13 answers

Almost 3 Year Old Regressing to Younger Siblings Habits...

Hey everyone,
My almost 3 year old son has completley regressed to his younger siblings habits. He was almost completely off the bottle and pacifiers until his younger sister was born (they are a year and a half apart). Now he will gently take her pacifier or bottles. It became so hard that I just let him have them as well. I am wondering how to proceed with this. SHould I take my daughter (who is now 1) off the bottle and pacifier? It just seems impossible at this point to tell him no because I have already let it go so far. HELP!!!!! :)

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

This is completely normal. Just try to be patient and allow a little of the regression. Also, try having him help with his little sister. Being the big helper may be more appealing to him. Most kids respond to being the big helper when asked.
K. K.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Here's some links on this subject:


You can also do a Google search on "how to help an older child adjust to a new sibling" etc.

All the best, your son is normal, this is common. He needs reassurance.... its an ongoing process and at each age juncture they can have different issues about it.

Take care,

2 moms found this helpful

TOTALLY NORMAL! I read some of the responss and using a bottle or paci is not unhealthy! It is a temporary regression, he will get over it. I wouldn't wean for this reason, if you're not ready to. It can be really hard to break the cycle after taking the passive approach. Easier said that done, but...explain to your 3 year old that he already has his turn to be a baby and now it's his turn to be big brother and that mommy needs help to take care of the baby ;) Where there's a will there's a way....it'll get better...it has to :)
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


I'm not going to say what you've done is wrong, because you've done what was natural...comforted and loved your son. And, really that's all any mother can do. It's not unhealthy or wrong, you just have to help him by gently guiding him away from the bottle/paci's and find creative means to make it fun to be a 'big boy' and not act like a baby.

My son is 2.5 and I don't have more than one, but I do remember being a big sister and wondering why my sister was so special. But, my parents also made a concerted effort to make me their 'big helper' with the baby and gave me 'jobs' to help with that gave me some kind of responsibility. This gave me a sense of ownership over the process.

If you aren't ready to wean your daughter you don't have to, this should all be in the timeline she is ready for and not because your son has begun to regress.

I checked out the links Susan shared and found them helpful...maybe also you could get him some books on being a big brother and make it more about needing him to be a big boy and help you with the little one. So, he begins to see how special it is to be a big brother and not the baby. You could start offering a cup to both, if you are ready to wean from the bottle and have him help you show her how to do it...make him the teacher.

I hope that helps a little bit...Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

This is completely normal. Just try to be patient and allow a little of the regression. Also, try having him help with his little sister. Being the big helper may be more appealing to him. Most kids respond to being the big helper when asked.
K. K.

2 moms found this helpful

i think its time to take her off the bottle atleast. its not healthy for your son to use the bottles or pacis. does he use a cup? i would have him pick out his own cup at the store and your daughter too. then after your daughter get on the cup then just toss the bottles and even the paci. its normal for a child to want to be like the younger brother and sister because it gets them attention. i hope this helps good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

You should have never given into his regression...he is a big boy and should act like it. Yes get rid of ALL pacis now. PUt them all on the porch tonight for the paci fairy and have gifts in the morning. Don't give him a bottle anymore....explain that if he wants to do baby things like a bottle he can"t do all the gig boy things you let him do now. I had both my girls off the bottle at 15 months. You cut a little whole in all the nipples then the next week cut a bigger whole. Then the next week throw them away and replace with a bunch of new leak proof sippy cups.

1 mom found this helpful

I would say that you could get rid of the bottle and pacifier completely at this point, if you are ready to do that. I think it will be easier for your daughter that way, at least. I had both of my kids off the bottle at a year and it was no problem at all (I think they adjust more easily when they are younger). Your son will probably deal with it in his usual manner when he does not get his way. But again, I think sooner may be better.

That said, I will tell you that the pacifier was a different story in our house. My older son loved the pacifier but the younger one never really cared for it (he began to suck on a blanket instead). I let my older son keep the pacifier until almost 3-1/2. He was so in love with it (and he only had it at bedtime) that I couldn't bear to take it away from him. The dentist told us he needed to be rid of it by 4 if we wanted to avoid possible permanent damage to his teeth, so we made the plans, and when we got rid of it, it was not a huge problem. That was last summer; his teeth are completely back to normal and perfect now, and he doesn't even remember the pacifier anymore. I'm just sharing this because I know how it is to let your kid have a comfort item, maybe a little bit past the "expiration date." I don't regret letting my son have the pacifier for that long. He loved it for the time he had it, and when it was time to go, it was not easy for him, but he moved on and recovered very quickly. I think that you, as the Mom, will know the best course for your kids.

As for mimicking the younger sibling, my older son did this too, but it was with different things, and I just thought it was terribly cute. When the baby was tiny and would lay on blanket on the floor, his big brother would want lay on the blanket too. When the baby started to crawl, his big brother went back to crawling. When the baby began to say words in his own special way, his big brother would talk exactly the same way (and announce that he was talking his little brother's language). If you decide to do away with the bottle and the pacifier now, my guess is that your son will start to mimick his little sister in other ways. I think that is just what kids do. They learn by mimicking us, why not mimick a younger sibling? Eventually, I think the desire to grow up overtakes them and they will no longer emulate anyone younger than them, but I'm no expert. Just my thoughts. :)

Best of luck to you! :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C., a 3 year old does not need a bottle or pacifire, you need to be in charge, not your 3 year old. The word NO never killed a child. At one year I would not give my child a bottle or pacifire, actually I never gave any of my baby's a pacifire. Your 3 year old may be jealous of his sister so he wants what she has.Nip it in the bud now. Is your 3 year old potty trained? J. L.

1 mom found this helpful

Have a goodbye celebration and wean them at the same time. Wait another month or so if you think it's better for her- seems like he was weaned from the paci and bottle initially around that age so it should be time soon. It's gone on long enough that it doesn't seem fair to him to wean him before her. But then again life isn't fair. Go with your gut and be consistent! :) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I feel for your situation. I am getting ready to week my 19 month old off the bottle and my daycare provider suggested that I have him throw the bottle away himself after I have explained to him what is going on and be prepared for a few hard days/nights to get them used to this. This way HE has thrown the bottle away and "helped" make the decision. My son only gets a bottle at naptime & bedtime however I can see that this will be hard as he uses it as part of his bedtime routine. Oh all the fun things that us moms do for our little bundles of joy. I wish you so much luck with this!!

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same issue with my daughter after my youngest was born. We let it go on for a little while and didn't make a big issue out of it. At her 3 year Dr visit I had the doctor tell her that she couldn't have the pacifier or bottle anymore because she was to old. He also explained to her that it wasn't healthy for her teeth and that only babies need them.
She never asked for them again.

Yes, it will be much easier for all if everyone loses binky and bottle privileges at the same time. She is plenty old enough, even though I let my kids have a bottle until after age 2, it seems that one is a more standard age. Just make the announcement, and deal with lots of whining, tantrums, etc for the few days that it will take for the shock to wear off.

Just so you know...even only children do this regression. And with onlys it USUALLY follows a period of pull-your-hair-out-eyes-crossing "independence seeking". Or any kind of mental leap forward.

It's a completely natural part of growing up. They push away, and then get scared, and come running back.

What struck me the most about what you wrote was "Now he will gently take her pacifier or bottles...". How cool is that??? He's not throwing fits, grabbing, knocking her down...just gently sharing. Ohhhhh...heart melt.

And he's doing something age-appropriate with his little sister. AND he's only 2 himself.

I would say, follow your gut. Transition him, or him and her, or wait for both of them as it seems right to you. It sounds like you're doing a great job already.

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