My girls had their own quirks when it came to eating…right from the start. They both nursed just fine, but when it came to other forms of eating, things changed. Corrie did quite well on the bottle. Then at 3 weeks old, the doctor, as was the normal back then, started her on rice cereal. And not a moment too soon. Corrie was such a hungry girl. The problem was…she was too hungry. She would be crying, and I would get the cereal ready, but as I put a spoonful of cereal in her mouth, she gagged and coughed. Then she cried, and I spooned, and she coughed and gagged, and the whole process went on and on, until she finally got enough down to feel like she got something. Then she could relax and finish eating. I, on the other hand was emotionally drained and physically exhausted, and felt like a very bad mommy.
One day I was at the store, and I came across an item that saved my sanity. It was an Infant Feeder. Basically, it was a bottle system that had a large hole in the nipple and it moved the cereal toward the nipple to keep the air out. The way it worked mattered very little to me. It was the fact that it did work, that I cared about. Corrie got to eat without choking, gagging, or crying, and I got a peaceful relaxed dinnertime. It was a life saver.
When Amy came along 11 months after Corrie, I felt much more prepared for the whole feeding part of motherhood…for about 5 minutes. I quickly learned the fact that every baby is different. Amy wanted nothing to do with the bottle, and I don’t mean that she disliked it. She started gagging before the nipple ever got to her mouth. The doctor suggested a Playtex Nurser…it made no difference…nor did any other bottle. We thought maybe it was the rubber smell, but it made no difference. She never took a bottle, pacifier, or the Infant Feeder that saved my life with Corrie. It was a brand new day.
If Amy needed water or formula, we had to use a spoon until she was old enough to use a sippy cup, which she started on very early, by the way. It was really hard to get a babysitter for her. My sister-in-law, Jennifer had the unpleasant experience of having to deal with that the first time we left her to babysit. It was a tough job. We all learned from the experience, and we all survived.
Like every mother, I learned as much from my children and they learned from me. One of the biggest lessons was that every child is different. They have different likes and dislikes, needs, and abilities. What works with one child might not work with another. You have to look at each child as an individual, or you will never succeed. And probably the most important thing is to keep your sense of humor, because looking back, I’m sure everyone can see the humor in these two situations, especially knowing that we all survived those years.