My Daughter Is 2 Years Old and I Cannot Get Her off Her Bottle.

Updated on November 19, 2018
J.K. asks from Buffalo, NY
16 answers

I have diluted the bottle every night with water, she caught on to that and she would throw it out of her crib and continue to cry an would not stop until I gave in an gave her milk. I don't know what else to do to be able to help her sleep an relax at bedtime. And I hate seeing and hearing her cry. I don't know what else to do

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answers from Washington DC on

You give in and she wins. Just wait until she is 10 or 12...
Take the bottle. Give her a sippy cup with water.
She will fuss, but so be it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You’ll never get anywhere with her as long as you cave in. LET HER CRY. She is training you instead of the other way around.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Antonio on

If you can't stand it a two...try a tween girl...just wait they start it up again after years of calm...hormones start in a wham!! You have blubbering mess on your hands. If I was giving in now to demands we would have ten dogs, 12 cats, an iguana, she would have clothes/shoe more expensive than mine, be able to yell and be rude to her brother and never have to bathe. To name few things that have left her in tears that I have had to ignore and move on past. She also moves on past and we together are okay until the next thing.

Around two I began searching for a lovey that wasn't in her mouth and she settled on a small very thin pillow that she fell in love with and was safe for sleeping because she was old enough to have it in her crib then bed. It has been recovered many times in the past 9 years with some fun trips to the fabric store for her to pick out pillow's new fabric/cover. There have been questionable choices over the years. The pink kitten fabric made my eyes hurt.

You know the bottle has to go...its not good for her. The first night expect at LEAST three that is 3 or more hours of screaming not including waking thorough out the night and not finding the bottle there. The second night will be half as long as the first. and the third will go one of 2 ways: either she will cry for about half the time as the night before or try it for about 5 minutes them just go to bed. By night four she will go straight to bed. It is the magic three night rule. The first night is brutal...get earplugs or something...put a sign on the door with the number $1000 on it...that is the cost of every baby root canal she will have to have if she keeps the bottle, times up to 15 put $15,000 on the sign for when you want to open the door.

You can do this Mama, you can!! We have been there with breaking them of one bad sleeping habit or another. Big hugs!!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I get that it's so frustrating. No one likes to hear a kid cry, scream or whine.

Here's the thing: she's learning that if she throws things and screams, she gets her way, because she can outlast you. That's a recipe for disaster for the next 16 years. And surely the pediatrician or dentist have told you that there is NO milk (or other food) that should be soaking her teeth at night. You're going to be one of those parents we see on Mamapedia, posting about high dental bills and cavities at age 3, extractions at age 4. Believe me, you do not want to go down that road.

So, take her shopping for a new sippy cup, Two if she likes 2 and can't decide. (You'll have one in the dishwasher anyway so you'll need two.) OR, have the Bottle Fairy come and take the bottles, leaving new sippy cups instead. Your choice - just stick to it. You can also give her a new teddy bear or other lovey for night time sleep comfort.

You understand that she does not need to eat at night for nourishment, right? So you understand that she is using this for comfort.

Pick a weekend for little sleep. Thankgiving weekend is coming up - enjoy your holiday, and then Friday/Saturday/Sunday are no-bottle nights. Do your calming bedtime routine, with bath and absolutely brushing of teeth, diaper/pajamas, story and snuggle or lullaby. Then lights out. No bottle. Don't keep offering water or anything else. Bedtime, night-night, see you in the morning, teddy will keep you company. If she doesn't want the teddy, fine. Don't keep offering alternatives. She has a choice here. You have to let her scream. Kids have to learn to be disappointed and not get their way all the time. You'll be tired for a few days, and then it will be done. Do not cave in.

Your life will be miserable if you don't take charge here and make the parental decisions. She is learning already that she can manipulate and control you. As hard as this is for you now, you have no idea how awful it will be when she's 7 or 10 and too big to keep putting back in bed, let alone when she's a teenager saying "You can't make me" or similar defiant statements.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You think the crying is bad now? Wait until a dentist tells you that every one of her baby teeth have rotted and they need to be capped. Crying because of a missing "baba" is NOTHING compared to your child screaming in pain from dental work caused because YOU didn't want to listen to a little crying.

Figure it out. You're the parent - be one.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm always taken aback by posts from parents being held hostage by Very Small People.

the only way she has access to a bottle is if you fill it and hand it to her. so saying you 'cannot get her off' it is just silly.

if you dilute the bottle just a little every night and increase it gradually, this method will work.

or you can do the cold turkey method and let her howl for a couple of nights until she realizes you mean business. yes, it's no fun, but nor is having a toddler in charge of the household.

you don't say why specifically you want her off the bottle. your reasons will help you formulate a plan.

it doesn't really matter what the plan is. dilution. replacement with another comfort object. desensitization. being firm. but decide what way you're going to go, and for the gods' sakes stick to it.

she doesn't understand why she can't have her bottle. your explanations will not make sense to her either. so her reaction to you trying to remove it will be met with resistance. this will happen many many times as you raise this little person. caving to her resistance is not doing you or her any favors.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I hope you have good dental insurance, cause her teeth are rotting out of her head if she's been sleeping with a milk bottle. Please take her to the dentist immediately! Juice, soda, milk, anything but water is a no-no for nighttime! Sounds like you didn't know this, rough way to learn :( Good Luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on are going to have to hear her cry.
Which is something that children do. Have no fear! Have her help you throw away all of her bottles and then have her go with you to pick out a brand new sippy!! Be excited...make her excited! Talk about how proud you are of her, she's a big girl...whatever you want to say.
My son also loved his bottle and this is what we did. There were some tears that night as he dug through the trash looking for his bottle (recommend that you toss the trash!). But he got over it! He's 16 now and doesn't remember any of it. lol
Just as a side note: our babies, toddler, preteens, and teens all cry and get upset. It's ok.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I will mention this, just because of my personal experience.

I had one who sucked (soothers and bottles) for comfort due to ear issues. Has your daughter had ear infections? Just want to rule that out before I suggest letting her cry.

Someone advised us to cry it out, and we did and it was horrible. Afterwards we realized he needed tubes.

You have to be sure (if it works, you only need to let her fuss), there's no medical reason for children to need to soothe with a bottle or soother.

I would offer another alternative - a blankie, a new stuffy, etc. some comfort item you are ok with.

I continued to put a sippy cup with water in his bed. That way I knew he could drink and swallow. However, my 'bottle' child ended up with tubes.

Not saying that's your child's issue - but I always mention it. My other children were able to give up bottles no issue. Crying it out for them meant a little bit of fussing, and I would go in, and shhh them, and then back out. There was no 'crying it out'. It was just fussing. Much more manageable.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You are going to rot her teeth if you haven't already.
She's into a bad habit and it's going to be rough breaking her out of it.
At 2 she doesn't need a bottle anymore - she should be using sippy cups.
So get rid of the bottles.
She can certainly have a drink of milk before her bedtime routine but only before she brushes her teeth - after that nothing but water.
She will cry at bedtime - possibly for a week or longer if she's stubborn.
Get/use earplugs.
You are going to have some rough nights and tired days but she will eventually adjust to her new normal.
You just have to not give in - it's for her own good.
This is one of the tough parts of parenting.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

It's super hard but you just have to go cold turkey. My son did not want to give up his bedtime bottles and similarly, my daughter did not want to give up her pacifier. With my son I had to get rid of all the bottles in the house. He was so addicted I knew I would give in. We talked about how bottle are for babies and he is a big boy now. We physically delivered them to a friend's house who had a baby and said bye bye. Oh boy. It was tough for a while...the crying and anger and sadness. But I could not give in and you know what, he got over it. He absolutely had no idea how to soothe himself without a bottle. But he figured out a new way and he was fine. He is 14 now, so it's hard to remember the details. I do remember my daughter giving up the pacifier...we gave it to the "paci fairy" who left her a little gift. Everyone said it would take about 3 days and she would then be fine. Nope. It took her three FULL weeks of sobbing and melting down every night till she exhausted herself. I would rub her back and it was very yard...but she did it. I wish you luck. You can do it. You have to be strong and not give in. It's so hard but it's worth it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Is she a young 2 or almost 3? I am just wondering how much she can understand. The more she can understand, the better, but either way, you don’t have to just let her cry. You will have to assert some authority here, but you can do it in a gentle and supportive way. You can try to transition her to a cup during the day by putting anything tasty, like milk or juice, in a sippy cup that she has chosen, and only water in bottles. Let her know it is almost time to say goodbye to bottles and drink from cups like you do. Cool, right? Keep your tone happy and positive, like this is something cool that big girls get to do.

At the same time, make sure you have a good bedtime routine, like snack with milk, bath and teeth brushing, story or song, then lights out. Let her keep the bottle until the routine is well established. Then, tell her its time to say goodbye to the bottles, so you’re going to buy a new toy for her to sleep with. Let her choose something soft. Explain that she can drink water during the night if she is thirsty.

She will probably still cry during the night when she wants a bottle, and it’s OK to comfort her, talk soothingly to her, rub her back, let her know you know she is sad she can’t have a bottle anymore. If there are no bottles in the house because you said goodbye to them, then you won’t be tempted to give her a bottle. Choose a time when you’ll be able to function without much sleep for a few nights. You can be strong and comforting at the same time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

The reason she won't give up the bottle is because sucking is a comfort for babies. A baby should never be put to bed with a bottle. This causes the baby to associate the bottle with comfort instead of her parent. Also the milk pools in the baby's cheeks and will rot the teeth.
It's okay to give her a bottle and rock her to sleep then gently place her in bed. Putting a receiving blanket or flannel sheet in her bed will lesson the shock of going from your warm body to the cool sheets. It will not happen overnight you may have a battle on your hands for a couple of weeks to a month. Once you have weaned her off the bottle just rock her to sleep. You need to have a strict routine with babies and toddlers. I recommend dinner - bath - story - rock to sleep - bed. Once the routine has been firmly established you will have an easier time getting her to sleep.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Throw them out! You keep giving in, she will be 5 with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Is the bottle in bed with her? Or is she crying to eat in the night and you are giving her the bottle? Does she drink from a bottle during the day or only at night?

I'm trying to figure out if this is a nighttime problem (she never learned to self-soothe because she's always had a bottle in bed or she is still used to eating at night) or an all-the-time bottle problem (she won't give up the bottle in general).

If she still uses a bottle during the day, well, then you need to start by moving her to a sippy cup during the day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Give her the bottle. Not worth your sanity. No one goes to college with a bottle!

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