You snuggle up to your little one and they relax in your arms as they suck back their bottle. It is a comfort to them and to you as well. But when it comes time to wean your little one from a bottle, it can be so hard! They love the bottle so much and you feel stressed just thinking about how you are going to take it away. You are worried about them not taking milk any other way, other than the bottle. Will they get enough calories? If they don’t drink enough will it affect their sleep?
- Weaning can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips for you to make this process easier:
- Decrease the amount of milk in the bottle. You can do this slowly by decreasing by 1 oz every few days or nights. So, if your little one takes 6 oz in a bottle overnight, you can start by giving them 5 oz for a few days then go down to 4 oz. Continue until they are only taking 2oz then cut out the bottle after that.
- If you have an older baby over the age of one year old, you can use a different percentage of milk to help decrease the calories your little one is getting in the bottle overnight. You might find they don’t eat much solid food during the day which is an indication they are possibly getting too many calories from their milk intake. You can try giving them 2% or even 1 % overnight. This will decrease their caloric intake and you will notice they start to eat more solids. Once you get rid of the bottles overnight, you can decrease the volume of milk you are giving during the day.
- Wean one bottle at a time. Go slow, wean one bottle every 3-7 days. Offer a snack instead of that bottle you are trying to wean and offer milk in their favorite sippy cup with meals.
- Change up your bedtime routine so that you aren’t sitting in the same location that your little one has a bottle. Move that bottle to the beginning of your bedtime routine if you have a little one that likes to bottle to sleep. Make sure to brush their teeth after the bottle to prevent tooth decay.
- Cold turkey! Don’t be scared, often kids surprise you and do really well. This method is the quickest way to say bye-bye to that overnight bottle if your little one is older than 6 months. Make sure to offer a few more little bottles during the day to make up for taking them away at night. If you have an older toddler, that has bottles during the day and night sometimes going cold turkey is key to getting them to eat more solids and sleep better at night.
How much milk should they be getting?
A major reason to wean a toddler (18 months to 2.5 years) of the bottle is that too much milk intake can affect the body’s ability to absorb iron leading to anemia. You may have a toddler that loves milk so much and doesn’t eat much in terms of solids. Weaning their milk intake will help make your child hungry and you will find they will start to eat more solids. Foods that are rich in iron include Beans, Dark leafy vegetables, dried fruit such as apricots or raisins, iron-fortified cereals, bread or pasta, peas, seafood, and meats: red meat, pork, and poultry. It is recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics to say good-bye to the bottle before your baby is 18 months old.
At the Mama Coach, we are so passionate about helping families in every stage of their journey. We are here for you!!! If you need help with your toddler’s sleep and weaning the bottles, please reach out here.