We’ve spent a small fortune on every possible sippy cup you can imagine. None of them works as well as a bottle. We don’t use it all the time, just in the morning and evening to make sure he gets enough nutrition. It’s something he can control and something we just don’t have to worry about. A sippy cup which will inevitably lead to liquids going down the wrong pipe.
We’ve always been embarrassed about telling people this. We’ve tried to explain to doctors and therapists why we still use the bottle. We’re often faced with doubt and gentle chiding that we need to find something more age appropriate for our son. On the inside we’re screaming, “We are trying as hard as we can!” But we just smile and say, “We’ll do our best.”
A couple of weeks ago something different happened. My son had a swallow study to make sure he wasn’t aspirating while drinking liquids. We brought the bottle, as well as a juice box and several other feeding utensils. And of course, my son did the best while drinking from his bottle.
The speech therapist who reviewed the information asked us about how we used the bottle. We told her it was just for nutrition purposes. I was feeling particularly brave and told her that we’d tried everything and this just worked best. She just said, “Well, it seems like a good idea then. Definitely keep going with it.”
We weren’t going to stop using bottles, but that support made all the difference to us. We focused on something that functionally works for my son. And not trying to hold him accountable to some arbitrary standard of oral development. He’s eating. In our mind, that’s enough. It was refreshing to hear someone else agree with us.
The truth is that my son may never do anything related to that developmental curve. And there’s not a darn thing wrong with that. Instead of making him fit that curve, how about we create a brand new one? One that’s unique to him and fits him perfectly?
We finally got permission to drink from a bottle. It was a good day, y’all, a good day.
Some children with disabilities have challenges with eating. Here is information that may help.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.