One thing I've never understood is why pediatricians want babies off the bottle at 12 months.
I'm usually a rule follower. Just try to convince me it's OK to give a child just a bit more in that medicine dropper than the 4 ml dose I was instructed to dispense and you will see immediate concern in my face. 4 ml means 4 ml. Not 4.5 ml.
But the bottle rule I completely ignore. I can't remember exactly when Sugarplum gave up the bottle, but I know it was when she was ready and that it was not at 12 months of age. I tried at 12 months (because I follow rules and they told me stuff about her teeth and her bite and probably other bad consequences of prolonged nipple sucking) but I quickly decided she still needed her bottle.
Shark Boy was harder to wean. He was in no way even close to ready at 12 months. At his 12 month check up I nodded when the ped reminded me it was time to wean him, but I had no intention of doing so. At 16 months we were back in his office and Dr. Wean saw the bottle in the side pouch of my diaper bag. "What's that? He's not supposed to still have those. Let's get to work on giving those up." He was good natured and offered a bunch of suggestions for how to wean a baby Shark. I nodded.
The next time we were in the office I put the bottle inside the diaper bag and zipped it shut.
I mentioned my annoyance about this stupid rule to my mother-in-law. She ignored this rule as well, it turns out. She said she once asked P's uncle, a pediatrician, what was the deal with the 12-month wean? She wasn't making her kids do that and was she really making a mistake? Uncle Harper said, "In all my years as a pediatrician I've not seen one kid yet go off to college with a bottle."
So she quit worrying about it.
I'm relieved to say my new, younger model pediatrician has yet to mention Honey Bear's bottle. Tonight, as I was rocking my baby Bear and he was drinking his evening "bubba" while gazing into my eyes, he pulled it out and offered it to me. Memories flickered in dormant corners of my mind, like fireflies ever so briefly illuminating memories of my other two babies doing that same sweet thing. I pretended to take a taste and he smiled at me, stuck it back in his mouth, and closed his eyes.
My baby needs his bubba. Mama is not going to rush this.