I said I wanted to have Oakley completely off bottles by January 1. That didn’t happen. I then told myself I wanted her off bottles by the time Dean was born. That didn’t happen. However, last night (April 27), we are 100% transitioned away from bottles. Luckily, it wasn’t an overly complicated process, it just took me actually doing it to make it work. The catalyst was her getting upset over me using one of “her” bottles for Dean and I knew we needed to pull the plug.
If you are looking for a way to completely wean a child off drinking anything at night, this isn’t the blog- just to save you the time of reading.
Oakley hasn’t used a bottle during the day since we came back from Tanzania when she was 13 months old. During the day, she uses straw cups and sip cups. She learned how to use a straw around the age of 14 months and absolutely loves them. I simply did not allow her to drink out of a bottle during the day. Getting your child used to drinking out of other cups will help remove the bottle aspect for naps and nighttime feeds.
She has all but dropped her naps since she turned 16 months old. However, she does sleep 13 hours at night (more on that shortly). I do still give her the chance to nap each day by putting her in her crib, in the dark, with some milk. Naps and nighttime are also the only times she gets milk during the day. It’s a great sleep cue if you are needing one! For naps, she has a milk cup and a water cup.
She is a great nighttime sleeper, as stated above. I always liked to put myself in the shoes of a baby. I know if I was sleeping for 13 hours, I would be waking up thirsty a few times a night. I don’t think Oakley is any different. Due to this, I like to have a water cup and a milk cup in her crib for her in case she gets thirsty at night. Just because I do it, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. It’s simply what makes sense to me to do and it has worked for us thus far.
I know some people think of bottle weaning as not offering any liquids at night or during naps but that simply isn’t the case with us. I always like to give access to water and/or milk to let her know that I know her needs before she does. There is a ton of research on the benefit (to the child) of knowing your child’s needs before they ask for something (more on that in a different blog). For this reason, she never has to ask me for something to drink as it’s always available. It shows her she can depend on me for these basic needs.
For her, she drinks a lot more when she can actually see what she is drinking so I had to do a ton of research on a clear cup that was spill proof. The one I found had amazing reviews and works perfectly! I will link it here.
I took all of the bottles out of her room (she has a little fridge in her room for her milk) so they were out of sight / out of mind. Dean’s typical bottles are smaller and a different color than what hers were so she doesn’t make the association and think his bottles are hers- it hasn’t happened yet and he is almost 8 weeks old (at the time this was written).
Because she drinks milk at night and has all of her baby teeth, it is imperative that she gets her teeth brushed in the morning. I found a great set that comes with a giraffe toothbrush and toothpaste.
It only took a night, but she is completely back to her normal sleep schedule. We simply stopped cold turkey with the bottles and replaces with the new cups. I started at nap (quiet) time and then repeated the same process for her bedtime. I hope this helps- the most important thing is to have them used to other cups during the day so it isn’t as a shock when you take the bottles away!
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