Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Make work play

For quite some time, I had been struggling when attempting to feed my younger daughter a bottle of milk. She is very clear about her displeasure: her body stiffens, she bucks her head back and forth like an angry bull, pushes away the bottle with much force and screams bloody hell.

There's even a funny story about Josh feeding Daisy. Once, he was asked to feed Daisy and was given information by my mother that she will "act" resistant, but keep persisting and she will take her bottle. He relayed to me that he used all of his force and he could not overcome her resistance. First he started pushing on her and she pushed back. He also tried to force the bottle down in a stealthy way, to which she responded with effective blocking. Can you imagine a 170 lb man taking on a baby?!

Anyway, Daisy's scorn for milk sent me into a tailspin of scientitific and emotional analysis - did she not like the temperature of the millk, was the composition of milk to formula ratio too large or small, did she like to eat upstairs or down, was she pissed at me for going back to work, is she mad about weaning from nursing, etc.? I kept adjusting whatever variables I could think of, hoping to cure her contempt and get the feeding done. These experiments yielded some success (though inconsistent, much like how the primaries are playing out for Mrs. Clinton).
Yesterday, I might have found the silver bullet. Instead of approaching feeding her as something I needed to do, as an end goal, I approached it as a process.

I put her into my lap in the "position", she clearly knew what was going on and started her baby-in-distress routine. But instead of trying to shove the bottle of milk into her mouth, I let her pull off the cap. Then she put it back on. She did this about six times, each time I told her in a high pitched baby voice "open" or "close". This activity was highly amusing to her baby senses. Then in her excitement or lack of dexterity, she drops the cap. So I move it to feed her and she drinks a little milk. After a few sips, she pulls off as if I'm trying to gag her and we play the open and close game again. After a few volleys, she starts to open her mouth wide to "eat" the cap, I take this as an opportunity to pull the cap away and insert the bottle. Success.

I had to approach the feeding as an activity that was an enjoyable activity for both of us. I went from "I must feed her" to "I must trick her" to "I will enjoy her".

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe she knew she was actually involving you in a game and she wanted this interaction with you instead of feeling it was just an unthinking routine.

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