I woke up this morning determined that today was the day to get Lilly to start taking the bottle. I’m learning that there’s a difference between being determined and being forceful as a mother. I can’t force that bottle in her mouth (believe me, in moments of desperation I’ve tried it) or it will only backfire, but I can be determined to work with my daughter to take the next step forward. I’m a pretty determined person when I want to be, and so is Lillian, so if we combine forces, we can accomplish this. It’s determination, both mine and that which Lillian inherited from me, that saved her life and got her where she is today.
Lillian is growing increasingly skilled and comfortable with swallowing milk while she sucks, but Dave and I dripping milk on her pacifier is a transition, not a way of life. My back and neck, aching from leaning over Lillian dripping milk for 20-30 minutes at a time all day long, say it must be so.
The Gumdrop bottles arrived early in the afternoon and I talked them up to Lillian, telling her it was a bottle that would feel just like her pacifier. She took the bottle from me with enthusiasm and began sucking from it right away. But after two sucks, she turned away in disgust and looked for her pacifier instead. I tried several more times, but each time, it was the same reaction. I touched the two nipples, and while they were shaped exactly the same, the pacifier was soft and yielding while the bottle nipple was stiff. Plus there’s the obvious difference that one squirts milk while the other doesn’t. But then I tried her original Dr. Brown’s bottle–the one we’ve been using since she was in the hospital–and she started sucking it! It was like, okay mom if you’re going to keep pushing these ridiculous milk squirting things on me, I’m sticking with the one I know. A part of me was relieved she didn’t want that silly Gumdrop bottle.
She went on to drink an ounce of milk, sometimes directly from Dr. Brown’s, sometimes with both the paci and the bottle nipple in her mouth at the same time. When she drank from the bottle, she wanted to hold her pacifier in her hand, or she wanted me to hold her pacifier close to her mouth while she sucked the bottle. It was pretty cute to watch how she used her pacifier for security while she made the transition.
Later in the day, she wouldn’t replicate the experience. She cried for the pacifier when I offered her the bottle and even protested when I squirted milk on it before giving in and letting Dave do it. But transitions happen little by little, that’s why they’re transitions. Tomorrow is another day, and I’m determined to help her keep trying.