When it comes to raising kids, I’ve been quick to learn that one size definitely does not fit all.
Our two girls in particular seem to be like chalk and cheese. The tried and tested techniques that worked like a dream with Curly-locks are blowing up in our faces with our latest kid on the block, Smiley.
As we approach each new milestone, nine times out of 10 we are having to change our tack.
Let’s take bottle weaning for example.
When Curly-locks was a toddler, we progressively and successfully dropped her bottle feeds one by one with not even a whimper from her. The timing must have been right and she was ready.
When we tried to do the exact same thing for our second daughter, 20-month-old Smiley, things did not go as smoothly.
We dropped the day bottles without a hitch, but when it came to dropping her morning feed we were met with tears and screaming and snot and flailing arms and legs.
Does this pic look familiar?
I posted it on my Facebook page recently when I was in the throes of bottle weaning craziness.
That day I had halved Smiley’s usual bottle intake in the hope that she would eat breakfast rather than fill up on milk, refuse breakfast, and then ask for cheese 15 minutes later.
After her reduced size bottle, I sat her down at her table and placed a bowl of Weet Bix in front of her. Well, you would have thought that I had asked her to eat dog poo. She looked at me with great disgust and swiped the bowl off the table and onto the floor where she joined it to unleash her fury.
This behaviour is out of the ordinary for her, but seemingly on the rise since I’ve reduced her bottles. I won’t quickly forget her running away from the table screaming the other night when I asked her to eat her dinner.
When Smiley threw herself on the floor, I was at a loss for what to do. I was tempted to throw myself on the floor screaming too, but when Curly-locks made the comment, ‘Someone’s a bit cwanky (cranky) today,’ I couldn’t help but laugh … and post her picture on Facebook. Bad mother of the year award right here, folks 😉
While I have learned a lot as mother of two, there are inevitably days when I’m muddling through and feel like I’m on a very steep learning curve.
When this happens I hit my parenting books. Just between you and me, I think I hold the world record for reading Save Our Sleep more times than anyone in the known universe. I also turn to parenting sites and Google whenever Dave’s not watching – I may or may not have been banned from diagnosing myself and the kids via the internet.
When I am still at a loss, I turn to my friends and this wonderful community here on Mummy, Wife, Me. And what a community we have!
When I posted that image of Smiley with the comment, ‘Bottle weaning is going really well with Smiley don’t you think?!’ the response was huge.
Many people suggested I let Smiley lead the way with bottle weaning. Until I’d read this comment from Clare, I had never even thought about letting my child lead me.
Don’t get rid. She will give it up when ready. My youngest dropped hers only 6 months ago. Swapped the bottle for a big girl cup with a straw. She sometimes still has a little bit of milk before bed. Went through the battle with my eldest but thought why? It won’t hurt to have milk before bed and who cares if it is still in a bottle. Not worth the tears – Clare.
After reading Clare’s comment, the stubborn Taurean in me thought yes it will be worth the tears. She’s not eating any breakfast because she fills up on her bottle and refuses to eat dinner because she knows the bottle is coming.
And then Zanni suggested that milk is actually full of goodness. Well, there’s a thought that I hadn’t had before.
Elka is a bit like that too sometimes, but in the end milk has a lot of goodness and fluid, so if she just has milk and fruit sometimes I think she is doing okay. I feel like Clare – not worth the tears, when (organic) milk is actually pretty good for them as long as they’re not lactose intolerant. Good luck anyway! – Zanni.
As I began to come around to Clare and Zanni’s way of thinking the following comment from Clairey cemented it for me. Her comment a virtual repeat of what Dave has continually said to me.
I am a sucker and would not give it up. Bubbas love sucking on bottles (or boobs) dummies and thumbs, I know the health nurse is probably shaking her head at me, but I don’t care. There were days I thought my two wouldn’t give up their ‘things’ but they do – Clairey.
Then I received comments from those who have been there before and can sympathise. This comment from Claire made me want to give her a virtual hug.
We had similar tantrums when we dropped the morning bottle but we switched to one of those take & toss sippy cups which her big sister Ellen uses. We had to take to hiding her bottles from sight but it worked after a week. Our problem is that our 2 year old still wakes at night for a bottle with water in it but won’t take a ‘water bottle’ as she wants to suck her normal bottle! We’ve tried to break the habit but gave in to her midnight screaming tantrums! (When she vomited from screaming, we waved the white flag – of course we then used it to clean up the vomit at 3am! I just live in hope that she’ll drop it one day herself! – Claire
And then I was given hope from some very creative mummies with this idea from Beck sounding simply gorgeous.
Jade was addicted to her bottle. We ended up saying there was a bottle fairy that only comes for your bottle when she knew you were big enough to have a big girl cup. Then 2 days before the fairy came we left little sprinkles of glitter around the house to show she was near. Then the night before we wrapped the bottles in the garden (with Jade) and the next morning, my goodness she had come and left nice new and sparkly big girl cups and a little fairy toy. We then would give her milk in a cup at dinner time and told her she could have it after her dinner/breakfast was finished and rewarded her with a stamp or stickers in her blank book. Really seemed to help her eat her dinner knowing she still had milk to come afterwards. Jade still has her sticker book which she loves and we all have great memories of the bottle fairy – Beck
Then there were comments from those who have been there before. With words of be strong and go with your gut, I felt empowered to soldier on and I hope you did too.
As for Smiley and her bottle, we have decided to continue with the weaning. Rather than halving her bottle intake both morning and night, we are starting with just the morning bottle. I have reduced it by 50 mls and leave her breakfast on her table for her to eat when she’s ready.
The first couple of days she would stand at the fridge saying, ‘Mook, mook, open, open,’ but now she is coming around to the idea.
Listening to our child, working with her and going with our gut has worked wonders.
Thank you to the wonderful women above for their advice and everyone else who commented on that image. I hope some of you also found it helpful.
If there are any topics you would like me to write about on Mummy, Wife, Me, please let me know. I am open to suggestion.
Where do you go for advice about your children? Have you had to change tack with your kids and had good results?
Linking today with EssentiallyJess for IBOT.