Weaning from Bottle, Nutrition, and Nighttime Routine

Updated on November 13, 2008
I.O. asks from Bothell, WA
12 answers

My son is 13 months old and I started weaning him from the bottle at 11 mos. During the day he will drink water and some milk from sippy cups and through the straw. Nighttime is another story and he will cry until he gets his bottle.

I decided to stop the bottle cold turkey and threw them all out. Now I'm having a problem putting him to sleep. Before, I would bathe him, give him his bottle and read him a story and play soft music while rocking him. I'd then put him in his crib and he'd play for a few minutes and then go to sleep.

Now, near bedtime I feed him and offer him milk, which he refuses to drink, I bathe him, and as soon as I try to read him a story or rock him, he starts having a fit. I finally just put him in his crib, but it takes him a long time to go to sleep (30 minutes). He throws out his lovey and stands up, crying and calling for me. It's breaking my heart.

It's been about 5 days since we threw out the bottle. How long will it take him to get over this, and what kind of bedtime routine should I try?????? Also, I'm worried about his liquid and calcium intake. Any suggestions?

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answers from Corpus Christi on

You have done the same things that I did and it does take about a week maybe a little more. In the meantime you get bald and teary over the crying but it does stop and get better. Good luck.

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answers from Houston on

I agree with Heather, if he's been using a bottle for comfort and as part of his normal bedtime routine then it's rough to take it away cold turkey. I don't see why he has to be off of a bottle at 13 months especially if he's only drinking out of one at night. However, if you want him completely off of bottles, then ease him into it. Give him the bottle before the bath and start slowly replacing it with a sippy cup. He's so young, but if you go slow he'll let you know when he's ready to give it up as a way of comfort. Good luck to you and your little one

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answers from Waco on

I didn't stop my baby's bedtime bottle cold turkey. I just took away an ounce every couple of days. It wasn't easy, but it's worth it knowing that I am giving her a healthy start in life. Since you have gone five days without the bottle, don't give it back. If you give it back you are telling him that if he cries long enough you will give in and food should be used for to make him feel better. Hang in there. It will take a couple of days, but it will be worth it. He will be able to start off with a mouthfull of healthy teeth not to mention all the other benefits of not staying in the bottle too long.
I cried for the first two nights when I heard my baby cry for her night bottle. I would just hold her and rock her back to sleep.
Remember that crying doesn't always mean pain. You are not hurting him. You are helping him. I'm not a fan of turning up the tv when my baby is crying, but whatever you need to do to keep you from giving in you have to do. I wouldn't but you have to find what works best for you.
Times like these are not my favorite part of parenting, but they have to be done. Just think, if you give it back now you'll have to start this all over again in a couple of months and it will take twice as long because you gave him his bottle back.
I'm sorry you are going through such a tough time and I hope I helped.

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answers from Victoria on

Try a paci. see if he is just needing the comfort factor. Good luck.

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answers from Houston on

Please don't take the first response you got ot heart. Giving him a bottle doesn't mean that he associates the bottle with love and comfort. He just likes his milk.

You are a good momma and are just trying to do what you think is right for your angel. But, one thing is for certain, do not give him the bottle back. It will just lead him to believe that if he cries long/hard enough he can eventually get what he wants, which will not bode well for the future. Keep with the rest of your routine (the rocking and reading a book) and after you are done with the normal routine, put him in his crib, hit the soother (if you have one), tell him "night, night; love you, see you in the morning", and then leave the room. Don't go back in unless you think he has stayed up long enough to wet his diaper or if it has been past 45 mins, or what ever time limit you normally give him to calm himself. You are doing a good job. Try to be patient with him and just give him extra loves.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I would suggest reading the book Happiest Baby...inside it tells you how to put your baby to sleep without feeling guilty and your baby will sleep much better. Once our ped told us the method mentioned in the book it took us less than 48hours and it's worked ever since!

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answers from Houston on

Two things:

1. You trained him to associate his bottle with love and comfort.

2. Then, you took it away before he was ready.

Cold turkey is traumatic when it's been more than about nutrition. I think that you should get him one bottle now and give it to him during the day only for nourishment, not for comfort, so he can learn how to let it go. Alternate between bottle and cups, letting him see that the bottle is about being fed. At bedtime, do your routine and give him only a small amount of milk in the bottle. Then, take it away from him before you put him to bed. If he wants more to drink, give it to him in a cup. When/if he cries, comfort him with hugs and kisses and even toys (being firm and consistent about no bottle), but no more security blankets that you'll only tear away from him when you think it's time versus when he's ready to give them up. Don't force him to become dependent on something for comfort and then take it away. He doesn't understand that. The crying should taper off. I'm very sensitive to this because I can clearly remember being a toddler and calling out to my mother from my bed. She never came because she was teaching me to go to sleep at night in my own bed and without her (or whatever). I remember telling myself THAT NIGHT to dry my tears because I was on my own; I never cried out to her again. I became emotionally independent in what turned out to be an unhealthy way. My point--just because your child stops crying after this trauma doesn't mean that he's over it. They carry these things with them even into adulthood and can't always know why. There's a fine line between self-comfort and wound-licking. The former is about healthy coping; the latter is not. Whichever he uses will be woven into his foundation.

Also, kids let you know when it's time, when they've developed enough security to move on to the next stage or close to it. We just have to keep things in perspective so they have a healthy foundation from which to jump. Example: Bottles are for feeding and not for security. If he knows that it's about getting a drink, he's more apt to try what the grown-ups or big kids are doing. Pacifiers can be for comfort, but the kiddos need to be taught and allowed to self-comfort, so they--and you--are not dependent on pacifiers.

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answers from Houston on

Maybe I'm different from alot of Moms but, I do not fight with my child over things that she consumes. I let her decide when not to take a bottle...I let her decide if she wants milk....I let her decide if she wants broccoli for breakfast. I am not a short order cook, however, I firmly believe that MY kiddo is a human being with likes and dislikes. How would you feel if someone forced you to eat something you didnt care for? The minute the pressure is off, and you stop going by what "they" say...your life will be better. So, in the long and short of it, what I'm suggesting is....give that baby a bottle!!! You will most likely look up in a week, three weeks or two months from now and he'll be over it...on his terms.
I believe it is our jobs as mothers to guide our children in the right direction and make good choices. I also believe that they should have just that....CHOICES.
And just a little footnote...my DD will eat just about anything...shes not picky because she doesnt need to be. She never gets an argument from me!!!

Good Luck to you!!

Margaret :)

P.S. My DD had one bottle (4 measley oz's) right before bed from about 14 months to about 17 months. (half the time, she didnt even drink most of it, it was a comfort thing) Then one day....it was over. We never looked back.

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answers from Houston on

he will get calcium from other foods string cheese n yogurt are good, have you tried chocolat milk in a sippy/straw cup? I know it has more sugar but it's a good source of calcium, protein, carbs. My son will drink down an entire cup of flavored milk but only take a few sips of regular milk. He is 17 months now he gets a bottle(plain milk) before nap and before bed while he watches a baby Einstein video, then bath, story time, and he goes right to bed. I do the bath after so I can clean his teeth, which neither I or his doc are worried about I think it's genes more than anything.


answers from Austin on

I didn't do the cold turkey thing. Not sure what factors lead you to decide to throw them away. Were you worried about his teeth or something? (I personnally would probably give him the bottle back, but I'm also a big softie!)

Starting at 1 year, my daughter transitioned to sippy cups for juice and water, but kept her bottles for toddler formula consistently until she was 18 months.

Now, I will add that our pedi was concerned with her being a touch underweight and we had some chronic sinus infections, and it was our doc who told me not to transition off the bottle because she wanted us to maximize all feeding opportunities. But the use of a sippy cup gradually gained prevalence. And soon after, I started putting formula/milk in cups. However I keep a few bottles handy just in case she developed a fever at night or if she had a dehydration risk, or if she refused to eat dinner and woke up hungry in the middle of the night, etc. She absolutely refused to take a bottle, even at night, around 22 months. (I remember this because she caught a stomach virus and would not drink from a sippy cup or bottle ("babas for babies!"), so I had to feed her teaspoons of pedilyte.)

If you really do not want him to use a bottle, then I would suggest you try to introduce colored straws. Let him pick which one he wants. I found that the straw helped get her excited about drinking. I ought to add, that at the same time she refused to take anymore bottles, she also refused to drink milk in large quantities. She would sip milk but not drink 8oz at one sitting. So I introduced 8oz of yogurt smoothies, once first thing in the morning and another right after naptime or immediately on getting home from daycare, in a sippy cup (with the plastic colored straw instead of the straw that came with the cup). That way she got 16oz of "milk".

I make the yogurts with 3 cartons and enough milk to make soupy instead of pre-made smoothies. (She also wants the fruit chunks strained out). Let me know if you need more info on the smoothies.

As for the bottle delimma, good luck!!!



answers from Corpus Christi on

It doesn't sound as if he's ready to be weaned off the bottle. A few tears are one thing, but it sounds as if he's beyond that. One of the most difficult mom lessons is to learn what suits your child and understand that "normal" is just a setting on the dryer. All children do things in their own time, and many times in their own way. What works for one child may not work for the next-even siblings. Perhaps he's just not ready. My personal experience is that 13 months is a bit young. It's most likely the comfort more than the milk. It has also been my experience to slowly cut back instead of going cold turkey.



answers from Austin on

Regarding a bedtime routine, we found the advice in Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Ferber to be just wonderful. There is a little bit of crying, but it includes periodic reassurances from you so the child knows you're still in the house. Plus, it only takes three days to set up a routine if you stick to the method. Highly recommended.

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