When to wean baby off the bottle?
When a baby has crossed a year or so, try to start weaning off baby from the bottle. The longer the bottle phase, the more tedious it becomes to put a stop to it. Day on day, babies really get attached to their bottles and an effort to separate can create a chaos in their lives. The efforts can double up if the phase is extended till 2years or longer. Apart from difficult weaning, bottle also poses some negative impact on your child’s health. Bottles by then no longer pose as nutritional object but they also start occupying the space as an“Object for security”for kids.
Planning to introduce bottles to your baby? Read now!
Impacts of prolonged bottle use:
1. Tooth Decay’s:
Excessive use of bottles all around the day & specially in sleep may lead to tooth decay/cavities. It may also result in ear infections. Milk has lactose in its composition which is a sugar. Slow dripping of milk into the mouth allows the sugar to stay longer on teeth & promote cavities.
2. Deficiency of nutrients:
Usually a kid post one year intakes milk because he loves sucking from the bottle. After 6months of age, milk does not act as a wholesome meal for the baby. Gradually other nutrients in the form of semi solid & solid food have to be introduced to a baby’s diet. And this has to be done by reducing the milk intake. If your baby sucks up more of milk only even post 6months, it will later result in various deficiencies. Moms, milk is not just one source required by the fast growing body of toddlers. So tap on the milk intake. It should not fill up the baby so much that other important foods for growth are neglected.
3. Obesity :
Some researches have shown that kids carrying & drinking milk all the time till or beyond 2years have chances to get obese by 4-5years. With the simple reason that there is an excessive calorie intake & less of fibres. Excess milk intake gets heavy on stomach as well. A toddler should not be allowed to carry his bottle always. He needs to understand the function of bottle, in the absence of which it will pose as a security object.
4. Never use any juice in child’s bottle. Acids & sugars in juices act as a severe deterrent to tooth & gums.
Now the question comes as – How to get baby off the bottle?
Out of 5 mothers, I find 3 in a fix, since babies are not really ready to quit their bottles. It is one of the most talked about subjects, but if the below mentioned tips are followed, you’ll for sure have an easy transition. My baby took bottle at 4months & left it when he was 11 months. It was such an easy shift, hence I thought to share this post for all parents:).
Transitioning a toddler from bottle to Sippy cup:
1. Start early:
Introduce a Sippy cup as early as 4-5months as a toy to the baby. Post 6months, try giving him little water from that Sippy cup. Occasionally, add 1-2 ounces breast milk/formula milk in the cup & persuade your baby to drink from it. This early start will just add a tinge of familiarity to the baby which will help in easy transition.
2. Offer some Fresh juices:
Not just water/milk, try giving fresh home made fruit juices to your baby via Sippy cups. Try not to add any extra sugar to the juices, fruits have abundant sugars in them:). Explain your baby know how to hold & suck from the cup. Purpose is to acquaint them with new cups & different flavours. Let them know that their favourite juice will not find place in the bottle. This will help babies develop taste as well as encourage them to use cups with bottles.
Now, since your baby is accustomed to the non spill cups, practise the bottle weaning slowly once he has a good grip on the cup. It will come sometime around 9-12months.
3. Gradual Transition :
Complete transition from bottles to cups is an emotional one for most of the babies. Especially for the ones who have been taking 4-6 bottles a day. Hence, ensure that all bottles are not weaned off suddenly one fine day. That may lead to lot of dismay & heartburn for the toddler. Try giving a quarter milk from Sippy cup initially, rather than forcing him to finish off complete milk at a go. Try weaning off all 3-4 bottles of the day in a span of 15-20days. Morning & night bottles are closest to heart, so allow them to go in the last. Begin weaning off with the noon & evening bottle, then morning one & last should be the night one. Let him know that If he’ll drink with his favourite Sippy cup in the noon, he will get his night bottle. Let that excitement remain for next some days:).
4. Make the transition colorful & warm :
Market is booming with those pretty cups. Sometime, I get tempted to try one for me also..Lol;). Get one which has your toddler’s favourite colour or character, to act as a booster. Bottles even act as an object of security, hence during this phase, you may need to hold your baby close to you for that warmth. Give him the warmth while his initial intakes from Sippy cup.
5. Encourage :
Let him know that its time to drink milk like mamma and papa. He has grown into a big boy now. Let him also observe how older kids drink milk. A baby adopts to things easily in the company of other kids. Reinforce the encouragement in front of other members & applaud him once the milk is finished. Give him his favourite tattoo/toy for his achievement as and when every bottle gets replaced. Applause creates an excitement & helps kids adopt transitions easily.
6. Try changing the milk flavour :
Whole milk tastes yummy indeed, so why not change the taste by diluting the milk with some water in bottle. Once the taste of milk changes in bottles, he will feel discouraged. While experimenting this, offer whole non-diluted milk in Sippy cup instead. They can easily differentiate the taste & slowly their liking will develop towards the milk in cup. In the meantime, try giving them banana or strawberry thin shakes. Once they taste shakes in cups & love the flavour, they will automatically forget their loved bottles. While experimenting, do ensure that there remains a balance of all combinations. Don’t just shift 100% to shakes or juices, else these tricks may deter them from drinking pure milk instead.
7. Night bottles :
It can be the most difficult to wean off, let it go in the last. Try making your baby drink milk from his cup after his dinner time & 10-15 minutes before bed time. Keep the rest bed time rituals more exciting in this phase, so that the baby gets easily distracted from his bottle. Cuddle him up during the nights. Share some lovely rhymes & stories so that he gets distracted easily and have a comfortable sleep forgetting his bottles.
Further, once they leave bottles, it is for sure that for some days there will be tantrums thrown. Keep on catching them, don’t get discouraged or pause the efforts. Continue with some hard heart. It might lead to reduction in normal milk intake by the toddler as well. If it happens then give more of curd, paneer/tofu, egg, other nutritional solids, so that the nutrient intake remains as such. It will be little difficult without bottle for some time but the outcomes will be quite satisfying.
How did your experience go wrt Bottle weaning? Share some more tips right in the comment section not mentioned here so that community gets to know more of the tips. It’s really an uphill task for some mums, while easy for others!
Happy Bottle weaning Moms & dads!