Getting Toddler off the Bottle

Updated on March 26, 2010
A.H. asks from Dallastown, PA
16 answers

My toddler is 17 months and refuses to drink her milk out of a sippy cup. And to make matters worse, she MUST have her bottle of milk before she gets out of bed in the morning and before she goes to sleep at night. I have tried giving her milk with some strawberry syrup in it to no avail. I would like to get her off at least the morning bottle by her 18 month visit. HELP!!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I second the straw cup which is better for her cheek and tongue development anyway which helps speech. Or the regular cup. She should not be getting milk right before bed any more anyway after brushing her teeth. Switch to water at bedtime.



answers from Philadelphia on

my daughter loved the STRAW sippy cups and still prefers her milk out of those than regular sippy or cup. i don't have a problem with that at all. so if you haven't tried that style, maybe that will work. Try something different, and maybe she'll think it is "cool." If you've tried different kinds, get a cup with her favorite character on it (Elmo, Dora, etc). but i agree, you need to drop that bottle. best of luck!

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answers from Harrisburg on

The issue here is, who is in charge, the mother or a 17 month old child? By this age there's no reason why an open cup can't be used rather than a sippy cup. Sippy cups have been used for the wrong reasons than what they were originally intended for, travel or outside use. At this age, meals and snacks should be done at the table. Why not use an open cup as generations before have always used. You can transition to a toddler cup with holes that will drain, not be sucked out. Cuz what's the difference? Bottle or sippy, you have to suck to get the fluid out. By this age she has dug her heals in. Time for Mom to dig her heals in. You stop the bottle cold turkey. No more bottles at all. Why? Because Mom said so! She's not an infant anymore who needs a wake up bottle. Children at 17 months are eating 3 regular meals and 2 snacks a day inbetween. Will she throw a fit going cold turkey? You bet! It may take a day or few days, but she will drink when she's thirsty. It'll be a battle to prove who is in charge, you or a toddler. Who's in charge at your house? You don't have to be mean doing this. You just do it, matter of factly. If she throws her milk, she's done with that meal and will try again at the next. She's smart. She's already manipulating you so she can easily catch on when she gives in. When she wakes in the morning, sit her at the table and offer her a hand full of Cheerios and a cup of milk. Mid-morning offer her a cracker and a cup of juice. Lunch, offer her a PB&J and a cup of milk. Afternoon snack offer her diced apples and a cup of juice. Offer her dinner and a cup of milk. Then bath and off to bed. Keep your new routine the same daily and she will get used to it. Don't bend. You'll be surprised the day she gives in and you can applaud her and tell her what a big girl she's being, just like Mommy!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
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1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Try different sippy cups! The soft tip ones are the best transition cups. Try juice, chocolate milk, etc. Oh, and hold out on the fluids unless they take the cup. It won't hurt for a few hours.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Don't give it to her. She will cry for a couple of days but don't give in. Good luck.



answers from Sherman on

Throw the bottles away! She's refusing milk in a cup because she knows you'll give it to her in a bottle. It may be a hard 3-4 days, but stay strong and you will win this battle



answers from Dallas on

yes i am interested in this too. my 17 mo wont take it from a sippy either and it still has to be somewhat warm...she wont take cold milk. she'll take juice and water from the sippy but not the milk. I feel your pain! :)



answers from Chicago on

She'll keep refusing the cup as long as you refuse to take away her bottle. She 17 months-you make the rules here. Throw the bottles away and offer her a cup of milk, water, whatever you are going to give her. She will protest--LOUDLY-but she will give in eventually. I haven't met a kid yet that thirsted to death or even dehydrated when they gave up the bottle. It'll be a matter of a day and then she will drink because she will be thirsty. Ignore the fits, crying, etc....It'll be over before you know it, but NEVER bring the bottles back!



answers from Dallas on

trash bottles. give cup only. she will be fine.



answers from Philadelphia on

slightly different situation, but when I was weaning my daughter, the last nursing session she dropped was the one when she woke up in the morning. She was so groggy in the morning, that she just wanted what she knew, it was harder to "reason" with her. So I droped the evening feeding before the morning one.

Anyway -- just a thought to say that it might be easier to eliminate the evening session before the morning one. Good luck!



answers from Anchorage on

At this age I would just take it away. She may pitch a fit the first couple of days, but this is just her trying to gain control, ignore it and offer her a cup. She will come around. Too often we allow our children to train us when it is us who should be training them, that is our job as parents. If she really does not like a traditional sippy cup, try one on those spill proof ones with the straw in it.


answers from Williamsport on

She must have her bottle of milk before getting out of bed or what? She disappears into a puff of smoke? She refuses milk for how long? Until she perishes? No need to entice her with something unhealthy, just don't give in to the tantrum. You're teaching her to scream to get what she wants. Get rid of the sippy cups. It sounds like a stand off, so if you don't want to address it head on by getting her out of bed, getting her dressed, disciplining tantrums, and keeping in charge of the day, then just leave the sippy cup where she can get it herself when you're not looking. Don't pressure her, and don't offer the bottle. She'll drink her milk, even if it takes days (which it won't). Don't worry!



answers from Denver on

As hard as it is, just take away the bottle, and eventually she will realize that the sippy is all she will get. We had to take this approach with our daughter. She was not happy for about 1.5 days, then accepted the sippy. I know it's tough - good luck.



answers from Boise on

The Gerber Nuk is similar to the bottle in how they get the milk out. They still suck instead of biting down. You may want to try that, can't hurt. And maybe have your husband give it to her instead?

As far as warming it up for Alli. My son still has his morning milk (23 months) slightly warmed, the rest of the day is cold. I have been gradually (about 5 seconds a week), been reducing the time I warm it, in the hopes that when the next one gets here, he will be okay with cold milk in the mornings too.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi A.-

I have a different view than most here. I’m not into going “cold turkey” about things, and I’m not into creating unnecessary conflict (tantrums, fits, etc.) if it can be avoided with a little bit of creativity on my part. Personally, I understand if you don’t want to just throw away something that brings your daughter comfort and a feeling of stability. What I did was buy these sippy cups: and tell my son that it is a “pirate bottle”. It’s the same shape and size of a bottle but has a soft sippy top. They make a pink version here: (you could call it a princess bottle or a pink bottle or something). He loves the cup and he thinks it’s a bottle. No harm done, he’s off the bottle.

Good luck.

PS…they are expensive on Amazon, but less than half that price in stores. They have them at BabiesRUs and WalMart



answers from Philadelphia on

My 18 1/2 month old still has a bottle before bed every night because it is comforting to her. We brush her teeth after the bottle before she goes to sleep. The rest of the day she only drinks out of a sippy cup (milk when she's in her highchair for meals and water when she's playing). Try offering just the sippy cup with milk, juice, water, etc. during the day and giving a small bottle in the morning and before bed. Don't fill it to the brim, just a few ounces. Some kids have more of a need to suck and your toddler may be finding a great deal of comfort in the bottle and I don't think that having one or 2 a day as part of a morning or bedtime routine is harmful. No kid goes to college still using a bottle ;-)

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