This is a strange group of puppies and they are forcing me to be inventive.
I worried about them at first because though they took to the doll sized baby bottle well enough, they only seemed to be taking 1/2 an oz at a feeding for the first few feedings and for their size, I thought they should be taking more. I had a bottle with a regular size nipple, but it seemed so big for their mouths.
But then I thought about how they like to suck on my finger, which is even bigger, so I decided to try it. Well, you'd have thought Higgins and Freddie had never eaten before. I normally mix 1 Tbsp of powdered formula with 2 Tbsp of water to feed all four, but given the size of the bigger bottle, I made up 2 Tbsp of formula and between them Higgins and Freddie completely finished it.
I whipped up another Tbsp of formula and tried the other two. Eliza thought it was a terrible idea, but she did take a little formula. Alfie resolutely kept his jaws so tightly clenched I couldn't pry them open (giving me no doubt about the fact that there is either pit bull or boxer in him--or both!) I managed to use the syringe for Alfie and got him to take a little bit.
The next feeding went pretty much the same, except I started with 3 Tbsp of formula and by now Eliza was doing better with the larger nipple.
But things never go smoothly with puppies. What they learn one day, they completely forget the next. I was ready to suggest to Ashley that we trade Alfie for a puppy that might take to the bottle better, since the mother was still nursing the other puppies, when Alfie suddenly glomed onto the bottle and drank about 2 oz of formula.
But Eliza wouldn't take it at all. I had to go back to the little bottle and she took 1/2 oz of that. And Freddie, who started out as my best eater, also wouldn't take the bottle he seemed to bond with so well the previous feeding. I decided that maybe he'd had so much the previous feeding he just wasn't hungry, so I didn't force it.
We went off to SF and Ashley came to feed them. She reported that Eliza was the best eater and that Higgins had also eaten well (so far Higgins is the only pup who as eaten just fine at every single feeding). Freddie and Alfie didn't eat well at all and I even tried the syringe to get some food into them.
We have evolved into my starting with the large bottle and feeding whoever will take it (I always start with Higgins, because I know there won't be a problem with him). Then when I get one that won't take the larger nipple, I switch to the smaller bottle and kind of squirt the formula from the bottle into the mouth, if they will latch onto that small nipple. But Alfie acted like I was trying to poison him today, so I let him suck on the pad of my finger (where it connects with my palm) and while he was sucking that, I slowly squeezed formula out of the little bottle and dripped it onto my finger and he got about an ounce of formula (I hope) that way.
It seems different with every feeding, and I've started keeping a record of morning weights, just to make sure they aren't losing weight. I weighed them when they arrived, but don't remember if I weighed them before or after I fed them. Then they were:
|Higgins: 10 oz||Eliza: 8.5 oz||Alfie: 12 oz||Freddie: 9 oz|
I weighed them all this morning before I fed each of them and today will be the real starting day. They weighed:
|Higgins: 12.5 oz||Eliza: 10.5 oz||Alfie: 11 oz||Freddie: 9 oz|
I would be concerned about Alfie and Freddie, especially since they are (today) the two most difficult to feed, but as I say, I can't remember if the first weights were before or after eating, so it will be the weights I record each morning from here on that will be the accurate ones.Tomorrow I have a date for lunch in the Bay Area, but I will feed them before I leave, pack them in a travel crate, take them to my mother's, go to lunch, and feed them when I get back. That way they will be eating at about the same time as usual. I will also bring the large bottle, the small bottle, and the syringe just to make sure I have something for everyone in order to get some food in all of them!