The crackdown on adults drinking coffee from baby bottles in cafes in Bahrain appears to have resulted in a sudden surge of purchases from stores for home consumption.
One MP has described it as a ‘Satanic trend’ but supporters say it as a harmless ‘cool’ habit and ‘comforting’ during the Covid-19 crisis.
“It appears that as soon as we close one door on feeding bottles being served in outlets now we have another opened with large stocks being snatched up from supermarkets, cold stores and pharmacies,” said Parliament services committee chairman Ahmed Al Ansari, who is also Asala Bloc president.
“If someone buys the whole stash off the shelves what will babies and toddlers be left with?
“This ridiculous trend is getting beyond control. However, it would be unconstitutional to prosecute people for what they do in the privacy of their own homes.”
Committee member MP Mamdooh Al Saleh described the social media-inspired frenzy as catastrophic. “This Satanic trend will affect families needing supplies of baby bottles yet people are continuing with it,” he said.
“A shopkeeper or cashier cannot know if someone is picking up supplies for a baby or themselves so each individual buyer needs to show more responsibility.”
One shopkeeper, who asked not to be identified, said one man in particular grabbed his attention yesterday, perhaps an entrepreneur hoping to cash in on the trend and sell them on at a profit.
“He filled his trolley with around two dozen feeding bottles and a huge number of baby bottle nipples, mainly of the large sized variety,” he said. “We can’t ask customers the reason for their purchases, genuine or not, but it was fairly obvious it was for some other use than feeding his toddler.”
The craze is believed to have started in 2017 in the United States when a Los Angeles cafe started serving their beverages in giant baby bottles.
Celebrities have been at it too. The following year, actress and singer Selena Gomez, an adult woman, appeared in an Instagram story alongside her friend Anna Collins, drinking what appears to be milk from a baby bottle. Strange? Sure. But not without a good diehard fan reason. Collins’ caption gave a little hint: “The only way to watch Vanderpump Rules Reunion, @lalakent,” Collins wrote.
On the TV show, Lala Kent, a 28-year-old cast member and restaurant hostess at the Vanderpumps’ SUR restaurant, drinks milk from a baby bottle to calm her anxiety. She was shown doing it in season 6.
The craze has spread like wildfire across the Gulf region with bans already being introduced in the UAE and Kuwait.
The American Psychiatric Association and other medics have started to study adult baby syndrome. Typically, these individuals will wear diapers, drink from a baby bottle, crawl, eat baby food, and play with baby toys.
Other experts suggest young people are simply ‘bored out of their skins’ with restrictions introduced to battle against the pandemic.
One 35-year-old woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, said sipping ice coffee through a feeding bottle was ‘cool’.
“Drinking droplets rather than large sips through a straw makes me enjoy more time with my ice-coffee drinks,” she said.
“I have been banned from having my favourite readymade beverage from the cafe in a feeding bottle, so I decided to buy it from them and put it in feeding bottles I have bought myself.
“I have a cool collection of feeding bottles now, each size and colour is for a different drink.”