Monday, May 2, 2011

Parenting decisions: the bottle

Johnny was breastfed until he was a little more than 10 months old, then I switched him to formula at my OB's suggestion (apparently breastfeeding can stimulate strong contractions and then miscarriage in some women) and so he has been using a bottle ever since. He switched to cow's milk easily and he dropped the morning bottle in favor of a sippy cup awhile ago and quite readily.

But he still takes a bottle before his nap and before bedtime. And apparently that's a bad thing.

The pediatricians I've gone to have all been surprised that he's still bottle fed. "If he has no problem taking milk from a sippy cup, so why haven't you switched him over entirely?" "You know that his teeth may be adversely affected by taking a bottle for so long, right?" "Taking it away is only going to get harder the later you do it."

I can't decide how I feel about this issue. On one hand, I know it's a big part of his soothing process for sleep since he doesn't take a pacifier or suck on his thumb and it's one of the only times I get to cuddle with him since he's such a mover and a shaker. On the other hand, I know that if I don't get rid of it before the baby comes, he'll end up being two and a half years old still drinking a bottle. Does that bother me? I'm not sure. I've had people tell me that when they get older, you can reason them out of using a bottle/pacifier/sucking the thumb by telling them it's what babies do and they aren't babies any more. Then I have other people telling me how difficult it was to get their toddler to drop the bottle and they wish they had done it earlier.

I'm writing this because I just put Johnny down for his nap without a bottle (or being breastfed) for the first time ever... and it was a fight. I finally managed to calm him down after screaming loudly for fifteen minutes, but he had to fall asleep in my arms before I got him into his crib, which I'm pretty sure is just replacing one crutch (the bottle) with another (me). I had decided a month ago that when Johnny went into his big boy room, we would drop the bottle a week or so later. This decision was made easier by the fact that his nap schedule has gone to hell in the last three weeks... but that's a story for another day. I figured that getting rid of the bottle couldn't possibly make his napping any worse, so this is good time to try it.

But now I'm second-guessing myself. Which, I suppose, is the core of being a parent, right?

1 comment:

  1. i thought you might enjoy this gem of a story my mom just shared with me. at my 1yo check-up, the ped told my mom to get me off the bottle. my mom didn't realize this meant "gradually wean from bottle" and just stopped giving it to me cold turkey. "you cried for a few nights and then you were fine," she says (followed by uproarious laughter).