Baby Bottle Blues – When Your Baby Refuses a Bottle
With a new baby, I’ve always thought that traveling by car would be more convenient. Afterall, if we are in our own vehicle, there would be no way that a crying baby would disturb other passengers.
This is Japan, after all, where meiwaku (迷惑、being a nuisance) and kuuki yomenai (空気読めない、being painfully oblivious to one’s surroundings) are the big mustn’ts of society.
However, as I found out on our Golden Week drive to Ibaraki, being in a car seat is hard on a baby, at least our little one. For one, she can’t be held when she is fussy, which makes her cranky, and secondly, she can’t be nursed.
Before leaving for the in-laws’ house, I prepared a bottle as I knew I wouldn’t be able to nurse her. Her nap schedule is fairly consistent, so I thought that she would sleep as soon as she had a bottle. Up until our Golden Week road trip, whenever we took her out she slept for most of the car ride.
If only things were so simple.
To begin, I always see kids in cars here out of their car seat, kids bouncing around the backseat, kids who are way too young to be in the front seat. It’s only recently that all passengers are required by law to wear a seatbelt, but I always wondered about why police seemed so nonchalant when it comes to the literal safety and lives of kids.
When I took my driver’s license course last summer, I stumbled upon the answer, and it all made sense.
All passengers are required to wear seat belts. All children under six years of age are required to be in a car seat. But, there is a phrase in Japanese law that basically makes it irrelevant. every law concerning seat belts is preceded with the phrase “Yamu wo enai baai wo nozoku” (やむを得ない場合を除く)、 which translates to “unless it’s for compelling unavoidable circumstances.” As in, all children are required to wear seat belts…unless it’s for compelling unavoidable circumstances.
In our case, nursing a hungry, wailing baby definitely falls under such “compelling unavoidable circumstances.” But I didn’t want to risk her safety, even though the car was stuck in traffic. Anything can happen at anytime on the road, so I rather not risk it. Hence the bottle.
Baby, however, being a baby couldn’t understand why I was refusing to feed her.
Poor thing cried and cried and cried. I begged my husband to get off the toll road, take the local road and head for a storefront, fast food restaurant, gas station, any place just as long as he could park the car, and I could nurse baby.
Luckily for us, an exit was approaching and we got off at Kashiwa, a decent sized city in Chiba. Husband parked in Lawson’s (a convenience store) parking lot and baby was red and sweaty. Poor girl. We changed our driving strategy and stopped every hour so that she could nurse.
Baby Wearing is the Way to Go
Since our road trip, I’ve come to prefer take taking baby around town by bus and train. When she was just born, I would only take her in the Ergo Baby so that she would be close, and I could nurse her when necessary. I’ve even come to nursing her while doing chores at home.
This strategy was fine in February-March, but as the weather became warmer, having baby in the infant insert pressed against me was a bit uncomfortable for both of us. We’d both end up a sweaty mess.
At present, she can hold neck steadily, so I don’t need the bulky infant insert anymore- hurray! Last week I took baby to Shinjuku, in the heart of Tokyo, to pick up her passport. I used the stroller on the bus and train and put the Ergo Baby underneath. When I couldn’t find a nursing room, I simply took her out of the stroller, put her in the carrier, and nursed until she fell asleep.
Now, let’s go back to the issue on hand… introducing a sippy cup to baby.
She HATES bottles. Is it nipple confusion? Refusal to drink formula? Whatever it is, it worries me as we’ve got at least two long haul international flights booked this year. (In my heart, I’d love to take baby to Vienna in December, but…who knows?)
By the time September comes she will have already been introduced to solids, so I think I won’t have much to worry about on our flight to Brisbane. June, on the other hand, is fast approaching, and I’m trying to do what I can in less than one month to make things comfortable for baby.
I know part of the issue is her preference for breast milk over with formula. But, even when I pump, she doesn’t drink. This month, when I went out to my nail appointment, I woke up early expressed an entire bottle’s worth of milk. When I came home, she hadn’t drank anything. However, in March and April, when I went to my appointment, she drank from a bottle.
In a way, I regret not expressing milk continuously throughout her first month. I thought giving her the bottle, even with breast milk in it, would make it difficult for her to nurse successfully. It’s like she’s mastered the art of breastfeeding so much that she can’t (won’t?) take a bottle. She won’t use a pacifier, either.
At the same time since she nurses so well, I never have to worry about stumbling sleepily in the dark trying to prepare a bottle. We both fall back to sleep after nursing, and in the morning, I am super well-rested.
How Do You Say Sippy Cup in Japanese
I bought these two sippy cups- one with a spout and one with a straw. Despite working with kids, I had no idea how to call a sippy cup in Japanese. All of my students use suitou, or a thermos. They’d be insulted if I offered them a sippy cup.
After a bit of searching on Yahoo! Chie Bukuro, my to-go place when I need help with something in Japanese, I found out that sippy cups are toreiningu kappu magu– training cups and mugs- on online retailers like Rakuten and Amazon.jp.
I will try both the supauto (spout-type) first as it’s recommended for babies 5 months of age or older. Later, I will introduce her to the sutoro- botoru (straw bottle) type.
Hopefully, baby will take to one of them. She’s nearly 4 months old now. In a few more weeks, I’ll be introducing her to solids. It’s incredible how quickly time has passed!