Getting a toddler to fall asleep without a bottle can seem like a hard to achieve goal. It doesn’t have to be. Check out these 7 easy tips to wean 2 years old off a bottle at night.
There is something about a bottle that no toddlers want to give up that easily at bedtime.
After all, it is nourishment and sucking is so soothing for them.
If you haven’t weaned your baby off the bottle when they were around 9 to 12 months, count yourself in for the long battle with your toddler about getting rid of that nighttime bottle.
I was laid back and didn’t care much about weaning bottle at night until he turned 2.
WEAN YOUR TODDLER
OFF A BOTTLE
WITH THIS EASY TO FOLLOW TIPS
Part of the reason was, it was easy to get him to go to sleep. My bad!!
When I tried taking away bottle from him at 2, it was way harder than I thought. He was too attached and dependent on it to go to sleep.
It was hard to break the association between a bottle feeding and sleeping at this age for sure.
After a couple of weeks of nighttime crying and struggle, we finally weaned him off a bottle at night.
Here are 7 easy tips to wean 2 years old off a bottle at night that will even work for younger babies.
Recommended Reading: 21 Days to Peace and Quiet Review 2020: Sleep Train your baby with Support
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- Why Should you Stop Bedtime Bottle?
- How Old Should a Baby Stop Using a Bottle?
- 7 Easy Tips to Wean 2 Years Old Off a Bottle at Night
- 7 Easy Tips to Wean 2 Years Old Off a Bottle at Night : Conclusion
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Why Should you Stop Bedtime Bottle?
There are health concerns associated with bedtime bottle feeding past 15 months of age. By this age, most of the toddlers start eating a varied diet including solid foods. So the calories from the bottle of milk become unnecessary extra calories at night.
Early Childhood Longitudinal study published in 2011 showed that children who were using bottles beyond two years were more likely at the risk of obesity for up to three years compared to those who had given up the bottle earlier (1).
Not only that, once your baby’s teeth start to come, falling asleep with a bottle at night is a big no-no unless you like visits to the dentist.
A bottle at night will increase the chance of tooth decay because of the natural sugar in milk (2).
“There is an emerging evidence-base that suggests that when a baby is breast fed on demand and through the night after 12 months of age following the introduction of solid foods, there is a potential link with dental decay.
The age of one is an important milestone. Parents who are bottle-feeding are strongly advised to withdraw the bottle by this time and mothers who are breastfeeding may wish to consider reducing night-time feeds. Those who choose to continue breastfeeding should get preventative advice from their dentist so the baby has a low sugar diet and its teeth are regularly brushed with a fluoride toothpaste”President of the British Society of Pediatric Dentistry (BSPD) Claire Stevens
Another good reason to wean the nighttime breastfeeding or bottle feeding is, they will be dependent on the bottle and won’t self-soothe when they wake up at night. So, if you are trying to sleep train your toddler, the first thing to consider is breaking nighttime feeding association with sleep.
How Old Should a Baby Stop Using a Bottle?
The American Academy of pediatrics recommends weaning off nighttime feeding before a baby is 18 months of age.
The first factor to consider is the baby’s age when deciding if your baby is ready to wean off at night feeding. Up until your baby is 6 months old, he needs nighttime feeding. As they grow older, they do sleep in a long stretch of sleep (5-6 hours). By 9 months of age, many babies do not need a nighttime feed as their nutritional needs are met by a variety of diets including solid foods. Usually, by their first birthday, they do not need nighttime feeding.
So a good time to stop the bedtime bottle would be around 12 – 13 months of age.
7 Easy Tips to Wean 2 Years Old Off a Bottle at Night
Warning: It won’t be easy. Get ready for bedtime crying and tantrum for a few nights in raw. Wait, you have already tested it and looking for some tips? No worry, these tips will help you get your little one to leave his bottle.
Consider a Sippy Cup
Before you go on to employ any of these tips, you need to purchase a sippy cup for him. You need to involve him in buying decision. Take him with you to the store or show him the choices he has at Amazon. Let him pick his own sippy cup.
Another important thing to do is talk to him about it. You need to start telling him that sippy cup is for bigger kids. Everyday continuous reminders work better and prepare them to ditch their bottle.
Once you get your sippy cup, ask them to open it. Obviously, you are the one opening it but let them help you. Remind him about why he has a sippy cup.
Now that you have your sippy cup in place, you need some solid strategies to make your life a little easier.
1.Introduce a Sippy Cup at Daytime
When you are trying something new with kids, it is always a good idea to make a change at a happier time of the day. Usually, during lunchtime, they wouldn’t care much about their bottle. So, start introducing a sippy cup at lunchtime.
Offer them a sippy cup with little milk in it and encourage them to drink it. If encouragement means distracting him with your silly dancing or singing, then be it.
Introduce a reward system for drinking milk from a sippy cup. Trust me, they are not that hard to please!! Stickers will do the trick.
2. Gradually Take away Bottle at Daytime
Slowly reduce the number of times your kid gets his bottle during the daytime. You want to eliminate all the daytime bottles except the nighttime bottle.
Bedtime bottle is a little harder to take away from especially when they need a bottle to fall asleep. For that, you need a solid strategy.
Here is what you want to do
- Eliminate the bottle at Lunch: As mentioned earlier, bottle is least important to kids at lunchtime. Instead, offer milk in a sippy cup with his lunch.
- Eliminate the bottle at dinnertime: Once they get used to sippy cup at lunchtime, after couple of days, take away bottle at dinner time and give them milk in sippy cup.
- Eliminate the morning bottle: Next, you want to target morning bottle. Once he wakes up, bring him straight to breakfast table and introduce a sippy cup with little milk in it and encourage him to drink it.
- Tackle the bedtime bottle: If your baby has started drinking from a sippy cup during daytime, he should be okay drinking from a sippy cup at night. If your baby had a good dinner at night, he doesn’t need extra milk for nourishment. At this point, you can skip the bottle all together. But if he needs bottle to put himself to sleep than you need dilution method as mentioned below.
3. Dilute Milk in the Bottle
While you are making him comfortable drinking milk from a sippy cup during the daytime, slowly start diluting your milk with water for bedtime feeding. Watering down his milk at night gradually over several nights may encourage him to give up a bottle as it is not desirable anymore.
4. Change your Toddler’s Nighttime Routine
You may already have a good sleep routine for your toddler, but trust me, changing it will be good for the long run. You can start giving him a bottle with diluted milk or milk in a sippy cup right after dinner or 30 min prior to bedtime followed by brushing his teeth and other nightly routines as usual.
This way you can slowly start breaking the association between bottle and sleeping.
5. Introduce Lovey
At this age, a bottle is more of a comfort than nutrition for them. Encourage cuddling with his favorite stuffed toys at bedtime. This may help reduce the stress of not having a bottle at bedtime.
6. Get Rid of Bottles
If nothing works, go cold turkey. Just ditch the bottle. If you have patience, go for this route. Except for the few nights of tantrums and fights, this is the fastest method for weaning off the nighttime bottle.
Before you do this, start talking to your toddler about it. Involve him in ditching all the bottles in the recycling bin. You want to remove all the bottles from the house with him. This will make your kid understand that bottles are physically not there.
At this point, you need a solid nighttime routine to replace the bottle for your toddler. You may want to get in bed with your toddler and red a book to him or give him a lovey for snuggling.
7. Choose your Battle Wisely
No one likes the change including kids. If you are trying to change habits during stressful times, it can be very difficult.
If your toddler is going through a stressful time like going to a new daycare, starting school, or any other major changes you may want to hold off until things start to settle.
These tips should take the bottle away from your toddler. If you are still struggling, check out this Weaning Night Feedings Guide by a Sleep consultant.
In this detailed 3-step guide you will learn how to reduce or eliminate night feeds for your baby/toddler. This amazing, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide was developed by Jilly Blankenship, a Neonatal nurse, and a lactation consultant.
In this guide, you will learn:
- What you can do during the day to help night weaning go easier
- Pro feeding tips for distracted babies and toddlers
- How to increase your toddler’s appetite for solids
- Night-by-night guide to wean off breastfeeding or bottles
- The #1 thing that will get your baby sleeping through the night
And much more. This guide is perfect for babies and toddlers. For less than $15, you can get step-by-step guide from a sleep consultant. It can’t go better than that.
If you have one stubborn kid, who is not ready to give away his bottle, you may want to consider buying this guide. This guide will ensure smooth weaning from nighttime nursing or bottle. You can get your Weaning Night Feedings Guide HERE.
7 Easy Tips to Wean 2 Years Old Off a Bottle at Night : Conclusion
Here you go, mamas!! Take it slow and steady, you will get there I promise. Remember one thing, whether you decide to gradually take away the bottle or go cold turkey, consistency is key. Follow the same routine every day and do not give in to their tantrum at bedtime.
- Gooze RA, Anderson SE, Whitaker RC. Prolonged bottle use and obesity at 5.5 years of age in US children. J Pediatr. 2011;159(3):431-436. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.02.037
- Peres K G, Nascimento G G, Peres M A et al. Impact of prolonged breastfeeding on dental caries: a population-based birth cohort study. Pediatrics 2017; 140: 20162943.
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