12 Month Old Needs Bottle to Fall Asleep!!!! HELP!?!???

Updated on April 24, 2009
B.A. asks from Felch, MI
9 answers

I hate to admit this, but I had given in to my son's whines at an early age and began giving him his bottle in his bed to make bedtime easier. Unfortunately, this has continued and he is now 12 months old and STILL cannot go to sleep without the bottle. I have tried letting him cry it out (that lasted about 8 days with NO success)...tried giving the bottle earlier, brushing teeth, reading book....then bed...but he screams until I bring him his bottle. I give him just water sometimes in it (since I know that milk can cause cavities) and that sometimes will work but leads to our other problem which is that he wakes during the night and CANNOT go back to sleep without his bottle!!!! I know that this is completely my fault but I want to break the cycle and am stuck with ideas!?!
If anyone can help me find a way to get him to sleep without the bottle, I would greatly appreciate any advice. I'm sure I'm not the only mom out there who has given their child a bottle to go to bed, but it doesn't make me feel like a great mom. I want him to be able to find a peaceful way to get himself to sleep but like I said earlier, we did the cry it out method and this didn't work for us.
Please help!

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answers from Des Moines on

One of my children we were easily able to stop the bottle completely at 12 months with no problem. My other son would not go to sleep without it though, and I had to be the one to give it to him. It took until 18 months to get him completely off of it, but that's beceause I did it very gradualy. I started out refusing to give him the bottle once a week to go to sleep. Then when he started realizing that when I didn't give it to him no matter what he did it wouldn't get him the bottle he stopped complaining. After that it was easy for me to switch to only 5 nights a week, and one less day a week at a time. Once he got used to not having it every night he only complained about going to sleep about once a week so I let him have it. Eventually he just stopped wanting it all together.

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answers from Rochester on

It sounds like he just wants something to suck on to soothe himself. Have you tried pacifiers? Some of them really mimick the nipples of bottles, and if you give him that and tell him the bottle has gone bye bye, maybe that will help. Another alternative- offer the pacifier, but wait until you have him drinking completely out of sippy cups during the day- that should be any time now, but if he hasn't started yet you should be able to start substituting the sippy cups and get him off them in a few weeks. Leave the bedtime one for last. Then, tell him the bottles are going away ( whatever creative way you want to do that), and give him the pacifier (and don't give in this time!).



answers from St. Cloud on

I made this mistake with my first of three kids, never again! She is now 10, and I did the cry it out method. I had to throw all the bottles out so I would not give in. It took about 2 weeks of horrible night before she slept without a fit.

I just want to caution you not to replace the bottle with another item as then you will need to do this all over again at a later time. Your child is 12 months, and everyone has their opinions on when kids should stop using the bottle. I intended to stop nursing my last child by 12 months, it was almost 14 before he was weaned completely.

Maybe wait a few more weeks and try not to give in even after 8 days of bad nights. Your child may just need that bottle a little longer?? Good Luck



answers from Milwaukee on

My babies are 15 months old and I just wanted to let you know you aren't alone. I have started the same bad habit. My daughter does better than my son because she takes a pacifier. My son will be tough to break of this habit. I'm in the process of trying various sippy cups to see if there is one they like best to try to transition them to that instead of the bottle...at least as a start. Anyway...just wanted to say you aren't alone and hang in there. Eventually our babies will sleep without bottles... ha ha :)



answers from Minneapolis on

HI B.-

I went through the same thing with my son. I could not let him cry it out, I am a whimp, I would just cry right along with him. :) So what we did is we gave in and let him have his bottle but instead of milk in it we only let him have water if he was in his crib or going to bed. It took maybe one or two nights and he was fine with it. So you will not have to worry about his teeth and he will stil get the comfort of his bottle. It worked for us. Hopefully it will work for you. Let me know how it goes. Have a great day.



answers from Lincoln on

We don't give my son a bottle anymore, he's almost 2 1/2, but he does get some milk to drink while we read. Then he brushes his teeth and uses the toilet(potty training) before bedtime.
I think that 8 days isn't enough time to break a habit like that. And now he knows that if he screams long enough, you will give in... again and again. I think you will just have to keep trying until he finally realizes you mean it. Do you mean it?
If he wakes up to eat that probably means that he still needs the bottle for the food, as opposed to needing it out of habit... or not?
I have heard that yogurt can help out a great deal in these cases. But you cannot allow him to fall asleep when drinking/eating. He has to be awake to clean his teeth.
So even if you are sure he's got enough food for the whole night, you still have to be strong and stand your ground.
Good luck to you. I know how horrible it feels listening to their cries. :(



answers from Madison on

B., I also want to let you know that you are not the only "bad" mom out there! My son switched very easily from bottle to a sippy cup of milk before bed to fall asleep. However, my daughter is going to be 2 yrs old next month and she still needs a bottle to go to bed and usually once during the night. We have tried several times for several nights in a row to switch to a sippy cup, water instead of milk, tried various snacks before bed, etc. She sleeps horribly, and does not go back to sleep easily...she just cries & screams. Pacifier is not enough for her. I know she doesn't need the nourishment, some nights we get a bottle ready and she just wants to hold it...but if we don't go through the process and just give her an empty bottle..she knows and let's us know - no deal. We've tried it all! She's even woken my 6 yr old son a few nights. My husband and I both work full-time and can't go for more than a few nights of not getting any sleep before it starts affecting us as well. I know it isn't the norm and some people are horrified to hear we still give her a bottle at bed. But I also know people who's kids were older than 2 that still get a bottle before bed. I strongly feel we are not causing her harm. But, I won't lie to you...I feel like a horrible mother some nights! Hang in there!



answers from Duluth on

dont stress so much. even 12 month old babies need to 'nurse' to sleep. my son nursed to sleep (we breastfed) until he was between 15-17 months - so really, you dont have that much longer to go. sometime around 18 monhts, or even now if you felt hes ready, you can start to water down the milk little by little. a bit more each week per say, until its just water. theres nothing wrong with this habit per say... but milk from a bottle will leak more than milk from a breast, and thats the difference with teeth issues... so just gradually water it down.

i highly recommend a pacifier. i know some parents dont like them, but the reasons i do is that some kids will turn to their thumbs especially during different teething stages, and you cant really take the thumb away someday, but you can take the pacifier away. obviously your son might not take to it now either, but you can sure try if you wanted.

also, a period of cosleeping? its not as bad as you think, and it wont be for as long as you think. babies need their mama's close, whatever that means for you. some do just fine in their beds in mama and dada's room others in bed, others on the floor in mama and dadas room.. whatever. our son coslept with us until that same 15-17 month mark. now and again he likes to lay with us, but usually will stay in his bed all night long and hes been great. no tantrums at bedtime, no resistance to sleep in his bed. sometimes he wants to fall asleep in our bed, but is fine with being moved into his. his bed is in our room too.... so he never has to be alone, and is never far from us so he doesnt have to get really worked up before we hear him.

anyway, do wahts best for YOU and your family. dont worry so much about outside advice or opinions. you have to do whats best for YOU.



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi. This can be very frustrating because you want your baby to go to sleep on his own. I used to nurse mine children to sleep all the time. It was a little hard when I made the choice to give them milk in a cut and I did not nurse. They eventually took to drinking milk from the cup before bed. My youngest is almost 15 months and for the most part will sleep through the night now and only has milk in a cup. Does your son have a blankie or anything for comfort other than a bottle? That has helped my children. Stant firm and good luck. It does get easier.

About me: married 9 and 1/2 yrs to a great guy. We have 3 children; Nick (5 1/2 yrs), Connor (3 yrs) and Holly (14 months).

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