KayTar and I did not have a successful nursing relationship. We tried, both of us, but it wasn't in the cards. I pumped for her for the first month, because she just could never seem to latch on. Now I know why, of course, low oral tone, but then I didn't have any idea. I offered periodically and one glorious day she finally latched on. I remember calling Josh immediately, pleased as punch. We could do this after all! Alas, although we won that battle, we ultimately lost the war. We had limited success with the latching, but every nursing session was an exercise in futility, she struggled and cried...nursing just was not as easy as drinking from a bottle and so about the time she was four months old, I let her wean herself as she had been desperately trying to do all along.
The bottle was no picnic either. BubTar was strictly an Avent infant, so before she was born, we stocked up, sterilized, we had it all. We had done the trial and error and we knew what worked. And then, we offered her one of our shiny new bottles and she couldn't drink from them. The nipple was too big or too firm or too something. She screamed and gave up. We used the ready made formula and nipples they gave us at the hospital, but even those gave her trouble. We bought pack after pack of bottles trying to find a solution. We tried different formulas. We tried it all. Feeding was a struggle from the day she was born. We thought the problem was gas or reflux or maybe an allergy, frankly, we had no idea. We just wanted to fix it. I don't know how or when we discovered it, all those months are such a painful, confusing blur for me, but after finding a few that were deemed only acceptable, we finally found a winner. The cheapest of the cheap, Parent's Choice bottle from Walmart, non-bumpy nipple, slow flow only, single-pinhole.
The bottle has been a sore spot for me at times. What kind of parent allows their three and a half year old to have a bedtime bottle? What kind of three and a half year old not only has a nightly bottle, but a thrice daily bottle? The kind who would waste away to nothing without it, that's what kind...but there are times that the logic isn't much of a consolation. I wrote this about a year and a half ago:
Today BubTar's school room mother asked how old KayTar was while helping BubTar from his booster seat.
She said, "Oooh, baby girl is getting big! How old is she now?"
"She is two." I replied, while smiling.
"It's time to get rid of that bottle, Mama." She stated, as she closed the car door.
And I pulled away from the curb feeling very much like I had been slapped across the face. Hot, wet tears poured down my cheeks and I didn't know why. I was angry and shaking, and the tears kept coming.
I was so wounded by her words, I sent her a letter in response. In it, I said this:
KayTar(...) has a feeding disorder, which prevents her from drinking from a cup or straw. She is still on purees, so most of her nutrition comes from her bottle. Without it she would have a feeding tube.
Here we are, THERE, the feeding tube right around the bend and all I feel for that bottle anymore is gratefulness. It nourished my child when my body could not. When her weight had fallen down, down, down the charts it held the Pediasure that allowed her to climb back up the charts. It provided her calories, enticed her with its comfort, ensuring at least one of her feeding experiences positive. It has soothed her through countless doctor's visits and tests. Dammit, the thing is practically a member of the family now. Next week, though, an era will end...the era in which bottles are necessary to life. Finally, after all of this time, we can wean her from the bottle without risking her nutritional stability. Although the transition won't be easy, I'm sure, it is now at least possible. Is it strange that it gives me little heart pangs? My sweet, sweet baby girl and her well loved bottle, going their separate ways. The final vestiges of babyhood finally falling away behind her.
Do you think it would be too much to have it bronzed?