Bottling out

Bottle - 1, Mummy - 0

Xav turns three next Thursday.

And he still drinks milk in the morning and at night from a bottle.

We’ve tried on numerous determined occasions to introduce a different vestibule for his beloved white stuff, and each time the score ends up: Xav – 1, Parents – 0.

He’s nowhere near giving up his bottle.

And I’m not going to force him to. He doesn’t tantrum (we’re v lucky that way), but each time we’ve attempted to make the switch, he brings out the big guns and comes to full-on batshit-crazy mode in approximately 2.6 seconds.

I know the reasons why it’s not advisable for him to still drink his milk from a bottle. I beat myself over the head with all the health visitor and dentist garb for a year and a half and worried that he’ll be bullied at pre-school for being toothless.

But now I’ve decided I won’t beat myself up any more, and I’m going to stop worrying.

I’ve gone with my instincts to trust that he will give up the sauce when he’s ready to.

His bottle is comfort for him. He loves bedtime snuggles with his milk and a favourite story. He loves to get up and go and have a mummy cuddle on the sofa with his morning milk. Those are precious times for all of us.

We’ve also discovered he’s got sensory processing issues which explain why he’s such a picky eater. (Milk has always been his main source of protein.)

About six months ago I looked into alternative milks as Xav had eczema. I started to give him soya milk, then eventually a combo of goat’s, almond and hemp milk so he could get the benefit of all the other nutrients too seeing as his diet is so restricted.

Within a week his skin had 100% cleared up, and within six months my tiny 2nd centile boy has put on a massive 2kg. More weight than he has put on in that period since he was a newborn. I’m literally over the moon!

And if I’d taken the advice I’ve been given since his first birthday and removed that milk from his diet, where would we be? Who knows, but I’m willing to bet we wouldn’t be looking at such a brilliant weight gain.

My point is this: our instincts as mums are good. We should follow them unashamedly. I’m going to stop making excuses for the decisions I make on Xav’s behalf, because that’s doing myself an injustice. It’s my prerogative to follow my instincts and time and time again, they prove that they know what they’re doing.

I’m telling you this because I want the same for you. I think every single mum deserves to feel empowered to follow her own instincts and do what’s right for her family without having to justify herself or fear judgment from others.

Yesterday we had some friends over and Xav asked for some milk. He’s cutting the big bad molars so he’s eating even less than normal, so I obliged. I thought about explaining to the girls that yes, my almost three-year-old is drinking from a bottle. I know it looks weird.

Then I stopped myself.

I won’t justify my parenting decisions any more.

Yes, I’ve bottled out of this battle. But I’d do it all over again because it’s what’s best for Xav.

I deserve to feel empowered to make those decisions and hold my head high, because I know I’ve done the right thing for him – just as we all do each day.

Hold your head high mama, you’re doing great.

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