Need Help Getting 2 Year Old off the Bottle

Updated on February 24, 2008
B.S. asks from Auburndale, FL
17 answers

My two year old is addicted to her bottle. The only way to get her to go to sleep is giving her one. I know she should have been off of it a year ago, but She is my second and probably my last so I was in no hurry to rush her to grow up. I know that sounds bad, But now I am paying for it. My son was off at 18 months and never asked for one, but he had a pacifier. I took the pacifier away from her at 3 months so I don't have anything to help her in the transition. Can someone help me on how to do this and still get some sleep.

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So What Happened?

Well first I want to say Thanks so very much for all of your reponses. They were all great. We have offically been off the bottle now for 2 weeks. She has done just fine. After the first 2 days she never even whined for one. She calls her cup a bottle. She is sleeping all night now. She doesn't even go to sleep with a cup. She just lays down and goes to sleep. So it was soo easy. She is such a good girl. Thanks again for all the great responses.

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answers from Jacksonville on

One thing you could do is give a light snack before bedtime to fill her up and then hug or give her something she holds dear as a substitute to comfort her when it's closer to bed time, because she is using the bottle for comfort. A teddy bear, a blanket, a tight hug, etc and see how that works.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Hi B. -

We just went for my daughters 15 month well visit and this is what her Dr. told me.

By her 18th month check up he wanted her off her bottle and going to bed all night long. UGH. She was still taking like 5 bottles a day and getting up throughout the night 3 times for 4oz. each time.

My schedule was: dinner in her highchair - bath - bottle and then bed (and sometimes I'd have to rock her to sleep).

The schedule he wanted me to have:
Eat in her highchair - bottle with dinner - bath and then book - and to be put in her crib STILL AWAKE and he said she'd be able to make it the entire night through.

This only took 3 nights to do (AMAZING!).

We feed her in her highchair - we give her a bath - then, we let her have a snack and try to get her to drink more milk for about 30 minutes. Then, we put on her music, tell her to give kisses night night and we put her in her crib awake.

Her Dr. said if she didn't eat enough the first night then that would teach her for the second night that she'd better eat. He said to put a sippy cup of water in her crib in case she got thirsty at night.

He didn't want her having milk before bed for two reasons: 1st. she'd associated going to sleep with having to have something to eat. 2nd. the milk isn't good before bed because it would sit on her teeth the entire night.

SHE DID AWESOME! She did cry a few times during the first couple nights BUT - we didn't go to her and it only lasted about 10 mins. Now - a week 1/2 past her visit she is doing exactly what he said to do! It is incredible to put her to bed at 8:30 pm and have peace until morning.

HE also said I could either go cold turkey with the bottle or only give her one in the morning and then one at night. We decided to go cold turkey and get it over with.

He also said babies associated flavor with their cup. SO -I needed a juice cup, a water cup and a milk cup. Which we have. She knows what is in each cup and knows what to excpect when she sips it.

This has worked great for us. Cold turkey seems cruel but it worked out great. Like I said -she was having like 5 bottles a day and we went cold turkey on a Friday. She never asks for her BUBBA at ALL!!!

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I would try a new routine and talk about her being a big girl (new fancy toothbrush, special nighttime book for big girls, etc). But unfortunately you will most likely have to endure a few nights of crying (probably from both of you). Hang in there she will come around.



answers from Lakeland on

B., I was able to get my daughter off the bottle by putting water in it. She was almost 3(!) and still drinking milk out of a bottle at bedtime, but I switched to water and told her that she could only have water in her bottle. She was annoyed, but quickly got over it...and in a week she didn't even want it at all. I did the same with my son, but he was 2ish when we phased out the bottle.
Best of luck, J.



answers from Ocala on

Does she drink a sippy cup? I had the same problem with my triplets...I bought the sippy cup that had the rubber plastic, NUBY..still able to suck like a bottle...I would tell them to try this..It did take awhile and a lot of bed wetting but I to let them keep drinking...Took about 1 week but They did not go cold turkey...I also needed sleep..



answers from Tampa on

Hi, Our son turned 3 years old back in Nov and we just got rid of the binkey and bottle 3 weeks ago and he still asks for it. The only way we were able to do it was to just take them away all together. It was so hard the first few nights at bedtime...almost like a drug withdraw but after the first few days and nights it got easier for him and us. Many nights I almost gave in and got him a bottle and binkey because of the non stop crying but he finally cried himself to sleep. I wish you the best of luck and whatever you do, don't give in..:)



answers from Panama City on

I'm not sure if this will help in your situation but this is what I did. My oldest had that problem. She would not drink milk from anything but a bottle. She was a late teether so I didn't rush her off the bottle either since I figured it soothed her gums. She took juice from a sippy cup at 6 months so I know she could drink from a cup. One day shortly after she turned two I decided to suck it up and cut her off cold turkey. When I put her milk in her cup she handed it back to me. I told her that she was a big girl now and that the bottle fairy came during the night and took her bottles away. She just looked at me. I then said to her if she was really thirsty she would drink her milk from her cup (I wasn't going to give her juice until she drank her milk.) She looked at it for a few minutes and then began to drink. I was prepared for a fight and was pleasantly surprised when she didn't fight. She never went back to a bottle.



answers from Tampa on

I had the same problem. All I did was switch out the bottle with a sippy cup that has the "no-spill" spout on it...the kind they have to suck out of. Then, over the next month I slowly started putting more water than milk in the cup, while at the same time decreasing the total amount of liquid in the cup. It took me about 2 months...and then we ended up with about 1/3 sippy cup of water, which believe it or not, I allowed my daughter to keep until she went into her big girl bed...which was at about 2 1/2. Once she was out of the crib, the "bottle fairy" came & took away her bottles & sippy cups to give to a baby who needed them.

That's what worked for may be too laid back for you...but I had a very fussy kid & this seemed to work really well for tears:)



answers from Sarasota on

My son turned 2 in october and it was not until last month (jan. 08)that i finally got him to sleep without a bottle of milk before bed. and one night i just said if you want milk you can have a sippy cup, i had it in hand and he would push it away- so i would dump it into a bottle in front of him for a few days and then one night i offered again and then i said okay- no bottle. I was really surprised- he was fine. it surprised me... and i know it is easier said than done. But one thing to keep in mind- if your daughter knows how to drink out of other things... is it really that big of a deal? mine does use a pacifier though... i am sure you will have some rough nights but she is only 2- she will forget about it soon enough. good luck! I still have the pacifier battle to fight!



answers from Orlando on

I feel your pain. I did this with my first one also. It became too easy with the bottle to get her to sleep, but it was a nightmare getting her off of it. What we did, was switch to milk in a sippy cup, and then brush teeth. Then I would give her water in a bottle. The major problem with the bottle was the milk on her teeth all night. We gradually moved to a sippy cup of water instead of the bottle, but it took some tears. To this day she still drinks a cup of milk and then brushes her teeth and goes to bed, and she is 41/2.



answers from Orlando on

I have to second what Rachael E. Said. That's a great way to do it. We told our kids that the bottle was going away and when and then all remnants of the bottles were gone one day and no more ever.
My 3rd never missed it, my first looked for it all over the house and my middle one we'll she's actually been the hardest at everything, but she took a pacifier and that helped, but boy when it was time to break her of that paci, that was a nightmare.
good luck



answers from Orlando on

You may wish to consider Cranial Release technique. This is not the same thing as Cranio-sacral work and is extremely effective in righting the endocrine system very rapidly. It may not make sense to address a physiological issue, but this can correct hormone imbalances and deficiencies that create the need to fixate.

Another thing you might try is EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. You can learn how to do it for free online, or you can go to someone who has been trained and is skilled at asking questions objectively.

There area therapists for both of these in Orlando and both produce effective results, particularly CRT.



answers from Lakeland on


My son had the same problem and the thing that helped us is by taking him to the store and letting him pick out his very own "big boy cup". We started with one that had a soft mouth. It kind of resembled a nipple of the bottle and then transitioned to a regular cup. He will eventually put it down. Just use the big girl factor and play on that. I hope that this helps.



answers from Orlando on

My son had to have a bottle to go to sleep until he was nearly 3. Transitioning off of it was scarey, I knew it was going to be hard on all of us. First I bought special cuppies just for him, I bought a couple different styles so he could choose. Then I prepared him for it for about a month beforehand. NOw it is too late for how we did it, but maybe it can give you an idea. For a month before Christmas we talked about the big boy toys Santa was going to bring him and if he brought big boy toys then he had to take the baby bottles away because he was not a baby anymore. Of course he did not like the idea and argued about it each time I brought it up. Then Christmas eve we got rid of all the bottles while he was sleeping, made sure there were none left in the dishwasher or in his room, etc.. That night when it was bedtime we told him they were all gone and went through the whole santa story. He was a little upset, so we took him in and let him look in the cabinets and in the dishwasher. After a little while he accepted it and asked for one of his new Christmas cuppies. He only used those once or twice even. After 2 or 3 nights he never even asked for a cup anymore, and he would tell people he was a big boy and santa took the baby bottles away. I was surprised how easy it ended up being. I was sure I would not get any sleep for days!! Just make sure you stick to your guns, even when she asks for one you have to stick to it. It is hard when it would just be easier to give in and let them have it so you can sleep.

Take Care



answers from Fort Myers on

Well, since she is your last you could have a party with cake and icecream (or something less sugary if you want) and dive all the bottles to goodwill or throw them away as part of the party. Call it her big girl party and get her a few stuffed animals to sleep with or something.



answers from Orlando on

sounds like you are doing great! I jsut developed a night time routine for my 19 month old. At the same time we lostour bottle. after 5 days of rocky times. she did not ask about the bottle. the next day she was at school I came home and threw them all away.

stay strong,



answers from Orlando on

Sounds like you are going to have to stand your ground. Get rid of the bottles slowly, maybe try introducing cups to her with her favorite drink in it. Just know that she will probably throw some fits, and it may get worse before it gets better, but she will adjust. When you see her drinking for a sippy cup, praise her and tell her how big she is, make a big deal out of it and make her feel special!!

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