How to ditch the bottle!
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Does your baby take a bottle?
Have you ever wondered when and how to get rid of it?
If so, this is for you!
There's no 'perfect age' to wean your baby from a bottle, though the overall consensus in Canada and the U.S. (as they tend to heavily rely on each other's recommendations), is to wean between 12-18 months.
From what I gather, and in my own experience, the recommendation to wean is due to the chances that milk is being given in a bottle at bedtime or with the child in the crib, which increases the risk of cavities.
And in my line of work, I see a lot of babies who have a sleep association linked to the bottle, and it tends to be the sneaky thing that prevents one year olds from sleeping well.
So what do you do? Keep reading:)
If you're not completely ready to ditch the bottle, then you can start by creating buffers between when your baby gets a bottle and sleep.
Breakfast, then a little while later, a bottle!
Then in the evening, after supper but before the bedtime routine starts, is a time when you could offer your child a bottle.
2) Cut down on bottles
A good place to start is by cutting down the most obvious bottle, that could be a mid-afternoon, or pre-nap bottle.
Then if you have to get up and at it in the morning, you can offer milk with breakfast in a sippy cup (or at daycare).
You can also switch up their evening milk vessel by offering milk in a sippy cup or open cup with supper.
The overall goal is to start swapping bottles for cups:)
3) No more bedtime bottles
You read that correctly.
If your child is healthy, eating solids well, they don't need milk at bedtime!
And in fact, there are many one year olds who ask for bottles all day long, and it prevents their solid food intake from being adequate.
Then when they wake up at night, the parent worries they haven't eaten enough, and gives them a bottle.
See how this is a vicious cycle?
And it all starts with bedtime!
Here's an example of a bedtime routine without a bottle:
Bath (when it's bath night), diaper, lotion, PJs, books, hugs and kisses, lights out!
4) No more night bottles!
Have you recently thought or said to someone "my one year old needs a bottle at night to go back to sleep!".
Here's your little dose of kind reality- no they don't:)
They may be screaming for a bottle, or asking for one when you go check on them in the night, but in my experience, giving them a bottle perpetuates the night wake ups.
Yes, you read that right; continuing to give them a bottle at night will signal to their bodies to keep waking up at night for that bottle.
They may not know how to fall asleep without a bottle, and that my friend, is a different thing than 'needing' it to go back to sleep!
You can teach your baby to sleep without a bottle ( I help parents do this ALL the time!).
You may feel worried about their response to not getting a bottle (I'll tell you- they won't initially like it;)
But I can tell you, because I've done it lots, it helps solve the sleep problems.
So if you have a baby that is a year or more and is still waking up at night for a feed or bottle- good news!
It doesn't have to be that way!
My client Katie saw the biggest change in her son's sleep once we ditched the bedtime and night time bottles- he went from waking up for long periods at night- to sleeping 12 hours, every night!
My other client Courtney, a breastfeeding mama, was nursing her 13 month old back to sleep several times per night. She now has the pleasure of sleeping all night in her bed, and her son is sleeping 12 hours at night and is a much happier little dude!
Ready to have better sleep for you and your baby?