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Weaning from the Bottle
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Weaning from the Bottle
My baby boy decided he'd had enough of breastfeeding at 6
months. Now, 2 months later, he seems to be getting bored with
bottles! He has been teething like a madman, but he doesn't seem
to be teething now, he just keeps refusing to nurse from a
bottle. He does very well with solid food, and he likes watching
us eat and sometimes imitates our chewing motions when we're
eating. We're wondering if it's at all possible that he's
noticed that we don't drink from bottles, and therefore it's
time to move on to cups. Before we embark on a very messy
experiment with formula in sippy cups (we've been practicing
with water). Has anybody else heard of babies weaning themselves
from bottles at this young an age?
I think kids can be very different about how they want to drink
so I'm sure it's not unheard of for an 8 month old to refuse
the bottle. My daughter went almost straight from nursing to
sippy cup by 1 year because she just never got into the
bottle. They make lots of sippy cups that are spill proof (or
at least mostly) so it doesn't have to be that messy. The one
that works best for us is the Playtex Sipster. It looks more
like a ''big kid's'' cup but doesn't spill so maybe your son will
be into that.
Our 9 month old is weaning himself from breastfeeding and also
taking the bottle less. He has been drinking water from a sippy
cup for a while (and recently from a regular cup) and one thing
I noticed is that if the liquid doesn't flow fast enough for
his taste, he rejects it. The same thing happened with his
bottle the other day when our Nanny accidentally used a #1 flow
nipple instead of a #4. He refused it. Perhaps this is the
Mom of a Milk Chugger
Eight or nine months is a really common time for babies to go
through a nursing strike, so I imagine the same could be true
for a bottle-fed baby, though I admit I've never heard of it! I
also know that babies who have one nursing strike often have
another, so the fact that yours did at 6 months may indicate
that the same thing is happening now with the bottle.
It's most often related to teething, but it can also be due to
ear infections or other illnesses that can make sucking painful,
or just to that being developmentally a distractible age.
Sometimes it's related to overfeeding of solids, too, so be sure
you don't conclude that your baby is really ready to ''wean''; an
8-month-old still relies on and needs the nutritional punch of
breastmilk, or formula, even if he appears to be objecting to
the container in which it is served! (Solids don't have the
same nutrient-to-volume ratio, so you don't want an infant
to 'fill up' on solid foods before nursing, or a bottle of
formula, any more than you want a kindergartener to 'fill up' on
ice cream before dinner.) Trying a cup is probably a good
idea. Try a straw, too, and/or a sport bottle. And/or mix some
of his solid foods (cereal, mashed potatoes) with formula. But
hey, count your blessings -- at least you probably won't have to
worry about him still using a bottle at 2 or 3 years old!
I would seize this opportunity to wean your son from the bottle-
-why wait? It could be harder to wean him later. My daughter
never really liked the bottle, so drank from a sippy cup from
about 7 mos. I don't understand what you mean about sippy cups
being messy? As long as the valve is in place, the formula
won't leak out when he tips it upside down or drops it--that's
the beauty of the modern sippy cup.
The latest info I have is that by 13/14 months toddlers should
be taking all fluids from a cup. Any experiences with this. My daughter is 13
months, drinks water from a cup but milk from a bottle.We have tried giving
her milk in a sippy cup but she will only take a few sips and then leaves it. She
gets bottles before naps and bedtime, she drinks down the bottles pretty
quickly- 6 oz. in about 5 mins. I don't leave a bottle with her either. So what is
the harm? I don't want her to be drinking from a bottle at 2 but does that mean
I need to wean her from it ASAP? Any thoughts would be helpful.
Yes, replace the bottle. Your child needs to develop all the
muscles in her mouth - necessary for speech. The muscles used
in cup and bottle drinking are different. Replace the
least ''emotional'' or ''required'' bottle first. Your child will
drink milk again from the cup, guaranteed.
Our daughter weaned from the bottle at almost 2 years so you are
not too late. We waited until after completing a long (7 week)
trip so that she wouldn't regress back to the bottle. It was
surprisingly easy to get her to give up the bottle. Following
her daycare teacher's advice, we diluted her bottled milk with
water--3/4 milk for several days, 1/2 milk for several days and
by the time we reached 1/4 milk, she wasn't really interested.
At the same time, we provided regular milk in her cup.
my daughter was still drinking out of her bottle at 18months
when we went to visit a friend who just had a baby boy. when we
returned home, we gathered all her bottles in a zip lock bag and
told her that bottles are for babies like baby niko and she
agreed. she's been drinking out of sippy cup ever since. good
luck! it worked for me.
I have left the bottle (and thumb-sucking) question up to our
dentist. My daughter had her first (and so far only) dentist
appointment when she turned three and the dentist said her one
bottle of milk in the evening and her thumb sucking is not
damaging her teeth. She drinks milk during the day from a cup,
she just likes a warm bottle before bed. The bottle and the
thumb don't bother me or my husband at all, so our daughter
knows that when the dentist says it! is time for the bottle and
the thumb to go, then it is time. (we'll see how this goes when
My 22 month old still drinks his milk from a bottle. It's the
only way he'll do it, plus it helps him sleep for bedtime and
naps. As long as he gets his milks somehow, I don't see what
the harm is
My 2 girls loved their bottles and drank their morning and
evening milk off it until the oldest was 4 years old and the
youngest was 2 1/2. I don't think there is any problem with
this. They drank out of the bottle as they would have from a cup
or glass and it was less mess. The issue here is more about
having the bottle as a companion all day long and in bed at
night. So relax... your baby is growing too fast anyway so let
him enjoy his bottle !
Personally, I have ignored the advice to wean my kids from the
bottle at 1 year. I just didn't buy any of the reasons that were
given. The reason that I most often heard for the recommendation
was that it is easier to wean from the bottle earlier... that
wasn't good enough in my opinion. I figured that if my baby (and
one is still a baby in my book) still wanted his bottle I wasn't
going to force him to give it up. My oldest son stopped drinking
from his bottle at 2.5 without any problems or trauma. It was
easy. We just told him one day that there were no more bottles
because he had bitten through all of the nipples. He accepted
it, and even at his grumpiest didn't ask for a bottle again
after the first two days.
The other reason that I head to wean from the bottle was that
the bottle would lead to an overbite. Well, may be it could, but
probably genetics is a bigger factor than bottle use. I figure
that based on the orthodontic histories on both sides of our
family we are paying for braces on the permanent teeth anyway.
getting rid of the bottle isn't going to save us any money. I am
not going to drive my kid crazy taking away his bottle before he
The third reason I heard was that it could lead to tooth decay.
That doesn't seem like an issue to me if you continue following
the same guidlines you used before your baby was one: no bottle
in bed, no juice in the bottle, no walking around with the
bottle, brush the teeth twice a day, etc.
The fourth reason I heard was that if the baby keeps drinking
from a bottle it is possible that the baby will fill up on milk
and not eat enough variety of foods at meals. Well by one my
boys were only drinking two bottles a day and were eating lots,
and bottles were never offered around meal times.
In my opinion this guideline is just a trend. I think there are
enough things to worry about as a parent, I am not going to go
nuts about something that seems arbitrary to me. My second son
is 20 mos. At his 18 month well baby check up the advice sheet
we were given said to wean by 18 mos. Hmmm three years ago the
sheet said 12 mos... did they change their minds.
Personally, I think it is a decision that you should make based
on what you think is best for your child. If you don't want your
kid to have a bottle at two, set that as your deadline. If you
want to make it sooner or later, do that too. If you think your
dr. will give you greif, just don't discuss it with him.
My toddler used a bottle till he was two. I couldn't think of
any reason not to let him. I think pediatricians and dentists
vary in their advice about this. Certainly there's a lot of
pressure from friends and relatives to get them off the bottle
at one, but what the heck. The only reason we stopped using a
bottle at two was that I just was tired of washing bottles, so
when we came back from a vacation, the bottles all disappeared.
He asked for it the first day, but not after that. If he had
had a really hard time with the transition I probably would
have let him keep it a while longer but he didn't. He didn't
use the bottle for going to sleep, so we didn't have to deal
with that, thank goodness. After the switch, he drank a LOT
less milk. Milk from a bottle, he would drink30 or 40 oz a day.
Milk from a cup was maybe 16 oz. at best. I discussed this with
his pediatrician, he said 16-20 is fine since he is also eating
yogurt and cheeses and of course lots of other foods.
Our 26-month old still uses a combo of bottles and cups. At
her 2-year visit, we pushed her pediatrician (who had been
telling us to get her off bottles earlier) pretty hard on why did
she have to stop using bottles (she drinks from them in 2
minutes or less) and the ped, reluctantly, admitted that the
real cut-off is age 3 and that there is some concern re
bottles if they're still using them at 3. I think most kids drop
bottles when they are ready (like everything else) and that
this is yet another area where there's more stress and
strain that really necessary. If you don't mind and your child
really wants it, just try to diminish slowly. One option is to
always offer milk in a cup with her meals and eventually
your child will get used to it -- expect to have to offer many
times before it actually gets drunk from the cup!
Still using bottles too
Well, I do agree with you that is not the end of the world for
your child to still be using a bottle at this age, however, I also
agree with what you have been reading in that it is much, much
harder to break the habit later on. From my experience the key
is introducing the cup with their favorite things, juice and
milk. Although she may not like the cup she will want those
things and if that is the only way it is given to her she will
warm up to the idea. I might even switch to water in the bottle
to make it less appealing.
My kids are a little older than yours, and I had never heard 12
months as a ''deadline'' to get off the bottle! Both my kids
used bottles for much longer than that, though I think we
limited it to ''at home only'' when they reached about age 2. My
older one still liked a bottle at supper until (hard to
believe) age 5 or 6. My younger one was almost that old when
we moved to a new house and just didn't bring the bottles.
They are both pretty normal kids, don't suck or mouth things,
and talk completely normally. Of course they didn't use only
bottles - also breastfed, regular cups, sippy cups - in other
words, a variety. I don't see any point to forcing the bottle
away so young! It wasn't a battle worth fighting to us!
bottles were o.k. with me
Our daughter will be turning 17 month, and we thought it is about time
to wean her from the bottle. However, we have not been too successful
doing so. She has been drinking water and juice from her cup for quite
a while now, but she will only drink milk from a bottle. Any
suggestions/advice on weaning a young toddler from the use of bottle?
I don't have any useful advice but I'm curious why you think it's time
to do so. I know that bottle and breast feeding can cause dental
problems in some babies but apart from that, 17 months seems very
young to me to remove a source of such comfort. I've been confused about
the push for early weaning for a while so appreciate the chance to gain
some understanding about this other perspective.
My son did exactly the same thing as your daughter - he would only
drink milk from a bottle. I finally weaned him by simply telling him he
could not have the bottle any more (he was using it to fall asleep at night
and again in the morning). He never drank milk again. Ever. He is
almost nine now and gets his calcium from calcium supplemented orange juice.
I often regreted havig weaned him, specially from the morning bottle
because breakfast has been a challenge ever since. So, my advice is -
don't be in too big a hurry and if want your child to continue
drinking milk (some people are really against milk drinking) then make
sure she takes it from a cup before taking away the bottle.
My 17-month-old is addicted to bottles. This has been going on
for several months now, and has gotten worse recently (he has a
few teeth coming in and has had a cold). A few months ago, he
was happily drinking milk from sippy cups, with only one bottle,
at bedtime. Then he started refusing to drink milk in sippy cups
(though he still likes to drink water from them, as well as
drinking/spilling water from open cups) and demanding the baby
bottle. Attempts to deny him the bottle resulted in huge
tantrums, so we gave in and gave him bottles. Because he was
drinking so much milk, he pretty much stopped eating food, so we
started watering down the bottles. He still drinks 8-10 (8oz)
bottles a day, but now that they're mostly water (only the
bedtime one is full-strength) he's eating food again. But it's
becoming increasingly clear that he's using the bottle as a
pacifier--sometimes he walks around with the nipple clenched in
his mouth and the bottle hanging down.
Looking back, I'm pretty sure the bottle obsession started around
the time we retired his pacifiers. He had been using a pacifier
in the crib. A few months ago, he had a cold and didn't want to
use a pacifier, probably because he needed to breathe through his
mouth. We decided it would be a good time to retire the
pacifiers, and stuck them all in a cabinet. He didn't seem to
mind, but then he started demanding bottles.
I don't know what to do. I thought watering down the bottles of
milk would make them less attractive, but as long as there's a
little bit of milk, he doesn't seem to mind. (Pure-water bottles
result in a tantrum.) I also tried switching to low-flow nipples
on the bottles--I thought if it was harder to suck the milk out,
he might find it less rewarding, but it hasn't helped at all. I
keep thinking about bringing back the pacifiers but that seems
like such a huge step backwards, at 17 months. We really don't
want to end up with a three-year-old who goes around all day
sucking a pacifier, and/or huge battles later over giving up the
Has anyone else gone through this? If so, any advice?
Mother of a suckaholic
As much as you probably dislike the idea, I suggest you give
back the pacifier. Having gone through two binky-sucking
toddlers myself, I understand your frustration. I was very
unhappy (and embarrassed) to see my first child still with a
pacifier (and bottle) at the age of two. I was very persistant
in my efforts to break her of the binky habit (she finally gave
it up sometime before kindergarten and now she bites her
nails). We let our second child kept his binky (and bottle)
for as long as he wanted and he easily gave them up when
he was ready - I don't even remember when, but he was
certainly older than two. The moral is that both children
gave it up eventually, but the parent/child relationship was
much more positive when I didn't force it. Your child won't
keep it forever - at this age let him be happy!
A simple word will help you lots: No. The bottle battles go on
because they're successful. When they stop being successful,
they will end. My son is 3 and still takes the bottle, but he
knows that he can only have a bottle when it's bottle time. For
him that's bedtime only -- one milk bottle anytime he requests
it after dinner, followed by a small milk-and-water bottle if he
wants it, and that's it. No amount of pleading, screaming or
crying will change that. When he was 17 months he probably got
four a day...I don't remember exactly, but I think it was first
thing in the morning, before nap, after nap, and bedtime. Maybe
not after nap. Anyway, the morning and nap bottles faded out
over time, following his lead. By that time it wasn't a big deal
because he knew what the rules were.
That's not to say that he didn't used to scream for bottles when
it wasn't bottle time, just that he knew I wasn't going to give
in and so the battle was relatively short.
The other strictly enforced rule is teeth-brushing before bed
time -- bottles are fine if you brush teeth afterwards, but they
can cause tooth decay if you don't.
I'm a firm believer that some kids need to suck, which is why
I've let my son hold onto his bottle way longer than most of his
friends. I was a big thumb sucker, so I understand the urge and
the comfort sucking provides. But I also think that kids need to
find other ways to comfort themselves, other tools t have in
their kit bag, and that's why I stopped nursing on demand after
a year, and did away with the pacifier after the first few
You seem to think that tantrums are to be avoided at all costs. YOU are
the parent . A 17-month-old doesn't know what is best for him, no matter
how long, loud, or hard he protests. Take back control and stop giving
him the bottle. Simple.
p.s. If you think a 17-month-old is hard, just wait until he is
I have had 2 children ( 4 and 7 now). One was clearly
more ''oral'' i.e. needed more sucking time than the other. I
nursed and she had pacifiers. From my experience and watching
nieces and nephews go through this need, give back the pacifiers
and sooner than later it will go. My niece had 5 pacifiers-2
for each hand and one in the mouth-they were very important to
her. I can't remember how she let go, but she did with no
pressure. She is 7 now and who would have ever guessed. Don't
worry about what other people say or may think. You know your
childs needs best.
My 18 month old loves her bottle. She uses a sippy cup at day
care except at nap time, but at home, she almost always insists
on her bottle. I'm beginning to try to wean her off of it at
night to hopefully help her (and us)sleep through the night.
She's never been keen on pacifiers. Although the books
and ''experts'' say babies should be weaned from bottles by 18
months, I don't care. She's happy and she'll give it up when
As for reliance on pacifiers, I can speak from my own personal
experience when I was a baby/child. I had a pacifier until I
was 4 years old. My mom said I loved it and wanted it all the
time. Before I turned 4, my mom had a talk with me about being
a big girl and giving it up. So, I thought about it and a few
days before my 4th birthday, I turned it over to my mother -
never to be used again. I don't think I was harmed in any way
by having a pacifier for such a long time.
I read your post with a certain longing because my
kindergarten-age son used to walk around the house with a bottle
hanging out of his mouth like a stogie when he was a 3-year-old.
We just put up with it and hoped he would grow out of it.
He was allowed pacifiers and bottles at home until he was 3+
years old but used a cup at preschool. It was a bit awkward for
us because a few know-it-alls used to lecture us about the
evils of keeping the bottle and pacifier for too long but he
doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects.
My mom was a big influence in convincing me that it wasn't a big
deal. She told me that when he is in middle school, you won't
care how long he had his pacifier or his bottle and she was
His little sister (just turned two) is also a bottle and pacifier
gal and shows no sign of giving them up any time soon.
My daughter who is 27 months loves her bottle. Against her
pediatrician's advice, we allowed her to continure having a bottle
after she turned two. We do water it down and have dental check-
ups every six months to make sure her teeth are ok. I also don't
allow her to carry her bottle around with her all day; it is
reserved for specific times such as car rides and before naps and
bedtime. Had she liked a pacifier, we wold have let her continue
As an older parent, I wonder what all the rush is about. I also
believe some children have a real need to suck and that there is
nothing wrong with this. I doubt any of our children will go to
college with their bottle/pacifier.
A few thoughts:
I think I would have taken advantage of his lack of interest in
the pacifiers too but I wonder when he ''demanded'' so many
bottles why did you feel you had to give them to him? Why not
say no? Why couldn't you decide how many? That seems worth
paying attention to because you've got alot of toddler (etc)
demands ahead of you. for what it's worth our 3 yr old still has
a bottle in the am and pm. Around 2yrs old we limited them to 2
a day. She still uses a binky too but with limits too- only to
sleep, sometimes driving in the car, occasionally when she's
really upset or sad. I felt like working out some compromise
with both binky and bottle will (and already have) set a
prescedent for how we will negotiate things in the future. i
think the bottle/binky are important to her so I won't deny them
to her but as her parent I can decide what seems appropriate or
right. Good luck
At our daughter's 18 month well baby visit, her doctor informed me that
she shouldn't be using bottles anymore, and that she should have stopped
using a bottle between 9 and 13 months of age. Besides being upset that
this information was not given to me at the appropriate time, I am
wondering if others agree with this.
13-18 months sounds early to me. Our pediatrician
recommended weaning by 24 months. While we were
able to wean our older son before then, I wonder how it
will be with our 18 month old!
Our pediatrician also recommended that if they're
looking somewhat reluctant by age 2, make a big deal
about it being a big birthday, and saying a couple of
months ahead of time that it's time to throw the bottles
away. He said for his own sons he gathered all the
bottles and nipples up in a bag with his sons' help and
they threw them away together.
Other parents have told me that they only will put water
in the bottles and offer anything else in sippy cups. You
can also try shopping with your child for sippy cups that
they like...good luck!
what's the hurry to wean off the bottle? i think your
doctor may not have his/her own children and is submitting
to pressure from the same people who discourage
breastfeeding past a year and co-sleeping with you baby.
as long as your child is eating other food and
experimenting with using a cup, it probably is not hurting
her to use the bottle too.
My girls are still using bottles (Avent) at 2 1/2 years
old. Our pediatrician recommended stopping at 2, however,
said it was fine to continue until their permanent teeth
were coming in as long as they didn't take their bottle to
bed with them (prolonged sucking causing teeth decay). We
are thinking about getting rid of the bottles soon, but
don't have the energy for the potential struggle just yet.
I, too, was told that my daughter should stop using a
bottle before she was 18 months but her doctor informed me
at her 12 month visit. Her daycare provider also really
pushed us to wean her to a cup as well. The reasoning was
that it would be bad for her teeth, and that also if we
waited too long she would get attached and it would be even
harder to give up at 2 and beyond.
Upon further questioning, it seemed that it was only bad
for the teeth if your child falls asleep with a bottle of
milk or juice in her mouth, thereby bathing the teeth with
sugar. We definitely did not do this, she finished her
bottle at night and we brushed her teeth afterward.
So I decided that I did not care if she wanted to use the
bottle longer - our compromise was that at daycare she
switched to the cup, but she used the bottle at night
before she went to bed. She did this for months, and I
never made it an issue. Bedtime was bottle time.
Suddenly at 2 years, 3 months she asked for the cup at
bedtime. After that, we just got rid of the bottles and
never went back. So much for attachment to it.
My feeling is, turning these things into a battle is just
not worth it. I figured she wouldn't go to kindergarten
with a bottle and beyond that it didn't matter much to me.
I personally don't see the need for it. Did your doc offer
a medical diagnosis that indicated the medical need to wean
her from the bottle? If not, it sounds like he is offering
parenting advice and parenting advice from doctors' is
something I use with an ENORMOUS grain of salt.
I allowed my (now, almost 8) firstborn to wean himself from
the bottle after (mistakenly) weaning him from the breast at
16mo. He used a bottle til around 5 years (which is pretty
accurate, since #2 weaned from the breast at about the same
Your child still has a good need to suck and if you're not
nursing, IMO you must provide for that need.
For nighttime, you can try comfort nursing (assuming your
milk supply is gone) so you don't have milk/juice pooling in
your baby's mouth or replace the milk in the bottle with
My pediatrician's advice was to try to wean from the
bottle by age 2. This was primarily because it would
become only that much harder after that age due to the
naturally developing willfulness of the child. From what
I have read, the primary reasons for weaning from the
bottle are (1) it encourages pooling of liquids in the
mouth which fosters tooth decay (unless the liquid is
water) and (2) it interupts normal speech development
which requires the training that sipping gives to the lips
My thoughts? I weaned down to one bottle by 2, and then
got rid of the last bottle about 3 months later. I think
in my daughter's case I probably would have been able to
get rid of it pretty easily until 2 1/2 -- after that it
would have been a nightmare! I think if you start using
cups as soon as possible, even while your child is still
on a bottle, that the speech will develop normally (there
is also a problem with using sippy cups too long, so try
to introduce a regular cup when you can). And you can
control the tooth problems by taking the bottle away after
the baby is finished drinking and brushing her teeth
regularly. Good luck with it and don't worry!
Our 2.75 yr old still uses a bottle. The main issue is that
you don't want your babe to be at rest with a milk or juice
bottle in her mouth--bad for the teeth. Our daughter
drinks only water from a bottle. Our pediatrician had no
problem with this, nor did her dentist.
I weaned my son from the bottle right after his fourth
birthday (at that time he was having one bottle before
bed). I kept feeling guilty about his ''advanced'' age and
mentioned this several times to his doctor, Danielle
Rosenman at East Bay Family Practice. She told me that as
long as 1) He wasn't taking the bottle to bed, 2) He
brushed his teeth after having the bottle and 3)He had no
dental problems, that it was perfectly fine to let him
continue the bottle. In fact, it was my decision to
finally wean him. Dr. Rosenman told me that she had no
problems with kids his age having bottles, and that he (my
son) would eventually give it up himself because of peer
pressure (kindergarten boys can be opinionated,
apparently). Dr. Rosenman is very ''middle of the road,''
not extreme. My advice (please forgive my bluntness) is to
dump your doctor. He/She seems interested in having your
child become independent before it is necessary.
For what it's worth, our pediatrician wasn't so adament as
yours- in fact it was the dentist who suggested our
daughter give up the bottle. Well, she's 2 yrs 8 months and
she still has a bottle in the am and pm and I can't quite
bare making her give it up. I've offered her other sippy
cups with milk in them from time to time. It's soooo hard
to be a toddler:have limits set, learn to be patient and
begin to potty train. I figure she'll give it up when she's
I had the same experience with my daughter, because we
moved to a new doctor when she was around 18 months. I gave
it a try the night we were back from the doctor (on the
same day I heard of a friend who kept her son in bottle
until he was almost 3 and she had to spend $1000 to fix his
decay teeth) to just see whether she could go to bed
without bottle and she did. It was quite easy actually. She
kept asking for the bottle, but I told her that she can go
to sleep without one and she got really tired at some point
and went to sleep without it. And she hasn't touch another
bottle since then. I always thought that she could never
quit the bottle since I don't know any other way to put her
to bed, but I was completely wrong.
My son didn't stop using the bottle until he was 5.
Actually right around his fifth birthday we had a
ceremony at the marina in which we tossed his last
bottle away with a note inside (we are still waiting to
hear from Australia). The pediatrician had no problem
with it as long as our son brushed his teeth before bed.
It seemed like a good way to get him to keep drinking
milk and it was relaxing and cozy for him. I suppose the
only downside was a few years earlier when he wanted
''milkies'' in the middle of the night but once he weaned
off those it really wasn't a problem at all.
I weaned my daughter just after a year-old...i would
suggest to anyone not to attempt these battles with a
toddler if you can help it...it was quite easy if you
handle it matter-of-fact...just start introducing a sippy
cup to replace some of the bottles...one thing not
mentioned in the responses is that I think it starts
improving their fine motor skills in handling a cup and
learning to put it on the table rather than just dropping a
bottle wherever (it's also a good manners thing and an
encouragement of more maturity).
My son fell asleep with a bottle or two of milk every night
until he was around four. We brushed his teeth before he
went to bed and gave him his bottle. He always finished it
before he fell asleep. To this day he has never had a
cavity. (Of course I never confessed this to the
pediatrician when he asked.) The only thing we ever allowed
him to drink from a bottle was milk or water. Never juice.
He talked early and fine. I also gave him a bottle when he
woke up at 6 AM which meant he would go back to sleep for
another hour or two before hunger woke him up again. Once I
took the bottle away he never, ever drank milk again (he's
11). I took the bottle away because of pressure from family
and friends and then I was sorry. I had to get up in
the morning an hour or two earlier and fix him breakfast
because he was hungry. He woke up grumpy instead of happy
and got less sleep than he used to. There are countries
where kids are given a bottle in bed for breakfast well
after they are 5 or 6 and frankly I don't see anything wrong
By the way, my son was as willful as they come yet taking
the bottle away was not hard at all. Don't do it sooner just
becase you are afraid of how hard it will be later.
Remember, later you can reason with them, bribe them, make
them feel all grown up, etc.
I need help weaning my 20 month old daughter off the bottle. She can drink
from a cup but she prefers the bottle. This week her father and I have
started some serious weaning. We plan to only give her a bottle of water at
night. She did not like it. Last night she cried for two hours screaming
"teta" (her word for bottle). She is used to her father spoiling her with
bottles of chocolate milk at her demand. I don't want to go through more
crying nights. Help me!
Night-time-bottle: Although I condiser my almost 2 yr old a veteran
night sleeper, she does on occasion still wake up around 4 or 5 AM wanting
what she calls a "teeney-tiny bottle". I usually give her 3 parts water to
2 parts milk but have been making the bottle almost all water. She drinks
this bottle in our bed and ALWAYS goes back to sleep for 2-3 more hours. We
are all quite content with this situation. I will soon be transitioning
this bottle to an all warm water bottle and then hopefully to a cup as I
think she is genuinely thirsty and finds comfort from the warm drink (heck,
who wouldn't!) and I would like to wean her from the bottle soon after she
turns 2. She is currently training herself to use the potty so I don't want
to introduce too many changes to her at this critical time in her maturation
process. The whole point of this comment is to reassure those people out
there with night-time bottle drinkers that this is still a pretty normal
activity and you are not alone. Just relax and enjoy your child....remember
there are usually NO bottle drinkers in kindergarten.... =-)
Our doctor suggested a method which is working well for us. We are
diluting the milk with water. We started a couple of months ago and
are now down to about .5 oz milk and 7 oz water. Ella has reduced her
pre-bedtime consumption to only a few sips. The plan is when it is
all water to eliminate it after a bit. So far it seems to be working.
I'm curious as to why you are trying to wean your child of the bottle at
this age. I also have a 20 month old child who still prefers to drink
milk from his bottle. But neither I nor his pediatrician have been
particularly concerned about this. I've always believed that there is no
harm in drinking from a bottle. (In fact, my mother-in-law says my
husband drank Tang from a bottle at the age of 4 :-). Is there some
physical or psychological development theory as to when a child should be
I also don't see why you want to wean your daughter off of bottles. At 20
months your daughter still has a very strong need to suck; there's really
no need to deny her this. Research shows the average self-weaning age of a
breastfed child is 3 or 4 years so by analogy you should wait at least that
long for her to switch. (BTW, my mother says that I woke up one morning
when I was 4, took all my bottles and threw them in the garbage. That was
it for bottles for me- a one day, hassle-free weaning).
2 hours of crying is a *very* long time and certainly not worth the trauma
to either your daughter or you. Maybe you could ask your husband to give
her water, juice, plain milk or rice dream instead of chocolate milk?
Also, if you just want to get her used to drinking from things other than
her bottle and she doesn't want a sippy cup or regular cup, there's a
little "canteen" that's made of hard plastic for toddlers that I got for my
son at a payless. It looks like the real thing, doesn't spill, and your
daughter can suck on it if she likes.
My daughter is turning 2 this week, and there's no end in
sight for her love affair with her bottle. She carries it
around and wants to lie down and drink from it whenever
she's tired or upset. She falls asleep drinking from a water
bottle, and holds it all night. Basically, she treats it
like a blankey. I don't have the heart to cut her off, but
we are sick of cleaning the bottles and washing her sheets
every morning because she drinks two big water bottles while
she's falling asleep at night.
A relative recently suggested that we swap her bottle for a
pacifier, which is a wacky but intriguing idea. Has anyone
ever done this? Is a pacifier habit worse than a bottle
habit? Could we end up stuck with both? Any success stories
or cautionary tales would be welcome.
We use the Doctor Brown Bottles and they are a pain to wash,
my husband was just asking if we could switch to something
else too, but I prefer not too. My daughter also has a
pacifier and a blanket. So this is our nightly and nap
routine. I lay down with her, give her the bottle, she
drinks between 4-8 ounces and then she is done and I give
her the pacifier. All this time she has the blanket in her
hand and she is fiddling with it. She falls asleep withing
20 minutes or so and the bottle goes away. Sometime through
the night the pacifier drops out. In the morning the
pacifier is put away so she isn't in the habit of using it.
She still however wants her bottle to drink when she gets
hurt or upset. I usually give her the pacifier and/or the
blanket for a few minutes and once she is ''better'' the
pacifier goes away again. She will be three in March. When
she was two her teeth were still fine, however the warning
is that you can get ear infections from drinking the bottle
laying down, and cavities. She has no cavities, but did
have frequent ear infections, but now she has ear tubes and
hasn't had one since. Anyway, our goal will be to try and
wean her off of the pacifier and bottle by three and then
she will just have her blanket. I recommend slowing adding
in another comfort item, (Blanket, bear, ect.) then once
that one provides comfort wean her from the bottle. Good Luck
Hello! As a mom of 2, who both were (and one still is) very
attached to the pacifier, I can say this: having either is
hard on the parents. But, with some kids, it's something
they need, the oral satisfaction, or the physical touch, for
whatever their reasons. (Not bad, just stating.) So, to
give them that reassurance, it is easy for us in this
commercial world to give them pacifiers, blankies, or bottles.
My thought on bottles is that they are messy, a hassle to
clean (as you brought up), and they are bulky. Pacifiers,
in my humble opinion, are easy to tote around, easy to clean
(pop 'em in the dishwasher silverware contraption and shut
the lid), and pretty cheap. I vote for the pacifier.
You're giving water, so the dental caries thing isn't an
issue. That's great for her health.
As far as switching, that's going to be the thing. She may
balk, or she may go with it.
Why not try a pretty pacifier, and see how she does?
Or,maybe have a bottle party, where you give the bottles to
a ''needy kid'' and she gives it up entirely? (Heard of this
suggestion in relation to giving up pacifiers; have not
tried it myself!)
Now, in hindsight, my 8 y.o. daughter had a VERY hard time
giving up her pacifier. Like, at almost 5, she still had
them, and had to be cut off cold-turkey. She still had her
blankie, but the pacifier was preventing us from
understanding her when she talked. And she couldn't deal
with ''just for sleeping'' pacifiers.
And my 2 y.o. son is currently in love with his pacifiers,
but as an easier-going kid, he is fine with leaving it in
the car for outings or taking it out when talking. (I'm
starting early this time!)
Any route you go is going to be hard. Try not to take
offense at any of the suggestions given, follow your own
instinct, and this is just one of the wonderful things we
get to deal with as parents! :)
My cautionary tale has no end, yet. My four-year-old boy has
the same relationship with his bottle--he treats it like a
lovey. I have yet to figure out how to get him to give it
up. He is completely freaked out by the idea (''But I'll be
scared,'' he says.) In retrospect, I wish I had taken it from
him when he was younger and just dealt with the few days of
sadness on his part. I also have a two-year-old boy addicted
to the pacifier, and there is going to be a day very soon, I
think, when I just take both items from the two of them and
say enough is enough--and give them lots of love and kisses
to reassure them that it's going to be okay.
In the same boat
My daughter was totally hooked on the bottle AND pacifier.
We decided to get rid of every bottle and pacifier in the
house all at once-with her watching-and tell her that the
pacifier/bottle fairy was coming! we made it very exciting
and fun.....The next morning VOILA! all the stuff was gone
and in its place was some sort of toy she had been
coveting. She never asked for either again...I swear!
Some toddlers do need more oral stimulation, so a pacifier
can provide this. Remeber that oral development, along with
all the other sensory skills are developing. Has the little
one ever bonded with a particular chew toy, teething rings
can still be fun and more socially acceptable. She needs to
to this.. If you do not meet the need now.. the child will
be chewing their clothing necks and sleeves in kindergarten..
I think you can also try establishing moving to the sippy
cups that have the softer tops to link with the bottle
nipple.. You can say we are celebrating being a big girl or
boy and in the day time at measl we use sippy cups. Then
still let the use of the bottle be a comfort at night time
Celebrate the baby hood.. it does not last long enough.
I have a 5 yr old who still wants his milk bottle morning and night and my
attitude is...who am I to take away something that brings him comfort,
guarantees his milk consumption and isn't harming him? I was concerned like
you, but my mothers sage advice was ''don't worry, he's not going to walk down
the aisle with a bottle''. He will give it up when he's ready. We have cut down
the night time bottle to 4-6 oz of milk and he wears a night time pullup which is
always wet, but which only leaks occasionally. Under his sheet I have a fabric
incontinence pad so that I only have to remove the sheet and not the more
difficult mattress pad, so that minimizes accident day wash loads. I would say
let her have it but do some tweaking so it is more manageable.
My youngest child is 2 and she recently threw her bottle in the
trash, but now she cries wanting it back. What do I do? She went
the first night without one and all she did was scream and cry
for hours. Me nor her either one got any sleep. Does anyone have
any suggestions on how to take her mind off it? Please Help.
Why is it so important to wean her from a bottle? Several of
the toddlers that I know (including my own)are still drinking
from bottles at 3 years old and still seem to enjoy it (of
course they drink out of glasses, too, but still seem to want
the bottle). It doesn't appear to do them any harm, and they
obviously derive comfort from the bottle,so why not let them
until they decide they don't need/want it anymore?
-another toddler mom
I have a 22 month old son who just ''lost'' his bottle. He used to
fall asleep with it and it was the best thing because I can shot
the door and do my thing. I took it away for different reasons:
higher risk of getting a cavity, bottle leaked, filled up on
milk and was not that hungry at normal meal times. So putting
him to bed is a bit of a challenge, but on most days it is not a
battle but pleasure. Here is a list of routine activities that
nightly wash face, hands, feet warm water
take a book to the bed/crib and read to her in a very soft
sing a song
rub her back and forehead or tap lightly (back only)
tell her sweet nothings
establish a routine and follow it strictly
make sure she is not hungry because milk provides full tommies
for 2 hours
give it sometime and do not go back to bottle
I am sure you will get thru this, we all do
Take care, Yelena
I would appreciate feedback from any parent who has experience with a 3+
year old still using a bottle. My daughter drinks a lot of milk and water --
but mainly out of a 4 oz. plastic bottle. She has it first thing in the
morning, at her nap at school, when she gets home, and when she's falling
asleep. She'll use a cup at other people's houses but always wants the
bottle at home and when she's sleepy. Occasionally, she takes it outside and
I feel embarrassed because she looks too old to have a bottle -- however, I
feel that this is MY problem and I don't stop her.
Do kids eventually grow out of using a bottle? I told her that when
she turns four, we will give her bottles to a baby that needs them, but I
feel terrible taking something away that she likes so much (I missed the
opportunity when she was a baby because she seemed to want it so much then,
as well.) One friend took away her 3-yr.-old's bottle and he stopped
drinking milk altogether, and they have to give calcium suppliments. Any
I have a 3.5 daughter who is still on the bottle (only at night and
mostly as security). I am looking for ideas on how to wean her. Any
suggestions would be appreciated.
My daughter (who is 5-1/2 yrs) had bottle until she was 5. She always had 2
bottles a day: one in the morning and another at bed time (it was 8oz for
each). Without the bottles of milk, she would't get up or go to bed. We had
the same kind of worry as you have now and several times we almost decided
to stop it. However, if using a cup to replace the bottle, she would never
drink that much milk (16 oz a day). For this reason, we let her keep
using the bottle until she decided to stop it by her own - that was the day
her baby brother came to this world (she probably felt a little bit shame to
still use the bottle). So I think it is fine to let your child have bottle
for another couple of years (we took some photos when my daughter had a
bottle when she was around 5 and ready to show her in her future day, she
may love to see it).
Just a brief suggestion on the weaning issue: I believe it helps if you
wean them as part of a trip or vacation or some change of scene. The
change of scene removes the triggers that make them want the bottle or
whatever, and I think it helps, especially if there are a lot of fun things
to do. A long car trip might not be such a great time though, because of
I would not just take the bottle away or trick the child though. Tell the
child that you are thinking maybe she or he can do without it while you are
on the trip, or just have it once a day, or whatever. I think it makes a
difference whether the child is emotionally attached to the bottle, or if
it is just a habit, and that your approach may have to differ depending on
that. Cold turkey might be the best way to handle a habit but the worst
way to dispense with an emotional support.
My 3-yo started asking for the occasional night-time bottle *months* after
he was weaned, during his second year. He still asks for it occasionally
(1-2 times a week). It definitely is a comfort thing. I told him he could
have it, but since we'd already brushed teeth, it could only be water, not
juice or milk. He accepted that. He likes his bottle of water warm (yuk).
Sometimes he asks specifically for a sport bottle (squeeze bottle with
squirt cap) instead of a baby bottle. I think it's fine. You might try any
of these "intermediate" suggestions as a way to help the weaning.
BTW, making the point about his teeth was easier because he'd read the
Berenstain Bears visit the dentist (or some such title). I find the BB
books horribly preachy and gender-stereotyped, but he adores them and always
asks for them at the bookstore. I gotta say, they've helped with the
typical behaviors that I find trying at this age -- wanting everything at
the store, having fights with friends, being envious of other kids' toys,
etc. Anybody think this is a mistake, that BB books permanently rot the brain?
I've searched the archives but haven't found anything that
addresses the issue of a five year old who is still very
attached to the bottle. He nursed till he was 3, and still very
much wants a nightime bottle. He eats ok and his dentist says
his teeth are fine. At our urging, he has set various times to
stop (when he turns five, or goes on vacation, but then when the
time comes, changes his mind, tho he did go without for several
days on vacation.) I really want him to be the one to decide to
give it up, and know if it's otherwise it will be a major
trauma, and I don't know if I can stand the tears. To me, it's
really no big deal that he still has it, and I don't understand
why the big push to get them off bottle before they want to?
Though I don't want to him have on during the day since he'd
fill up on that instead of eating. But my husband feels he's too
old for it, that he relies on it to put himself to sleep and
that he should stop, period. I really thought he would've
stopped on his own before now, and I'm wondering how much longer
this should go on. He gets a lot of close nurturing and
cuddling, and generally we are attachment-parenting oriented.
Are there any other parents out there with a child this old
still so attached to the bottle? Or has any ideas on how to get
him to give them up relatively painlessly? I feel like somehow I
may have screwed up on this, but still don't know why. If it
didn't feel so arbitrary and heartless to decreee he give them
up, I'd probably have a better time with the tears that will
happen if we do mandate no more bottles, so I really need to
figure out the reasons why it's so important, and my husband
can't really articulate it. Sorry for the rambling post, and
thanks for any enlightenment.
I smiled seeing your post because my almost 5 year old gave up
bottles a year ago, but now treats his sippy cup in almost the
exact same way as he treated the bottle, that is, he asks for a
cup of milk when he's tired and he goes into a kind of trance
while sucking away at it. Transitioning from the bottle was
fairly easy -- we had him use a sippy cup sometimes, and then
with increasing frequency, all the while discussing the fact
that someday soon he wouldn't have his bottle anymore at all --
and I think there was only one or two times when he asked for
the bottle and was refused (which naturally resulted in tears
and despair). But since the sippy cup now serves the same
purpose, I'm not sure whether any real change was made, other
than the fact that people feel uncomfortable seeing a 5 year old
with a bottle, but don't mind seeing a 5 year old with a sippy
My conclusion is that some kids are just big suckers. My son
loved to nurse and nursed a good long time, then loved the
bottle, and now loves the sippy cup. I, on the other hand,
sucked my thumb until I was 12. I figure as long as he brushes
his teeth after milk, and as long as we limit it so that he's
not drinking instead of eating or relying on it as his sole
source of comfort, who cares?
My advice -- if the bottle bothers you -- work on giving him a
sippy cup as an alternative in a way that doesn't equate it with
giving up the bottle immediately, and let him know that he can
still be having milk at bedtime, just in a new big-boy format.
If the bottle doesn't bother you -- and if you're taking care of
his teeth by brushing afterwards and not letting him suck
himself to sleep -- figure that eventually he'll decide on his
own that he's too big for it.
I have a 3-year old son who likes to have a bottle in the
morning and a bottle before bed (not in bed). He also has no
dental problems, no speech problems, etc., so I don't
understand what the big deal is either. I'm not responding
because of this, though, but rather because I didn't give up MY
bottle until I was 5 years old and I remember perfectly well
how my mother (and I) handled it. When it was time to buy new
nipples again, she told me that these were the last set of
nipples she was going to buy (we were together at the grocery
store, and I'm sure we talked about it a great deal before and
after that, too). When they were too old to use, that was it,
she told me, as we had agreed. Well, I do remember well that
when the nipples wore out, I asked to have milk in my bottle
with no top on it, but with a straw. My mom complied. I
immediately spilled all the contents out. I realized this was
not going to work out. So that was it. No trauma, no tears.
[My father, on the other hand, had been trying to get me to
give up my bottles whenever my mother was out of town since I
was 2, and his techniques -- you're too old for that, you're
not a baby, etc. -- never worked!]
My daughter used bottles until at least age 5, and I didn't see
any reason to arbitrarily stop it. She was verbal, mature, and
in no way troubled - she just liked it! We did limit it to
home only, made sure she didn't have ALL of her drinks that
way, and put only water in the bedtime bottle (we keep a glass
of water at our bedside, so why shouldn't she have a bottle at
You don't say what is in her bedtime botttle, but if it's
something other than plain water, Id encourage you to gradually
water it down until it's water only (to help prevent tooth
One of our kids had a hard time giving up the bottle until we
were tired of the hassle of it all and ''forgot'' to bring bottles
on a week-long vacation. We had the attitude of ''Darn... oh well,
we'll be okay without them'' and he bought into it. When you're on
vacation, nothing's quite like home, and I find that my kids
learn to adapt to change better when we're on a long road trip.
At worst, your child may cry or scream a few times -- just don't
be tempted to buy a bottle at a store along the way. In our case,
I hadn't let on before the trip that I thought he should quit the
bottle. I acted like I didn't care what he drank from, so he
didn't suspect that I forgot the bottles on purpose. After a week
of no bottles, he found that he could relax and sleep without the
help of a bottle. Occasionally he'd ask for a bottle after the
trip, but quickly found they had lost their appeal. I suspect
that on some level your child wants an excuse to give up the
habit. Good luck!
We followed the advice of a friend: The ''Baba Fairy'' came one
night and left a ''big kid'' gift under the pillow in exchange
for the bottle which the child left that night for that
purpose. (Similar to the tooth fairy.) My daughter picked the
night it was to happen so she was still in control. Despite
some apprehension she was fine with it. She was a bottle addict
too, and older than most.
My other daughter left her bottle with the cookies for Santa
one Christmas for Santa to give to a ''baby who needs it.''
My (now) almost 10yo used bottles til he was around 7. They were
definately his first choice til he was a solid 5. I never saw a
problem with it - I nursed him til he was 16mo, nursed #2 to 5 or
so, nursed #3 to 22mo, and last one is still nursing. I can't
see any harm, some 5 years later, of letting #1 wean from bottles
on his own.
Our daughter gave up her bottle at three and her binky at four
(which seemed kind of late to us) both at our initiative. Given
our experience, I think you may be exagerating the ''trauma'' you
will cause your child. If you have confidence that he can do
this and Not be traumatized, he will to. Some tears and sadness
and longing are normal- not necessarily a sign of trauma. When
we agreed our daughter would give up her binky on her fourth
bday we talked about it for months before. That night she
said ''I wish I had said I'd give it up at five'' Yes, sure but
you didn't. Then she added: ''I think I'll need you to sleep with
me for 3 nights and then I'll be OK'' She was already getting
used to the idea. I slept part of the first night with her,
praised and admired her for giving it up the next morning and
she never really protested about the binky again.
Our daughter was still very attached to her bottle (only at
night, just before bed) and to her pacifier (mostly at night,
though occasionally during the day), as she approached her
fifth birthday. Like you, I didn't see any pressing need to
force her away from these comforts she loved--though my husband
was getting a little antsy about it (social embarrassment,
maybe?), and our dentist was getting downright pushy (adult
teeth come in early in my family, and he was insistent that her
bite was going to be distorted....which seemed to be at least
partly borne out by x-rays.)
Anyhow, we managed to resist the pressure until my daughter
started to feel on her own that it was maybe a
little ''babyish,'' and had at least some interest in giving hers
up. What worked for us, I'm mildly embarrassed to say, was
outright bribery. We started with the bottle first. The
bribes were small, but frequent: at first, a little toy or
special outing for each night she went without it. Then she
had to go three or four nights before getting something. It
led up to a big toy she really wanted once she was completely
off the bottle, and again once she was completely off the
The good thing about it was that we didn't have to force her.
As she struggled at night to get sleepy without her comfort,
she knew that she could decide to have it if she wanted it, but
that she wouldn't get her special treat the next day. With her
pacifier, the struggle was TOUGH for her some nights, but it
was clearly her decision to make, and she was able to make
it...and was VERY proud of herself when she earned her prizes.
During the process, we talked about how it would get a little
bit easier each night, and that it usually takes about 12 days
to break a habit. Lo and behold, that's about how long it took
each time. Now she's nearly six, and hasn't looked back.
Hi, don't worry about it. I drank from a bottle until I was 7. It was part of my
bedtime routine, and I actually have fond memories of falling asleep with a bottle.
What got me to quit -- peer pressure (I got really embarrassed when some friends
from school asked about the bottles in the fridge -- fortunately my mom covered
for me and said that her friend with a new baby had left them) and the gentle
urgings of my parents. I remember sitting at the dinner table and their encouraging
me to drink milk from a straw. My connection to the bottle was that I thought the
milk tasted better and that it was undrinkable from a cup. the straw seemed to be a
good intermediary. In fact, my parents got me flexible straws to use (this was
before all the crazy loopy straws now out there), so it was extra special. I even
remember thinking that something in the bendy flexible part made the milk taste
better and therefore I didn't mind drinking it from a flexible straw. Of course, I
hooked on those for a while, then a regular straw, and finally I was able to drink
milk from a cup.
Whew. Your child will definitely not drink from a bottle forever. Unless it
creates a problem for you, I would let him wean himself at his own pace -- just help create
opportunities to wean.
still enjoy the bottle (just kidding!)
Sorry, no enlightenment from here, but I just wanted to let you
know that I agree with you that it is no big deal if the kid
still wants a bottle. My girl is over 4 now and still loves to
have her bottles (a lot more of them than your child--mornings,
nights, and mid-day). Luckily, her teeth are great, she couldn't
be healthier, and my husband and I agree that it is not at all a
problem, so she just gets her bottles.I figure by the time she
gets to high school, she'll probably quit on her own!
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