18 answers

At What Time Should a Child Stop Taking the Bottle?

My baby girl is now 23 months and she still takes her bottle through out the day and at night she gets up at least 2 to 3 times for her bottle. How can I stop her from getting up at night and slow down on the number of bottles of milk she takes during the day?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My husband is pediatric dentist in Plantation and he tells mothers to take the bottle away at 1 year. If they really need the bottle, he says to only put water in it as other liquids(milk, juice) can cause cavaties and rotting of the teeth.

1 mom found this helpful

All kids I know stop the bottle at 1 yr old. If she gets up in the night for a bottle that is way too old and a bad habit. Let her cry it out and in one week she will stop. She should not be hungry and want to eat in the midddle of the night. Both of my kids stopped asking for a bottle in the night at 5 months She is just in a bad habit. She shouold drink normal drinks like any kid or adult would. Good luck.

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I hate to be preachy and tell someone how to raise their kids, so I will just tell you what I was told by my pediatrician.

He had us take Leah off the bottle at 12 months. He said to finish up the formula and once we made the switch to milk, switch to a sippy cup. If you give juice or even milk in a bottle, it can give the child "bottle rot" which is decaying teeth because of the prolonged exposure to the sugar in the juice or milk due to the way the bottle sits in the mouth.

I know it's going to be hard because 2 is a tough age where they are starting to form their own opinions, but you have to stand firm and just take it away cold turkey. If you do it any other way, it will only prolong it. Throw them all away so you aren't tempted and just let her know what a big girl she is and that's why you are using a cup now.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

I have an 11 month old, I am a SAHM. I have a friend with an older baby and from what I understand by the time they are 1 you should begin to substitute the bottle for sippy cups.... and once they have conquered that task you go from sippy cups to a normal cup...

I think the most difficult time for your daughter to let go of the bottle would be in the morning and at night... but maybe you can try to introduce the sippy cup during the day... no bottle, and make sure she can't get to it or see it. Only take it out for night time... once she uses the sippy cup during the day, give it to her in the morning and then at night before going to bed... if you feel like it... I personally whether it the "right" thing to do or not, I have nothing against my daughter having her baby bottle at night, but I remove the bottle from her once she's finished, and if she wakes up, I let her sooth herself (its not easy!!!) but every day it gets a little better.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

OMG S. we are having the exact same experience, my daughter still drinks through the night as well, but luckily for us, she does not wake up she just sucks her finger till it almost falls off :). I don't mind giving her the bottle though becuase unlike your daughter who drinks milk throughout the day, my daughter does not. She only drinks her milk with us. However, I do hold the cup until she finishes to make sure it does not get left in her mouth but I truly wonder about her teeth. Next month when she turns 2 we will go for our first trip to the dentist, she will be on our dental insurance then. Trust me S. I know exactly how you feel but I can't help but worry about her nutritonal needs since she is not a good eater at all. Let me know how it goes.

1 mom found this helpful

S., I am sorry but your daughter should have stopped drinking from a bottle at one year old....all pediatricians say so, I am surprised yours did not insist on that...............At 23 months old she should be drinking no more than 24 oz of milk in total for the entire day is she eating enough food? She shouldn't be waking at night so much anymore and you are going to have to wean her away from drinking during the night..........If she continues drinking from a bottle especially drinking during the night when you cannot brush her teeth after she is going to end up with bottle rot and will more than likely need extensive dental work! I know she will cry when you are trying to just keep her happy but you are doing her a disservice he teeth are going to really get messed up!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
I'm going to be very honest about this situation. At 23 months, your daughter should be off the bottle completely. My first 2 daughters were totally breastfed, meaning no artificial nipples, bottles, pacifiers. However, with both of them, I introduced the sippy cup at 6 months and they took to it very well. With my third child I had no choice but to supplement with formula. Thus, I had to use bottles and by the time my baby was 10 months, I began swapping out his nipple with a soft spout. By the time he was a year old, he was off of the bottle. There isn't anything wrong with your daughter drinking milk all day. Give her drinks to her in a sippy cup. Also, she shouldn't be waking up for milk during the night. If anything, she should be offered water because the sugar in her milk could cause cavities. As far as her getting up during the night, well, she should be sleeping through the night. But every baby is different. Perhaps you could offer her some oatmeal, farina, or fruit before her bedtime. Maybe she's waking up because she's hungry for food, not for a drink. In any case, IF she is waking up for thirst, give her water...in a sippy cup. She really needs to be off a bottle. If she protests, remove the bottles from the house and show her that the bottles went bye-bye. I wouldn't suggest going cold turkey with this, however. Begin introducing the sippy cup after breakfast. If she refuses it, try again at lunch. Put water or juice in it and leave it out for her to take whenever she wants it. She'll get the hang of it and hopefully in a week or two, you can throw the bottles out. Even better, take her to the store and let her pick out her very own big girl cup and tell her that she will need to drink from which ever one she chooses...and then throw the bottles away. Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

You must have heard so many times that every child is different. My grandaughters pediatrician recomended feeding her water at night. It's supposed to trigger a why wake up if I'm only gonna get water message. How well does she eat solids during the day? Maybe her last feeding before going to sleep could have some cereal in it, to keep her from waking so much during the night. Also consider the possibility that she may stop drinking milk altogether.

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Hi. I believe most doctors and dentists recommend that the bottle be stopped around 12 months and definitely stopped by 18 months.

Some ideas to stop the bottle: (1) throw all of them away. It's like candy- If it is not in the house, you can not give it to her. (2) Only offer water in the bottle and milk in a sippy cup. Since water is usually less appealing than milk, she may switch. (3) Offer water only after 7 p.m. This will especially help with potty training. If your daughter is drinking bottles throughout the night, she is taking in too much liquid at night and may have a tougher time with accidents. (4) Make milk or juice only available at meal times and water available any other times. It is not the amount milk and juice that affects the teeth (bacteria, cavities, plaque) rather the frequency that the milk and juice are given. This was great advice given to us by our pediatric dentist.

I know it is easier to advise this than implement. Be strong and firm in whatever decision you make. If you do not stick to your decision 100% of the time your child will know that she can manipulate you and eventually get the milk bottles back.

Good luck! This is a hard habit to break, but not impossible by any means!

1 mom found this helpful

What i did just throw out all bottles in the house. At night give her water to drink. She will cry a few days, but don't give up, she'll understand, that there is no more bottle.
Good luck!
Best wishes,
V..

1 mom found this helpful

Hi!
I am a nanny and I took care of a little boy who had a bottle at night (and woke up once or twice at night for another) and he was three yrs. old...One day I just threw away all the bottles and bought him plastic glasses with tops (sippy cups?) He cried for a couple of nights missing his bottles and that was it. I did that when the parents went on a vacation. He has ADHD. At night I gave him a bath (he loved very hot water...) after having a very relaxing time in the bathtub I gave him a massage, specially in the back and I gave him some cammomille drops, put special soothing music and he slept soundly throughout the whole night.
It is important to have the children in bed around 8 PM so you can have the night hours for yourself (children need to rest 10-12 hours at night and more depending on their ages).
Cheers!
T.

1 mom found this helpful

My pediatrician said no bottle after 12 months, so we just stopped cold turkey and switched to milk in a sippy cup. That wasn't so bad...I think for you the hard part might be the night waking. You might have to let her cry--wean her off one feeding at a time, and wean her off the feedings by giving her less and less in the bottle every few days. Soon she'll stop waking up for it. At this point it's not hunger, it's the company she wants!

1 mom found this helpful

i also have the same problem you do! my child is 14 months, and wakes once a night for a bottle. if i don't give it to him, he cries and cries! it seems to be much easier to give it to him for 5 minutes than have him cry for an hour! i think there are more children that do this than people admit. also, almost every one i know gave their child a bottle longer than 12 months. i think for both issues you mentioned, the bottle feeding and the night feedings, you have to do what works for you. there is no easy answer! i was surprised at how harsh many of the comments you received were! i think being as gentle as you can with both transitions will make it easier on your baby girl.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband is pediatric dentist in Plantation and he tells mothers to take the bottle away at 1 year. If they really need the bottle, he says to only put water in it as other liquids(milk, juice) can cause cavaties and rotting of the teeth.

1 mom found this helpful

All kids I know stop the bottle at 1 yr old. If she gets up in the night for a bottle that is way too old and a bad habit. Let her cry it out and in one week she will stop. She should not be hungry and want to eat in the midddle of the night. Both of my kids stopped asking for a bottle in the night at 5 months She is just in a bad habit. She shouold drink normal drinks like any kid or adult would. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi I read your request & I wanted to share what I have done with my boys. The first thing is to break the night feedings before changing the bottle to a sippy cup. It will be easier to do that first! Both are comfort issues but the night bottles will be the hardest to break. It sounds as if it is now routine for her to wake up to eat & its being allowed. I would suggest to start decreasing the amount of milk enough that it will not be "worth" to wake up or change the milk to water... This may deter her from wanting to wake up if she knows she is only getting water- its more routine for her & she is more "aware" of it. Find ways to soothe her if she cannot go back to bed such as holding her & singing a soft song that will put her back to sleep. You may have to use the Ferber method in not giving in to her calls for the bottle. It will most definitely be tough & challenging - like everything in parenting is!! Also, is she drinking & eating enough before she goes to bed? Sometimes that may cause night wakings.. Does she use a pacifier?.. sometimes you may have to "trick" them by telling them if you want the "paci" she cannot have the bottle so on & so forth.. Hope this gives you some guidance.. Once she stops feeding at night for at least a month, then I would spend 1 weekend to change from the bottle to a sippy cup. Again, you may want to pull your hair out due the crying & whining but stick to your guns! She may go without drinking for long periods but keep giving her the sippy cup- don't give in to the bottle & keep the bottles out of sight (very important or she will whine for them insistently!!) Remember, out of sight out of mind.. And when she is thirsty enough she will drink from the sippy cup- Trust me! I did it with both of my boys who are 3 & 21 months! Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

You will have to play this one by ear. You can gradually substitute the bottle for the big girls cup. You can begin to notice her behavior with the bottle, when she is just rolling it around in her mouth, or seems to hold it for comfort, you can try the gradual method.

Some mothers have even substituted an used the straw to wean them from the bottle to the cup.

One thing you should know, she will possibly give you alot of static about not having the bottle, just be prepared for whatever decision you make to stick to your guns.

1 mom found this helpful

My response will be the 18th on this thread and what I'm about to write will shock, horrify and infuriate all of you, but it's my truth.

I've had two children and I never once worried about when to take the bottle away. I simply let them decide that for themselves because they seemed to enjoy it so much. My kids drank their milk out of a botle for as long as tey felt like it, and the only thing is that at about a year old, or when they were getting their teeth in, I would brush their teeth with a tiny baby brush and rinse their little mouths out. They would just fall asleep until the morning.

My oldest drank a botttle before nap time until he started kindergarten, and then from the first day he no longer wanted abottle for naps.

My second decided to drink out of a pretty plastic cup when she was 3 and never went back to the bottle.

By the same token, I never gave them pacifiers and they never seemed to need them.

My philosophy was that they would not want to enter school for any period of time and be drinking out of a bottle. What parents could never resolve, peer pressure will achieve instantly. This may seem like very extreme and irresponsible parenting to many of you, but I really believe that young children need to find ways to feel secure and calm themselves. A child who feels comforted and safe as a baby and toddler, develops into a helthier and more independent human being. Being able to cuddle and suck on their bottle for as long as they need, is a part of that process.

They grow up very rapidly, and there will be plenty of time for grown up things.

The teeth can be taken care of with porper hygiene.

1 mom found this helpful

I used the same method for both of my children and it worked wonderfully. Shortly before their 2nd birthdays we started talking about losing the bottle on their 2nd birthday. That way they knew it was coming. I started weining them off of the bottle by not allowing them to drink anything but milk from the bottle, which was pretty much when they were laying down for a rest or for sleep. Anything else that they wanted to drink had to be in their sippy cups. On my son's 2nd birthday we happened to be in Orlando in a hotel. I was wondering how giving up the bottle in a strange place was going to go. He actually told me that he was 2 and was too big for the bottle now. No problems. As far as your daughter waking up during the night, that sounds like she is hungry. I would try eating dinner a little later, or give her a snack before bedtime. The snack idea might be a good trade off for the bottle as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, I believe in child led weaning when it comes to breastfeeding so I guess it is almost the same for the bottle. I would let my child decide when to stop.
W/ my first I didn't have this mind set so what I did was, when I noticed that he wouldn't lie down to drink his bottle and always drank it sitting up then I decided it was time to go fulltime to a sippy cup. He did just fine.

My 16 month old now is still breastfeeding and drinks breastmilk in a sippy at the sitter, so no bottles to get rid off.

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