Bye Bye Bottles!
From the moment you get pregnant your life turns into nothing but a series of decisions whilst praying that said decisions aren’t going to ruin your child’s life. They’re tough decisions. Made only tougher by the input of everyone around… who are all experts, of course. The decisions never stop. Neither does the input. And the countless studies from every university, every doctor, every country. Information overload. I just am not a “studies show” type of person, let alone mom.
With so my many mommy friends around me I feel like I am comforted by their knowledge, experiences, and opinions on the many things I am experiencing for the first time. It is also reassuring that they have questions, too, and every once ‘n a while I might have some answers as to what works and what doesn’t based on my experience. I welcome questions just as I welcome any tips and information they have for me. I welcome what they say because I value their experiences and any tips and tricks they have to offer but ultimately I form my own opinion, I make my own decisions, I go with my gut and what feels right to me for my daughter.
My parents will tell you that I’ve always been the type of child/teen/adult to go with what I want & what I like, not what everyone else is doing or saying. I am highly opinionated. I dance to the beat of my own drum, I suppose. I have my own style, opinions, way of expressing those opinions, etc. I am proud to say that I continue that with the way I (we) raise my daughter. It started with when I was pregnant with her and I followed most rules but not all. I skipped out on the rules that I thought were silly but that I knew weren’t harmful to the baby in my belly and I am the same way with Number Two, maybe even a little more lax… Starbucks anyone?? 😉 In raising my daughter I am a big believer in doing what feels right. I felt it was right to not encourage a pacifier & I am SO happy I stuck to that decision. I felt it was right to let her sleep on her stomach because that is what she preferred. I felt it was right to not give her any juice (and still don’t). And so on and so forth; you get the point. I don’t read studies. I don’t base my decisions on what people say. I listen to her pediatrician but he is exactly how I prefer doctors; informative but totally relaxed. I cannot handle neurotic doctors who tell me “YOU MUST DO THIS”. That just doesn’t work for me. I am not a panicker, a worrier, or a freak-out mom and I cannot have that around me.
Around 10/11 months I decided that Poppy was old enough to start being transitioned to milk rather than formula. I consulted my mommy friends to see what they gave their little ones and I got a lot of feedback. My debate was what type of milk to start her on and if there were true pros and cons of one vs the other. I am not a milk drinker. At all. Ever. Maybe it’s because of that I just do not feel it necessary for Poppy to be a milk-drinker, either. I also didn’t think it was necessary for her to be on whole-milk as most transition their babes to. Poppy is healthy. She has always been in the mid-to-high percentile for height & weight and has had a great healthy diet since I started her on home-made solids at 6 months. Full-fat milk seemed unnecessary. Despite all of the information, milk-pushers, and soy-bashers out there, I opted for her to go on Soy Milk. Over a weeks time she went from formula to strictly soy milk and is doing just fine on it!
Once that hurdle was behind us and right about the same time that I found out I was pregnant with Number Two, I started thinking about this being the optimum time to wean Poppy off of the bottles completely. She has always been a great sippy cup drinker since I started her on them around 4 months. She chugs water out of them through out the day. Her being comfortable with them was a huge help. I debated if I should wear her off of the bottle at nap/bed time completely (the only time she got a bottle – down to 3-4 a day…) or if I should let her have a sippy cup with milk instead. Again, I sought opinions. And I got them. And ultimately, I went with what I felt was right for her. As of this morning, we’re no longer using ANY bottles. Just sippy cups. We went cold-turkey. She’s a rockstar and is doing great with them! Yep, she gets a sippy cup of milk at her 2 nap times and 1 at bed time. With this decision I have also decided to begin skipping the 7am bottle and just get her out of bed when she wakes up and not try to stretch out sleep a little longer by giving her an early morning bottle. Now she will get that milk with her breakfast… in a sippy cup. This will help to eventually wean her off of milk at nap times altogether, too. When we’re ready.
I know that everyone has their opinion of kids having bottles or sippy cups in bed; tooth decay, speech delay, dirty sheets, prolonged potty-training, blah blah blah. She is 14 months. She is a toddler, but still a baby. I am in no rush for her to be a big kid or be treated as though she were one. We brush her teeth, we change her sheets, and we encourage her words on a daily basis through reading, talking, and NO TV. She is a smart little girl and has always been advanced in her abilities (according to her Dr, not me!). I am not worried about using a sippy cup to fall asleep. I think a sippy cup at nap & bed time is relatively harmless in the broad scheme of things. As the arrival of Number Two nears I will likely revisit this situation and start weaning her off of the nap-time milk so that it will help us with the impending potty-training. But, naps are crucial for us. So if forgoing milk to go down affects her naps… well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there!
Ultimately, I say ask questions. Get feedback. Seek advice. Listen to what those around you have to say. BUT, do NOT make their choices yours. Do NOT make their opinions yours. Do NOT stress over what they’re doing vs what you’re doing. Realize you are your own person, you are your own child’s parent. And your child is likely pretty different than your friends kid. What works for them may not work for you and vice-versa. And that is OK. As long as your child is healthy, happy, and thriving, you’re doing just fine & keep at it & have faith in your decisions in raising your child.