Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dropping bottles - advice requested

When DH and I took Cameron in for her 9 month well appointment her doctor told us that we should start pushing the sippy cup more because starting at around 11 months we should begin phasing out bottles.

I mentioned at the time that the thought of removing bottles made me very nervous. I've already blogged about my stress and control issues when it comes to Cameron eating and I'm not sure if being unable to monitor the exact consumption of ounces is a good thing or a bad thing for my peace of mind. Regardless, the idea of dropping bottles has been percolating in my head since that appointment and I have spent time thinking about which bottles and how I will drop them. Unfortunately I have made no progress in coming up with any decisions or plans.

Last week Cameron was sick and since she felled me with the same illness I completely understood (retroactively of course) why she didn't want to drink any more than 10 ounces a day. Our new challenge this week is that Cameron has refused to drink more than 1-2 ounces for her first bottle of the day. It's possible that it could be due to teething...soon our little munchkin will have 6 (!) teeth or she could be voicing her preference to drop the first bottle of the day from her feeding schedule.

As a first time mom I have no idea. 10 months is a little early to start dropping bottles (right?) but I need to start my planning process if this refusal of bottles continues. How have you handled dropping bottles from your baby's eating routine? Cameron still isn't eating enough to cover her nutritional needs via the finger foods so I assume I need to be significantly supplementing through baby food. Or is that a bad assumption? Somehow this struggle with changing eating patterns is doing nothing for my resolution to stress less about what/how much Cameron eats. Help!

Edited: Mommy, Esq. wanted me to tell everyone that Cameron gets breakfast at daycare around 8 AM and is usually awake around 6:30 or 6:45 AM. In case that influences your responses!


LauraC said...

I would take her lead on the whole transition to table food. It's hard for us type A people but you have to let her be in charge of this for the most part. Unless they are failure to thrive, kids are amazing self-regulators in food consumption until age 3.

For us, we introduced sippies around 9 months and always offered that first. It was hit or miss, with mostly misses until 11 months or so. We always left a sippy on their tray while they were eating but again, it was just an introduction.

Our ped said our goal at one year was to be on 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. A week after their first birthday, we went cold turkey to sippies. At day care, the 1s room does not do any bottles so we knew we needed to transition. Alex only drank 2-3 oz milk per day for about a week after the transition but our ped said that was common. Once he realized we were never bringing bottles back, he slowly increased his milk consumption. Nate took to sippies right away.

On the bedtime bottle front, we dropped that a week later. Instead we substituted a little cuddle time with a sippy right before bed. They never missed any of the bottles and eventually they learned to eat table food.

On the table food front, I would highly recommend the books by Ellyn Satter to learn to let go of food control. Transition to table foods is right up there with potty training in terms of parental stress. Her mantra is the parents' job is to offer a variety of healthy foods and the kids' job is to decide how much to eat. She also offers some great strategies on introducing new foods - Alex was textbook in that he needed to see a food 15 times before he would try it. He would cry the first time we put any new food on his tray!

And we were forced to take it slow at our house as Alex was a puker. If we gave him something too advanced for him, he would vomit everywhere. We got really good at knowing his vomit face and catching vomit in his bib! It was a GREAT lesson in letting our kids take the lead. Nate would eat anything at any time, rarely puked, so again a daily lesson in each kid will eat what they need.

jerseygirl77 said...

We did not start getting Josh off the bottle until after a year, and he was off it by 18 months. So if you think 11 months is too soon, go with it. Your ped does not know your child as well as you do. So basically what I started doing was when I introduced cow's milk, I put it in the sippy cup. As we started to wean from breastfeeding, we replaced bottles with sippy cups. It was a gradual process that took maybe 6-8 weeks, and he handled it fine.

Alex, OTOH, never much liked bottles, so by 10 months he was only on a sippy cup, be it for water, breastmilk, juice, whatever. It wasn't "too early" for him. Every kid is different.

And I agree with Laura that letting Cameron take the lead on eating is the way to go. Keep offering her a variety of food at every meal/snack, and she will eat what she needs. She won't let herself starve to death, I promise. :-)