Toby’s resistance to the bottle nearly had me on the bottle…

19 Jun

This post started out as a post about food fights with the toddler, but as I wrote, memories of our weaning journey flooded back. It’s strange the things you forget – and then remember – and it’s crazy how fast life moves and how far we’ve come. I can’t believe my little toddling monster was ever a wee baby.

Our weaning and eating journey with Toby has been interesting, challenging and plain messy.

When Toby was three months old, we moved into a camper van and set off on a three and a bit month journey around Europe. At this point, sterilising and preparing bottles became an unbelivably difficult task and so not one bottle was handed to Toby. Instead I opted for the easy breastfeeding option. This was a fatal mistake. I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t leave him for more than three hours and I was exhausted.

At five months we gave weaning a try. It was a daunting task; reading labels on the baby food jars was hard – I don’t excel at Foreign languages – and feeling confident that our plates and cutlery were as sparkly clean as they needed to be was not easy. I never feel hygiene standards are up to scratch while camping and had no idea how strong Toby’s stomach was yet. However, we gave it a shot with some stomach-turning bland foods like baby rice and mashed banana. It didn’t go quite to plan – does anything with a child? Though it’s hardly surprising – have you tried baby rice?!? Preparing bottles was incredibly time-consuming in a small camper van kitchen and I was too lazy to make a concerted effort. So, Toby continued to get Mother’s Best and he was happy, but my patience was on its way out.

He got so used to having the red top milk that when I finally put my foot down, Toby had other ideas. He rejected the bottle and I came close to taking to it. With the pressure of having to feed him every three hours I couldn’t have a proper break and after many, many dry months I was getting rather desperate to kick back and have a bottle of wine – especially as we were travelling around the vin yards of France. There is nothing like the feeling of being trapped by breastfeeding. Every way you turn guilt hits you in the face: guilt that I resented Toby for not taking the bottle, guilt when I did just *sod it* and have a glass of wine. Fear was also a prominent emotion: what if he never took the bottle?!? He might be walking before!

People tell you how hard motherhood is, but you never quite believe it. It’s fraught with emotion – lows and highs. Thankfully, the highs are THE. BEST. EVER and Toby gives me at least a dozen fixes a day.

Anyway, on my quest to get Toby to the bottle, I turned to every internet site going and tried everything. EVERYTHING. Then finally! We had friends over for Sunday lunch. They have a gorgeous four year old and while eating Toby clocked the other child drinking by himself.  We gave him a bottle and bang – he took it! Tears filled my eyes, relief pulsated around my body and the weight that had sat so heavily on my shoulders began to lift. Toby seems to take to things when he sees other children doing them (good and bad things!).

After that, things got a lot easier and now Toby loves his bottle… can’t get enough of his bottle…

Life is funny. I spent a great deal of time cursing life for Toby’s insistence on sticking to me like glue. Once he was fully weaned, I found myself missing the closeness. Nothing quite beats the bond you feel when your child is being sustained by something your body is producing. He would stare at me and play with my hair while eating and it was warming. Now Toby takes his bottle, totters around the room, finds things to throw at me, grabs my phont, throws his bottle at me and goes to bed. Thanks Toby!


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