You could try the new medela teat Calma - it is designed to make bub suck as they do at the breast to get the milk.
Otherwise, if you screw the bottle lid on tighter, it slows the milk flow and you can control the rate a little by only just filling the teat, so start with the bottle almost horizontal and have the milk kind of lapping into the teat rather than filling. Does that make sense? Think like waves at a beach - but obviously try not to let bub suck in too much air.
May I ask why you are giving up with breastfeeding? Could we forumites possibly help you? The first few months can be hard work (believe me I know) but it's really worth it if you persist and manage to succeed.
Thanks, that really helped. He's not so overwhelmed by it and is taking a good amount of milk now. I also bought some pigeon bottles with different shaped teats and he seems more comfortable with them.
I've given up on breastfeeding for a few reasons. I've never successfully attached him to the breast, I was told he has a small tongue and that this contributes to the difficulty I had in getting him attached properly. I was going to a breastfeeding clinic to get help, and they were really great there, very reassuring and helpful, but in the end it has become too much for me.
When I left the hospital after he was born I already had cracked nipples and one bled for a while. I went to the breastfeeding clinic when he was 5 days old and they gave me a pump and suggested I express for several days to give my nipples a chance to heal. Unfortunately before I could go back to the clinic, when he was a week old I ended up in hospital for several days to have surgery to remove my gallbladder.
I managed to keep my milk supply going by expressing every three hours, even when I was in emergency and up to my eyeballs on morphine, but obviously he wasn't able to drink the milk I expressed, so for about a week I expressed and threw out the milk and his dad looked after him at home and fed him formula by finger feeding.
When I came home from hospital I wasn't able to lift him and I could only hold him when he was very calm after a feed, as if he kicked or thrashed he could really hurt me. A week or so later I did go back to the breastfeeding clinic again, but I couldn't get him to attach properly, I think I was too muddle headed from the painkillers I was on to take it in properly, and my nipples started getting sore again as soon as I put him to the breast. They said to keep expressing and maybe try breastfeeding once a day using nipple shields. They took a swab from my nipples and it turns out I have a staph infection which was why I was getting sore again.
So I started taking antibiotics (in addition to the three other antibiotics I was already taking post surgery) and using a cream. The additional antibiotics affected his stomach, making him very unsettled and unhappy. He started to bite while feeding, which isn't a problem when you're finger feeding but not so great on the nipples. Basically, he'd drink a bit, get a tummy upset have a little cry and bite down in his distress.
I struggled with breastfeeding using the shields, he'd sometimes take the first breast but would always get very distressed being given the second, as the milk didn't come fast enough. That brought on the clamp down biting as well. He'd start thrashing and crying and I'd end up giving him to my husband to finger feed as I couldn't keep holding him, he kept kicking my stomach and causing me too much pain.
At about this point my post surgery painkillers ran out and my pain levels rose again (and I could feel all the soreness from stitches and epidural again too and my nipples really stung. I guess the painkillers had just muted everything down). I also have chronic pain from nerve damage in my arms, which means I always have pain in my arms and shoulders and have difficulty using my arms. The painkillers had also damped down that pain, so when I stopped taking them it all came back really strongly and it became very difficult even holding him in the right position to breastfeed. I tried using cushions and pillows to support my arms a bit but it really didn't do much.
My husband is going back to work tomorrow and a couple of days ago I still wasn't able to feed my son on my own and I couldn't get more than 40 minutes sleep at a time, because expressing and then feeding and settling took so long. My husband pretty much did all the feeding, I just expressed and passed him the milk. I felt disconnected. Over the course of two days, where I was feeling increasingly exhausted and in pain, my milk supply started to decrease and we had to start topping him up with formula. It took an hour of expressing to get almost enough for a feed, where before I'd always had plenty of milk. Also, my milk seemed to be making him sick. It all just got too much.
After I decided to give up on breastfeeding and expressing, I felt like a load had been lifted. I've started taking sage capsules from the health food store and stuffing my bra with cabbage leaves and I'm already down to expressing every five hours rather than every three. On formula my little boy seems to be happy being fed every four hours rather than every two. My mum is able to come around and look after him for me for a few hours during the day so I can get some sleep. She did that yesterday and we both actually had four hours sleep. I'm feeling so much better. I'm still in pain and I've managed to pull a muscle or something in my stomach so once again I can't walk while carrying him, but instead of wanting to cry all the time, I'm starting to think I might be able to do this.
I always wanted to breastfeed, I went to a breastfeeding class during pregnancy and I really believe in the benefits. Part of me is really disappointed that I'm not able to do it, but the more rational part (which exists now I've had some sleep and a day without being belted in the stomach) thinks that breastfeeding was meant to be the easier option and since I've tried and tried without success it's time to cut myself some slack.
So... that was a very long response. Thanks for reading it (if you made it to the bottom!!)