A lot is written about ‘nipple confusion’. Breastfeeding mums are warned to stay away from bottles and pacifiers for a few weeks after birth so that baby does not get confused between the different sucking motions needed for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.
Having read all this, I duly went into hospital to have BabyBoy and BabyGirl armed with a birth plan that said ‘no formula, bottles or pacifiers to be given’, and intending to avoid all of the above for the first month at least.
Due to some issues, BabyBoy and BabyGirl did need to be supplemented while we were in the hospital. Latching was a big problem (often the case with twins as they tend to be born earlier). So we syringe-and-finger fed the babies as necessary. Until the last day of my hospital stay, when a midwife looked me in the eye and said ‘you have twins, you are not going to be able to do that at home’.
She was right, of course. I couldn’t even syringe-and-finger feed one baby on my own. We had two hungry babies. Tandem-feeding is only really possible with bottle or breast, and it is much easier and quicker to bottle feed rather than syringe-and-finger feed. If there was any chance of one of us getting some sleep, it would have to be a bottle. Reluctantly, but with the doctor’s advice, I took the one offered.
And you know what? It made not a blind bit of difference. BabyBoy and BabyGirl (once they got the hang of latching) switched between bottle and breast and pacifier for 6 months with absolutely no issues whatsoever.
Nipple confusion? If it does exist I suspect the way to avoid it is to offer both breast and bottle from early on so that baby doesn’t get used to one particular motion. And obviously use a slow-flow teat and breast-like bottle (for us, the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature range worked like a charm).
Or maybe the whole issue is a bit of a storm in a teacup.