4yo Still Drinking From Bottles

Hi Naomi, My twin boys just turned four years old. They became acclimated to drinking EBM from a bottle during their 3-month stay in the NICU (they were 28-week preemies). Although they eventually caught on to nursing after we got them home, I had milk supply issues, so we used a combo of breast/bottles. Dylan weaned from the breast at around 18mos, but continues to drink almond milk from a bottle. He LOVES his “milky”. Shane is still nursing at night, but also enjoys drinking from bottles during the day. After having several bottles throughout the day, Dylan drinks at least 8 oz while we tell stories in bed. Both boys still wake a few times during the night. Because we sleep in a family bed, we’ve learned to quickly quiet a waking child before he wakes his brother. Shane is easily calmed with a breast. But Dylan cries out for a “milky” and will continue to cry, increasing the volume until his request has been met. This happens at least once or twice a night, sometimes up to four or five times. To avoid having to go to the frig, we actually pack a little cooler of bottles and keep it at our bedside every night. Also, due to the heavy consumption of liquid, Dylan sleeps in a diaper and we usually have to change him once or twice in the middle of the night. If we forget, or are too tired to sit up and deal with it, his diaper fills up and leaks onto our family bed. In addition to our nighttime issues, whenever we leave the house during the day, we always pack a cooler of bottles and an extra quart of milk because, if we are out for any length of time, the boys will ask for milk. If it is not available, much unhappiness ensues. I guess my point is that this whole “milky” thing is getting a little old. But I’m not sure what to do about it. We’ve opened this up for discussion with both of them countless times. For them, it basically comes down to that they really like their bottles. Our approach to parenting in general has been to let the boys decide for themselves when they are ready to make transitions. We strive to create an environment that promotes choice and empowerment. We do our best not to make arbitrary rules and we do not use force, shame or punishment. The boys don’t go to preschool or daycare, so there really isn’t any reason for them to stop drinking from bottles, other than we are getting tired of washing bottles, packing coolers and changing bedsheets. And, if I’m being completely honest, I must admit to feeling slightly embarrassed when my 4yo boys drink from baby bottles in public. So, what advice do you have for us on this subject? Should we let this play itself out and trust that they will eventually let the bottles go? Or are we taking the whole attachment parenting thing too far? Should we endeavor to find a solution that makes all of our lives more tolerable? Any suggestions on how to do that? We really value and respect your opinion. Thank you in advance for your advice.

 

 

Dear Parent,

I would not change anything; it sounds like the boys would have been still breastfeeding if it wasn’t for being twins and weaning early. It is likely, however, that raw milk from organic grass-fed animals, would fill them up and meet their nutritional needs more fully.

As for it “getting old” for you, this is the result of resisting reality. There is nothing terrible with preparing bottles, cooler and all the other care associated with your twin’s need for milk. You can enjoy all of it, if you don’t wish it was otherwise.

The thought that you had enough of it gets in the way of enjoying it the way it is. Notice the resistance, then ask yourself how you would feel if you did not resist. Reality shows you that the boys should have these bottles for as long as they need it. Interrupting the flow will bring on struggle. What they want is what they need. Open yourself to enjoying it. 

Most  parenting struggles are the result of resisting the way children are. Learn to love what is, and you will spare yourself not only this struggle, but many others. 

Warmly, NaomiAldort,  www.AuthenticParent.com