Taking My 3 Year Old off the Bottle

Updated on October 08, 2013
M.D. asks from Warrenton, VA
12 answers

My 3 year old son still takes his bottle at night and he has to sleep with me. I tried no bottle it didn't work. I've tried putting water in the milk and slowly using more water than milk and it din't work. Any suggestions?

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So What Happened?

He cries and cries and doesn't stop. He goes on for hours. If he doesn't get his way, he will get out of bed and stay up ALL NIGHT

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answers from Hartford on

Get them out of the house. Don't buy more. If they're not in the house then he can't use them. You do know that it's all right for him to cry, right?

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Albany on

Get rid of the bottles... don't even keep them around, then he doesn't have a choice. He needs to soothe himself to sleep... and is fully capable at this age, it is just a bad habit. It will be hard for a couple of nights, but it won't take him long to figure out that he doesn't need it and that you aren't going to give in. Have a simple, soothing bedtime routine, then lights out and say goodnight. Eventually, if you don't give in to his cries, he will go to sleep. It sounds like he cries for hours, because it takes that long for you to give in. He is 3... he knows what it takes. You have to be consistent! Good Luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Take it from him, end of story. At 3 years old there is no reason for him to have a bottle, ever. Babies use bottles in place of the breast, when they are too young to eat regular food. As they grow they start to eat pureed food, then solids. There is no reason for 3 year old to have a bottle!

You are going to rot his teeth out. Give him a suitable lovey to sleep with, not a bottle! This is a power struggle and you are losing. Let him cry. He isn't a baby. If it gets to be too much, let him cry it out in his room. If there is only one room, you stay in the living room etc until he falls asleep.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Cut the nipples and tell him they are broken. Let him throw them in the garbage and let him pick out a new stuffed animal to sleep with.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Give him a glass and throw out the bottles. You just say, big boys drink from glasses.

Let him have the milk, but in a glass! End of story.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

My firstborn was pretty attached to his bottle and weaning him off it to a cup didn't work. When he was 2, we went cold-turkey the situation and got rid of all the bottles in the house. It was a rough 2-3 days and then it was over.

Assuming your child is healthy and cognitively normal, just take them away and let him have a fit about it until it sinks in that there simply are no bottles to be had. You need to throw the bottles away so that you're not tempted to give in just to get some peace.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Do you have any family or friends or neighbors that have a baby? Maybe someone with a newborn? One idea I've heard is to tell you son about the baby and how the baby needs bottles to eat and he's a big boy now, so he can drink out of a regular cup and then asking the child to help you prepare a special basket for the baby. Really have your son help you prepare a basket and place the bottles in the basket and take it to the baby.

Sometimes kids have an easier time giving something up if they know it's going to a baby who really needs it. And having him help with it and actually give it to the baby can help him have closure.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Give him a warning. You can ha e your bottle for two more nights, then you can have it tonight, remember tomorrow no more bottle. Throw them out so you will not cave into his demands.



answers from Chicago on

Tell him tonight is the last night for the bottle. End of sentence. And then throw them away. Let him cry. He will be fine. Why does he still sleep with you? If it's because you truly want to co sleep that's fine. If it's because you don't want to let him be upset that's a slippery slope and I would put a stop to giving in because he cries. He will be fine.



answers from New Orleans on

Wow. some of these answers are harsh. I'm going to offer a different tactic, that may not be a clean break, but perhaps will ease the long fights at night. What is he drinking from during the day? At three, my kids were using cups, but still used sippies for car rides where I didn't want spills. My youngest liked the sippies with the soft tops that are similar to bottle nipples. At some point, you offer him the milk in the soft top sippy at night instead of the bottle. but do it before bed. Maybe with a book or in front of a cartoon at bedtime during wind-down time. You could combine this with what Jennifer suggested - talking to him about giving the real bottles to the babies. Offer him the sippy with milk for awhile at night to help with the transition. It doesn't have to be cold turkey. I did it gradually, and my kids didn't scream and cry. (I guess cows fly at my house.) Eventually, though, you should only put water in the sippy. Milk when they are laying down will cause bad tooth decay and then you are starting a whole new issue with scary dentist appointments - (at three, you want the dentist to be a fun outing!)
my daughter is three and half and she still asks for a sippy with water at bedtime. I have no problem at all with this. Don't we grown-ups go to bed with a glass of water next to us?



answers from Chicago on

Rock him while feeding him milk plus he should not be on bottles



answers from Kansas City on

Cold turkey! The first few nights will suck...but he'll get over it!!

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