AFRICANGLOBE – Glugging milk from a bottle, Amara Chiedozie looks like any other contented three-week-old.
Except, that is, for the fact she is already capable of holding the container on her own.
Even more incredibly, her mother says she has been doing it since she was three days old. The strength of her grip at such a tender age has amazed her family and medics
Her mother Onyi Chiedozie, 20, said: ‘When we were feeding, she started shaking, then she just grabbed the bottle. She was holding it by herself.
‘We couldn’t believe it because babies don’t normally do it that young. I’m so shocked that I have been documenting it every day. It’s unbelievable.
‘When she doesn’t want it she will push it away. She isn’t strong enough to throw it away, but she does push it, like she does with her dummy. If she is really hungry, she starts shaking. Then she will just grab the bottle as you give it to her.’
Miss Chiedozie, a single mother from Chadwell Heath in Essex, makes sure she is always watching her daughter when she is feeding herself. She said: ‘Sometimes I hold her or sometimes you can prop her up with a pillow and give her the bottle. I’m always watching her – I don’t let her out of my sight.’
Amara weighed 6lbs 3oz when she was born on August 3 at Queen’s Hospital in Romford.
Miss Chiedozie said her progress had astounded medical professionals. The student added: ‘Even nurses are really surprised. When my health support nurse came, she was shocked as well. She couldn’t believe that this could happen.
‘Whenever we go to appointments, we take pictures of her doing it. The midwife and even the doctor we had an appointment with on Saturday were actually amazed. They couldn’t believe it.
Miss Chiedozie also breastfeeds Amara regularly. She said: ‘The breastfeeding is better now – it’s comfortable. It used to be painful and sore before but it’s good now.
‘When she breastfeeds she is touching and holding on to me. It’s a really nice experience and way to bond.’ Babies are usually able to hold a bottle unaided from around six months.
Parents’ charity NCT warns on its website against letting them feed themselves. It advises: ‘If you give your baby a bottle, always hold the bottle and your baby whilst feeding. It’s not safe to leave babies to feed themselves or to prop up a bottle; if they choke they won’t be able to push the bottle away.’
The charity also warns that babies can choke on something as small as a grape and should not be left alone while feeding or eating.
By: Tania Steere