When Grace turned one, we attempted to wean her from bottles. It took a few months weeks.
She is a strong-willed child, and we didn’t want the bottle to be a huge drama-filled battle. Instead, we dropped them gradually, replacing each with a cup of milk.
There were no problems.
No crying. No tantrums.
We never got rid of the bedtime bottle.
- We offered her a snack and a cup of milk at the dining room table. She refused it, went to her bedroom, and asked for her bottle.
- We offered her a snack and a cup of milk in the living room, in front of the tv. She ate the snack, went to bed, and asked for her bottle.
- We replaced the milk with water to trick her into refusing the bottle. She asked for milk.
- We diluted the milk a little at a time to try to trick her into refusing the bottle. It worked at first, but then she cried and asked for her other milk.
We didn’t let Grace cry it out – never – because we don’t want bedtime to be a stressful time. Bedtime should be peaceful and pleasant, and we make conscious decisions to keep it that way.
So, when we tried to nudge her in the bottle-less direction and she resisted, we relented. She’s not the kind of kid who cries for a few minutes and then gives up. She cries until she’s hysterical and hyperventilating. Drinking a bottle of milk at bedtime is not worth all of that.
Lest you think I’m some kind of pushover, let me say that some battles are worth that fight. Wanting to run around in a busy parking lot is one of them.
Why, yes, that did happen today. How did you guess?
When she cried (and cried and cried) about the bottle, Joe said we should let her keep it. He argued that she was not going to give it up until she’s ready, and we should not push the issue.
I disagreed, but he does the bedtime routine a lot more than I do, and I gave in. Okay, Joe, we’ll keep it. But when the bottles wear out, we are not buying new ones. She’ll just have to get over it and drink the milk from a cup.
I was firm.
The bottles have slowly fallen apart over the last year. The last good one sprung a leak two days ago. When Joe filled it up, milk ran out as if the bottom were a sieve.
That’s too bad, I said when he told me. She’ll have to drink her milk from a cup.
Joe gave me a sideways look, but didn’t say anything.
Last night went smoothly. Grace drank her milk from a sippy cup and went right to sleep for her Daddy.
Tonight, not so much.
Joe handed her the same sippy cup as last night, full of warm milk. She cried. She wailed. She howled. Big fat tears streamed down her chubby red cheeks.
No! Not that one! Bottle! MY bottle!
She pushed the sippy cup away. Joe tried to show her that it was milk inside, and she cried more. I could hear the sobs beginning to turn into wheezes.
Digging frantically through her closet, Joe found a box of breast milk storage containers.
Hey! I said. I think those have nipples.
He opened the (still sealed) package, and there was, indeed, a singular nipple assembly inside.
Grace saw the nipple, calmed down a bit, and screeched, That one! That one! Mah bottle! That one!
I poured the warm milk from the sippy cup into the bottle, and she happily drank it.
It took three times longer than normal for her to fall asleep tonight. I know because I did the rocking. She asked for me, but it was only fitting since the whole sippy cup thing was at my insistence.
I’m buying new bottles tomorrow.
Three of them.
Submitted to Not Me Mondays
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