Weaning Your Baby From The Bottle

Tips and advice on weaning your baby from bottle feeding to using a cup a little easier for you and your child.

Most doctors today are especially strict on parents taking the bottle away from their little ones by age 1. Some parents, however, have a harder time with this. You've probably heard all kinds of advice but it's really up to you to decide what will work best for your child.

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND

For some parents, the task is as simple as taking the bottle away. Throw it out, hide it in the cupboard, whatever. Just don't let your child see it again. Out of sight, out of mind. This only works on the calm, easy-going children. Those babies that go with the flow of the world around them. If this is your child, most parents envy you.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL

For children like my son, it requires some thinking. He's willing to hand over the bottle if I'm willing to give him something better. So I bought him a special cup with bright colors but still see-thru so he could watch as he drank it. The best starter cups are the ones with a spout shaped slightly like a nipple. Gerber makes a good one for that in-between stage from bottle to cup. And always put your child's favorite drink in the cup. I never put juice in a bottle anymore, only in his cup. Having to choose between a bottle of formula or a yummy cup of cold juice, my son chose the cup.



When the doctor gives you the go-ahead to give your child cow's milk, NEVER put it in a bottle. Children stick to the bottle only for security reasons. That formula tastes disgusting! So once again, if asked to choose, most children will pick the better tasting.

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Reward your child when he/she uses the cup. Clap when he holds the cup, even if he doesn't take a sip. Show the child that you are proud he's considering it. If the child drinks, give him a cookie, a sticker, a favorite toy, whatever your child loves.

QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

Some children hold onto their bottles because they love the secure feeling of mom or dad holding them and feeding them. Sometimes all you need to do is spend more time holding and touching your child. At bedtime, read a book together. At lunch time, hold your child in your lap while feeding them spoon foods. When your child wakes up, play a game together. Sometimes all it takes is a little extra attention on your part to make the child realize he doesn't need the bottle anymore.

STUBBORN AS A MULE

Some children simply will not give it up. They may cry for it constantly, refuse to take anything but it. This can work away at a parents nerves but it's important you keep trying. Some tips that might help:

Take away all but one. Choose your child's favorite or your favorite and use only that one.

Only give in when the child cries for it. Don't just give them the bottle. Try a cup first and if they refuse, go ahead and give the bottle.

Limit bottle feedings. Most children have a certain time of day when they feel they must have a bottle to continue functioning. For some, it may be first thing in the morning. For others, night time or nap time. Only give your child a bottle at this one special time.

Be patient. Some children become more attached to bottles than others. This doesn't mean you're a bad parent. Just don't stop trying. If it takes your child a little longer, that's okay

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