I did some soul searching last night on our bottle dilemma. I tried to figure out why it was so difficult for me to even comprehend taking the babies bottles away from them. Like I said yesterday, we have tried. But, because I wasn't in to it 100% ... I didn't stand a chance. I always believed - "Ah, they don't have to really be off them until they are 18-months old. I've still got time. Plenty-o time." That time is now and I, probably more than my babies, are mourning the loss of the bottle.
This is what I figured out during my self psycho-analysis last night. I just cannot believe that we are already at a point in our babies lives when they ... according to our pediatrician and literature on the subject ... truly aren't *suppose* to be on bottles anymore. Like it or not, that peg in my reality board has been put in place. It dawned on me this morning that it was two years ago today, that I found out our third round of IVF had worked and I was pregnant ... we were finally going to have a baby. (I didn't find out for a few more weeks that there was actually a daycare on board.)
Nonetheless, it's hard to believe that these babies we've longed for - for so long ... are infact, toddlers. Little kids. I don't just ask myself, constantly, "What happened to the 3-pound newborns that I gave birth to?" I take it one step further and ask "What happened to my 8-cell embryos?!" I am in awe at how fast time goes and the little people our multi-celled embryos have grown in to. The bottle has always been a symbol of *baby* to me and although it sounds crazy, getting rid of the bottle ... well ... it hurts. Today it's the bottle. Tomorrow it will be transitioning out of a crib. The next day it will be potty training. And then ... kindergarten. Oh, my heart aches.
But, I know it's one of those things that has to be done. I've received some very good feedback from people on WHY it is important to wean a baby from the bottle by 18-months of age. And using that information, along with the response my pediatrician gave me when I called him this morning to ask "Are you absolutely SURE they have to be off the bottle by 18 months?" we've decided that now is the time to start the weaning. For anyone interested in what my pediatrician and other knowledgeable experts in the field (aka: parents of babies about the same age as ours) had to say ...
1) Children using bottles are more likely to develop tooth decay. Even with proper brushing.
2) Children who drink from a bottle may have improper dental development.
3) Children who depend on bottle feedings may not consume enough solid foods to meet their nutrient needs. I was under the false assumption that they still needed to be taking 24 oz of milk a day. Actually, it's only about 16 oz of milk ... which is a big difference!
4) Children who are not weaned from the bottle may not develop appropriate feeding skills.
Considering that William is so attached to his bottle and derives the majority of his nutrition from said bottle ... that was enough for me. Additionally, we are starting to get in to the warmer months and I'd rather have this weaning behind us, then have to worry about them becoming dehydrated during the summer if they are still *holding out* for the bottle once or twice a day.
So, with some divine inspiration from above - - and in the spirit of holy week ... we have begun "Operation Bottle Wean." We literally passed over our first bottle on this first day of "Passover". My goal is that our babies will be completely weaned from the bottle by Friday, April 14th ... the day they turn 18-months old. I think the longer we wait and the more we draw it out, the harder it will be - for everyone involved. I am coinciding the Last Bottle with the "Last Supper" that Jesus shared with his disciples ... tomorrow evening. I am already anticipating that "Good Friday" isn't going to be too *good* of a Friday at our house ... but I could be wrong. If all goes according to plan, our babies will be receiving all of their fluids from a sippy cup by this weekend. If not, then a bottle may *reappear* with the Easter bunny ... on the "Third Day".
To kick it off right, I went out this afternoon and bought a few more Nuby sippy cups at Walmart. I think that we stand our best chance using this brand ... as one of my fellow triplet mom's pointed out, the *spout* is the most closely similar to a bottle in texture (silicone). We've had pretty good luck with this brand in the past - but of course that was for juice and water - so hopefully, given no other choice for their milk ... the babies will embrace the Nuby for that, too. We'll be mixing it up throughout the day with both Nuby silicone spouts and Nuby straw cups. I also plan to heat the sippy cups up, so that they aren't having to adjust to the cup ... and cold milk ... all at once. Today, we gave the babies their morning bottle. We did sippy cups at lunch and snack, with a bottle at dinner. I tried not to make a big deal out of it. I gave them the sippy cup with their meal, and whatever they didn't finish, was poured out (I can see our milk consumption is going to go WAY down for the next few weeks until they adjust). Here are some photos from our first day of "Operation Bottle Wean" ...
This was lunch today ... the first sippy cup with milk. It only took a few moments before both Carolyn and Elizabeth lifted their sippy cups up high above their head - and threw them at me.
Our afternoon snack was a little better. All three babies held on to their sippy cups for a few minutes ... and I think I actually saw them take a sip at one point or another. Elizabeth was the first to throw her cup down, and so it went.
ONE CUP ...
TWO CUP ...
THREE CUP ... FLOOR.
I was having a hard time finding one of the sippy cups from earlier in the day during a clean-up ... and then noticed that the babies had placed it inside their Corn Popper ride on toy. Maybe they are trying to hide it from me ...???