Did you know that by 13 months old there should be NO bottles in your baby’s life?!
If that sounds just a little bit scary, in this video, I’m going to walk through the 2 ways & 2 paths you can choose to transition off the bottle and why this is causing problems in their sleep.
I’m excited to talk with you about transitioning off the bottle!
Now, I’m not even saying that there should be no bottles after 12 months because I think so, but this is per the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is a developmental milestone where no toddler should be drinking a bottle (but you see it everywhere!)
So I’m going to give you everything you need to make the transition off the bottle and make this a really smooth time.
First, before I jump in… if you have a baby/toddler (and you probably do because this is geared towards 11-15 month olds) we have a FREE gift for you to help you solve night wakings! Inside my FREE 4 Steps to Solve Night Wakings course, you’ll get bite sized videos to help you start strategies TONIGHT to help you and your toddler feel better with more sleep.
Now, today we’ll go through 2 different strategies for transitioning off the bottle – cold turkey or slow wean off. Cold turkey is what I love to use – I like to rip the bandaid off and it’s quick! But there are options to go through it slowly.
The AAP recommends in their guidelines that at 12 months old, the child should be off the bottle. We give a grace period and say 13 months, but in essence, developmentally, a toddler needs to be learning to drink from open cups or sippy cups and a bottle cannot offer that kind of developmental support.
This means bedtime feed also.
When I say NO bottles, I mean N-O bottles!!
So, what are your options?
First, circle a date on the calendar and say no more bottles.
I actually did this as Hattie turned 12 months old (yes, on her birthday!)
And then the next day I offered her milk in a sippy cup instead of her water.
I’ll be honest, some babies won’t love going cold turkey. They might be irritable, and not want to drink milk instead right away. (Temperament is something to consider here!!)
My youngest, Hattie, is stubborn so no, she didn’t start just drinking milk from a sippy cup. It took her a couple weeks to get used to it. But I knew she was getting dairy in other ways and I had talked to our pediatrician and walked through our plan and it was okay.
So remember, if you go cold turkey, that doesn’t mean your baby wants that, but also remember that it just takes a couple weeks and it’ll be okay. A little bit of irritability is really all you’ll see.
The other option is to slowly wean off the bottle. So how do you do this? Well, you replace one of the bottle times of the day with a sippy cup.
Now personally, I would leave the very last bottle in the bedtime routine (and this is more for you mentally, knowing this is the most important one!!).
So if you’re giving a few bottles and you want to cut down on one, maybe you take the mid-morning bottle out and replace it with a sippy cup of water with a snack.
And then the next week you remove the bottle and introduce a sippy cup another time, and you keep going that way until you’re down to the last bottle.
I would suggest not to take longer than a month to make this transition. That means that last week the bedtime routine is your only bottle.
And then when you get to the date where you stop, that’s it. You’ve done it! You made the transition off the bottle!
HOW MILK AFFECTS BEDTIME
Now, obviously, the bedtime bottle has been a staple for 12 months. The first 6 months, their primary nutrition comes from the bottle.
By 6 months, they’re starting to eat solids, and especially at 10, 11, 12 months, they’re eating a lot of solid food! NOW, their primary source of nutrition is the solid food they’re eating.
This will come into play when your baby knows they’ll have a lot of milk offered. My philosophy (that I share with some of my registered dietician friends) is that children will choose milk over trying a new food because milk is their comfort, and this is why milk during bedtime is a disruption!
If your baby is moving from dinner immediately to bedtime routine, knowing that a big old cup of milk is waiting for them, they will more than likely NOT eat as much of their dinner knowing that their milk is coming.
What I would suggest you doing (and of course, talk to your pediatrician!) is to take what you’re giving them before bed and split it up. Offer half of milk at dinner and half at bedtime to help them recognize that milk is a beverage and not a main meal.
Now, the other thing is, how it affects sleep: the sugar in milk can disrupt sleep as the natural sugars in it can cause a crash… and that’s not something we need to have during bedtime!
HOW MILK AFFECTS MORNINGS
How many of you guys are finding your young toddler is ferocious with milk first thing in the morning? They wake up and they need their milk in their bottle right away.
This could be triggering a lot of issues throughout the night.
If they know they can get up and have milk in a bottle as soon as they get up, they’re going to wake up and want their milk.
Instead, trade the bottle for a sippy cup and serve the milk at breakfast to give them some time to wait a little bit.
You don’t have to be stressed running around first thing getting their milk! You can help them learn that milk comes in a sippy cup and at breakfast.
- Make your plan. So, at 13 months, pick a date! No more bottles!
- Choose your path. Are you going to do cold turkey or wean off the bottle?
- Stay committed but give your toddler & yourself some grace with this! They’re not instantly going to take to this, but moving forward with this change is a GOOD thing! They’re growing, they’re healthy, and you get to help them stay moving on that trajectory.
It’s normal to feel anxious about this, but that’s why we want to share that content because a lot of times this is glossed over, so we want you to feel like you know how to handle such a big transition!!
Oh, and remember – If you are looking for a supplemental FREE resource to help you make sleep a thing because your young toddler is waking up throughout the night and they’re milk crazy, please download this free course. It’s ready for you! My 4 Steps to Solve Night Wakings!! You can hear everything in under 30 minutes and you can have a game plan to go through TONIGHT. Download my FREE 4 Steps to Solve Night Wakings Guide here!
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