When It’s Time To Say Goodbye To The Soother And Bottle

I definitely spent a good chunk of time worrying about my parenting choices in the early days.

I definitely spent a good chunk of time worrying about my parenting choices in the early days. I think you second guess yourself so much. I was always somewhere between listening to the PHN, considering old wives tales and listening to my granny.
All advice and information contradicted each other but I plucked a bit of help from all of those sources.
I remember being so clean cut about soothers and bottles. They would be gone by the time my son was one (I genuinely laughed out loud while writing that). Sure my son didn’t even take a bottle till he was 13-months but that’s another days story.
In general I’ve been pretty relaxed about both of these things. I think there comes a point where you genuinely gravitate towards doing the things that make life easier for everyone. Happy child. Happy parents. Happy people who spend time with happy parents. And so on and so forth.
The soother is a great invention altogether isn’t it? The ultimate comforter. I’ll admit that I 'picked' the brand that I thought looked cutest too. Not ashamed to admit that because why on earth would I be. You have to get your kicks where you can.
From 18-months onwards I adopted the 'do what works' approach to most things. I was confident in my ability to look after my son. I knew he didn’t need a soother and he certainly didn’t need a bottle nutritionally because he was (and is) a great eater.
I also knew that I didn’t need five cups of tea and a few biscuits every day but I enjoyed them. They were comforting. Soothing even.
I hadn’t really made a plan as to when we would phase out the soother and bottle but I noticed that when my son turned three he turned things up a gear. He was suddenly demanding the soother for a big chunk of the day. Bottles were being asked for several times a day and I was handing them over. They were only 3/4 ounces and watered down (because I worried he would be consuming too much dairy otherwise) but I was sensing that it was becoming a bit much.
I wondered how I would approach things when the day finally did come. Would we give them to the fairies? Would we offer a present or toy in return? In my mind I had decided that his 4th birthday was a good time to aim for and that lessened the mum guilt a little. Guilt because I knew that breaking his attachment to both would be really difficult and I probably should have intervened sooner.
And just like that the decision was made for us. Our last even PHN visit came around and I spoke up about a speech concern I was having. I noticed there was a pattern with certain words and aired my worries. The PHN asked did he take a soother or bottle and I was honest about the situation.
And that’s where it began. It marked the beginning of an emotional journey of separation from the 'dow dow' and 'boppie' that bring him so much joy.
The PHN gently told me that they can cause a laziness in speech and she supported me in helping him understand why they were only to be used at bed-time these days.
Two weeks in and after quite a few tears, LOTS of cups of warm milk and a lot of repetition and consistency we are doing great. The soother has made an appearance only on the odd day where a nap is needed. It’s only for 'sleep' and he gets it.
I’m happy, I’m proud of him and I’m absolutely devastated at the same time. Why oh why is parenting so bittersweet? 
Written by Tracey Quinn, Staff Writer, with Family Friendly HQ. 

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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