Releasing The Dreaded Bottle

At Mila’s 12-month doctor’s appointment we were told that now is the time to get Mila off the bottle. By 15 months, she should no longer have the bottle at all.

Not only was I flabbergasted by this bomb that was dropped on my reality, (add to that the fact that I’m processing the fact that my baby is now a toddler), I was also told that I wasn’t giving Mila enough calcium. I thought that eventually I would have to ween her off the bottle, so I started to drop the number of ounces I was giving her. Big mistake. I was giving her 9 ounces a day when she should have been getting 16 to 24 ounces. Whoops.

So, I’m determined to correct my error and progress my baby into toddler-hood – kicking and screaming* if need be. I gave Mila a sippy cup full of milk the first few days and she denied it. A big ol’ fat FAIL. She wouldn’t take milk out of anything but a bottle. I tried a different kind of cup, separated her cups, even – juice in sippy cups, milk in cups with straws, but still she wouldn’t bite.

Pffft to bottles!
July 26, 2012
One year, 12 days.

I upped the amount of milk I gave Mila and kept trying to get her to drink out of anything but a bottle. Then one day I cheated. I added a little chocolate powder to her milk. Holy smokes, you’d think it was golden milk! She gobbled it all up. Ok, win one mom.

Great, now I had Mila down to a sippy cup of milk in the morning and a bottle of milk at night – totaling 16 ounces, (she was also getting yogurt for breakfast and cheese snacks to add to her calcium intake). I admit, I wasn’t too anxious to get her off her nighttime bottle. It was part of our routine and I was scared of the consequences: Would she go to sleep? Would it take me an hour to get her down?

So I passed on this and at Mila’s 15 month check up, I confessed to the doctor only that she was still on her bedtime bottle. He urged Mila (uh, me) to get off the bottle completely. So starts the next phase of the dreaded bottle…

Day one: Dan attempted a sippy cup of milk at bedtime. Mila took one sip and tossed it aside. She went down to sleep easily, probably because she was so tired.

Day two: I gave Mila her final milk of the day just before dinnertime. Probably not the best idea since she didn’t eat much during dinner. I gave her a bath and when Dan went to put her to bed, I suggested reading her a book to make up for those few minutes she would have been drinking a bottle. My intention was to calm her into sleep. It seemed to have worked, (knock on wood). It wasn’t quick. It took Dan almost a half hour between reading the book and getting her to finally relax enough to drift off.

What I’ve learned is that everything leading up to this point is what really matters. Getting Mila used to falling asleep by herself really helps when you don’t have a bottle to fill her and drift her off to sleep.

Hopefully this all gets easier. The real challenge will be when Mila’s not with us and we can’t see if she’s getting a bottle of milk or juice.

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*Mila didn’t kick and scream. I did. I may still be kicking.  

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Lesson #117: UhUhUhUh, Staying Alive!

Having a baby makes you a dancer. For better or worse, you’ll dance: when you have your baby in your arms and a good song comes on the radio or when you look down and your baby’s reaching up to you, you grab her hands and swing her around or…

When you’re ever so quietly attempting to exit her room, backwards, while she lays peacefully almost asleep in her crib. You reach back with one leg, crossing over the other leg, keeping your knees bent as you gently place your foot over the spot where you think the floor creeks. Repeat until you’re in the doorway slowly pulling the door closed in front of you, being ever so careful not to make any noise as you click the latch into place. Then you step away from the door – in the same manner – and walk down the hallway and down the stairs avoiding every spot of the hardwood floor that squeals in rebellion to your weight shifting from step to step; gently placing your feet on parts of the steps that aren’t normally  walked upon, until you reach the bottom and sigh with relief.

And after all of this, only to have your baby shuffle, roll over and scream her head off. So, you turn around, walk up the steps lightly and do it all again.

Late to bed or early to rise?

Mila curled up and laid her head on the pillow next to me – all on her own – and watched TV.
May 24, 2012.
10 months, 10 days

Mila’s been all over the board when it comes to sleeping, so I asked myself the other day:

Which would you rather have, early rise with nice naps during the day or less napping and more time available at night?

I thought about this a lot. If Mila took a morning and an afternoon nap, totalling even 2-3 hours, I could actually clean parts of the house. This would mean that I would have to be in bed by 9:30 pm because she would be up at 6 am.

If Mila didnt nap much during the day, I would have tiny breaks that wouldn’t allow me to do much at all until evening, BUT I would get to sleep in…possibly.

What a dilemma, (ha! as if I could really choose). Which would you choose?