Our tots grow affectionately attached to items that make them feel comfortable.
Their wubbies, blankies, pacis and bottles; all are something to cling to in a moment of infant need.
We all buy into one form or another to help our wee ones rest easy. Sleep through a full night. Cuddle during story time. Take during car rides. It's common and accepted by most.
The problem is.....well....when do we wean them from their objects of adoration, if they have not yet weaned themselves ?
A year old?
Dare I say 2?
There's a certain point in time when other parents make their snarky comments and judge you for your toddler speaking through that paci. After all, it's bad for his teeth and speech, or so they say. Or maybe you'll get that glare as your toddler who can speak and walk perfectly well is still clinging to that blankie, a la Linus from Peanuts.
And here is my confession. I am the mother of a 2-year-old who is just now being weaned from his bedtime bottle.
He's never been a paci kid, really. He doesn't own a toy that is superglued to his hand. And although he will, on occasion, wear a blanket as a cape, he has yet to affectionally nickname one that never leaves his side.
But he has gone to bed with 4 ounces of warm milk since he was weaned from being breastfed. Often, when he's ready for bed, even he will walk to where the bottle sits in the kitchen and look at the microwave as if to say, "Isn't it my bedtime? I'm pooped."
If he wakes in the middle of the night, I find myself warming him another 2 ounces to comfort him back to dreamland so that I can scuffle back to bed and do the same.
And yes, again, he is 2. My older two did not harbor such an affection for the bottle (or a paci or blankie, for that matter). One was weaned by a year and the other maybe made it to 16 months. So why let my wee dude become so dependent on something that many see as a faux pas? Maybe even bad for his teeth with tooth decay or "bottle rot"?
It's hard to say. Mostly because it hasn't seemed to do any harm, and it comforts him. It's ritualistic, the same as reading a book, brushing his teeth and saying "I love you." He's has never slept with the bottle propped in his mouth. As a matter of fact, he would drink it until empty and we could hear it hit the floor as a sign of the little guy formally being ready to sleep.
Mind you, he's not running around town with a bottle. He is perfectly capable of drinking out of a sippy cup. This has been strictly a bedtime addiction.
Fifteen minutes of crying ensued on Night One of the bedtime bottle wean, with that sad look of "WHY Mama would you do such a thing!? I need it to sleep." He was then out like a light and seems to have accepted it only a day later. Deep sigh of relief from me, I must say.
So parents, what are your thoughts?