Hitting the bottle

16 Sep

Combining formula with breast feeding is certainly piling on the pounds but reliance on a bottle is not without its drawbacks.  This week saw me flying south to visit the grandparents.  Having never travelled with such a young baby who is bottle feeding, I was thrown into confusion.  Rules have tightened considerably since I last travelled with a young baby.  In order to take a bottle through security I knew I would have to drink from the bottle, not only extremely unpleasant but contradicting all the rules of sterilising. Fine when a baby is older and voluntarily putting all manner of unsanitary things in their mouth but not when the babe in question is only 7 weeks old and the only foreign body it has had in its mouth is a teat…and possibly its older sister's fingers. One might also question why a potential suicide bomber would have a problem with drinking something poisonous. If they're about to blow up a plane mild tummy ache would be the least of their problems.  

The only other option was to take an empty bottle and a small carton of formula but knowing that the scissors wouldn't get past security, I was reliant on the kindness of the cabin crew to open it for me.  As we taxied along the runway and the cabin crew did their last minute checks, I glibly asked if they could lend me some scissors without thinking that they are hardly likely to confiscate all sharp implements then hand them out to anyone who asks after takeoff. Thankfully a flight attendant took it off to the galley and returned with the made up bottle, saving me the usual trauma of covering myself with milk as I cut it open.

I was flying with BMI Baby, a budget airline who opened the route I needed to visit grandparents, at the same time our older daughter was born.  Flights cost peanuts then and as one of the first babies to fly with them, she was treated like royalty.  Ten years on and I had to pay a surcharge for checking in at the airport (you can't check in on line with infants), a surcharge for the bag, a surcharge for the car seat and – having declined to pay a surcharge for selecting my seat – was seated in the back row beside the toilet. 'Passengers travelling with infants and young children' may be allowed on the plane first but I was last off and arrived at the baggage collection area to find my enormous ski bag containing steriliser, nappies, milk and countless changes of clothing on one side of the carousel and the car seat on the other.  As businessmen carrying only laptops and briefcases marched past me with their noses in the air, I dragged the bag (baby attached to my chest in a sling) to a luggage trolley then negotiated my way past them to collect the car seat which I perched precariously on the top.  People astound me.  I assume at least some of them must be fathers and wouldn't like to think of their own wives hauling a 22 kilo bag around with a baby in one hand and a car seat in the other.

The traumas of flying aside, bottle feeding is incredibly liberating.  I was recently able to abandon my sleeping baby on a neighbor's sofa while I took the older child to hospital to have her cast removed, ease my aching back with a swim and rejuvenating sauna while a friend watched the baby dozing in the car seat by the pool and even managed to go to a drinks party while my husband looked after him, bottle of formula in one hand, bottle of beer in the other.  I would prefer to be exclusively breastfeeding but the fact that he is now back to a healthy weight is enough to justify supplementing the feeds and in spite of the hassle of lugging an enormous amount of kit everywhere I go, there is undoubtedly a silver lining to this particular cloud.

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One Response to “Hitting the bottle”

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  1. Sleepless in silence in suburbia - October 4, 2013

    […] , rampaging around the garden or firing his cars up and down the room the 2 year old consented to milk and a story.  He normally wriggles off my knee in seconds but he cuddled his dinosaur and I read […]

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