Monday, December 26, 2011

Wea/inning From The Bottle Battle

You've probably read in a couple (if not a lot) of my posts here about my failure with breastfeeding. It's probably one failure that I had the hardest time letting go. I nagged myself for a long time. And I guess it was only when Maia started eating healthy portions of her solids and getting less and less sicker that I finally forgave myself.

Bestfriends with her bottle
I aimed to wean my daughter off the bottle at 15 months. I thought by that time she's finally used to eating solid food and I'm probably comfortable with feeding her table food as well. And I thought 15 is a good number (not that I'm superstitious). Three months after the 1st birthday should give me enough time to train her to stop feeding from the bottle. 

I took my timeline seriously. I got the entire household involved. They supported me back. But the first 2 years wasn't very good to us health-wise. We had a lot of hospital confinements - one battle with sepsis, two pneumonia attacks, one dehydration scare, and one fracture incident. Instead of feeling comfortable with motherhood, those hospital trips just made me angry at myself even more. I felt like I wasn't doing a good job with this mothering thing. And yet, I was sure I did everything by the book. What else should I be doing??? Ahhh, the woes of a first-time mom.

To cut the story short those difficulties set me back for a good one year off my timeline. I felt that taking away the milk would just make her even more weaker (ohhh yes, I fell for all those marketing tactics. They worked for me alright) and deprive her of the essential nutrients her body needed then.

But exactly one year ago, I got so tired of chasing the little girl during meal time and struggling with picky eating. So during a visit to the pedia, I mentioned how I wanted her to wean off the bottle already (tried and failed many times over). Doc agreed it was really time to let go of the bottle. I was actually way overdue she said. When I told her I pity the little girl when she cries, she told me back: "Mas lalo kang maawa sa anak mo pag sira na ang ngipin nya at di na makakain ng mabuti" (translation: Pity your child more when all her teeth decays and couldn't eat well anymore because of the rotten teeth). So I asked for her help and she got down with Maia and told her that drinking from the bottle won't do her teeth any good. And that if her teeth rots, she won't be as pretty as Jillian Ward (she was a kid actress that was so popular with kids then) anymore. I don't know if it was because she sees the doc as an authority figure or what but when I reinforced the doc's words after we left the clinic, she nodded her head to say she understood.

When she napped that afternoon, I immediately got to work and hid the bottles from sight. I hid all of them including the pacifiers and the extra silicone nipples and even the bottle brushes. I made sure there wasn't anything in the house that would remind her she once fed using the bottle. 

At 26 months, Maia wasn't consuming a lot of formula milk anyways. She could barely finish a 6-oz bottle in one sitting. 16-20 ounces tops was the best she can do in a day so that afternoon wasn't really tough for us. She didn't look for the bottle and gladly took a glass of fresh milk and drank all of it when I offered it during her afternoon snack.

How can you not give in to this look, Mom?
Nighttime was a different story. She cried (and  boy she cried REALLY hard) for 2 straight nights. We were all sleep-deprived because she'd be up every hour and yell for the bottle. But I kept replaying what the pedia told me earlier. That it will only take her 3 nights the most to forget about the bottle. So each time she asked for her dede (bottle) I closed my eyes and prayed for a lot of strength so I can withstand the crying. Guess what happened on the third night? Maia woke up middle of the night and asked for a GLASS of milk. Yes, she said: Mommy mik please. Sa glass ha? I wanted to jump with joy! But I couldn't or else I'd   end up dealign with a fully awake toddler in the middle of the night so I had to settle for a big, wide smirk instead. All our efforts paid off!!! 

So that was how we finally bid our feeding bottles good-bye. Guess what? After she said goodbye to the formula and the bottle, she started enjoying her solids. She finished her meal servings without so much struggle and would ask for second (even third) helpings most days. 

To summarize, what made this goal achievable for me were 3 things:

(1) consistency. When you say it's a no, MEAN it. I had to close my eyes and suck in the pleading coupled with relentless crying but in the end, really, it's not just you who will reap the benefits.

(2) persistence. If it didn't work today. Try again tomorrow. But don't give up. There's always light at the end of the tunnel (hehe). AND;

(3) support. In our case, the pep talk from the pedia and support from my husband and yaya helped me tremendously. I couldn't have done it on my own. 

It was a battle that I finally won. And I was so proud of myself. And of my little girl who was so understanding and cooperative and so wise beyond her years. 
Oh how I love her dearly!

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