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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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I have an 8 month old baby daughter who is now down to 2 bottles

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I have an 8 month old baby daughter who is now down to 2 bottles of milk per day. She is using a baby cup for water during the day and I wondered whether i could use the cup to give her the morning and evening milk. My question is whether the removal of the dummy teat/breast as such is damaging in any way when considering that babies are at the oral stage of psychosexual development. I have read considerably on Freud and Melanie Klein's theories on child development and importance of the breast as a part object at this stage.
My.... she is very advanced for her age.

To answer your question from a psychological point-of-view, babies usually require more sucking than they can get from only 2 bottles. If you eliminate those bottles are you willing to allow the pacifier? If so, then, it is probably ok.

From a physical health standpoint, 8-9 month old babies require about 24 ounces of milk per day (along with their well-balanced diet) to get the fluid and nutrition they require. Will she be able to get this amount from the cup? Is she getting formula or cow milk?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Yes I do give her a pacifier but only to go to sleep and if she is a bit upset etc. Per UK government recommendations, she gets 600ml (21 US fl oz) of milk per day. I give her 2 bottles of 7 fl oz and she also gets another 5fl oz in her porridge. Throughout the day she gets various yoghurts and egg/rice custard which has baby milk too, therefore making up the required daily intake. Her sippy cup is 7 fl oz and she happily takes her water from this throughout the day.


What is the pscychological basis for the sucking, why is it so important? Also, if she is sucking from the cup (sippy cup) is this sufficient?

I understand that you are wondering about the psychoanalytic perspective, which is strictly theory and difficult to gain scientific evidence. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that an infants deprived of a warm, nurturing feeding experience would view the world as a cold and hostile place. They would develop a personality disorder of a negative world view. So it is not strictly the sucking but the feeding experience that is considered important.
In addition, babies require the sucking to self soothe. If they do not get this from the bottle or pacifier, it is their hand or thumb that they will use. From what you said, you are appropriately providing that opportunity to self soothe with the pacifier. Self-regulation and self-soothing is another developmental step that is required for optimal mental health. (The sucking from the sippy cup provides some of this). But, remember, the sippy cup is not providing the opportunity to learn the proper skill for open sips from the open cup should also be offered and the prespeech and feeding experts feel that a child should be on all open cup between 12-18 months.
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