How to Wean Your Baby Off the Bottle

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How to Wean Your Baby Off the Bottle

There comes a time in all babies’ lives, when it is time to switch from their beloved bottle to a cup. However, this milestone can be difficult for many little ones. In fact, babies rarely want to give up their bottles very easily. 

Experts typically recommend that babies stop using their bottles around 12 months of age. However, many toddlers are still using their bottles. For some little ones, it is hard to give up the comfort of the bottle, and many parents enjoy the fact that it is a mess-free option.

However, by age one, parents need to be ready to start weaning their baby off of the bottle and on to bigger and better things. Just like any ultra-comforting vice, it can be hard for your baby to quit the bottle cold turkey, so it may be a slower transition. Once you and your baby are ready, you can start slowly weaning your baby off the bottle, by phasing it our one feeding session at a time. 

This is a great time to introduce open training cups or sippy cups as they can be easier for your child to get used to as they become less dependent on the bottle. Sometimes, this goes smoothly, and after 4-5 weeks, your baby will be off the bottle and using only cups. However, this isn’t always the case.

Here are a few other tips to help you and your little one with this transition.

  • Time your transition. The bottle is often a source of comfort for baby, so don’t try to push the transition when your child is tired, hungry or sick. Also don’t try when you are doing a shift in your baby’s normal routine.
  • Be Patient. Changing from the bottle is a big transition, especially for older babies. It can be as much of a change as getting a new babysitting or starting a new daycare, so be patient if you baby isn’t exactly on board with this big change.
  • Take it slow. Put less milk, formula, or breast milk in your baby’s bottle every feeding, and finish their feeding in a cup. Then slowly decrease the amount of liquid in the bottle while increasing the liquid in the cup. Eventually, they will understand that the cup is what they want to drink out of.
  • Hide the bottle. Sometimes, with babies it can be as simple as out of sight, out of mind. If your baby can’t see the bottle, they may not cry and reach for it and may realize when they’re hungry or thirsty, they need to go to the cup.

If you have questions about weaning your baby off their bottle or other health-related concerns regarding your baby’s feeding habits, Continuum Pediatrics is here to help. We know many parents have questions about this process and this time in their child’s life. You can call our office directly to make an appointment at 817-617-8600 today so our team of pediatricians can help.