The blessed bottle is hard to give up for some. For those Parents who started off breast feeding and went on to use a bottle, or those who started out the gate with bottles or for those parents that now use both; the bottle brings bonding not just to child but to parent.
BUT…what happens when the feedings become more than just that and the habit of the sucking reflex becomes pacifying? You then realize , bad habits have been created. They may be over fed, or you might be using the bottle to sleep train as well as keeping the child quiet in certain situations . It may be time to say goodbye to the bottle, showing your child has moved on in their development. Here is what you can do in just a few steps to make sure the transition is smooth, soon those nighttime feedings will be gone for good.
Mealtimes need to be consistent with quality and the right quantity of balanced meals and snacks in place so that you are only left with 3 feedings via bottle: Morning, Afternoon and Before Bed.
The Afternoon bottle will be the first to go as with the meals in place and a solid routine sorting those mealtimes your child should be in taking enough solid food to not need an 8oz milk feed as a supplement. Instead a snack is the replacement.
Within 5 days of doing so and your child showing the willingness to now have those snacks which should be a handful you will successfully move onto the next step still doing morning and before bed.
The Morning bottle is the next to go, the reason being is that your child has slept their full 12 hours and be ready to re-fuel on a big breakfast. Always offer breakfast first at the table or high chair, once some food as been eaten place the milk cup down in front of them to drink while eating their breakfast. Do for 5 days and then move on the next step.
Finally is the Evening Before Bed bottle. Why? because it’s what brings the most comfort of what our children have been used to in association with sleep also the sucking reflux after a long day is the habit created that pacifies, comforts, before that sleepy mode. By now you have a pretty solid mealtime routine set up around 5 mealtimes including snacks before you get to bed time. After the bath , you offer the milk in a Sippy cup, or a strawed cup, don't offer a bottle ,this allows them to see this cup is different but that they are still drinking their milk. Move on to reading bed time stories as you encourage them to drink more of their milk .
Most parents look to give up the bottles around 12 to18 months which is great but if you are a parent who is now just doing so and your child is 3 now is the time as you do not want any habits to hinder speech and food challenges.