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Baby Bottle Weaning

As a parent, it can be emotionally draining and somewhat terrifying to transition your little one away from the bottle. Weaning is often associated with the end of babyhood.  But there is still a lot more to look forward to.

It may be difficult to wean your child from a bottle. Consistency is essential once your decision to wean is made. All caregivers should be aware that your child is transitioning from the bottle to the cup. The process of weaning is usually long and gradual.

Why should I start weaning my baby from the bottle?

There are many good reasons to give up the bottle habit. Whenever a toddler drinks from a bottle, he or she may be filling up on liquids and skipping solids – essentially hindering their appetite for food and nutrients.

Drinking milk or formula from the bottle can also cause some dental and orthodontic problems later in life. Toddlers who sleep with the bottle in their mouths are more likely to develop tooth decay.

At what age should I start weaning my baby from the bottle?

Typically, children can try a cup at 6 months and be weaned off the bottle around 12 to 18 months.

Babies are ready to wean off the bottle when:

  • They are able to sit up on their own
  • They can eat by themselves with a spoon
  • They show more interest in solid foods
  • They follow a regular mealtime routine

What is the best way to wean my child off the bottle?

Introduce the cup when your baby is six months old. Initially, what you serve in a cup will end up on the floor or on your baby, which creates a mess. In most cases, babies can hold a cup and drink from it correctly by the time they are 12 months old.

  • Your child should be weaned during a relatively stress-free time. For example, it is not a good idea to start before the family moves into a new home or when a new sibling has just arrived.
  • You can gradually decrease the number of bottles your child receives every week by introducing the cup at another feeding.
  • Take your time feeding. Have your child hold the cup and tip a tiny amount of liquid into his or her mouth.
  • Replace one feeding, whether it is breast milk or quality baby formula, during the day with a sippy cup after age 8 to 10 months. Choose a feeding when your child usually drinks just a little, rather than a major mealtime. For a week, use the cup at the same feeding time every day.
  • Weaning successfully requires consistency. Make sure your child gets the cup at the designated feeding time and don’t switch back to the bottle.

Final thoughts

The most important thing is to be patient! It is common to make your baby unhappy when you wean him or her, as he or she will not be fond of handing over the bottle. Although it is normal to struggle, consider this your first of many parenting challenges and try to be consistent. Weaning your child off the bottle won’t happen overnight. Continue to work on weaning every day.

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