For the last six months, I have forced myself not to waste any space on this topic. Today, the wonderful people at Playtex have finally broken me down.
If you work for Playtex, it’s probably better that you skip this article. I don’t know anything about any other Playtex products, but its baby bottle division should be shuttered today. I mean clear out the plant and have it hermetically sealed so that the atmosphere is not contaminated by its vapors of ineptitude.
For such a simple device as a baby’s bottle, I have run into leaky bottles far too many times to mention. When getting a bottle ready to feed my sweet six-month-old daughter, I rate my chances of success at somewhere below 70 percent. That’s never good when you have a baby that is adamant about being fed in a timely manner.
For the first couple weeks of parenting you just blame yourself. I must be doing it wrong – maybe the bottom isn’t on properly, the sun was in my eyes, blah, blah, blah. But after preparing 4 to 6 bottles a day for six months – I have a pretty good idea of how the process is supposed to work. However, despite my best efforts, the bottles still leak, time and time again. Sometimes it leaks in the sink, other times all over the baby and most of the time on me.
Maybe I just got one bad batch of bottles? No dice. I have replaced the bottles on too many occasions. Sometimes by the pack, sometimes individually – but about 3 out of every ten bottles still spring the mysterious leak.
Why not get rid of the bad ones? Tried that to. Started cutting them in half after each mishap. This just led to a bottle shortage in the house.
When you constantly face a 30% chance of failure for something as simple as making a bottle – it can become a bit frustrating. Like most things in today’s society, these bottles are obviously designed to break down quickly. I suppose that’s supposed to be a good marketing strategy, but I’m not a big fan.
I think we would actually have more luck with one of those beer bong hats. It only took me 6-months to figure it out, but rest assured, Playtex has worn out its welcome for our baby!
Maddie decided that due to recent shortcomings in the feeding process, she was ready to grab the bull by the horns, literally! The little girl has always sported an impressive grip, but we still thought it would be some time before she was able to hold onto the bottle all by herself.
Well with Maddie, the surprises just keep on coming.
Maddie and her mom were knocking out the night time feeding when the baby decided that enough was enough. The bottle was within reach and the little girl made her grab for glory! The baby stripped the bottle away like a linebacker and just kept on drinking – didn’t even spill a drop. Maddie’s mom says it all just happened so fast.
Gina eyed the baby with curiosity and disbelief in her eyes – “John,” she called, “C’mere, hurry!”
I rushed into the room and sure enough, Maddie had a kung fu death grip (both hands) locked onto the bottle. As usual, she was gulping it down as if these were the last precious ounces that might ever pass her lips. She had the look that seemed to say, “I have assumed control of this bottle. Any attempts to dislodge or take this bottle away will be met with brute force. Resistance is futile!”
It will still be sometime before the baby can actually feed herself, but for one triumphant evening, she cut the parents out of the food consumption process and made a statement about what we might expect in the months to come.
“You have interfered with my meals for the last time,” inferred Maddie. “The next time I don’t get the bottle when I want it, you will have to deal with these super human hands of destruction.”
It seems that Maddie would have us believe that she has already had her hands registered as lethal weapons. Don’t get me wrong, she does have an amazing grip – but she might have to keep her ridiculous parents around for just a little bit longer, possibly for burping purposes.
Maddie has never been overly impressed with the people tasked to feed her – but some recent stumbles during the feeding process have forced the baby to reevaluate the competency of the people around her.
For the second time in two days – our household has been rocked by catastrophic nipple failures. This occurs when you are more than halfway through a bottle-feeding and the nipple jams up. But there is no way for the feeder to know this and the only way to discover that this breakdown has taken place is the rising anxiety of a very frustrated baby.
Maddie quickly determines that this nipple stoppage is the result of saboteurs bent on starving her to death. She starts to flail as the ignorant feeder fumbles for an explanation. The baby’s eyes are on fire now as a crimson hue rises from her cheeks and creeps up to her forehead. Then the screaming kicks in as the feeder struggles to contemplate the cause of this latest outburst.
- Is it gas? Attempts to burp go very badly.
- Is it the diaper? You just made things worse.
- Place the bottle back in the mouth? Now you really did it!
The temper tantrum has reached fever pitch and the little girl has turned to the dark side! The feeder is reeling now, trying to figure out what to do tied down to the train tracks as a 60 mph freight train is only moments from impact.
Wait, it’s never happened before, but – could there be a problem with the bottle? I point the infernal device at my arm and squeeze. Not a drop?? Go to DEFCON 3, we have complete nipple failure.
By this time the baby is insane. It’s time for the Ozzy Osbourne emergency procedure – bite the head off of the nipple and execute a commando roll into the kitchen for a new one. Tough to do with the baby in one arm, but it’s the last and only hope for survival. With a bomb maker’s precision, the new nipple is secured using only one hand.
The hysterical child finally gets the repaired bottle and suddenly the house falls quiet. The feeder is left with their muddled thoughts, punishing headache and a wild disdain for those evil nipple gods!
Now that Hurricane Irene has come and gone, we are back to the business of focusing on our vivacious little vixen, Maddie. Today is actually a graduation day for Maddie’s dad, who now gets to add the title of bottle feeder to his honorary duties of burper, diaper-changer and swaddler.
Before we talk about the intricacies of bottle-feeding – we must first pay homage to the world of the SWADDLE!
More than a year before Maddie was born, I spent a great deal of time with my friends Mike and Connor and his newborn daughter, Kaleigh.
I was always amazed at the lockdown swaddle technique he employed when he wrapped Kaleigh up tight. He would vacuum seal his little girl’s squirming body like a sausage and suddenly, all would be right in Kaleigh’s little world.
As soon as Maddie was born – I always remembered my hard-knock swaddle lessons from her Uncle Mike. My wife is still amazed when the baby starts swinging for the fences and I employ the intricate Maddie Mummy Maneuver. Once the baby is strapped securely into her papoose – she gives me that look that says, “Took you long enough!”
But as I told you at the beginning of the story – today I made my first awkward attempt at bottle-feeding. I understand that this is a technique that must be truly perfected before you can become a true Stay Home PaPa.
It must be very boring to be fed by me – because Maddie kept falling asleep on the bottle. I finally got her take the whole thing – but not without a great deal of cajoling and prodding. Obviously, there will be many more chances to get my technique worked out – but it will never be as fun as the “Lockdown Swaddles.”