Ashley Andrew, The Mama Coach- Simi Valley, CA

November 18, 2021

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The thought of weaning off the bottle can be a very scary thought! In today’s blog post I’m going to share 4 stress-free tips to help wean off the bottle!

When Should You Wean Off the Bottle

Once your baby reaches 12 months of age, there is this great shift in their nutrition where milk becomes secondary to their solids. Prior to this, between 6-12 months of age we really focused on milk as their primary source of calories while introducing solids, but as your little one has grown and mastered solids we now can let meals take front and center.

 

That is why around 12 months of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to begin weaning off the bottle and having them completely weaned off by 15 months.

 

baby with bottle

Why Should We Wean Off the Bottle

As awesome and helfpul as the bottle is during the first year of life, it can cause some unwanted health risks if we continue beyond that 12-15 months range.

  • Obesity- studies have shown that toddlers drinking from a bottle at 24 months had increased rates of obesity at age 5 due to the increase in calories per day.
  • Tooth Decay- Milk has sugar and when that sugar sits on your baby’s teeth if they walk around with a bottle in their mouth all day can cause tooth decay. 
  • Oral Issues- the nipple of the bottle can affect teeth positioning, shape of the roof of the mouth and jaw.
  • Anemia- Toddlers that receive most of their calories of cow’s milk can become too full to want to eat a variety of other foods that are rich in iron. Cow’s milk has less iron compared to iron-fortified formulas.

4 Tips for Weaning Off the Bottle

Weaning off the bottle can be as slow or quick of a process as you and your child need!

Tip #1: Slowly Decrease Amount in the Bottle

This can be done by decreasing 1 oz (30ml) of milk every 3-5 days.

For a slower transition, decrease 1 oz for 1 bottle of the day every 3-5 days.

For a quicker transition, decrease all bottles by 1 oz every 3-5 days.

Tip #2: Wean 1 Bottle at a Time

Weaning 1 whole bottle every 3-7 days.

I also suggest starting with the bottle your baby is least attached to.

Continue to drop bottles from least attached to most.

*Most babies find the first morning bottle or the bedttime bottle the one they love the most.

Tip #3: Move Feed to Before Bath

To help drop the before bed bottle, try moving the bottle up in your bedtime routine.

My favorite place for the bottle is before the bath, as this allows lots of time between feeding and sleep!

BONUS TIP: Be sure to change the location of this bottle from your usual place. So if you normally have that last bottle in the rocker in the nursery, head to the living room on the couch with lights on!

Tip #4: Cold Turkey!

I know…I know…I said “stress-free”, but you would actually be surprised to know that  toddlers can acutally do really well with weaning off the bottle cold turkey, even when we think it will go horribly wrong!

Note: if you do wean off cold turkey, just be sure to offer lots of solids and milk in a sippy cup to help replace those calories!

I hope you found this helpful! Be sure to comment below with questions or how you are handling weaning off the bottle and don’t forget to repin to Pinterest!

Looking for extra sleep support with your baby, check out my one on one sleep packages where we go deep! We work together to help you find the right schedule for your baby and I help you reach your specific goals. If you want to learn more, check them out here or book a one on one call with me here.

PS….don’t forget to download your free Sleep Tips Guide! Get it here!

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