Friday, July 16, 2010

One Family's Journey: Teteros

Our son almost instantaneously lost a lot of the vocabulary he used with his foster family but one word that survived the encuentro was "tete", short for "tetero" or bottle. During our encuentro meeting the ICBF social worker gave me his bottle and said "Do not take this away from him. This bottle is his identity".

When your social worker tells you this. Take it seriously! Bottle-feeding is so important! The sucking motion activates the part of the brain that helps children relax. Holding your child while they take a bottle helps them associate you with the relaxed, calming sensation. Eventually you won't need the bottle, your presence alone will make your child feel safe, relaxed and secure. This is why we still give Elian a bottle with no immediate plans to stop. I have known parents who've done this with adopted children who are much older with great success. I know it sounds weird but really, if your child will take a bottle do yourself a favor and enjoy that quality time! Our son is a whirling dervish of energy and I cherish giving him a bottle first thing in the morning and at night before bed. It is one of the only times of day when he relaxes against us and cuddles. For the past six months I've given him a bottle and sung him the same lullaby every night. He used to kind of blankly stare pointedly away from me. Tonight before I began writing this post he finished his bottle, snuggled against me and for the first time joined me in singing his lullaby. His sweet, little voice made my heart swell with joy. I will always remember that moment and absolutely credit the previous six months of bottle feeding with making it possible.

Disclaimer: I am not an adoption expert, social worker, therapist, doctor or even an experienced Mom. Everything I blog about is our personal experience and should not be considered professional advice.

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