Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No More Bottles

This post is about a month overdue, but I feel the need to describe Jude's bottle journey. Bear with me during this blast from the past.

Jude always loved his bottles. In the early days of breastfeeding, he preferred the bottle to the breast, and this led us to supplement via tube-feeding rather than bottles. We tried giving him a bottle after a nursing session, but he quickly learned that the bottle was coming and didn't bother to make much of an effort at the breast. Once we switched to tube supplementation, he worked harder and this helped me increase my milk supply.

On the bright side, when I went back to work, it was easy to feed Jude. I would pump at work, Daddy would heat up the bottles, hand them to Jude, and he would finish an entire bottle in a matter of minutes. No stress, and (in retrospect, compared with Ada) this love of bottles made the transition back to work much easier for us.

Eventually, at about nine months of age, Jude lost interest in breastfeeding entirely and we switched to bottles of formula. Daddy started doing the middle-of-the-night feedings, and I finally got enough sleep. At about ten months of age, Jude no longer woke up in the night for a feeding, but he would instead drink two full bottles (12 ounces total) first thing in the morning!

Up until this point, we had always been heating up the bottles before offering them to Jude. I think it was August (just before Jude turned one) that we decided to try giving him cold bottles, since it was summer and we thought it might be refreshing. No problem. Jude still loved his bottles, and once again our lives got easier (no more carrying a thermos of hot water everywhere!). We never went back to warm milk for Jude.

After he turned one, we gradually switched him from formula to whole milk. I think it took about a month, but Jude never refused a bottle and didn't even seem to notice the difference. He would use cups for water, but would only drink his "MOKEY" from bottles. We didn't make an issue over it because bottles were easy and didn't make a mess like cups. We figured he would switch at some point, and didn't see a reason to do it immediately. At that point, Jude was drinking 5-6 bottles of milk a day, for 30+ ounces. That's a lot of milk, and he was always asking for more. One day, we let him drink as much as he wanted, and he drank about 55 ounces.

Our pediatrician suggested that we get Jude off of bottles before the new baby arrived, and we made some effort to make that happen. Unfortunately, Jude was not on board with this plan. There were times when he would get upset and the only way to calm him down was with a bottle. By the time Ada was born, he was down to three bottles a day, but we were stuck there and didn't really see how we were going to make the full transition to drinking with a cup. Over the summer, we tried to offer the cup more often, but there was a lot going on for Jude and we didn't want to make this transition time even more stressful by taking away his bottles.

The constant refrain of "JUDEY, MOKEY, BOTTLE, YEAH" (in the whiniest voice you can imagine) was getting on our nerves by the time we left to go to Alaska in August. We packed his bottles, but decided to try to take them away cold-turkey, starting with the plane trip. We only offered him milk from his sippy cup, and when he asked for a bottle we told him that we didn't have any. I thought that since everything was different anyway (different place, different routine) he might accept this more easily than he would if we were at home. And...it worked! At first, he asked for bottles at the times when he would have usually had one (before nap and bedtime) but after a few days he stopped asking. By the time we got home, he was pretty used to the new reality. I did run into the house and hide all of the bottles before we let him in, just so he wouldn't see them and be reminded of what he was missing. But even back at our house, he only asked for a bottle a few times, and without much conviction. He was weaned.

So, just before his second birthday is when Jude finally switched from the bottle to the cup. It's later than it should have been, according to most people, but at least it happened! I'm a little bit surprised at how easily he let go once we got tough about this. I guess the timing was right. I was curious about how Jude would react to seeing Ada drink from bottles, but since she refuses, it has mostly been a non-issue. We do have bottles of "ADA MOKEY" around the house sometimes, but Jude seems to recognize that they are not his and doesn't try to drink them (I thought he might). Even the empty bottles sitting on the drying rack in the kitchen don't seem to tempt him at this stage. He doesn't actually say "Bottles are for babies", but I get the feeling that this is how he sees them now. Our boy is growing up.


Natalie said...

What a great retrospective of Jude's relationship with his bottle, YEAH! I guess sometimes cold turkey is just the best way to go!

Alex, Andrea, Lucia, Magdalena Jones said...

cold turkey... next up - potty training! (am I right?)