When you become a parent, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by a wealth of conflicting advice. You’re constantly having to make decisions on a myriad of different things, trying to decode the Daily Mail headlines to make sure you’re not doing anything that will endanger or harm your child whilst trying to maintain a certain level of sanity. It’s not easy. But the good news is that it’s most difficult with your firstborn – certainly my experience has been that by the time you’re doing the same things with your second child you’ve already succeeded in raising your first without (hopefully) major incident, so you must be doing something right!
Take bottles. When the geekdaughter was a baby all the advice I read seemed to be suggesting that once she was a year old I should be getting her off the bottle and on to proper cups. I got the feeling, rightly or wrongly, that if I didn’t move her off bottles I’d be harming her speech development and potentially damaging her teeth. Scary stuff. So from her first birthday I tried to get her off bottles. The trouble was that they were the only thing she would drink from. I invested a small fortune in every kind of sippy cup known to man, and she didn’t get on with any of them. Eventually we found one that seemed slightly better than the rest, and I stopped giving her bottles, but her milk consumption dropped overnight, meaning I then started worrying that she wasn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals. In fact for a good period of time the only way to get any milk into her at all was to mix it with flavoured milk powder, and then I started stressing about the amount of sugar she was consuming!
With the geekson I’ve been a lot more relaxed about the whole thing. For a start he adjusted to sippy cups much better, and for a while now the only times he’s had a drink from a bottle have been first thing in the morning and last thing at night, with him happily using a cup throughout the day. Partly because of my experience with the geekdaughter I didn’t want to rush to drop the bottle too early, and I was consoled by my Mum telling me that I had a bottle morning and evening until I was 2 and it didn’t do me any harm! So I was happy to just let things carry on, and I’d decided that we’d stop using the bottle around his birthday at the end of May.
For the last few weeks he’s been draining his morning bottle (9oz), and then refusing to eat any breakfast. He’s also been drinking less and less of his bedtime bottle, and would usually only drink a couple of ounces. I spent the last week wondering if this was a sign that we should ditch the bottles. So at the end of last week I woke up one morning and decided I’d see how things went if we didn’t use the bottles. And apart from being a little unsettled, particularly at bedtime, the geekson coped fine. I gave him milk in a sippy cup with his breakfast and he drank most of it and, more importantly, ate all his breakfast. In the evening I gave him milk in his cup at tea time, and then at bedtime he just had stories before bed. He cried a little the first night, but has been fine since then. And he’s coping just fine with drinking his milk from a sippy cup, so I’m not at all worried about him like I worried about the geekdaughter.
Last night I reclaimed a corner of my kitchen. The corner that until recently held the bottles and the bottle warmer. I suddenly have some clear surface space again, and it’s wonderful.
It’s another sign that my little boy is growing up, but it’s just great!