Using a bottle?
Do you think it’s okay for an almost three-year-old to still be using a bottle? Last week, I was mortified by the dreadful look my mother-in-law gave me when I gave our two and a half-year-old a bottle to keep him quiet at a family wedding.
Whether you are followed by paparazzi or at a family reunion, parenting in public is often difficult. Especially with very young children, everyone seems to have an opinion about what is best for your child.
These moments of nagging tension can be helpful reminders to reconsider patterns that may have developed out of convenience.
From your two-and- half-year-old point of view, he has a developmental need for comfort, reassurance or perhaps as a reprieve from boredom. He, like lots of children, may choose sucking—on pacifiers or bottles as his go-to strategy.
Parents of two-and-a-half-year-olds often support these strategies as well: pacifiers and bottles also satisfy the parent’s understandable need for their toddler to be comforted by something other than them.
The important question is how does the bottle fit with your view of your child’s developing success?
While very few kids start kindergarten with pacifiers or bottles, these behaviors often spark a battle for control between parent and child, especially as your child grows older.
If the use of the bottle makes you as his parents uncomfortable or worried about your child’s development, then it’s time to make a change. If not, then it’s time to develop a script that you can use to reassure questioning family members.
Making A Change
Take a few days to observe yourself and your child during a typical day. Pay attention to the situations and times of day in which your child needs the bottle or pacifier. Try not to judge or change anything at this point.
Children this young are sensitive to the people and stressors around them. Is your family in the middle of a move, an illness, or financial crisis? Is there a new baby in the home? If so, you may be seeing an increase in your child’s worrisome behavior.
If you decide to make a change:
1) Prepare your child.
2) Start with small changes and build success.
3) Consistency is the key but remember it always gets worse before it gets better.
Leaving babyhood behind marks a big transition for everyone in the family.