I spoke too soon about Harper being off the bottle - she is back on it. She wasn't handling the transition well, so we have decided to go back to having two 9-ounce bottles of whole milk a day - one at naptime and one before bed.
I couldn't handle the crying anymore. It wasn't getting better. She wasn't adjusting to the change like I thought she would.
Harper is a strong-willed child and until she is ready, I don't feel like forcing her to adjust (because it doesn't seem like we can force Harper to do anything!). We just have to go with the flow and follow her lead.
At some point hopefully she will be ready to give up the bottle. Like people have noted (and I know), she won't be going to college drinking from a bottle (well, she might be drinking from bottles - but not baby bottles with milk in them).
I have to admit that having not successfully made this transition makes me feel like a failure (my 'f' word). I know it shouldn't, but it does. I put pressure on myself to get her off the bottle. I felt like as a parent, she needed to be bottle-free. I hear from parents and doctors that babies should be off the bottle by their first birthdays (that is not to say that everyone expects babies to be off the bottle by their first birthdays, but it seems that most people/entities do). I caved to the external influences and tried to force my daughter to accommodate to society's demands/expectations. I feel guilty for that. I don't want to limit or inhibit her in any way (relatively speaking). I don't want to force society's demands/expectations on her. Yet here I was doing that to her - and she's hardly even a year old!
I have learned from my mistake. I need to just let her be.
So here we are - back on the bottle. And that's okay. It makes her happier, which makes me happier. And I am okay with that. It's going to be okay.