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Old 7th October 2009, 09:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Tricks with the milk bottle

Tricks with the milk bottle



by Colin Goh


Two columns ago, I sought readers' advice for dealing with my baby daughter's refusal to drink from the bottle when the Wife wasn't around to breastfeed, and got an avalanche of responses - not only from battle-scarred parents eager to share war stories and tips, but desperate folks facing the same daily reruns of WrestleMania as me.

But for a handful of exceptions, most readers' suggestions coalesced around the same few solutions. Nevertheless, the diversity of even these suggests that there isn't some silver bullet answer to the problem, and several readers took pains to emphasise how every child is different, and to persevere.

Anyway, I tried most of the suggestions several times, in case I messed up the first attempt. In all cases, I used the Wife's expressed breast milk and made sure it was warm. Here are the results:

Try (X) brand of teat.

I bought everything I could find. All failed, alas, before Yakuza Baby's uncompromising palate.

Wear an item of mummy's clothing when introducing the bottle, to fool baby with her scent.

This wasn't easy in my case, because there's a considerable difference in size between me and the Wife. (My dad once described us as a 4-D bet: one big, one small.) The best I could do was drape one of her T-shirts around my neck like a bib. Anyway, Yakuza Baby not only saw through the ruse, she acted like she was really affronted by the attempt at subterfuge, and screamed like a bimbo in a slasher flick.

Use a spoon.

I was told to try rubber ones, stainless steel ones, special elongated ones and even the plastic type you get for free when you da pao food. And I did. Yakuza Baby generally took a mouthful, purely for novelty's sake, I suspect, but not once did she accept a second try. In the end, it was too frustrating, not too mention messy, when she swatted each subsequent attempt away.

Dip the teat in honey.

'A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,' so trilled noted child-rearing expert Mary Poppins. Except the hospital advised us never, ever to give babies honey because in their immature gastrointestinal tracts, it can cause fatal botulism.

Try a cup.

We handed Yakuza Baby an empty sippy cup, and got excited when she immediately moved its spout towards her mouth. Except because sippy cups are usually meant for older infants, her short fingers couldn't quite manoeuvre it to achieve touchdown. When I held the spout in her mouth for her, she drank - not a whole feed but a decent amount. I thought this was the breakthrough I'd been waiting for. But I soon found that her acceptance was inconsistent - some days can, others cannot, a case of suka-suka sucking.

Starvation or 'Just wait until she's really hungry lor, then she sure eat.'

Interestingly, men formed the majority of readers who suggested this. When I mentioned this statistical nugget to some women friends, they all rolled their eyes. 'Yes, it's technically correct,' said one female paediatrician. 'But it's easy to suggest it when you don't have to handle a bawling, famished baby. It's not about her having enough food, it's about your sanity.' I had to agree. I tried the hard-hearted route but broke down after Yakuza Baby screamed for nearly two hours straight. Sure, she made up for the calories when the Wife came home but the ordeal left me feeling like both warden and inmate at Abu Ghraib.

Distraction.

Use a toy, turn on the television, do anything to calm her down, then introduce the bottle. The toys didn't do anything, but, to our horror, she took to TV like a natural-born couch potato. I've never seen her sit so quietly for so long. The problem was she still wouldn't accept the bottle because it blocked her view.

And, finally, the solution that worked for her:

Sleep.

Rock her into a dozy state, insert the teat, and let her natural reflexes take over. I was sceptical when I first received this suggestion but so far it's worked every time, with different teats too. She still won't take a full feed but it's enough of a snack till the Wife returns.

So the war of the weaning has been won. But like most battles, there was a cost, even in victory. Though she's now accepting some bottle feeds, Yakuza Baby has decided to make up for the reduced intake by not sleeping through the night, so she can feast while mum's around.

I'm tempted to say it's teat for tat.

Source: http://www.divaasia.com/article/5439

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