While we got James to drop the pacifier months ago, the bottle has been a harder habit to break. I partly blame myself. As I’ve mentioned before, the baby to toddler transition has been tough for me. I don’t want to admit my baby is no longer a baby or soon he won’t be. I love the baby stage so much and I also just feel like it’s all just happening way too fast. Giving James a bottle in the mornings, before bed and at naptimes while we cuddle or he is tucked into the stroller is a beloved ritual and it’s been really hard for me to accept that it’s time to let go of one of the last parts of true babyhood.
The doctor has told us that it’s important to break the habit for his teeth and speech development. Plus, he doesn’t need to be drinking nearly as much milk now that he can get his calories from the array of solids. And he doesn’t eat as much when he is drinking bottles throughout the day and it’s important to me that we help him become a healthy, good eater. The things is he’s not helping with the transition. While dropping the paci was fairly seamless, he’s not eager to do away with the bottle. He doesn’t like drinking milk from a sippy cup or regular cup and often demand his “ba ba”. We’ve slowly been cutting back and it has helped his appetite because when presented with the sippy cup of milk, he rarely drinks that much so he has more room for food.
It’s been so hard for me to accept this latest transition, we started by cutting his daytime bottles. It was slightly selfish because it means his Nanny had to deal with the tantrums before naps when he wanted a bottle and would throw the sippy cup, and sometimes in order to get him to sleep, she’d have to cave (or we would if it was a weekend), but after a few weeks we finally had it down to just morning and evening bottles. At some point, it just became tough love and I outlawed daytime bottles and he either drank out of the sippy or went down without milk. I think he was finally ready and he finally started to adjust and now will drink milk out of his sippy though not nearly as much as he used to from his bottle. He’s also been eating a ton since, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
More recently, we have dropped the morning bottle. That was hard on me because it was a beloved morning ritual. I really loved cuddling him while he sipped his bottle and began to woke up. Now, I give him a sippy cup of milk that I pre-pour so he doesn’t see the bottle or think there’s another option. He usually only has a couple of sips but I started giving him a bowl with some berries or bananas and he’ll happily eat those as he sits on my lap. Like me, he needs to have something in his tummy as soon as he gets up. It’s not long before he slides off and runs around looking for Dakota and playing with toys but sometimes he’ll grab a book for us to read or we’ll have time to go for a walk to get coffee before we have to rush to finish getting ready for work.
Now, I am going to come clean and admit we still do the evening bottle. It’s part of our bedtime ritual and it’s been so hard to get him on his sleep schedule that I’m reticent to mess with it. Also, as a working mom, it’s my time to cuddle with him before I have to put him down and honestly, it’s probably the best part of my day. I comfort myself by brushing his teeth after which is one of the big reasons doctors advise against the bottle and I figure in a couple weeks, him and I may both be ready to completely drop the bottle. But for now, I’m giving myself a break and allowing us to hang onto this habit a little while longer while I still hold onto my baby, tear.