Weaning Toddler Off the Bottle

Weaning a toddler off the bottle is a big challenge for some mothers.

Normally, little tots have a security object that they can hold on to when they feel tension or anxiety. A bottle is a typical security object for them. They scream for it especially after waking up in the morning, before taking a nap in the afternoon, and before going to bed at night. Some mothers want to satisfy their toddler’s needs by giving in to their desires. Some mothers simply go cold turkey. Should we really take this security object away from the crying child? Or let the child hang on to it a little further?

To put things in perspective, drinking milk from the bottle poses some dental and orthodontic problems later in life. Prolonged use of bottle may cause teeth malformation.  Ehen a toddler ends up sleeping with the bottle in his mouth, this will likely cause tooth decay. So, given these unpleasant consequences, should mothers really push the toddler into drinking milk from the cup instead?

We recently had a conversation with a mother who recalled her dilemma on whether to wean her almost 3-year-old son or not. It was a difficult process (with all the crying she has heard and all the tears she has witnessed) but she decided to push through with it gradually anyway as the benefits of weaning outweigh the pleasures of bottle feeding.

Early introduction of sippy cups is helpful so that at an early age the child can familiarize themself with this new object.  But going ‘cold turkey’ and completely withdrawing a bottle may not work for some children as we know how mulish kids can get.

Gradual but consistent use of sippy cups and eventually lid-less cups is a good strategy.

Get your child a cup that shows their favourite cartoon or TV character.

As your child drinks from the cup, cuddle up your child and tell him/her a story. Let your child’s imagination flow as he/she drinks from the cup.

Ensure that your child is getting the proper nourishment that they need with lots of fruits and vegetables. If your child asks for milk before they go to bed, provide them with milk in a cup. Then make your child brush their teeth afterwards.

Encourage your child to drink lots of water to wash away left-over food particles especially the sugar deposits from teeth and gum.

You just have to be patient.

Kids grow and they learn a lot of things from what is available and demonstrated to them.

You have to trust the competency of your child.

[This article was provided to Breastmates website by Gay who is mum to a gorgeous two year old boy]

Give your child a lot of encouragement and praises as they achieve a milestone in their life.

There may be some people who would judge this mother as being “a bit late” in weaning her kid off the bottle. But that does not bother her at all as she knows that she has done the weaning at her child’s own pace and with her own ingenuity.