My daughter Evie was around 8 weeks old when her feeding aversion started. it was awful, i am a first time mum and had no clue what was wrong or what i was doing wrong with this little baby girl. Evie was a brilliant drinking quickly going from 4 oz bottles up to 6 nearly 7oz bottles within a couple of weeks. Then her jabs/immunisations were due.
Evie's jabs were fine she only reacted little but was very hungry which my family had reassured me was totally normal after jabs. All was fine because i was visiting my health visitor the following day. Well this is where it all went downhill pretty quickly. i was explaining my little baby was drinking fine, sleeping through the night she was perfect but after her jabs she didn't seem hungry. My health visitor then said that evie needed X amount of oz a day and that i must feed her regardless. So i did as the health visitor said i was forcing Evie to take her feeds and didn't think any different as that's what she was taking before.
2....4...5 weeks went past and she was nearly 13 weeks old and went from taking 28oz in 24hrs to 16/17oz. i was worried with shear panic, but i was going to see my health visitor anyway to get evie weighed. i got there popped Evie on the scales and she had only gained slightly and dipped on her centile line...... great! first time mum, i knew it was good but the lecture i got made me feel like i was doing absolutely everything wrong. The health visitor insisted i wake evie throughout the night and force her to feed..... The health visitors exact works were you baby is taking just enough to survive and if i dont feed my baby she will be taken into hospital. Whilst she was scaring the life out of me, i was explained that she was having plenty of dirty and wet nappies. so happy and smiley. reaching all of her milestones for a young baby. She didn't care and insisted i see my GP.
So the following day i go to visit the doctors. they examine evie and tell me there's nothing physically wrong with her. her head, tummy, leg, mouth all looks good. so they suggest a cow's milk protein intolerance. they put evie on Nutramigen.(no tests on evie, it was just to see if it worked) so i gave the nutramigen a week just to show some difference, with this evie was still refusing even more! so i was at my wits end and just tried the milk to see if it tasted any difference. The milk was rancid. so i booked another doctors appointment. I was seen quickly as she was really young, they then blamed the fact that it could be reflux and but evie on ranitidine 0.3ml 3x times. did this for a week again the milk intake just got lower and lower. Went back to the doctors and Health visitors and all they said was that some babies just don't like milk. My thinking ...... Whether she likes it or not, she needs milk? it's the only thing she needs. The health visitor then said if evie got to a point were her intake was as low as 15 oz in a 24hr period i needed to take her to the hospital straight away.
Well sunday came and she was refusing all of her bottles. 7oz she took from 7:30am. we took her the childrens ward at 4pm... to wait 4 hrs to be told to up her dose of her reflux medicine and she would be fine, and that physically there was nothing wrong with her and she looked fine.
Weeks went past were i was in tears most evenings knowing my baby was eating enough but still sleeping at night. my friend recommended that i joined reflux groups on facebook and discuss my issues and see if anyone could help me. so i gave it ago. i posted my story briefly and lord behold someone advised i joined the aversion feeding group. This is where the wonderful Lindsay Wark Comes to my rescue. I spoke with lindsay over the phone and messaged every single night. i luckily had a super lovely woman called Lauren and she sent me a copy of the rowena bottle feeding aversion book.
I read the book as often as i could. and it was like my new heaven. everything that was happening with Evie was in this book... i got brilliant guidance from this book and got taught methods of pressure feeding. I was force Feeding evie without evening knowing. I was doing this because i was told she needed X amount of oz in a day by Health professionals. i couldn't believe it. The following day i woke evie and that was the day she controlled her feeding. I offered the bottle but even the slightest grizzles i took the bottle away and offered again 3/4 hours later. She started to trust me and i had my happy feeding baby back. It was a long journey and most of the beginning part i spent on my own thinking what an awful mum i was being to my baby, i couldn't even feed her. Alongside reading the book i spoke with Lindsay and she advised me on different ways to get evie feeding with changing her milk, feeding her in a quiet room. stopping solids (which to me was my safety net as i knew if evie didn't take the bottle i had solids to give her). I'm still not completely over the aversion as i hate to jinx myself but i'm certainly getting out of it. My nearly 6 month old currently weighs 14 lbs 14 oz taking 22/23 oz a milk a day along with solids which i've just started introducing again. I honestly don't know what i would of done without Lindsay. She's amazing.
Words by Ellie, London, UK