Thursday, March 31, 2016

Therapy Tip: Holding Bottles

Welcome to Therapy Tip Thursday!

For you newcomers, this is the day that I give a tip based upon my experience as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and a mom of a child with special needs.

Today's tip is for:
Helping A Baby Hold Their Bottle

When my daughter was a baby, I could not get her to hold her bottle. Due to her Down syndrome, she had low muscle tone and short fingers. She had a heart condition as well which meant her stamina was poor.

Today's tip was born out of desperation. I wanted Jaycee to hold her bottle. I tried cupping her hands on it, while giving her support with my hands over hers with no results. The only success I had was with a very small two ounce bottle from the hospital which was skinny enough for her to hold in her small hand. A two ounce bottle was not practical all the time though.

Jaycee was on a bottle for a prolonged period. Her oral-motor abilities were poor for drinking and eating. She was on a bottle until around age 2 when I was finally able to transition her to a sippy cup and straw. Her health and calorie intake always dictated how fast we could move her through feeding milestones.

When a child isn't doing a developmentally appropriate skill, I think it's always important to think of supports to help them rather than view the child as just obstinate. I wondered how I could help Jaycee hold her bottle to be more independent. Then an idea came to me. I made it, and it worked the very first time I tried it! Using a can koozie (a.k.a. can hugger), I made a support for Jaycee's bottle.

To replicate this, you will need scissors, a can koozie, masking tape, and the baby's bottle. The idea behind this is create little holes in the sides of the can koozie for the baby's fingers to slip through in order to support baby's hands in holding the bottle.

Here's how to make it:
First, place the bottle inside the koozie. If your bottle is loose in the koozie, use the masking tape to tighten up the koozie by wrapping the tape around the bottom and the top of the koozie. The can koozie needs to be tight enough to stay on the bottle. Next, make 4 little slits on each side of the koozie for the baby's fingers to slip in the koozie and on to the bottle. You might want to use a marker to mark the spot where the baby's fingers naturally hit the koozie with the bottle inside. The slits should not be too tight on the baby's fingers. They should not cause pressure on the fingers or hurt the baby. Of course, this support should still be used with an adult present.

Now, you should be ready to give it a try. Place the baby's prepared bottle inside the can koozie. Gently place the baby's fingers in each finger slit. Hopefully, this should give your baby support to hold their bottle. If it doesn't work the first time, don't give up. Give it another try!

This worked the very first time I tried it with Jaycee. I felt that I witnessed a miracle with this can koozie. I hope it helps your baby too!

Therapy Thursday is for educational purposes only and not intended for therapeutic advice.

No comments:

Post a Comment

submit to reddit