When is the ideal time to wean your child off the bottle? It’s a discussion I start having in my office when my patients are about 6 months old. This is the time I advise parents to introduce the sippy cup. Many children simply play with it at this age, but it’s the first step in transitioning off of a bottle. Ideally, I like to see children off the bottle around age 1.
I am a firm believer in teaching babies around 4 months to start holding bottles on their own. his sets the stage for them to take responsibility for feeding themselves-an important step towards independence! At 6-9 months, babies will be able to hold a sippy cup themselves. By a year they should be pros At this point, you can replace the bottle with the sippy cup ALL OF THE TIME.
Many parents will tell me that their baby still wants the nighttime bottle. And I say, “It’s the parent who still wants the nighttime bottle!” Milk is milk, whether it comes from a bottle or a cup. It’s not good for teeth to drink just before bed. Better to let him finish his sippy cup before bed, brush his teeth, and then cuddle up for some reading time with you.
The benefits are greater than taking a step towards independence-your children will be less likely to develop cavities if they are off the bottle sooner. Plus, children who drink too much milk (>24 ounces/day at the age of 1 year) can develop iron-deficiency anemia. This is something I see more commonly in my patients who stay on the bottle too long.
Take the bottle away before your child is old enough to ask for it back. It will be much easier fro all of you!
My daughter is having a difficult time getting her 15 month old off the bottle. Her daughter will drink water out of sippy cup or straw, but not milk. She throws the cup and has a complete meltdown. Currently, my daughter is only doing this during dinner time, and she gets no bottle afterward. She has 3 bottles a day…after breakfast, lunch, and before going to bed. My daughter has tried a variety of different cups as well, all with the same reaction. When switching over to cows milk from formula, the ped just said switch cold turkey, and the same thing happened. The toddler wouldn’t drink itand had a tantrum. So, the ped said to replace 1/4 of the formula with cows milk day one, 1/2 the next day, and by the fourth day it would be all cows milk. Worked like a charm. The ped now has no suggestions.
Research online has suggested watering down cows milk with water in the same fashion, and on fourth day, the bottle would be all water. Would that be a viable alternative? Does the bottle then completely disappear? Out of site, out of mind?
Thanks for your help!
Your grand-daughter is not alone! Many children only want to drink milk from a bottle. While she is refusing to drink milk from a sippy cup, I would suggest you ensure she is getting the calcium and vitamin D she needs from food, and that she stay hydrated with water in the sippy cup. With time, she may come around and accept the milk from the cup.