Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bottle Diaries

In the US, the powers that be (other mothers, pediatricians, dentists, grandmothers, busy-bodies...) all make a big fuss about how a child should be "Off the bottle by 12 months" because it's bad for tooth development and cavities.

In Switzerland, kids have bottles (with milk, with juice, with tea, with sirop) until 4 or 5 at least. No one seems to think twice.

Who's right? Does it matter? The dental theory does have some scientific basis, but it doesn't seem like all Swiss kids have mouths full of bad teeth and cavities (and those that do, I'd blame it more on the chocolate which often starts at 6 months!).

As you can see, Angelina has a bottle. The funny thing is this is the kid who absolutely refused a bottle at first, so much so I was in a panic starting daycare that she'd starve. She eventually learned to take one, but took the bare minimum - no more than 8oz/day on a good day. Somewhere around 12-13 months she flat out refused any more bottles, which is just as well as I was keen to stop pumping (she also refused cow's milk - and goat's milk, rice milk, soy milk...she wanted mommy's milk or nothing). Lack of cow's milk wasn't a big deal since she ate tons of yoghurt and cheese. Fast forward to 16.5 months, she gets croup, stops eating/drinking anything and only nurses. As she was finally recovering, for some reason I gave her a bottle with cow's milk. She took it, and wanted more. I figured if it was a way to get milk into her (and maybe nurse a bit less) I wasn't going to complain.

Now, at 19.5 months, Papa will give her a bottle of cow's milk in the middle of the night if she refuses to go back to sleep, and occasionally I've give her one in the morning if she hasn't nursed all night. Probably averages out to about 2-3x per week. She's not particularly attached to it, but the way some people talk you'd think I was destroying her development.

As you can also see, she likes her sippy cup just fine and drinking from a regular cup or with a straw she can do very well. I've no worried about her development in that regard. It's just another container to drink liquid, one she prefers on occasion.


Megan said...

This sounds very similar to L, who was very resistant to bottles when he started daycare (I was looking through his old record book the other day and he frequently took only 2-4 oz a day, although he was on solids by that point). Once he started he would happily take one at bedtime, if I was not home. He continued to take EBM in bottles until he was about 18 months (would have been cow's milk were he not intolerant). At that point we switched him to a soft spout sippy cup (this one:

I think in breastfed babies bedtime drinks, in particular, are not just about the content. There's also a comfort factor and bottles or soft spouts give them that sucking action in a way ordinary sippies do not. I didn't have a problem with it on an occasional basis, as long as they *can* use a sippy and especially if they use the bottle for milk/water rather than everything.

Cherise said...

Hi Megan!

I really hated pumping so I was happy to give it up at 13 months. I was initially concerned about the lack of milk, but learned she could get her protein and nutrients from other sources (and she did fine with yoghurt and cheese) so I stopped worrying.

Megan said...

Yes, I would happily have stopped earlier than the 18 month mark were it not that we knew by that stage L was dairy intolerant. Even still, he does fine on soya yoghurts and so on now. I was lucky to always let down well for the pump and every time I wanted to drop a session, he obligingly dropped a bottle before I had to force the issue. Good boy that he is :D

Cherise said...

So nice that he obliged. I confess I think the reason A gave up bottles at 13 months was because I started mixing EBM with cow's milk. She wouldn't be tricked. She decided to take it only when _she_ was ready.

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