Bottles in play at Childcare

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Penguin
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Post by Penguin » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:03 pm

Karleen wrote:
Penguin wrote:Role play is also about processing one's world. That's why children reinact disasters etc; they are trying to cope with what's happening and process it.

If it is important for my niece who had heart surgey to play with dolls with a 'zipper scar' on them like her scar, then why is it not important for children who have bottles as part of their world, to have access to play with them?
The issue is that they are not just playing, they are learning. They are learning how to hold a baby to feed it, they are learning how to get a teat into a baby's mouth....transfer those skills into breastfeeding (and women do!) and you're looking at breastfeeding problems like poor attachment and nipple trauma.
Karleen
**warning sensitive/ upsetting example below. don't read if feeling fragile****

But this doesn't address the point that I was trying to make - how does a child with bottles in his/her life process his/ her experiences?

I'm not saying that there aren't problems with having bottles to play with. I'm saying that there is a very compelling reason why they should be there if it is relevant to that group of children. Children need to play out their experiences. Children need to see children like themselves in their stories and toys and television shows. The whole 'bottles behind closed doors only' really, really bothers me. I don't think it's inclusive or helpful.

Yes, pretend play is about learning roles for adulthood but it's also about processing one's own experiences. I knew a child once who lost her cousin in a tragic accident involving flash flooding and a car. A few weeks later in the water trough at kindy she got a toy car and pushed it under the water and then told the teacher that her cousin was in there and couldn't get out. This was obviously part of how she was processing the situation. (Obviously this is a much more extreme example than baby care/ baby feeding)

So, if bottles can't be played with (or seen in posters or books or on tv) then how does a child who has bottle feeding in his/ her world process that? I return to the example of my niece - why is seen a good thing for her to have a specially made doll with scar on her chest, but not for her to play with bottles? Both were/ are part of her life and both are important.
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Post by Karleen » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:27 pm

Penguin, There is absolutely no problem with children not seeing bottle feeding in Australia and I can't see that changing any time soon. And if a child really needs to process being bottle fed themselves then it's not difficult to facilitate (although I don't see why they would need to). In the mean time women in hospital try to put their nipple into their baby's mouth (with baby lying flat and facing the ceiling) because that's what they have learnt to do through years of role play and seeing babies fed and their nipples are trashed. That body memory stuff of how to do things stays with us. It's hard to lose. And early learning is really important. PM me and I can send you some stuff I've written about this.
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Post by Penguin » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:15 pm

I mean process bottle feeding generally in relation to a new bottle fed sibiling/ cousin etc. Eg my friend's eldest daughter shows me how she feeds two dollies with two bottles (she has twin sisters).She did two bottles just as she did two nappies, two blankets etc. Isn't she going to want to replicate her life in play as she sees it? Isn't that part of adjusting to her new life with two new siblings?

Isn't a child going to learn about 'correct bottle attachment' by watching someone feel Little Brother a bottle anyway (or 'helping' to give Little Brother a bottle) regardless of if s/he is playing with bottles and dolls?

I do take issue with baby=bottle , bottles being sold WITH the doll (I think they should be sold separately etc)

If we are saying that there should be no bottles at daycare because "modelling desired behaviour not reflecting actual behaviour" means no bottles, then isn't that the same as saying to these children and families that life in your home is not worthy of being replicated/ experienced?

I would be interesed in those articles Karleen, I'll pm you
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Post by breastfeedingisnormal » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:17 am

Nah, the point of role playing is learning how to be an adult. Many children see their parents or other adults smoking. We wouldn't be providing them with pretend cigarettes so that they can process their experiences with that?
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Post by michansam » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:00 am

breastfeedingisnormal wrote:Nah, the point of role playing is learning how to be an adult. Many children see their parents or other adults smoking. We wouldn't be providing them with pretend cigarettes so that they can process their experiences with that?
Interesting you should use that eg. remember the lollies "fags" (may be showing my age) one of my fond childhood memories. Also holding pens like cigarettes... my first cigarette when I was 18 was enough to make me decide to never go further cough cough splutter splutter. ugh.

I can see both sides of the argument... yes bottle role play can be bad for future generations if they are not exposed to breastfeeding as well (how are the babies fed in childcare?) But excluding it because it's not the best thing as we see it could also be making the "mummy wars: breast vs bottle" worse. For as long as it's a major part of our culture, I'd hate to see children excluded just because their parents made a different decision based on their own experiences.

Having said that I hate that my 3yo believes that we'll need a bottle for the baby... I would have thought he'd been exposed to more breast than bottle feeding IRL unfortunately so many other pictures. I'd love to see both exposed equally if anything a slight overload on the bf side... so a carer joining the children that are play bottle feeding and bfeeding a doll.
:) Michele
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Post by Penguin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:06 am

breastfeedingisnormal wrote:Nah, the point of role playing is learning how to be an adult. Many children see their parents or other adults smoking. We wouldn't be providing them with pretend cigarettes so that they can process their experiences with that?
I wholeheartedly feel that it's inappropriate to say that bottle feeding a baby is similar to parents/ adults smoking. I think there is a massive difference between the two, and it's upsetting to draw that analogy.

I realise that learning to be an adult is ONE of the functions of role playing, but it is also to help a child to understand his/her world. I have a teddy sitting here which was our (other) neice's when she was in hospital. It still has adhesive dressings on it from where C was playing with it giving it a drip etc. That's not learning how to be an adult, that's trying to understand what's happening to her. DD just drew a picture this morning (I thought it was a cloud) and she told me it's 'Shaun Sheep' (from the TV show she was watching yesterday) - she's processing her experiences and understanding how she fits into the world.
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Post by Karleen » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:59 am

The similarity to smoking is only in that smoking is something that we do not want to encourage children to do when they get older and we also don't want to encourage bottle feeding. The usefulness of the comparison is that there has been some research looking at home cigarette smoking play in children develops an expectancy that this is a behaviour that they will engage in as adults and it is not unreasonable to conclude that similar expectancy is created by bottle feeding play. It's quite different from just watching- the power of actually doing with your body is great- part of the reason why antenatal breastfeeding classes often use dolls to help practice positioning for breastfeeding. Of course children will want to model what they see around them but in a childcare centre it's not just the children wanting to process stuff who are a part of it all. I think that the comparison with insulin injections is a good one. A child with diabetes or a friend with diabetes might benefit from having toy syringes to play with but it would be highly unlikely that a daycare centre would have a syringe in the play area.
There is evidence that greater experience with formula feeding makes retention and application of teaching/assimilation of information about breastfeeding more difficult. In a Aust study of GPs knowledge of breastfeeding it was found that those with a lot of personal experience with breastfeeding had the highest level of knowledge, fewest misconceptions. Those who had the second highest level of knowledge were those with no personal experience of breastfeeding. Those with the lowest level of knowledge were those with a little breastfeeding experience and therefore an associated extensive formula feeding experience.
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Post by michansam » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:31 am

Well explained, thanks Karleen
:) Michele
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Post by Penguin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:17 pm

I understand that there are advantages of not having bottles to play with/ disadvantages of having bottles to play with. I'm saying that the cost of not having bottles also needs to be considered.

I still think that No Play Bottle Ever sends the message that bottle feeding is so awful that it should always be discouraged ever. I don't think it's resonable to send the message to children that
- life in your loving household is so terrible because you have bottles
- a mother contributing to the paid work force while she has a baby is terrible because it involves bottles
- a grieving mother attending a funeral or visiting a dying relative is so terrible because it involves bottles
- a baby who has a cleft palate has such a terrible life because it involves bottles
- a baby who is fed EBM/ DEBM/ ABM in a bottle has such a terrible life because it involves bottles that that can't be role played. (or any other of the ohter thousands of reasons that babies might have bottles.)

I'm not saying that there aren't costs of having bottles in play - I certainly accept and understand that. I'm a massive advocate of normalising and protecting breastfeeding. I also feel, however, that the outright shunning of bottles is not the way to do it. I think it's not inclusive, it can marginalise families who use bottles and send loaded messages to children.

With the insulin syring play example - I think that if all/ most of the babies in the child care centre needed injections while they were at daycare (as for babies who use bottles) as well as older children having younger siblings/ friends/ cousins who had injections some/ all the time, then there would be more syringe play. Most daycare centres (and homes) do doctor play with stethescopess, medicine etc - that's similar. Indeed, last night we were at my mum's place and DD got my old doctor's kit out that had a syringe in it. She gave her aunty a play vaccination and also put the syringe in her mouth for 'medicine'.

The idea that my parenting, and that of all other parents who use bottles, is of such a standard that it should never be encouraged/ role played at daycare is deeply upsetting.

What I am suggesting is a more balanced approach that totally banning bottle play always at daycare. I don't think that bottles are so awful that they they should only exist behind closed doors.
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Post by Penguin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:58 pm

I forgot to add that this morning DD picked up her doll to give it 'DD milk' (as she often does with dolls and real newborns :roll: :lol: ) I took a photo and it's up on my FB (I took the photo because it was cute and because I take eleventy billion photos of her a day, not because of this thread). Those of you who are my FB friends should be able to see it. I think that's about as perfect attachement as you're going to get (when you're a toddler and feeding a plastic doll lol). Can't children learn about breast and bottle feeling positions?
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Post by AbbeyCat » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:45 pm

Just wanted to say I am really enjoying learning more about the complexities of normalising breastfeeding. I really appreciate the active, yet respectful debate.

I am still trying to work out how I feel about it all, but I think I am OK with toy bottles, but not the real formula tin.

Would love to know more about introducing breastfeeding to young kids in a child care setting.
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Bottles at daycare

Post by kay » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:41 pm

10 plus years ago there was a policy of no play baby bottles at the kindy/preschool my boys attended. I spent a lot of time there on parent roster and the children didn't seem to miss them.

I would suggest that children from a family that was bottle feeding would spend time at home watching and then imitating bottle feeding their dolls and teddies. Perhaps it is not necessary that they do so at child care centres/kindys as well.

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Post by Karleen » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:47 pm

Penguin wrote:I understand that there are advantages of not having bottles to play with/ disadvantages of having bottles to play with. I'm saying that the cost of not having bottles also needs to be considered.

I still think that No Play Bottle Ever sends the message that bottle feeding is so awful that it should always be discouraged ever. I don't think it's resonable to send the message to children that
- life in your loving household is so terrible because you have bottles
- a mother contributing to the paid work force while she has a baby is terrible because it involves bottles
- a grieving mother attending a funeral or visiting a dying relative is so terrible because it involves bottles
- a baby who has a cleft palate has such a terrible life because it involves bottles
- a baby who is fed EBM/ DEBM/ ABM in a bottle has such a terrible life because it involves bottles that that can't be role played. (or any other of the ohter thousands of reasons that babies might have bottles.)

I'm not saying that there aren't costs of having bottles in play - I certainly accept and understand that. I'm a massive advocate of normalising and protecting breastfeeding. I also feel, however, that the outright shunning of bottles is not the way to do it. I think it's not inclusive, it can marginalise families who use bottles and send loaded messages to children.

What I am suggesting is a more balanced approach that totally banning bottle play always at daycare. I don't think that bottles are so awful that they they should only exist behind closed doors.
Penguin no one said or suggested any of these things. I used bottles extensively with all of my children and I don't for one minute ascribe anything negative to what I did based on anything in this discussion. I just value children's learning too much to discount the importance of this. They are truly saturated with images, scripts and experiences of bottle feeding in Australia and other developed countries. It is to the detriment of these children and their children because it makes it harder for them to breastfeed. Your child probably will not be impacted to any significant degree because you move in ABA circles but other kids live in a different world. There's a nice study from the UK that asked young children to draw babies being fed. They all drew babies being bottle-fed, even if they had breastfeeding siblings at home. I asked ABA counsellors to get their similarly aged children to draw babies being fed, they all drew babies being breastfed (although one child also had a bottle on the table). The first scenario is the wider world! The odds against breastfeeding are high!

I have a question for you. What about the childcare courses that teenagers do where they have an electronic "baby" to look after. SHould those babies be bottle fed or breastfed??
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Post by Penguin » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:37 pm

Karleen, I 90% agree with what you're saying.

What I'm struggling with is 1) the idea that no bottle play is ever allowed/ appropriate at daycare and 2) that bottle feeding shouldn't be encouraged.

I feel that these two issues lead into two other issues - 1) relationships with families and 2) implication for children's future feeding approaches.

I feel that bottle feeding should be encouraged. Of course, daycare doesn't need to do much at all in this regard since there is so much promotion of this everywhere else. Breastfeeding should be promoted/ protected/ supported/ normalised much more than bottle feeding. One of the things that is really bothering me about this discussion is - as was said above - bottle feeding shouldn't be encouraged the same way that smoking shouldn't be encouraged. The idea that that they are similar because they should both be discouraged/ not be encouraged really bothers me. If bottle feeding isn't bad, then why can't it be part of play? The message which I take from 'bottle feeding shouldn't be encouraged' is that it's bad - if it's not bad then why can't it be encouraged? If bottles are bad, then that says to me that all the other situations that were mentioned above are bad too, because they involve bottles. I know that none of those things was explicitly said, but I do think it's a very small, reasonable jump from 'Bottles shouldn't be encouraged' to 'bottles are bad' to 'babies in childcare/ mothers at work are bad'. I realise that not every mother who uses bottles feels this way (as you said about you and of course others i'm sure) but if this touches a raw nerve with me, as a hard core lactivist, ABA trainee who is breastfeeding a two year old, then I hate to think how a mother with less breastfeeding experience/ knowledge/ enthusiasm may feel.

If a daycare centre is implying that bottles are bad (see above reasoning) then how does do they build a trusting relationship with a bottle using family? How does a centre tell someone through their policies/ procedures that 'we don't want to encourage what happens in your family' and then expect that parent to trust them with the care of his/her child, which involves said not-to-be-encouraged bottle? How can a centre say ‘bottle feeding can’t be encouraged through play’ then say ‘put your bottle of EBM in the fridge and we’ll feed it to your baby later’ with any consistency?


Of course, this needs to be balanced with breastfeeding advocacy/ education. I think that the role of bottles in play at daycare should be limited, but I think it should be present if relevant (which it would be in almost every circumstance). I definitely think that it's inappropriate for there to be any branding/ samples/ logo tins etc.

A possible way to balance the issues (and I’m thinking on my feet here). Bottles are introduced for a time in home corner (say a week). The carers/ teachers engage the kids in discussion about how babies are fed, talk about where milk(s) come from, what might be in a bottle, encourage the kids to hold bottle for a bf as well as to give the bottles, pretend pumping etc. A mum can come in to give a demo breastfeed (either specifically invited or just a normal daycare-pick up feed of one of the kids). They can read stories with bfing in them, farm stories with the farmer milking the cow. Posters up of babies being fed etc. Then the bottles in home corner can be packed away again until the next time the How are babies fed/ Where does milk come from? unit is taught. The centre can also promote/ protect bfing though other policies eg BWH stickers, support for bfing and pumping mothers, staff training etc (as a big picture approach).

I feel that this type of approach balances the ‘bottles are bad’ implication which comes from ‘bottles should be shunned/ bottles should not be encouraged’ with the critical role of breastfeeding support/ promotion/ protection/ education/ advocacy in more respectful and inclusive, and less divisive, way than a total ban on bottle play at day care in every circumstance.


w/rt the dolls – the short answer is I don’t know. I’ve not had any experience with them and little knowledge. All I know (which I’ve read in reliable places like the internet and magazines [/sarcasm]) is that you have to hold a key in the back to ‘feed’ them, which would imply bfing positioning (tummy in) to me more than bottle feeding positioning (tummy up) but I really have no idea. I did first hear of them as parenting training tools for teen parents before I heard of them being used in childcare training which would make a bfing position more appropriate (but I really have no idea).
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Post by Mummy Latte » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:19 pm

I'm enjoying the range of views in this thread. My 2 cents: in our kinder the kids will play with whatever equipment is available to them. That includes awful clippy cloppy shoes that make the kids trip up in the dress up corner, strollers outside for kids doing "mums and dads" play, hobby horses, and endless creations using sticky tape and old boxes. With no equipment, the kids just don't really practice feeding the dolls in the home corner - there's plenty of time spent dressing them up, putting them to bed, settling them etc. I've seen dolls being given "milk" from a cup and "food" from a spoon during tea parties. They just don't seem to miss out by not having bottles for feeding.

There's a huge range of situations that could be normal for some kids but the majority of people don't see it and I don't think we need to cater for everything in play. Simply telling kids that babies get milk from their mothers' breasts, although some babies are fed different milk in bottles covers all bases.

Branding imprints on children incredibly early, and that goes for formula and bottles too. Although I had nothing to do with babies from about 7-8 years old and haven't lived in Ireland/UK for most of my adult life, I can name all the leading formula, baby food and feeding bottle brands available over there.

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