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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am curious how other like minded people would deal with this. We have more bottle issues.

You might remember, I posted two months ago that my (then 23 month) daughter had been put to bed with a bottle. She would not take it in our arms. At the time, I couldn't decide between eliminating the bottle or working on her taking the bottle in our arms.

We decided on working on her taking the bottle in our arms. We worked out what, at the time, seemed like a win-win situation. Being read to was very foreign to our daughter. We started allowing her to hold her own bottle on our lap while we read night time stories. It seemed like a great compromise. We got cuddly time and books together. I figured we would move on to rocking and eye contact later.

So now, two months later, my daughter is warming up to being read to. She likes it enough that she doesn't drink her bottle during stories. She holds her bottle and *participates* in the book, which is wonderful. So in a weird way, we are back to square one with the bottle. I am once again putting her down with a full bottle to drink on her back, alone


A few days ago, I decided it was time to rock her with her bottle. She absolutely freaked out. My attempt to hold her for her bottle has brought some of the worst temper tantrums we have seen.

So after several nights of trying to rock her (in a chair, on her bed, in my arms, her holding the bottle, me holding the bottle), she has started to fear our night time ritual. She has been less complaint, less participatory in stories, and just generally more anxious.

So I don't know what to do. Should I push the bottle in arms, or should I put it aside for now? I am leaning toward continuing to let her have her bottle in her crib, because I don't want to lose our cuddly night time ritual.
 

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In my opinion, let her have the bottle alone at night. My Anna is so overstimulated by the end of the day that she wants to go to her crib alone with her bottle, blankie and "b-bear". I have attempted off and on to rock her to sleep with the bottle. Sometimes she lets me and I sing to her- other times she is all done with everything and wants to be alone.

Build up other times of the day having more physical contact. Try doing some dolly play and rock the babydoll - and hold the baby bottle. Eventually she witll start doing this too. Then maybe you can move onto rcoking her while she hold the baby doll.
 

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I like the pp idea of using a doll to model rocking with a bottle. I agree though that if she's not ready for the rocking time, I would hold off. Could you stroke her hair or leg while she's drinking her bottle in the crib? or maybe sit with her and sing to her.
 

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If she had the bottle while you read and then you had her put it down to go to bed, could she go to sleep?

Maybe if you kept rocking her once you put the book down and she put the bottle down? Or if you didn't rock her but laid down next to her? Or is that way too much for her to?

The above posts seem reasonable.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pumpkingirl71
Should I push the bottle in arms, or should I put it aside for now? I am leaning toward continuing to let her have her bottle in her crib, because I don't want to lose our cuddly night time ritual.
I remember your original posting. My adopted daughter has been with us since she was 18 months old. She is 3 now. She was always bottle fed and although she is very affectionate and loves to snuggle with us, the bottle has always been a source of comfort for her.

I did not believe in trying to fundamentally alter her relationship to the bottle. She was comfiest holding it herself and lying in bed to fall asleep by herself -- after a cozy and cuddly bedtime routine with us. I think what is most important is the child feel safe and secure and respected. Follow your daughter's lead. She clearly values the reading time and closeness. I would respect her desires when it comes to the bottle.

Only after 18 months of being with us did I start to put limits on the bottle and they were [I think] the more normal, developmentally appropriate limits one would start to introduce. For example, the bottle is now for nap time and night time rather than just any time.

To me, being AP is focusing on responding to the child's actual needs. It seems that you are doing that. I do not recommend introducing stress by trying to adapt your daughter's bottle routine if she is happy and is spending good time bonding with you.
 

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An additional idea is, since you are trying to establish the connection between feeding and comfort/closeness, hold her playfully and with intermittent eye contact (whatever she can tolerate and still be feeling a sense of joy and fun), and feed her little tidbits, such as grapes, goldfish, etc. in your lap. Intersperse kisses/hugs/tickles/silly songs/playful rocking, with the little food items. If she begins to resist, let her know you understand she can only do it for little bits of time and "we'll do it again later," but let her know how much you enjoy doing it with her. If she is having fun and being reciprocal with you, move a little further and add some more soothing, nurturing into it.

My sense is that she feels a sense of independence and achievement with holding her bottle on her own (even though she probably had to achieve this out of necesssity and too early in life), and doesn't want to give that up. I agree with pp's that it's probably not worth it to take this from her, if you can achieve the desired result in another way. The important thing is to have the back and forth joyful, nurturing communication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by lauren
An additional idea is, since you are trying to establish the connection between feeding and comfort/closeness, hold her playfully and with intermittent eye contact (whatever she can tolerate and still be feeling a sense of joy and fun), and feed her little tidbits, such as grapes, goldfish, etc. in your lap. Intersperse kisses/hugs/tickles/silly songs/playful rocking, with the little food items. If she begins to resist, let her know you understand she can only do it for little bits of time and "we'll do it again later," but let her know how much you enjoy doing it with her. If she is having fun and being reciprocal with you, move a little further and add some more soothing, nurturing into it.

My sense is that she feels a sense of independence and achievement with holding her bottle on her own (even though she probably had to achieve this out of necesssity and too early in life), and doesn't want to give that up. I agree with pp's that it's probably not worth it to take this from her, if you can achieve the desired result in another way. The important thing is to have the back and forth joyful, nurturing communication.
You are so right
At some point Early Intervention decided that self feeding with utensils was a good goal for her. I makes me pretty angry that no one thought that she was about to be adopted. EI "gets" how attachment works, just no one figured out that pushing self feeding would make it harder to attach. She absolutely will not let us feed her meals, so we save her most favorite foods, like yogurt, and make it like we are sharing a special treat with her.
 

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OP:

Just a little twist: It's possible, though perhaps not likely (?), that your daughter has other reasons for not wanting to be fed. Our daughter, who was adopted at birth, had oral aversion problems from the get-go. We have a totally attached relationship with her -- she's a junkie for eye contact and being snuggled, co-sleeping, etc., always has been -- but it has always been a struggle to get her to allow someone else to put *anything* in her mouth. Made adoptive breastfeeding a nightmare to try to establish. Force a nipple and precisely positioned tube into an unwilling mouth? Yeah, sure . . . after about ten tries, and then she'd spit it out. One LL leader said that she sees this sometimes in babes who were C-section. In a vaginal birth, amniotic fluid gets pushed from the respiratory tract naturally; in a c-section, it must be suctioned out. Apparently the suctioning can be very painful/traumatic, and can set up an oral aversion that snowballs thereafter. Indeed, our daughter was c-section. And since we weren't there, it's really impossible to guess whether they were gentle with her or not. And no way to prove/disprove the theory.

Anyhow . . . as she grew she was always completely against having things placed into her mouth (like spoonfuls of baby food). We had to hold off on solids until she could pick things up herself.

Getting her to take a bottle wasn't too hard; of course it was easier to "force" an artificial nipple into her lips than it was to get a nipple in, and once it was positioned she was okay and ate well. After a short time she stopped disliking the placement process. She has always enjoyed having us hold the bottle, but now there are times she wants to do it. She wants to look around, feel independent. Heck, so did my breastfed baby at that stage -- he would have been thrilled to detact "his" breast from my body and multitask.

Over the last 2.5 years, I have seen my daughter struggle with this and do some odd behaviors in terms of putting things too far into her mouth and making herself gag (that was a freaky stage, but I think she was experimenting with limits and exorcising some fears).

Meanwhile, I don't think her oral aversion has messed up attachment per se, although of course there are those who would argue that anything that interferes with breastfeeding interferes with attachment. Just believe me, this kid is seriously attached to us, I know it. I know it as well as I do with my eldest, who was breastfed by me until age 3.5. Are they attached "equally"? No . . . attachment is unique in each child because it's part of a *relationship,* and every relationship is as unique as the individuals involved. But they are both confident, secure kids who know they are loved.

If you want to give your child the opportunity to be fed by you, maybe you can work on some schemes that would keep her hands busy while you feed her? Or perhaps you can team up with another adult who can hold a book while you put her in the bottle feeding position . . . maybe she can start out holding her bottle herself and you can "help" her. I don't know. In the end, you will inevitably have to improvise, and listen to your babe. There are many ways you can show her that she is nurtured and love and safe -- that's what it's really about -- teaching her that she can count on you, that her home/universe/self is safe and good.

Good luck!!!
 
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