Farewell, bottles

Lina has hit a major new milestone. We just marked one week of absolutely no bottles. She is drinking all her fluids from straw and sippy cups.

Infant feedings were painful with both my babies. Corin has his own story of excruciatingly difficult feedings and nearly a full year of exclusive pumping so he could enjoy the benefits of breast milk. Lina started out pretty well with breastfeeding but didn’t have the oral muscle tone to get what she needed. Even the bottle was a long, hard struggle. You may remember the anguish of trying to find a bottle she would take, and then the many, many months of difficult feedings where she leaked out as much milk as she took in (again, poor oral muscle tone). I once more found myself tethered to that loathsome but necessary pump. We jury-rigged latex nipples to make them faster-flow as she got older, and then those got old and stretched out and we jury-rigged some more, until all of a sudden she would take the silicone Avent bottles we’d used with Corin, and life got easier. Then began the LONG process of introducing about two dozen different types of sippy cups. We saw a feeding therapist a couple times, but Lina really just needed time and practice.

Ultimately, she has been successful with the exact same cups Corin preferred – the Munchkin straw cups and the Avent soft spout cups with the no-spill valve removed. At first, she made a huge mess drinking from them. We would have to hold a towel under her chin to avoid soaking her entire body. But in the last few weeks, those oral muscles have strengthened, the coordination came together, and she is drinking milk and water with very little spillage. She holds the cup herself and handles the whole thing like a pro (except for that whole throwing the cup thing).

The last step was figuring out how to deliver her thyroid medication. It had always gone in her morning bottle, and my finicky girl won’t eat applesauce or yogurt. Thanks to a great suggestion from grandma, we tried mixing it into a little pudding, and wa-lah – farewell, bottles.

As she cruises around the house behind her push toy, I’m realizing that my baby is very quickly disappearing. There has been something nice about her babyhood taking a little slower pace, but it may have lulled me into forgetting that she really is growing up so fast. She will be turning two in exactly a month. TWO!! She is fiercely independent, on the go and into everything. A few days ago, she discovered she can remove the HVAC vent covers and stuff things down the vents. I pulled several shoes out of the duct yesterday. This is unlikely to end well. But then she crawls to me, pulls up on my legs, puts her arms up, and wraps her arms tight around my neck as I hold her close, and I almost stop breathing to better savor the feeling.

And so goes the parental dance, celebrating the milestones with pride while mourning the loss of a little one who is every day a little bigger and a little more independent.

Although, I’m not going to lie: I don’t miss those bottles.

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