She Says… Space Bottle

You know those space pens they used to have when we were kids? The kind that you could write upside down with and the ink wouldn’t run out?

I think Owen needs a space bottle.

His new favorite thing is to squirm and wriggle and arch and turn himself upside down while he’s drinking his bottle (mostly to look at something like, oh, a light that is behind him… and has been in the same place since the day he was born…). He doesn’t seem to understand that if he sits up super straight or curls forward or arches upside down that the milk doesn’t fill the nipple of the bottle and he can’t drink. Part of me gets frustrated with his bouncing and wiggling when he’s drinking a bottle, because, you know, it makes the whole drinking part of that activity really, really hard. But part of me loves watching him rock back and forth and shrug his shoulders and explore movement, even if there is a half-drunk bottle hanging out of his mouth at the time.

I know this is perfectly normal behavior for this age. He’s learning how to scoot and roll and is figuring out what his body is capable of. He’s often more interested in grabbing the pillows on the couch and trying to stuff them in his mouth whole than drinking his bottle. He’d rather climb all over Mama like a jungle gym than sit quietly and drink. I can’t say that I blame him! The real throwing-his-body-around-instead-of-eating has gotten a lot more pronounced since his nasal congestion got really bad, so I imagine some of it has to do with the fact that he can’t breathe and eat at the same time. Which means he needs to take lots of breaks. Which means, Hey! It’s time to play! Right? RIGHT MOM?!

And so I let him play. Despite the fact that sometimes it makes us a few minutes late to get out the door, or makes him burp more then normal. Sometimes he even gets so distracted that he doesn’t drink much of his bottle at all. In the past, that worried me. A lot. Now I’m confident that he’s eating what he needs to eat, and if he’s really hungry, he’d probably stop goofing off and drink a little more. So I’m letting him explore and play and bounce.

But honestly. Can someone invent a space bottle already so I can stop chasing him around and craning his head into the correct position so the bottle nipple is full of milk?

Anyone else dealing with (or dealt with) this squirmy baby issue? Any tricks to get them to stop playing and start drinking? Or is it futile?

11 responses to “She Says… Space Bottle

  1. I put on a shiny necklace. She can’t stop staring and grabbing, but it keeps her focus at the right point so she actually drinks. I actually have a few special necklaces for just this purpose 🙂

    Also, my baby takes most of her evening bottle out of a training sippy cup (she’s 9 months now) and that’s great because she can swing it all around and nothing falls out. Plus, she likes to feel independent 🙂 She usually lays on her back and drinks her sippy cup while watching Paula Deen (that woman’s voice is like crack to my baby)

  2. My breastfed daughter used to do “360’s” around me while I was lying on the couch and was nursing her. I knew nobody would believe me so I had my husband take a photo of her standing on her head, nursing.

  3. Maybe he’s just ready to bypass the bottle completely and use a sippy cup!

  4. This “distracted feeding” is 100% developmentally appropriate (though a little frustrating). Nursing moms often play “Three Strikes You’re Out”, meaning, if the kiddo can’t buckle down and get to work, and keeps pulling off to check out the room, (leaving mom flashing Starbucks), or treating her like a piece of bubble-gum, twisting and climbing while nursing (ouch), after a while, the idea is, “I guess you’re really not hungry enough to concentrate”, and try again later. Move on. With bottle feeding, it’s just a little more time consuming and a little frustrating, but at least you can hold the bottle in place while he’s twisting and turning.
    My two suggestions: add handles to the bottle. They often help with the tilt, if he’s holding the bottle himself. And, there is a product of which you dream… Not that I am recommending it. Just that I am making you aware of it.

  5. Have you looked into the Podee ( It might be helpful.

  6. I’ve never used it before, but I’ve seen some rave reviews for this bottle. Maybe it would help?

  7. @Sarah, We use a sippy cup with water at mealtimes and in between mealtimes, but you still have to tip it back to drink it. So it might help, in that it would give him something to grab onto, but I’m not sure it would solve the drinking-upside-down issue.

    @nancy, @esperanza, @Chris, You’re all on the same page! Apparently my “space bottle” does exist! Thanks for the link. Something about it feels to me like it’s teaching the baby to drink in a really unnatural way, though. I think we may just try to struggle through the bottle feeding until he realizes he’s hungry. He’ll figure it out sooner or later! And in the meantime, he’s still getting down 28-30 ounces a day, so he’s certainly not going hungry 🙂 I’ll have to ask daycare if he does the same thing there. I’m going to bet he does.

  8. LOL on the nursing issues! My kids used to punch me, slap me, and pull my hair while nursing. Boy was I glad when that was over. I think the squirmy distracted kid is completely normal, and you’re right about his intake. If he’s really hungry, he’ll get down to business, but it’s frustrating to have to ride out the phase!

  9. Cameron is the exact same way right now. It’s very cute to watch him crank his neck at any little sound or stimulation. Sometimes it takes me an hour to get him to drink his bottle! I find it especially annoying just because he is only drinking about 20-25 oz on a GOOD day and I still have a baby waking up at night so I’m trying my best to ensure he’s drinking as much as possible during the DAY hoping that the night wakings will STOP – oh please make them stop?!

  10. squirmy child syndrome is why bathing, dressing, eating, diapering, getting into carseat, are ALL VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE these days!! i’m out of breath just wrestling with that kid to get a onesie on him!

  11. I work in a daycare and most babies go through a distractable phase. Most likely, he does it at daycare too. We try really hard to work with the babies to get them to focus on their bottle, though. It helps to sing the ABCs, count in English and Spanish, etc, to get the baby to focus. After awhile, they do learn that they need to drink their bottle, since their teacher can’t be at their beck and call every 10 minutes when they feel like drinking an ounce! 🙂

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