May 21, 2008,
S.S. asks from Tucson, AZ on May 18, 2008
Weaning from Bottle - Tucson, AZ
My pediatrician told me at my sons 9 month visit that it was time to start weaning him from the bottle. He said to start putting 1 bottle a day in a cup or sippy cup and gradually wean off of all bottles by the time he's 1. He's obviously not having it. Any tips or advice? I don't want him to miss out on nutrition. He's been drinking water from a sippy cup for months but isn't interested in the formula and gets very upset. He also won't finger feed. He's been on purees and cereals since 4 months old but if any SOLID food enters his mouth he doesn't even swallow it before his gag-reflex causes him to throw up anything in his tummy. He's already walking and advancing in every aspect except with food. Should I be worried? Thanks for any help!
S.C. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
First off, every pediatrician is different. Some are "bottle Nazis" and suggest a very early bottle weaning. Others are more laid back and don't mention it at all.
What you MUST understand is that it's simply a matter of opinion...and it's only a suggestion.
The problem is, every kid is different.
My Ped told me the same thing about sippy cups at the one year visit for both of my kids. But she also told me to keep giving the kids 24+ oz of milk or formula. Neither one of my kids would drink that much from a sippy cup.
I struggled with this for months and finally, at the next visit, I asked her why she recommended the weaning. She said it would help avoid a psychological attachment to the bottle later on.
Are you kidding me? All that misery just so my kids wouldn't get ATTACHED to the bottle?
I laugh now because, as a first time mom, I took her EVERY suggestion as gold. Now I see that I can take what I like and what's important, and leave the rest.
My son used the bottle until he was around 18-24 months. He used the sippy cup too, of course, but giving him a bottle or two a day (usually morning and night) was the ONLY way I could get him to drink enough milk. When I decided to take the bottle away, I agonized that it would be a miserable experience...that he would be SO attached to it by now.
But you know what? It was no problem at all. He didn't even care. Honestly.
Now, my daughter is 15 months and still getting two bottles a day. When my Ped mentioned getting rid of the bottle, I just smiled and nodded.
I guess you can say I AM weaning her off the sippy cup, we're just taking it REALLY slow. ;-)
Also, my daughter absolutely refused solids (including purees)until she was a year old. I did research and found out that they don't really NEED solids until around then anyway. If your little man is at least eating cereals and purees, I wouldn't worry about finger foods. Offer them to him every once in and while and he'll let you know when he's ready.
Sorry for the LONG reply.
Just trust yourself and your instincts and everything will work out fine.
3 moms found this helpful
C.K. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
Steph C has given you a beautifully written reply. I couldn't have said it better. Pediatricians have lots of recommendations for parents that they just shouldn't be making.
I would only add that sucking for babies is a physiological need. The act of sucking soothes a baby by lowering their blood pressure, easing pain, and releasing hormones that calm them. This is well documented in the research, and obvious when you watch your baby.
I found this article that you may enjoy http://www.babyreference.com/ComfortNursing.html
This need, by the way, lasts until your baby is at least 2 years old.
Make your mothering decisions based on your mothering instincts and always question the wisdom of any professional that tells you to go against it.
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M.P. answers from Albuquerque on May 19, 2008
I am not a pediatrician, just a mom. Consider an alternative perspective. Babies in many parts of the world are still nursing at 2 years. Now in the US, that is considered WAY out of the mainstream I know.
I completely respect your pediatrician's recommendation, but I urge you to consider that your baby does not understand timetables or pediatrician's bell curves, and you can bet that most of what a pediatrician recommends is based on bell curves. Where is your son on that bell curve? I encourage you to put more trust in yourself and your listening abilities with your baby. You know your son, you see how he responds to food or formula because you are with him every day. Your pediatrician, although highly trained and knowledgeable with regard to kids in general, can only speculate on developmental milestones when it comes to your son in particular. *Every* child is different.
I encourage you to listen to your baby and try to figure out what he's telling you. Is he interested in the sippy cup? Is he able to pull the liquid sufficiently without choking or discomfort? Is he interested in food, showing signs of frustration when you are eating (maybe he wants some too?) And even if he does, that doesn't necessarily mean he wants what you are having - he just wants to share in the experience to the degree he can. I advocate that it's up to you to help him do that comfortably and in a way that he can enjoy.
If he doesn't like the formula and you are concerned for his nutrition, what about trying another kind or brand? There are several organic varieties, dairy and soy, and at least 6 non-organic varieties - and those are just the powdered ones I know about. And each one tastes different. Maybe a change in flavor will get him more engaged.
Our first child was anxious to start eating and at six months was taking 3 meals a day of pureed solids and moved on to finger foods by 8 months. However, she didn't use sippy cups until much later because they made her choke. She just couldn't figure out how to suck with her mouth and close her windpipe at the same time. She did eventually, although now she's moved on to a regular "non-sippy" cup for mealtimes. By the way, at 26 months, we still allow her an 8 ounce bottle of organic toddler formula 3x a day - we figure it's a super way to get lots of liquid into a very active body in this, a very very dry climate. Some days she wants it, some days she doesn't. We figure there is plenty of time for her to give it up herself before she has to be in kindergarten. There are lots of people out there who would be appalled by this approach, I'm sure. It seems to me our culture really appears to want to rush our babies into growing up FAST. I don't want to keep my baby a baby, but I also think that rushing them out of binkies and bottles and bankies before they are even 2 years old is unnecessary. I figure, what's the rush? I'm not trying to impress anyone with my daughter's developmental milestones, and I don't care if someone thinks she should or shouldn't have a bottle by what age. I'm her Mom, and I (with her Dad) get to decide. You are your son's Mom, and you get to decide what works for you and him.
I personally find it very difficult to believe that drinking from a bottle after the age of one could create any sort of lasting trauma or damage. Maybe it's about the baby teeth? My response to that is, how long does it take a hungry active child to suck down a bottle? We're talking a matter of minutes here, maybe 15 tops if you have a super slow eater. How can 15 minutes of occasional sucking on a bottle (remember, a baby that age is typically eating some solids so it's likely not his only nutrition) create enough pressure to damage tooth development? I can certainly understand concerns if parents give a baby a bottle and let them keep it for long periods as a form of pacifier.
By the way, our older daughter gave her binky up all by herself at 20 months - we had been talking about it with her and one day she put it in the trash and we rode with that move - every time she asked for it we said, "you put it in the trash remember?". No fits, no tantrums, and after a week, she didn't even ask for it at all. As you can see, we are big fans of letting them think it's THEIR idea, and then jumping on the bandwagon. Kids all have their own timetable. I"m not suggesting we parents let our kids run the show, but what works for us is picking our battles carefully and trying to make as much of it seem like their idea as possible. That way when it does come time for a parent to have to lay down the law, it's a special time for the child to learn to listen - I believe that increases the odds of the lesson being learned.
I'm sure this approach will backfire sometimes (who knows, we may be struggling with a bottle 3 years from now!), but what approach doesn't? That's when you move to Plan B. As a parent, you already know the value of Plan B. And C, and D..
Also, as it relates to your son, our second child only really became interested in 'solid' food AT 7 months (we tried months sooner, but she would gag and fuss so we didn't push it), and even now at almost 9 months, anything that is not completely pureed causes her to gag and choke. We do lots of variety but all pureed (there's a book called TOp 100 Baby Purees), and she's happy as a clam. Mealtimes are a fabulous and fun mess. She loves it! We plan to keep her on the "Pureed Plan" until it is clear that she can comfortably enjoy other foods and/or she expresses a desire for something different.
Sorry, I was all over the map here, but the main thrust of my message is that if I were in your shoes, I'd try listen to my baby and try to understand what he's trying to communicate to me, and respond to that. A 9 month old is not trying to play games or manipulate or 'be difficult'. They are just being. They smile when they are happy and they cry when they are sad or frustrated or in pain. During the process, as a Mom, one gains more trust in onself and gets better in tune with the child so that if there ever really is an issue to be worried about, Mom is right in tune with it because she's in listening mode.
A little about me: I am a full time working mom with a super SAH husband/Dad and 2 marvelous girls. 26 and 8 months. My 26 month old was breast fed until she was about 10 months, at which point she started to wean herself, desiring a bottle and her solids over nursing. My 8 month old is still nursing about 60% of the time, the rest is organic formula and solids.
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J.V. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
In all honesty, this is something I don't agree with the doctors on. They are happy to let me breast-feed past one year, so why can't they have a bottle? Just make sure that he isn't laying DONw to eaT WITH IT (SORRY MY SON is helpING ME TYPE :)), AND Just go SLOW. Honestl3y, who cares if he is 18 months or so, and who needs to know? I
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J.R. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
I didn't start weaning my daughter from the bottle until she was a year old and even then, we took it slow. I first took away the afternoon bottle, replacing it with sippy cup right at a year, then I took away the bedtime bottle right at 15 months. I still continued to give her the morning bottle until she let me know at 17 months that she was done with it. She started fussing during the feeding so the next morning I replaced it with a sippy cup and there was absolutely no complaining from her. I guess it just became easier/less work from the cup vs. bottle. I've always listened or watched for her to give me the signs of readiness and it always seamed to work out. I'm hoping that my 8 week old son will be just as easy to read.
My daughter also did the same thing when I first started trying to introduce solids. I just waited another couple of weeks or so and tried again. At two years or 26 months she's an amazing eater, so just be patient and he will eat solids when he is ready.
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D.E. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
Don't stress about taking him off of the bottle. I didn't start weaning my daughter off of the bottle until she was 2 and I had no problems. She went right to a sippy cup and loved it.
So don't worry about it. Personally I think 9 months is to young to be taken off of the bottle. It will happen when he is ready.
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C.C. answers from Flagstaff on May 19, 2008
I agree with Lynn. That's exactly what I did, and it worked like a charm!
L.A. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
I have found it's easier to wean in the last month as I switch over to whole milk. I give sippy cups of mainly water from about 7-8 months for practicce, and when I start making the switch to whole milk, it comes in sippy cups. I thin it's because they know the taste of formula and expect it in a bottle, but whole milk is different, and they can learn to expect that in a sippy cup. Worked well with my first and she was off her bottle by the time she was one.
T.F. answers from Flagstaff on May 19, 2008
Hi S. ~
Listen to your son! Most of the time if you pay attention to your children, they will give the signal when things are "right" for their individual timing. I have three boys ages 10, 4 and 1 year. Each of them had different timing and all are independant, fabulous boys! My first I had to stop breastfeeding at 6 months because of continual breast infections. He went on the bottle and took to it just fine. He stopped sometime between 1 and 2 years old. My second son was a lazy eater and I breastfed AND supplemented with goat's milk. He pushed me away (sad day)at 1 year and stayed on the bottle until he was 2 years. But he also had sippy cups and only drank the bottle at nap and bedtime. My 1 year old is still breastfed...but loves rice milk in a bottle (because his friend has a bottle and he tried it) and rice milk in a sippy and juice in a sippy, etc, etc, etc.
Your son does not "have to" get off the bottle until he is comfortable doing so. Do not feel guilty or worried about people judging you. Work with your son and the two of you will find the right time for both of you.
Babies are pretty darn adaptable and they like to learn from us. So when you feel that the two of you are ready, begin the process. Good Luck...you'll know. Take care.
T.D. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
I agree that you don't necessarily need to give up the bottle right now...however, from my experience (and probably why your ped suggested it) it is easier to do it sooner rather than later. That being said, if he's not taking his formula any other way then don't worry about it yet--he's not ready. My ped always recommended around 1 year...but never really pushed it--we were just lucky that all of our kids were fine with it.
If you want to keep trying, my kids all transitioned well to the Nuby brand sippy cups--their tops feel most like bottles I assume. My kids wouldn't take the sippy cup full of their formula in their high chairs, but if I held them like I did with the bottle, they would take it. My kids were all pretty well off the bottle before they were a year and they were fine.
As far as the food goes, seriously, one day they won't be able get the idea of chewing and swallowing and the next day BAM they won't want to eat anything BUT finger foods! Just keep offering him things like Gerber puffs which desolve in his mouth...eventually he'll get it. Until then, try making his cereal a little thicker each time so it becomes more of a "paste" that he'll have to maneuver a bit in his mouth before swallowing and consider going to the higher stage foods (again to get him used to maneuvering food more in his mouth).
Like others said, don't worry too much about what he SHOULD be doing...every child is different. Do what works best for your family. Eventually everyone eats and drinks about the same.
J.H. answers from Phoenix on May 21, 2008
I have been dreading the weaning process. I stopped nursing at about 15 months, and my son is now 20 months and when it is nap time, he will go into his bedroom crawl up into bed and lay there until someone comes in with his "ba" if we come in without it, he will remind us by telling us "ba". He is VERY paticular with his demands. He wants juice from a sippy cup, his milk in his bottle, and water from either a plastic bottle (like dasani or whatever we have) or from a straw. If it isn't the way he wants it, he will just hand it back to us and refuse to drink it until it is in the correct packaging :) I figure he will let me know when he is done with the bottle. I remember vividly when my mother took my last bottle away, I was about 2 years old, and I kept biting holes in the nipples. My mother kept warning me, that if I kept biting the nipples, that I would run out of bottles. I remember how angry I was when I bit the last one, I screamed and screamed and screamed to no avail. :) Life continued without bottles and I was fine. I think it is silly to take bottles away so young. I have been ignoring my pediatrician. Good luck, but don't rush it.
A.W. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
Hi S. - I agree with the previous post that every ped recommends something different. Our ped doesn't recommend switching to a bottle until around 1 year when they switch to cows milk. It creates one natural wean time - from formula in a bottle to cows milk in a cup. Since he's so young, I don't think there is a problem with waiting a couple more months. In the mean time, you could continue to offer it to him daily and see if he eventually takes it.
Oh, and when I did wean to sippy cups, we did the cold turkey approach. As long and she knew there were bottles, she would want a bottle so we got rid of them so there were only cups! However, we kept her routine exactly the same - so she got the sippy cup at the same point as she would have gotten a bottle and I would cuddle her the same way (but she would hold it) as I did when giving her a bottle. It was great because she still felt like she was getting the comfort from me as she did when she got a bottle so it didn't bother her at all that it wasn't one. Good Luck!
A.T. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
Take your time and don't stress- just try a new idea every now and then and eventually something will work... it won't hurt him if he has a bottle past age 1.
Try to relax and enjoy this stage even though he's making it hard (he's not trying to!)
My 3 sons each gave up the bottle at different times..after they turned one I started putting water in the bottle and milk/other liquids in the sippy. They preferred the good stuff, so they gave up the bottle quickly after that.
R.B. answers from Miami on May 20, 2008
I think the doctor may be rushing a little. My son is 13 months, and still loves his Ba-Ba! As long as you are giving the sippy cup (I call it a big boy cup), i would'nt worry for quite a while. Good luck!
J.G. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
Maybe try a different sippy cup. My son liked the ones w/ a straw on top he thought it was fun to drink from the straw.
J.B. answers from Denver on May 19, 2008
Just keep trying!!! Have you tried splitting up a bottle?? Give him half in the bottle and the sippy cup for the other half of his formula. Have you tried just putting something like cheerios in front of him for him to feed himself?? I know it can be messy, but just let him have his bowl and spoon to try it himself, see what he does, it's so fun to watch!!!
B.R. answers from Santa Fe on May 19, 2008
None of my children weaned from the bottle that early. If you want to wean him at a year, what about starting the whole milk in sippy cups and leaving bottles for formula? He'll probably like the taste of the milk better (mine did), and after getting used to the idea that milk comes in cups and formula in bottles, will choose the cup of milk.
A lot of the worry about letting babies have bottles too long is about tooth decay from letting them have the bottle in their cribs to get to sleep. If you give your son a bottle, brush his teeth, then put him to bed, this isn't a problem.
Think about all the women who breastfeed their children until 2, 3 and even longer (I had a friend who did it until 5!). If they can do that, why can't you let your 9 month old have his bottle?
S.B. answers from Phoenix on May 20, 2008
My son, who just turned 3, took a bottle until he was 19 months. At that point, it was just before he went to bed but to take the bottle away at nine months is very soon in my opinion. I think your son should be practicing taking the sippy cup but I would not expect him to dink his milk from it until he is at least a year old. My son also did not eat table food until he was 13 months and every time we tried to have him eat table food, he threw up which is a sign to me that means not being ready. You know your child better than anyone. The doctor can give you advice as well as a guideline as far as where other kids his age may be but in the end, you have to do what you are comfortable with. Good luck.
C.S. answers from Phoenix on May 19, 2008
NO! Do NOT be worried! When he is ready to wean, he will. I have never seen an adult or even an older chld with a bottle, have you? He needs the oral stimulation he is getting from the bottle. Taking the bottle and away and removing that opportunity for his oral stimulation may only cause him to seek another way.....thumbsucking, nail biting, or when he is older, cigarette smoking, etc etc. Why is it so hard for our society to accept that babies/chldren really know how to get their needs met, if we only quit interfering! He will give up the bottle when he is ready, watch for those signs. The more we attempt to deprive someone of what they need, the harder they will grasp onto it.....
G.C. answers from Tucson on May 19, 2008
S., I don't understand why your pediatrician wants you to wean from a bottle right now – it seems early to me. And please don't worry about the finder food...it takes some children much longer than others; it did for our son. Good luck and try not to stress. Everything is such a mystery the first time around.