Prolonged bottle-feeding is often associated with problems such as increased chances of infections, obesity, dislike for solid foods and dental decay. That is why the advice is to stop bottle-feeding by the first birthday at the latest!
By the way, stopping bottle, doesn’t mean stopping milk. The baby is ready to drink milk from a cup or a glass by 10 months. So you can just switch from feeding bottle to a glass or a cup!
Follow the following strategy:
Start this process by 9 months and keep a strict deadline of stopping bottle-feeds by the first birthday. Follow these easy steps.
- At breakfast and meal-times, start offering milk and other liquids (juices and water) in a cup- either a normal cup or a closed, snouted ‘Sippper/Sippy’ cup.
- First stop the morning bottle, then the afternoon/evening ones and last, the night bottle (which is often used as a soothing/sleeping bottle!).
- Go on progressively diluting the milk-feeds with extra water in the bottle you plan to stop, finally giving only water before the final stoppage.
- Stopping daytime bottles becomes easy if you make the meals and meal-times interesting. Remember, not always the bottle is demanded by the baby to satisfy hunger. Many times it is demanded just as a substitute for comfort or company!
- Offer encouragement at every step.
- Once you have stopped bottle-feeding, either throw off your bottles or keep them hidden. Out of sight, out of mind!