Today I threw away the majority of my son’s bottles and teats. I have officially moved him over to a cup for all drinks, and although I’m a bit sad about waving goodbye to one of the very last signs of babyhood, I’m very proud of my growing up boy.
But having done this, I’m feeling quite judgemental towards mums who let their babies have their bottles (and other habits) well into toddlerdom, and beyond. I genuinely dont get it.
Well, maybe that makes it sound like I’m more of a mumzilla than I actually am. Of course I get it. It’s about a few things. The main one, is missing the boat. A newborn baby with a dummy, absolutely fine. Babies have sucking reflexes, they need the comfort, they cant be feeding all day long, and many babies would scream all day without one, and become little angels with. I’m not sure it takes a genius to realise that the age where it starts coming with warning signs (careful about their teeth, careful about their speech, careful about their eating habits) is the time to take it away. Generally this is about 6 months. But if you miss this time slot, and let them keep it until they develop something resembling a memory, disaster ensues. Your 6 month old will forget there is such thing as a dummy within 2 days. 3 tops. My 5 month old forgot it within 36 hours. Your 10/11 month old? Not so much. You’ve missed your chance. Sure, you can take it away, and you really should. You’ll shake your head at fellow mums when you give it back to your crying child, you’l say encouraging sentences like “oh I really must wean him off that dummy,” but when it comes down to doing it, it’s really hard. The light at the end of the tunnel is that no one gets married with a dummy in their mouth. True. Normally when you wait until they are old enough to reason with, you can find a way to trick your 2/3 year old into parting with it. And thats why a lot of mums just wait.
So when you find yourself in this ‘inbetween’ stage, I can understand why you feel a bit stuck. But I’m going to lose a few friends here when I say, you really should have done it earlier. Every health visitor/midwife/book/informative pamphlet etc that I read said take away a dummy before 6 months. So I did. Every health visitor/midwife/book/informative pamphlet etc that I read said take away bottles before a year. So I have. I’m not trying to be supermum, I just dont want to make things harder on myself. I trust their years of experience to tell me that its not good for my toddler to have these things, and it will be loads easier for me if i get rid of them before a certain point. And it is. I dont deserve the praise I get for ridding him of these habits… shh.. it was really easy.
I guess I always decided since he was born, that I’m in charge. He doesnt get anything just because he is crying, and he isnt allowed to do anything that is potentially dangerous for him, however much he wants to. That’s how it goes. I want him to be capable of doing the same thing for his kids some day, (with a mouth that speaks with perfect speech and straight teeth.)