Posted by: thatjen | August 18, 2006

Bottled Up

Contrary to popular wisdom, which indicates that a four-month old should not experience separation anxiety, Natalie is very aware of who her moms are and she does not want any substitutes. Cait has not yet gone back to work, so Natalie hasn’t had to endure too much Total Mom Deprivation, but we’ve been doing trial runs of leaving her with my mom, and that has been agonizing for everyone involved.

We thought it wouldn’t be too difficult, as the baby is only four months old, AND she’s known her grandmother since she was 8 hours old, AND she sees her grandmother several times a week. Plus, we dutifully introduced the bottle right when she was 3 weeks old (not too early, not too late) and she’s had bottles several times a week without much or any fuss from both Cait and me ever since. But we’d never left her at my mom’s house (except for the anniversary dinner, and we know how THAT ended), nor had my mom ever given her a bottle. BIG MISTAKES.

Wednesday morning, we left her with my mom and Cait came to work with me. The plan was, she’d have a bottle and a nap at Gram’s and then Cait would take her home. Mid-morning, my mom called, frantic. Natalie would not, WOULD NOT take the bottle, had barely slept, and had been screaming hysterically for some time. Cait and I rushed to the house but Natalie was so distraught that she didn’t register our presence or begin to calm down until the breast touched her mouth. After nursing, she was our smiley, happy baby again, so we decided Cait would stay with her to help ease the transition. The transition time with both Cait and my mom there worked quite well. I went back to work, Natalie napped, and when she woke up, she cheerfully took a bottle from Cait. “Look!” said my mom to my uncle. “Just look. It’s the SAME bottle I was trying to give her.” Shortly thereafter, the baby fell asleep. Cait came to join me at work again, and when Natalie woke up she played with my mom and then they walked over to meet us, whereupon she gleefully nursed again.

So we came up with a new strategy. Yesterday we let everyone have a day to recover, and this morning, Cait went with Natalie to my mom’s, with the plan that she would stay there, but hang in the background so Natalie could get used to my mom taking care of her. We timed it so she was somewhat hungry and tired when she arrived, hoping that she’d be more interested in the bottle and the napping. Not so much. In fact, it was rather the opposite. She was hungry, but adamant that she wasn’t going to eat for my mom, and the longer she went, the hungrier and tireder she got. She became so outraged that she wouldn’t even take the bottle from Cait and fell asleep in frustration. After a brief nap Cait was able to give her the bottle and she sucked away willingly. About halfway through the bottle, they tried a handoff. Total failure. The second Natalie and the bottle were in my mom’s arms, wails ensued. So Cait finished feeding her, she took a nap, and then Round 2 began. There was a brief flicker of success when my mom tried feeding her in the bouncy seat, but after a few minutes, Natalie wised up, screeched her disapproval, and quit drinking. When baby, grandma, and mom hit the breaking point, Cait finished feeding that bottle too. And then Natalie was quite willing to play and smile and have fun with Gram. But there will be No Feeding by anyone other than Authorized Personnel, evidently.

It appears that while we were successful in getting Natalie to take a bottle consistently, we also unwittingly established that the bottles are Cait’s boobs.

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Responses

  1. Oh, no! What an added strain to all of you. If it helps in picturing a possible future, I can tell you that at 6 months, David freaked out for the first three workdays I tried to leave him at the grandparents. It turned out better for him if I just left and let them take over. The following week, they kept him a little longer each time (with a rest day in between), and by the sixth or seventh day, he was mostly adjusted. He also refused bottles, but eventually came to accept them. By one year, he barely even noticed when I said goodbye in the morning dropping him off. By eighteen months, I told him I was going on a plane overnight, and he was going to stay with Pop and Ga, and he said, “Bye-bye!” and went to get a book. I thought he just didn’t understand, but he was fine for his all-weekend visit with them, and excited to tell me about it when I got home from a wedding the next day.

    It may take a while, and it’s such a terrible feeling while they’re adjusting, but try to think about what a wonderful close relationship with your mom Natalie is going to have once you make it through this period.

  2. Wow! That’s frustrating I bet. Everytime gus goes back to daycare (after he was out sick, the first day, etc) he refuses to eat and a couple of days later he’s fine. But it sounds that this is a bit more difficult. Good luck to you guys on this (and hope to see you Sunday).

    PS Gus has tagged Natalie for a Meme!!

  3. oh man! I’m SO SO Sorry!

    I CAN’T believe I’m about to say this, but…

    It will get better…

    Is your mom the only care giver for Miss Nat other than you guys?

    IS she going to genuine bonafied daycare, too?

    Hugs, hugs, hugs, and you are all doing great! Keep it up, and smoosh that Natapiller for me!

  4. Oh wow, I must say that this has never crossed our minds as a problem. That must be so stressful for everyone involved. Quinn has always been so happy taking a bottle that it never occurred to us that she might not for someone else! *gulp* Megan and Quinn are supposed to go hang out a coupla times with Future Day Care Provider just to let everyone interact. Maybe we should make sure that she will take a bottle from them…

  5. Love the comment about the bottle being Caits boobs. Kids are funny, next week she might not care a bit about being with Gram.

  6. ROFL I’m sorry, it all sounds so terribly upsetting and frustrating for all parties involved, but I can’t get over the mental image of Cait’s bottle boobs. That needs to be on a onesie or T-shirt or something. Hope things get better soon!

  7. Noah also usually eats and naps badly at day care after a few days away, even just on Monday. Not on this scale , luckily.

  8. Ok, in about 5 seconds you are going to look at me like I am crazy, and I just want you to know it is ok. I expect it and I won’t be offended. In fact, I won’t see it at all, so you can even stick your tongue out at me and call me a nut. After all I am here on the otherside of the screen, and by the time you read this I will be off somewhere else…

    Have you considered getting your mom to feed her with a cup? Now I know you are thinking that a four month old can’t drink out of a cup, and it’s not true, they just can’t drink out of a cup ALONE. I had to cup feed my baby during the first few weeks and they are actually pretty good at it. Now I will admit that it is probably a bit more difficult to start with a four month old, but not impossible. (My four month old sometimes drinks out of water bottles)

    All you need is a small easy to grip (for grandma) cup, preferably with a thin and flat rim (like a round cup but not one with a top with a bulge, rim or that curves outwards or inwards, if you know what I mean)

    Grandma then just slowly tilts the glass into Natalie’s mouth, until she starts to suck/drink. She may take to it. Mine could sure suck it out like a champ, faster than I wanted to pour.

    Ok, I am off to be crazy somewhere else now 😉

  9. Ok, in about 5 seconds you are going to look at me like I am crazy, and I just want you to know it is ok. I expect it and I won’t be offended. In fact, I won’t see it at all, so you can even stick your tongue out at me and call me a nut. After all I am here on the otherside of the screen, and by the time you read this I will be off somewhere else…

    Have you considered getting your mom to feed her with a cup? Now I know you are thinking that a four month old can’t drink out of a cup, and it’s not true, they just can’t drink out of a cup ALONE. I had to cup feed my baby during the first few weeks and they are actually pretty good at it. Now I will admit that it is probably a bit more difficult to start with a four month old, but not impossible. (My four month old sometimes drinks out of water bottles)

    All you need is a small easy to grip (for grandma) cup, preferably with a thin and flat rim (like a round cup but not one with a top with a bulge, rim or that curves outwards or inwards, if you know what I mean)

    Grandma then just slowly tilts the glass into Natalie’s mouth, until she starts to suck/drink. She may take to it. Mine could sure suck it out like a champ, faster than I wanted to pour.

    Ok, I am off to be crazy somewhere else now 😉

  10. Sanna went through a phase around four months where no one other than my MIL or the moms could hold her, even if we were standing right there. I think it went away within a few weeks.


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