April 05, 2018

Why Should You Wean Your Baby Off the Bottle?

The bottle has been a major part of your baby's life. At some point, they will have to move on and see the benefits of a cup.

You have spent many months working with bottles. You have filled them, cleaned them, and filled them again. However, the day will come where your baby is ready to become a toddler and drink from a cup. There are benefits for your baby to kick the bottle and step up to something new

Baby Bottles and Teeth

If your baby started teething at the average age of 4-7 months, then they have adjusted to the feel of biting the bottle nipple and drinking. But over time, your baby is no longer going to just sit for a feeding in your arms. A toddler on the go may carry a bottle with them wherever they go and sip milk or juice. This can all lead to teeth becoming decalcified and prone to cavities early on. Though one year olds should have a visit with a dentist, not all babies do. These cavities can go unchecked for years. The problem with that is baby teeth hold the place of permanent teeth. Tooth decay can be painful, but it can also affect speech, eating habits, and adult teeth.

Another concern with bottle drinking is milk consumption. While on formula, your baby will drink up to 32 ounces of milk a day. Once your little one becomes a toddler, they only need between 16 to 24 ounces of milk, or two to three servings a day. The bottle may interrupt your baby's exploration into solid foods because they are so full on milk and liquids. Also, your baby will be on whole milk after the age of 1, which means that they may miss out on nutrients like iron if they are not eating a balanced diet for their age.

How to Wean Your Baby Off the Bottle

When your child is about six months, they are more likely able to hold a sippy cup as well as a bottle. A sippy cup has features of both a bottle and a cup. When your baby is done with the bottle, they will be able to have an alternative for drinking. This will be less stressful when the time comes.

Allow your child to play with a cup in the bathtub or water table. This playtime will aid in coordination needed to hold the cup and holding its contents inside. It is also a fun way to see cause and effect when the cup is tipped over.

Over time, you can phase out the bottle or remove them cold turkey. No matter what you choose, be creative with your child. Allow them to choose their next cup and encourage them as they grow into a bigger child. The encouragement will help them, however you can expect withdrawal. This is especially true if your little one was attached to the bottle. You may need to focus on another object that will soothe them when they start to miss the bottle. However, it is important not to regress. Once they are off the bottle, remove them from the house.

Your little one is growing up and will have positive results. If you are having problems, talk to your doctor about other hints and tips to wean your baby off the bottle.

 

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