Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saying Goodbye to the Bottle

I read in a book somewhere that most pediatricians recommend that you wean a baby from their bottle at a year. Or 18 months at the latest. My daughter is 15 months old and she still gets a bottle. I will admit that a part of me may not be wanting to let my baby grow up (why can't they stay little forever?). Another part of me will admit that she likes to have a bottle before bed. I know, I know, that is a bad habit. She DOES know how to put herself to sleep and she will go down without a bottle right before, but she prefers one first.

I asked my pediatrician at what age he recommended weaning from a bottle and he said he recommended starting at a year and then seeing how it goes and doing what works for you and the baby. He said that every baby is different and that moms know them best. So true! :)

I told myself I would wean my little girl at 18 months. I wasn't worried about it because I have family members who didn't take bottles away from their kids until they were almost two. But then a friend told me how hard it was to wean her little one and how she wished she had done it sooner because her daughter had a really hard time. She would drink juice from a cup, but would only take milk from a bottle. When they tried to wean her, she would wake up hungry in the middle of the night because she refused milk from a sippy before going down. My friend told me that the longer you wait, the harder it is.

So now I want to hear from YOU!
At age age did you/do you plan to wean from a bottle? What age do you recommend?
Would you do anything differently next time around?
What techinque did you use? Did you go cold turkey or slowly transition from bottle to sippy cup?
What advice would you give a parent going through this for the first time?


Tannie Datwyler said...

Claire had a bottle at least 5 times a week for almost the first year of her life (product of the fact that I worked). When she was just over 12 months I weaned her from nursing, but she still got a formula bottle (then cow's milk) in the morning and at bedtime.

When she was probably 13 or 14 months she no longer needed a bottle in the morning. Then I started giving her a sippy cup with milk in it at night instead. I warmed the milk up in the microwave (which she liked for a while) and I rocked her and held her just like I did when she had the bottle, so that it wasn't a big deal.

This worked like a charm - I never had a problem getting her off a bottle really. I know what you mean about wanting them to stay babies forever though. I think I'll have a hard time with Linus because I know now how fast they grow up.

The other thing is that after a few months (when she was probably close to 15 months, maybe a bit older) she would only drink a few sips of milk from her sippy and she didn't wake up in the middle of the night hungry. I guess she just compensated with calories during the day. She didn't need the nourishment from milk at night, it was just part of a routine.

I would suggest earlier if you want to make it easy on yourself, but that is just from my experience.

Hope that helps.

Diane said...

Ok, I hope you don't get sick of me, but I am not quite at this stage yet...but have a question that is right on track/but the opposite at the same time. Hope you don't mind my asking. ;)
My boy is 9 1/2 months old. He ONLY nurses! He took bottles for a little while, and then one day at stake conference threw up ALL of it at once!! YUCK! (and that's another story), but ever since then he REFUSES a bottle, or formula! Which hasn't been so much of a problem, but now I think my milk is starting to dry up and I don't know what to do! He still should go another 3 months with something! I put a little formula in w/his cereal so he can get used to it, but he hates it, and it makes him throw up his food all day - today he turned dad's nice white shirt orange. Anyway - ANY SUGGESTIONS? sorry to have two topics at once! If I switched brands would that make a difference? I tried different formulas: reg/soy of similac, but no go.

I also love your question Kelly and am excited to learn about all this!

JeriLynn said...

Diane, I have a suggestion.

When my first, Liesl, was 9 months old, she was turning into a terrible nurser. She hadn't been good with a bottle, either. But, at the last minute, I left her with my brother's family while my hubby and I went on a 9 day trip to DC. So she was literally weaned over night. Granted, she had a little formula milk experience, but my SIL just put a couple drops of strawberry syryp in it. By the time we got home, she'd stopped sweetening it, but it sure made Liesl love it! I hope that helps!

JeriLynn said...

Firstly, Liesl weaned herself from a bottle when she got her molars at 12 months. But, to wean her from needing a binkie to go to sleep, I let her suck on a water-filled sippy cup. And she had a stuffed animal transition object. I'm a big fan of water-filled sippies! (Her word for such a thing: "nummy".)

Tannie Datwyler said...


If he really won't take to formula (especially since he throws up) you could try increasing your milk supply. My milk supply was really iffy with my little girl, so I know what that is like. Here are some ideas:

Eat and rest more (yes, that's a pain in the butt). If you increase your caloric intake, that might help.

But, what really worked like a charm for me was pumping. After I fed my daughter I pumped for 10 minutes EVERY FEEDING. I did that for a week (yes, also a pain in the butt) and my milk supply went back up. A double electric pump works the best. If you don't have one, you can rent one from most hospitals for a pretty reasonable price. You'd only need it about a week. I got this tip from a lactation specialist.

Try switching bottles too - that could help. Have you seen a Podee? You could also teach him how to eat really efficiently out of a sippy cup and put the milk in that. Then, you wouldn't even have a problem with switching from bottle to cup.

Another suggestion - don't press the formula on him until he takes a bottle. Keep pumping milk and putting that in the bottle. Keep offering this and then when he accepts the bottle, try the forumla again.

JeriLynn's idea is really good too to see if you can get him to take a bottle.

Also - if you are really desperate you can always starve him off for a few feedings - then he WILL take the bottle (I've never tried this, but some parents say it works). You can keep offering a bottle instead of nursing him (you'd need to pump, because it will screw up your milk supply even more). If he doesn't take it, then just try again in an hour. He's not going to die if he doesn't eat for a few hours, he'll just get hungry enough that he might try the bottle. But, that might seem really mean to you, just do what feels right.

I hope that helps.

mistybown said...

My 3rd baby is almost 8 months right now. I've started to introduce a sippy cup with just water in it so that he gets somewhat familiar with it. By about a year I tend to give fewer and fewer bottles. With my last 2 kids I had them pretty much weaned from bottles not long after they were a year old. I think it has to do with starting early though. I just get tired of washing bottles so I don't mind starting sippy cups!

Megan said...

My son in 11 months old. I introduced a sippy at about 9 months. He does really well with a sippy and takes a bottle twice a day. He gets one when he wakes up and before he goes down for his afternoon nap. From talking to my sis and sil it's easier to wean earlier than later. I hoping to have Lucas weaned completely from a bottle by 13 months due to formula being so expensive!

andrea and heathe said...

hi kelly! i'm glad you told me about this awesome blog! since aiden is only six months old and still refuses a bottle, we won't be much help...sorry!

but i do have to say that working in the 0-2 year old room in a daycare for almost two years did help me form my own opinions on the subject. from what i observed, i think i would try to wean my baby from the bottle by 12 months. the older a child gets, the more attached and the more routine the bottle will be...obviously. and, as the baby gets older and more strong willed, it will be that much harder to fight that battle! i just noticed that the kids whose parents let them keep their bottles longer had the hardest time taking them away.

As for the approach, I think the slowly going from bottle to sippy would be the best but as the others said, one would need to start early. at the daycare, most parents didn’t plan ahead and didn’t even start thinking about the sippy until their child was 12-13 months. they had a hard time introducing the sippy that late so with them, i thought that the "cold turkey" approach seemed to work better but it led to a rough few days/weeks for both parents and baby.

like i said, i am in no way an expert on the subject but these are the things i've observed. good luck with your little cutie! she's so smart and you guys will work it out just fine :)

Maren and Blake said...

I will tell you what we did with Braden. Reading those books that say why you should eliminate the bottle, we decided that the bottle was gone at a year, especially since Braden would drink his milk, water, juice from sippy's all day.

We usually would give him a bottle in the morning and at night before bed. (To get to this point, I just replaced a sippy for one of his bottle feedings during the day until I got to the night and morning.)

Blake & I decided one day that we were done. COLD TURKEY for sure. After his bath (when he usually gets a bottle) we gave him a sippy. I have never heard so much baby cursing. At first he refused it, but finally accepted it and haven't heard anything since. He did the same thing in the morning. Every once in a while he will let us know he isn't happy, but who cares. He still sleeps great through the night.

The only thing I would do differently is switch to a sippy earlier.

Jared and Delia said...

I am no where near an expert in this area, but I do have a few thoughts about it. So far I have never given either of my children bottles and have been able to solely nurse. Even though weaning from nursing and weaning from a bottle is not exactly the same, there are a few things that are the same. Like others have said, introducing the sippy cup earlier is good. When my babies start eating solids I give them a sippy cup to explore with. I put a little bit of water in it and just let them get used to having one around at meal times. As they get older they begin to appreciate it more as a source of nourishment.

Trying different kinds of sippy cups may help. There are ones with tops designed like a cup top, ones with straws (I recommend these because they can drink quickly and they are better for their mouths I have heard), the true "sippy" cups, sport bottle ones, and ones that are almost just like a bottle but not quite.

Just like Tannie, When trying to wean from the bottle at bed time or in the morning I would still cuddle with my baby while he drank from his sippy and make it a really special time to help him not miss his - in my case - nursing time so much.

Good luck!

Erin said...

I stopped nursing Hayden at 10 months, so he only had bottles for two months. I started introducting the sippy at 6 months at every meal. I only gave him bottles in between meals, and I never put anything but formula in it. I switched him right after his first birthday when I knew he was taking milk from a sippy ok. Luckily, he loved the milk and took the sippies really well. I just washed the bottles and took them away so I wouldn't be tempted to give them to him anymore, and I gave him a sippy of milk before bed while we were reading stories. Later I switched it to a sippy of water and let him have it in his crib all night, which I still do.

Erin said...

And Diane, I agree with Tannie. If you are worried about your supply you can do things to increase it. There are some things you can eat like oatmeal that increase your supply. It works on supply and demand, so the more he demands the more milk you will make. It might take a couple days for it to increase, but if you just keep letting him nurse as much as possible it will increase. If you get really desperate there are some herbs you can take like fenugreek.

The Dansies said...

I never gave my baby milk in a bottle. Once she turned one we would do one bottle of formula in the morning and I just started giving her milk in a sippy cup throughout the day. After a couple weeks she was so accustomed to the milk from a cup that she had no problem dropping the bottle. I think the key to all things with kids is consistency. Once you make up your mind to do something you have to stick to it, no matter how hard it is, otherwise your kid will be confused and will never know what to expect and it only gets harder when you try the second time. I say pick a date and stick with it, it might be a long week but it will only be one week (or less).

Jared and Delia said...

Oooh...I like what The Dansies said. She's right. So many challenges I have had with parenting I have created myself - in hindsight. Sticking to your guns is huge.

I just have to ask too...when I talked about milk supply in a post a long time ago on another blog, everyone told me that diet had nothing to do with milk supply and quality - I was told just drinking enough water affected milk supply and that babies take what they need and just leave mom with the rest, but now it does????? I always thought that it did because I have heard a mother's milk is usually weakest around dinner time the most stressful time of the day when you aren't rested and taking care of your nutritional needs as well. Also, many mothers can decrease in milk supply easier if they have multiple children because they are not getting enough rest and good food and are more likely to be stressed. I know this is veering off topic...sorry.

So Diane...with your move you might be drying up a little bit from stress? Possible?

Tannie Datwyler said...

Delia, I am almost certain that your milk is affected by your diet. However from what I've read (in nursing books and online) it doesn't matter so much WHAT you eat, but HOW MUCH you eat. You need to be taking in enough calories to make milk. I am almost certain this is true. Because if you diet to early while nursing you can lose your milk.

I've read several times that your milk will still be good quality desite what you chose to eat. With that being said, I know there are some foods that help to increase supply or can help you get a wanning milk supply back. However, the most important thing is to make sure you get enough calories.

I really think that the make-up of a mother's milk has little to do exactly with what she is eating and more with what her body just does naturally. I don't eat anything particularly special. I eat a pretty heathy diet with splurges for treats too - however I have VERY rich milk. Seriously, when it separates there is a HUGE layer of cream on the top, and my son is HUGE and fat although he does normal 4 hour stretches between feedings. Some moms have very watery milk, and they may be eating a better diet than I am.

I really don't have all the answers. I think this would be a good question for a lactation specialist or a LaLeche leader. Anyone want to tackle that? I have a number for lactation. . .

Megan said...

I know when my son was in NICU and I was trying to get my milk supply to come in, the lactation specialist told me to make sure I was eating enough calories and that I was eating a balanced diet. She didn't state anything in particular to eat, just to make sure that I had a well balanced diet and that I was getting enough sleep.

Megan said...

The other thing is that pumping, like Tannie suggested, really works well. If you pump for ten to fifteen minutes after every feeding, your supply will increase.

Jared and Delia said...

Thank you. That made what I felt I knew about nursing even more clear. It makes sense too that diet affects nursing because you are not supposed to fast while nursing.
I just got conflicting advice for this that made me question what I knew about this topic.
Okay...sorry again for moving the focus around. I'm done. Thanks again for your help. I am so glad I can come to this blog for support and advice.

JeriLynn said...

One thing that really affects my milk supply is how much water I drink. I get sooo thirsty. I tell my water-aversion-prone husband he doesn't know what thirst is. :)

Jared and Delia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared and Delia said...

Okay...I feel like I may have stopped the bottle discussion cold...sorry Kelly.

What do you ya'll think about those transition sippy cups that are half bottle and half sippy cup? Do you think it is worth it or does it just create another step in the weaning process?

Tink said...

Okay, so now that my 4th baby is a year old, I feel like I have a lot of experience with this. My doc always said to have them weaned from the bottle no later than 15 mths. So basically at 1 yr., I just started them on a sippy cup and took away the bottle completely. It worked well with #1and #3. With #4, I started with one sippy a day and then within a week he was completely done with bottles. He also likes his milk warm, which none of my others cared about, but this might help. The sippy I chose first were Avent and he didn't like those, so I went to the Nuby, which have a chewy sort of top like a bottle.

Diane-I have these experiences with a couple of mine. With the throwing up, my 1 yr. old started that in the beginning when I put him on a bottle. I went strictly to Similac Sensitive and he never threw up again. Also, this probably won't help with him, but maybe future children-my doc always said to start a bottle at 2 weeks old so they are used to it. This has worked for me every time. I would give 1 bottle a day and nurse the rest. The one baby I wasn't as good about this with, stopped taking a bottle at 3 mths. and never would drink from a cup either. So make life easier for yourself by doing things sooner than later.

Tara said...

My twins are 2 and still have one or two before and right at bed time...i'm fine w/ it. i have 5 kid and they all loved bottles but usually off by 2 to 2 1/2. just one of those things that i didn't worry about...i figured they'd be off eventually and it's the mommy in me that's not ready to pull it away...they're my last babies.

Kelly A. said...

Thanks everyone!! And thanks Andrea, Maren, and Shaylah for checking out the blog!! :)