Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bottle Feeding To Help You Bond With Your Adopted Child

I remember when I first heard about the bottle feeding/bonding concept for children who suffer from attachment issues. I was reading the book, Dandelion On My Pillow, Butcher Knife Beneath by Nancy Thomas and she highly encouraged rocking your child and giving them either sweets or a bottle. I will admit, I thought she was a bit out there on that idea and since I was still learning the ropes of Reactive Attachment Disorder, I filed the idea in the back of my mind and gave it no more thought.

Image result for bottle feeding bonding

    Fast forward and it is a Monday evening and sonny and I are attending his weekly therapy session. His therapist brought up the subject of bottle feeding, "B is obviously reacting to the time and care you give Lia (she was a baby at the time). Watching you feed her, reminds him of the lack of nurture he had at her age, I wonder if he wouldn't benefit from bottle feeding" That made a lot of sense, so on our way home from therapy, I stopped at a local store and bought a bottle. 

  One day later in the week after the other children were down for naps, I brought out the bottle, filled it with warm milk and added some chocolate powder. I wasn't sure how B would take the whole bottle feeding idea, so filling the bottle with chocolate milk was a sort of bribe. I needn't have worried though. After I explained what we were going to do, he cheerfully went along with it. However, the whole thing backfired because he used Bottle Time, as we called it, to manipulate and control. We used the bottle for several days, then on and off for a few weeks but discontinued it because it gave B another opportunity to control.

  Fast forward once more, and I am sitting at TAP speaking with Miss S, as I will call her, and the bottle feeding topic came up. Miss S hesitated a bit, then said she has an idea but it is totally up to me if I want to pursue it. She explained how bottle feeding an older child, can increase the bond between him and his adoptive mom, would I want to give it a try? I assured her I was familiar with the concept and was willing to try it, anything to help B and I bond. 

  This time B and I were in a much better place emotionally. B was beginning to bond and I was willing to do whatever it took to strengthen it. I warmed the milk and taking B on my lap, I fed him the bottle. At first it felt really awkward, but as the moments passed, something began stirring in my heart. Love for this hurting little boy began to take root. It wasn't all fun and games, we had our tough times but I came to realize I needed to provide nourishment for my son, just as much as he needed to receive it from me. Sadly our bond disintegrated because of B's great fear of getting close to someone. 

  And we fast forward once more and find ourselves in 2016 with attachment issues once more, albeit with another child. I am still trying to decide how to approach the idea of bottle time, but while I am thinking, I bought a bottle for little sister.

    Little sister has a hang up with bottle's, she loves them. She was placed with us when she was only a few months old, so she had plenty of bottle feeding time with me. I used to discourage her love for bottles but one day I thought, "Lia has a strong bond with us but she needs nurturing as much as her siblings, so why not bottle feed her?"

   I was amazed at the change I saw in Lia, she is more secure, and throws less tantrums. It was a good reminder for me to continue nurturing and what some would call "babying" the children. When a child comes into your home via foster care or adoption, they have a huge deficit in the love and nurture department. It will take years of intense effort to fill their love tanks. A therapist told me that these children are like buckets full of holes, you fill the with love and it promptly drains away. You have to saturate them in love for a long time before those holes will begin to close, allowing their love tanks to fill. It is only after a child's love tank is able to hold water, that they will be able to pour a little love/water into your tank, until then you will need to fill your love tank elsewhere. Loving and nurturing a traumatized child is draining and many are the parents (myself included) who find their own love tanks drained and are unable to meet their child's needs. 

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