. What I am trying to say is that it's not as big a deal as the nursery are making out, and their reaction to it would be making me think twice about them bring the right place for you, if I were you.

Good luck smile

SamSmalaidh Fri 21-Dec-12 00:05:15

I believe it is not just good practice but a statutory requirement for Ofsted registered providers to operate a keyworker system. This nursery sound very disappointing.

Paintyourbox Sun 30-Dec-12 19:14:42

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to update you. I had a long think and really wasn't comfortable to put DD in a nursery who would ignore my wishes.

I have found a lovely CM who isn't at all phased that DD bottle refuses and says she has met many children who refuse a bottle.

Thanks for all your advice!

tiktok Sun 30-Dec-12 23:41:40

Thanks for the update....hope you told the nursery why you changed your mind smile

RubyrooUK Sun 30-Dec-12 23:48:41

Glad it worked out. My experience was just like Elphaba's - bottle refuser till the bitter end but the nursery had no problems with this at all. It was very supportive. Happy you've found someone who can meet your needs.

Skiffen Mon 31-Dec-12 17:04:12

Brilliant, glad it's worked out for you!

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