Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Giving Up the Bottle (of Milk!)

Riley Grace is now 19 months and 1 day! I cannot believe she has gotten so big. It seems as though she changes exponentially every day. Yesterday, my mom posted a picture of Riley Grace from her six-month photo shoot last March. Oh my goodness! It made me cry like a little baby. She was so tiny and chunky and cute. Now, she’s my big girl who’s walking (well, running) and talking and learning so much! Her favorite words are dog, door (which she says “do”), dada, and thank you (which sounds like she’s saying the letter “Q”  so cute!). Time flies so quickly. Slow down!!!

When Riley Grace was attempting to wean from the bottle and begin eating table food, I was very nervous. I had (have) a really big fear of her choking and me not being able to help her. Because of this fear, I was really hesitant to keep trying table food. She did not have a big choking disaster, but I was still afraid of the possibility. When she had just turned one, I (finally) bought some whole milk and table food. I was going to wean her from the bottle and start trying table food. Then she got the flu, followed by a double ear infection, and then hand-foot-mouth. It was a crazy three weeks, so I ended up keeping her on the bottle instead of trying new foods when she was so sick. I kept pushing it back and pushing it back. Then, with the help of my mom and mother-in-law, Riley Grace (and I) became more comfortable with table food. My mom and mother-in-law each took turns keeping Riley Grace while she was sick and out of daycare, and while she was with them, they were braver than me and kept offering her table food! J And, she loved it!
So, when she was about 13 months, she started LOVING table food. I cannot stress that enough. She eats more than any child I’ve ever seen. I had been holding out on her literally. Enough of that formula stuff! Give me peas and carrots and cabbage and broccoli and chicken and salmon! She is the biggest “big girl” food eater ever. Her teachers at daycare have told me that she’s usually the first child to finish their lunch, and she eats off of her friends’ plates once her plate is empty Yikes! When I feed her supper every night, she eats as though it’s a race and she will never see food again. She’s storing up for winter! J Despite my fear of trying table food because of the choking risk, she is doing so well, and would never give a bottle a second glance.
After this point, I would still give her a morning bottle right when she woke up and evening bottle right before bed. She still needed two full cups of milk, and I cherished my time feeding her bottles. A few weeks ago, my mom asked me if Riley Grace was still on any bottles. I said “yes”, and then thought, “She’s too old to be on bottles!” Of course, she’s too old! She’s 19 months! She was more than ready to give up any connection with the bottle, butI was not. The more I thought about it, I realized that the reason that I kept her on her nighttime bottle for so long is because I love that time with her. Our routine is generally supper, bath, play, bottle, and bed. I would heat up her bottle, and hold her while she drank it, played with her hair (that’s what she does when she’s getting sleepy), and just savor that time. Last week, I stopped offering the nighttime bottle. Instead, I offer her milk during supper. The more I think about it, the more I am sad about this change. I miss my cuddle time with my girl right before bed!
Of course, when I realized that the issues with table food / bottles were with ME (not with Riley Grace), the Lord showed me several spiritual applications. 
1.  The Lord does not desire for us to live on spiritual milk forever. He desires growth and maturity. Just like Riley Grace cannot live on six-bottles-a day forever, we cannot live on elementary teachings and minimal time with the Lord and expect to mature in our walk with Him. We can only move into a deeper relationship with and knowledge of Him as we feast on the things of Him in more intimate and dedicated ways every day. I was comfortable with the six-bottles-a-day routine, BUT at this stage in her life, that’s not what’s best for her. She is growing physically, and needs more. Every day, we should be growing spiritually, and thus needing more depth in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

2.Sometimes, the Lord calls us to give up something in order for Him to bring us to something better. Riley Grace needed to give up the bottle in order to transition to table food because, physically, she needed more sustenance than what the bottle provided. She needed this for her physical development. In the same way, the Lord may be calling us to give up something in order for us to grow spiritually in ways that are good and necessary, but may be hard. It was hard for me to let go of my nighttime routine with Riley Grace, but it was necessary for her development. She’s not a tiny baby anymore who needs Mom for everything or milk for every meal. She still needs me for lots of things, but she IS growing up, and I have to let her.

1.  Read Hebrews 5:11-14, 1 Peter 2:1-3, and 1 Corinthians 3. These verses are straightforward and a little harsh! They reprimand readers for not growing in Christ. Are you growing in Christ? Are there things that you need to do spiritually in order to mature in your walk with the Lord?

2.Read Colossians 1:9-10, Hebrews 6:1-4, and 1 Corinthians 14:20. These verses encourage readers to grow in maturity by being weaned off of spiritual milk and transitioning to spiritual solid food. As Colossians urges, how can you deepen your spiritual wisdom? What is "spiritual solid food" for you?

3. PRAY: Pray for yourself, that you will become spiritually mature and seek spiritual wisdom. Pray that the Lord will show you someone who is an infant in the faith. Pray that you will have the spiritual maturity to encourage them to grow in a deeper knowledge of Christ. 

Always, Jacquelyn

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