26 answers

2 Year Old Still Has Bottle at Bedtime

my daughter just turned two at the end of last month. she still takes a bottle of milk at bedtime. my question is, am i doing her harm by allowing this still? she is always so excited for her bottle at bedtime. she sees me get it and just lights up. right now i just dont feel like robbing her of this security. she doesnt have any teeth problems, we brush often (its one of her fav things to do) i know a lot of parents ween their children from the bottle, but i really dont see the harm in it right now. am i wrong? please help?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank all of you guys so much for your kind words and encouragment. my intial idea was to just ride this wave for a little longer until shes done!!! thanks all of you so much for giving me the courage to follow my gut. i do get caught up in all the hype, to where your child should be off the bottle by one and potty trained by one and a half!!! thanks again!!

Featured Answers

T.:

Hi. You've already received a lot of replies on both ends of the spectrum. I fall on the transition off the bottle side of things. Not only for the cavity reason but more simply because it is much easier to make the transition sooner rather than later for both of you. My second son is 13 months old and this week we'll probably stop the nightime bottle which is the last one to go. I did the same with my first son with no issues whatsoever. Don't underestimate their ability to transition/adapt - as they get older it gets harder though. I love giving my son a bottle and its hard to let go of that closeness but there are other ways to replace it. You can still give her milk in a sippy and cuddle and then slowly water down or reduce that. Once you do transition embrace it and feel positive about it - kids really catch on to how you feel about something.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 18 months and has many things she loves also & it is difficult to take things away. You don't want them to be unhappy & you also want to avoid the tantrum for sanity. My daughter also loves milk, but she drinks it from a sippy cup about 30 minutes before bed & then I brush her teeth. I would suggest throwing all the bottles away. Out of sight & out of mind. She will be upset, but I promise it wont last more than a couple days & she will start drinking out of a sippy. I recently threw away all the binkys ( I had atleast 10 around the house)& I was pretty nervous, but after a couple days it was fine!! You can do it!!

Sounds like you got enough responses but I have to add this: My youngest got a bottle until he was 4!!!!!!! It was mostly out of laziness on my and my husband's part -- it was just easier to give him a bottle at bedtime. A week or two before his 4th birthday I told him on his 4th b-day the bottle was going bye-bye. On that day I dumped them all out and that was the end of it.

By the way, my son is EXTREMELY well-adjusted.

So don't worry about it.

More Answers

Dear T.,
You sound like and an awesome mom!
Breaking a kid from the bottle habit is not always easy and you have her down to only one a day, so you have done a great job!
You're not "harming" her by letting her have her night time bottle, but you have to ask yourself how long you intend to continue to let her have it.
It's no easier to take it away at 2-1/2 or 3 than it is now. In fact, it most likely would be harder unless she just gives it up on her own. And that doesn't usually happen.
One thing I know is that milk in a night time bottle is bad for the teeth even if you brush them diligently. The acids, etc have a chance to really work on their little teeth throughout the night while they sleep.
If she wants milk at night, she may want that until she's 5 years old. Or older. But you can try giving her the milk in a sippy before bedtime, just after bath while you are reading, etc. While you are transitioning, if she wants the comfort of a bottle, give her one, but only with water in it. She may not like it at first. It may be that she wants the milk and not so much the bottle. It may be that she wants the bottle regardless of what's in it. If you don't give her the choice to have anything in her bottle other than water, she may decide the bottle isn't worth it.
You're 99% of the way there as far as the bottle goes and she will be fine. I promise. I knew my son was done with his bottle when he didn't even drink any of it. He just wanted to have it and hold it. I gave him something else to snuggle and hold. It took a few nights, but he did fine with exchanging one snuggy for another.
Just know the world won't end if you don't take the bottle away right this minute. But, there is no time like the present to start easing her into not having it any longer.

Keep up the good work and I'll keep you in my thoughts!

1 mom found this helpful

If there is one peice of advice I can give it's to not listen to everyone's advice! :) You know your child better than anyone and if your baby wants to have a bottle at bedtime, LET HER :) She'll let you know when she's done with it. I think the biggest problem is that there are ALWAYS going to be people in your business telling you how to take care of your kids because they were the very best parent on the planet but nobody knows your child better than you. Don't listen to everyone else. Take her off when YOU think she's REALLY ready. I had people asking me WHY I hadn't been more strict on potty training my 2 1/2 year old. I showed her the ropes but didn't push the issue. The same people that pushed the issue were CONSTANTLY changing accidents. Well with both of my children I let them do it when they were ready and my daughter doesn't even have NIGHT time accidents (it's been 4 months now)....she was just ready. I know that sometimes it's going to be hard but just try your best to block everyone else out andtake care of your family in the way that is best for them. You'll know, it's motherly instinct :) Congratulations on your baby :)Enjoy it because it flies by!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,
ok for me we had weened our daughter off the milk when she turned 1 at bedtime of course. But she stilll ike the security of the bottle at night. So what I decided to do was fill the bottle with water instead of milk. now when she says nite-nite she grabs her water bottle and goes to sleep. She still has her 2 bottles of milk during the day but out of the advent bottle with the sippy cup top instead of the nipples. that way she feels like a big girl and she keeps the actual bottle at night only. we are still tryin to get her to ween off the binky tho... she loves that thing.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sure your daughter loves the bottle in part because it's a time when she can cuddle with you and have special mommy time before bed. You should really start weaning her off the bedtime bottle though. She may not have apparent teeth issues now but I've seen plenty of kids that have bad teeth due to bottle rot. The milk sits on her teeth all night and that is what causes the tooth decay.

Try starting a new bedtime routine with her. Include reading, soft music, lay with her, etc. At the same time, cut the amount of milk in her bottle by half. Then the next week, cut that amount by half - so she gets used to less liquid. During this period, you should also talk to her about not using the bottle anymore. Don't just take it away. Talk to her and let her know that she is a big girl and big girls don't use bottles.

You can replace the bottle with a new stuffed animal she can cuddle at night. Once the bottle has been removed from the bedtime routine, you have to be firm. You can't give it back to her or else or your efforts will have been in vain.

Even though she loves the bottle and is happy with it, we can't always give in to what our children want. As their parents, we have to direct them and give them what they need. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

T.:

Hi. You've already received a lot of replies on both ends of the spectrum. I fall on the transition off the bottle side of things. Not only for the cavity reason but more simply because it is much easier to make the transition sooner rather than later for both of you. My second son is 13 months old and this week we'll probably stop the nightime bottle which is the last one to go. I did the same with my first son with no issues whatsoever. Don't underestimate their ability to transition/adapt - as they get older it gets harder though. I love giving my son a bottle and its hard to let go of that closeness but there are other ways to replace it. You can still give her milk in a sippy and cuddle and then slowly water down or reduce that. Once you do transition embrace it and feel positive about it - kids really catch on to how you feel about something.

1 mom found this helpful

My kids were the same way and they are just fine!! I started watering doen the milk little by little until it was mostly water and then they just didn't want it anymore. By the time they were 2 the only time they wanted a bottle was at bedtime and all during the day they used a sippy cup. THey too brushed ofter and never had teeth problems! Do what your gut tells you! She is your child and you will know what is best for her! GOOD LUCK!

Hi T.,

My son was a little over two in half years old before I could get him fully off of the bottle. It was the same scenario he would be fine during the day with no bottles but then when he went to bed he wanted one to go to sleep and then eventually when he was ready it was able to be stopped. As you said your daughter is fine with her teeth and it is also a security thing for her so by all means I would keep doing what you are doing till she is ready to be done with the bottle. Hang in there mom.

M.

My doctor said that children should be off the bottle by 15 months old and transitioned to a sippy cup. I breast fed my kids so I didn't have an issue with the bottle, but I'd say that your daughter should transition fine to a sippy cup, she may protest the first couple of times but like most anything this too shall pass. But be persistent, once you start the sippy cup at bedtime don't go back to the bottle (their might be some crying, both her and yourself!!) but persistence pays off.

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