Harper's Story

As a mother of 2, I couldn't imagine going through I baby with bottle aversion. I thought I was doing everything right to make sure my daughter was "well fed." Harper was 38 weeks c-section and stayed at the hospital for one week due to fluid in her lungs and was on CPAP to help her breathe.

She was on a feeding tube during that time and weaned off after her breathing improved. I was frantic when she was in the NICU, and I wanted to do the very best to make sure she was eating. She had lost 12 oz because they couldn't feed her due to her rapid breathing.

I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my 2nd child because I didn't get that opportunity with my first one. I decided to see a lactation consultant within two weeks; I noticed I felt I wasn't giving her enough because she would fall asleep on the breast. I was recommended to "triple feed" for two weeks to determine my mild production and offer what I pump after breastfeeding; since then looking back, I think I offered her the breast, then bottle like every 1-2 hours! She started to fall asleep right when I put her on the breast or bottle, and she started to suck slower. Initially, I was thinking, that's odd for her to sleep so much after her nap. Now thinking back...I now realise, she was "tired of all the eating and basically shut down during feeds" But during that time period, I took her back to the lactation consultant and told her her latch was weak, and she reexamined me and said "yes it's weak and she might have a tongue tie" and get it evaluated.

Her intake seemed ok she was roughly eating 2 oz at times every 2 hrs. At her paediatrician appt, at one month, I mentioned how slow she was eating and how she was falling asleep on the breast; my paediatrician tells me to "wake her up to feed her and wake her up overnight". So that's what I did, I woke her up to eat, little did I realise she already was tired of eating, and waking her up was "forcing or pressuring" her to eat her bottles. From about 2.5 months, I was worried about her eating because she was eating so slow and sleep all the time; ENT tells me no tongue tie, so I go back to my Pedi doctor, and he tells me, that I wasn't giving her enough volume and I need to feed her at least 3 oz every three hours, so I did was I was told feed until she can eat 3 oz.

Whatever it took...feeding her on bopping, burping and burping her and offering the bottle several times in the hour thinking that "oh she needs to eat to gain weight" All the pressure on her by that time, she refused all her bottles!! I knew on my own what had happened. Harper became averse to eating, and there was nothing I could to get her to eat. She was bloated and couldn't handle 3 oz bottle and started arching her back and vomit after her feeds.

Initially, I thought she had reflux, so she was on reflux medication. We were sent to GI for feeding intolerance. We were switched to several different formulas and put on a hypoallergenic formula. The Program After researching about bottle aversion, I came to Lindsay's website and read her journey. It was very uplifting to know another mother like me has gone through something similar and also I needed that support to get my baby to eat again. I was under a lot of stress at home. My husband wasn't supportive at the time because he told me I was offering too many times, but somehow my anxiety of thinking that "I had to feed my child" didn't connect that I was force feeding her at all. The more she refused, the more anxious I got!

My anxiety started to build up and restless nights trying to feed her.

Lindsay's gentle approach and reassurance helped me understand what I was doing. She guided me step by step, and we chatted online and via video to watch Harper's progress. We came up with a plan to help her trust me and the bottle again. Lindsey opened my eyes on Harper's feeding journey. Harper had control of what she wanted to eat and when she wanted to eat. After some trials and tribulations over two months, Harper started to eat like a normal baby, eating when she's ready and happy and satisfied!! Lindsay was able to tell me the process of bottle aversion and what it would take to trust the bottle again.

My biggest problem I had to overcome, looking at "how much she ate with each feed" after watching her behaviour instead of volumes that's when it started to fall into place!!! The Path Forward Now I feed when Harper is ready, and she happily takes the bottles with no refusals!! My endpoint for myself "Feed with no pressure, make it a happy experience and be patient" She makes eye contact with me and smiles. I have the stepping stones now to guide Harper's feeding journey as the years to come!!

Words by Julie, Texas, USA

Lindsay Wark