19 August 2012 – The Bottle Dilemma

Sweetie just won’t take the bottle and drink it like she is supposed to. She can’t get with the program and we are having a bottle dilemma. She cries and fights and struggles and generally carries on. Feeding time can really cut into an otherwise good day.

Sweetie was nursing exclusively until two weeks before Wife returned to work. She is used to the real thing when along comes Dad. And I bring the silicone nipple and plastic bottle and re-heated expressed milk that is hopefully 98.6 degrees. Yeah, it’s just not the same. And I am all for various techniques; skin-to-skin, correct bottle temperature, changing eating locations and all that. But again, me and my bottle are still not Mom (even with my shirt off and an adoring look in my eyes).

At first I was a bit upset by this, I thought I was doing something wrong. After a while I actually got a little bent by it. Like, “Hey, why does my daughter act like she’s too good for a bottle?” Then a couple of things happened. First, Wife’s mother tried to give Sweetie a bottle. It did not go well. And honestly, if su abuela can’t get Sweetie to do something, it isn’t supposed to be done. (After raising three children of her own and helping with countless others, the woman is like a “whisperer”.) So at least I knew it was not just me. Then, I looked for help in a couple of key books, only to find that this dilemma is pretty widespread. I was just making it dramatic when it is in fact common. So ultimately I had to face a natural fact – the bottle is just not Mom. And it occurred to me, it’s kind of like eating fresh fruit versus canned fruit.

Personally, I love fresh fruit. We currently have two apple trees and a plum tree in the backyard garden. If plans go well for our enclosed porch, we’ll be adding a dwarf lime tree and a dwarf tangerine tree. I will eat any fresh fruit, and can’t think of any I don’t enjoy. I fully intend to force fresh fruits in to Sweetie’s diet until she decides to love them too. I am not so keen on canned fruit though. If, for example, you offer me some nice, syrupy canned peaches, I’ll pass. The processing, however minor, just ruins the fruit for me. And so I get a little glimpse in to Sweetie’s resistance. This is something I can understand.

Well, here is the good news that I took away from the situation. This bottle transition dilemma is not my fault. Dr. Oz and Dr. Ari Brown (Baby 411) agree with me and support me in that position. But there is also bad news, Dad – there is nothing you can do to force the bottle. You just have to stick with it and keep trying. As one of our pediatricians told us, “she’ll take the bottle when she gets hungry enough”. So I keep trying the techniques and continue to adjust and try to find the things that make mealtime better. And I count the bottles she takes easily. And I count on the transition because the doctor said it would come. And really, the next mealtime is only a couple of hours away.

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