The other day (perhaps a month ago, when Nina was about six months old) when we met for our lunch catch-up, I noticed a few babies were able to hold their milk bottles on their own (or almost, with a little bit of help from their mums once in a while). Yet Nina was – and still is – nowhere near holding her bottle, and she showed absolutely no interest in knowing that she can AND she’s supposed to do so one day. She treated the bottle more as a toy than a drinking utensil. She smashed it against the table instead of sending it towards her mouth.
Then I realized that those babies who held bottles on their own were the babies who are used to bottle feeding from very early on (not long after birth). Yet Nina at that point had been surviving on breastmilk entirely. So bottle – and holding bottle – is a very new idea.
For the bottle feeding babies, day after day, four to six times a day, they get to spend about 30 minutes each time with the bottle. Inevitably they become familiar with the idea. Then perhaps both the parent and the baby decided, consciously or unconsciously, that letting the baby hold the bottle make everyone’s life a bit easier. Then day after day, four to six times a day, the babies get some practice. And little by little, they manage to hold the bottle.
A perfect example for ‘practice makes perfect.’.
It’s not a surprising concept that experience foster who we are, what we can capable (or incapable of), but it’s still quite amazing to see how this concept demonstrates itself in babies who have only been in this world for such a short period of time. Even 6 months of experience makes a difference.