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Weaning Toddlers off the Bottle

Updated on February 27, 2013
It's time to make the switch.
It's time to make the switch. | Source

Everyone knows that at some point a child has to stop drinking from a bottle or we would all be drinking from one as an adult. There are plenty of mothers and fathers out there who are dealing with a bottle demanding toddler who cries hysterically or won't sleep without his or her baba. It is a stressful time for parents since you want to make your child happy. But, the child has to grow up and move on to develop normally. So, when does it stop and how?

How Does Bottle Drinking Harm Your Toddler?

  • Prolonged daily drinking from a bottle filled with anything but water, exposes your toddler's teeth to sugars that can cause decay. This is because toddlers often tote their bottle around with them and continually suck on it as opposed to sipping from a cup.
  • Toddlers who drink milk from a bottle typically drink much more of it than their sippy-cup counter parts. This can lead to being overweight because of the added calories and fat or underweight because the child doesn't have room for the other nutrients needed after so much milk.
  • The constant sucking motion can cause your child's palate structure to change or develop incorrectly. The causes problems for their teeth growing in and having enough space.
  • Children who use pacifiers or bottles are at a higher risk for ear infections.

Start Early

To make the transition as painless as possible, start working towards it at a younger age so it doesn't have to be such a shock. Start when your child is around 6 to 9 months old. Begin by simply offering a sippy cup to your child with their meals. If they don't want it, that's fine. You are only trying to get your child used to the sippy cup so it isn't so foreign when it is really time to use it.

Reduce the Number of Bottles

The first real step to getting rid of the bottle for good is to slowly reduce the number of bottles your child gets each day. Try cutting one bottle at a tip over a few weeks. The first and easiest ones to go are the mid day bottles. The hardest to get rid of are the nap and bed time bottles. Try trading a bottle for a sippy at first and then let your child stay with that routine for a while. Then cut another bottle. Toward the end of your weaning adventure, you will most likely be left with that one night time bottle at bed time. This is when you will need to employ other techniques. Until you can get you child to give up that last bottle, try diluting it with water little by little until it is all water. This will help prevent you child from getting "bottle rot."

Lavender Body Wash

Johnson's Baby Gift Set, Bedtime Sweet Sleep Set Basket
Johnson's Baby Gift Set, Bedtime Sweet Sleep Set Basket

This includes both lavender body wash and the lotion. I recommend both for the best results.


Find Other Forms of Comfort

The main reason your child will have a hard time with giving up that bed time bottle is because it is their comfort. In order to convince them to go to bed without it, you need to find alternative methods of calming and comforting your child as you get them ready for bed. Try creating a bed time routine that your child can count on and prepares their body to know when it is time for bed.

Here are some common techniques:

  • Give your child a nice, warm bath with lavender body wash for a calming effect.
  • Lotion and massage your child with lavender lotion.
  • Sing to your child.
  • Cuddle up and read a book together before bed time.
  • Give your child a teddy bear of other stuffed animal that smells like you for them to sleep with.

Avoid the Bottle Altogether

If you plan to breastfeed your child for as long as possible, try to avoid introducing the bottle in the first place. Focus on transitioning straight from the breast to a cup. This way, you will not have to worry about weaning from a bottle. However, you may want to read up on tips for weaning from the breast.


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    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Great tips. I remember when I went through this as a mom. I am glad this phase is over.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      My son is almost 6 months and I'm not looking forward to this at all. Great hub, when it's time I'll be coming back to use this as a reference.