Moms' Opinion: When Should We Get Rid Of The Bottle?
Sometimes it can be hard to know how much to go by the guidelines, and how much to follow your own intuition; and there are so many moments when raising a child, that you want to do the 'right' thing for them.
One such dilemma, is when toddlers should stop using a bottle; and should move away from their reliance on milk. The official guidelines suggest 12 months, but how strict should this be?
Our awesome community have offered some advice for a 'Moms Query' on Facebook:
"Hi Moms. My toddler has porridge for breakfast most mornings (made with milk) about 9.30am. He will have a few grapes or berries then at about 11ish; he could have toast or banana then a yogurt, or pasta for lunch; or something small but filling.
Then from lunch until dinner he would have maybe raisins and a blueberry wafer, or pack of carrot sticks, Tayto, or bit of an apple; spread out between lunch and dinner. Then for dinner he would have potatoes, veg and meat.
When he goes to bed he would have a bottle of milk. He also gets milk for his midday nap. He won’t go to sleep without a bottle (he will cry until he gets sick or very near getting sick) and he knows if it’s not milk.
My question is, have any mammies got alternatives to milk, tips for getting rid of the bottle, breakfast lunch and dinner ideas suitable for a busy toddler? He eats what we give him. Am I giving him too much throughout the day? He is a very tall boy for his age and extremely active. Thanks in advance."
Phasing Out The Bottle?
Teresa: I wouldn’t worry too much about giving up the bottle; when he’s old enough you can switch him to a sippy cup going to bed, and reduce the milk down. My boy is 3 and always adored his bottle, but once he turned 3 and had good understanding, I just told him he was a big boy now so he didn’t need bottle and now drinks from a mug going to bed.
Ruth: My daughter is nearly 5 and although she gave up the bottle when she was 2, she still loves a cup of warm milk and honey before bed. Maybe wean him onto a sippy cup of milk before going up to bed, with half his normal bottle in bed; and keep reducing it, till he has it all before he goes up to bed in a sippy cup. It must be a comfort thing for him that lets him know its bed time.
Anita: Having it too long can affect how their teeth grow. My special needs son wouldn't give his bottle up, and now his teeth are protruding at front because of the bottle.
Read Next: How Can I Get My Little One To Brush His Teeth?
Things Happen In Their Own Time
Aine: My little girl was very similar, and you know what? I just gave it to her, and when she was 2 and a half she threw it out of the cot and never wanted it again. To be honest I wouldn’t worry, as milk is excellent for toddlers.
Yvonne: My lads took a bottle of milk every night, until they went to school at 5. Both have brilliant teeth and are very strong lads. Can be a comfort thing for some kids, and if it keeps them happy and they getting something from it, I wouldn't worry too much about guidelines.
Angela: I wouldn’t worry ... So many grown-ups love a glass of milk before bed too and it’s supposed to give you better sleep. Kids know what they want, and when they’re ready to change. As long as it’s not over the daily dairy-intake guideline.
Read Next: How To Create A Sleep Routine For Your Toddler
Fab Food Ideas
Elaine: My little one, 17 months, is very similar in both the feeding and drinking of bottles. She constantly looking for something. She's a great eater in the sense of what she'll eat. I also find it hard when it comes to lunch ideas but usually give her finger foods. She loves roasted red peppers, gherkins, beetroot (although a bit messy but I pat it to remove most of the excess juice and cut it up into smaller pieces) also sweetcorn as well. She can be very fussy with bread/ pasta/ rice so it's all a bit of trial and error whether she'll eat it for me.
Claire: His feeding sounds great, am sure he'll let you know if he's hungry. Have you tried pancakes for brekkie? My 1 year old loves them. Or avocado spread on toast. Dinner favourite here is Pasta Bolognese or Shepherd’s pie. If you have a good varied diet yourself, just give him what you’re having but smaller portions.
Helena: Banana pancakes always go down a treat in our house. Just an egg, some mashed banana and fry like an omelette! Yum! Soup is always a good one too!
Read Next: 10 Ways To Encourage Your Baby To Eat Vegetables
Tips For The Transition
Melissa: Santa needed bottles and dummies for some baby reindeer in my house. Only way to get rid of the bottle is to decide on a day to do it when you feel ready (I wouldn't be in too much of a rush yet), involve the child in the decision, and throw them all away so you can't give in. A friend of mine had great success leaving all the dummies out for the pixies and fairies, there was a gift from the fairies in their place the following morning. Best of luck!
Sharon Swap for beaker: Give plenty of water/ milk before bedtime so they're full, and when going to bed they won't bother drinking out of beaky, and will learn to sleep without the sucking to get them off. My 22-month-old old has supper and beaky 2 hours before bed.
Lynda: I used to give mine a bottle in her bedroom going to bed. Then gave her lukewarm milk in a glass in her room. Then I started giving that to her in a quiet dim-lit kitchen. Eventually she decided she didn't want milk just before bed anymore and that was that!
Read Next: How Important Is It For Your Toddler To Snack Regularly?
Fiona: You are providing a healthy diet for a growing boy so well done you. I'm not sure if maybe someone suggested otherwise, but keep going this way unless YOU have any specific concerns. I can honestly say if I could have got my little girl to eat like this as a toddler, I would have been ecstatic. Don't worry about the bottle. My little boy loved his bottle, and then all of a sudden just didn't want it. Don't rush it. He needs it as comfort for now. I find eggs are a healthy and filling option if he likes them. But I think you have it nailed to be honest. Keep doing what u are doing.
For more Mom's Queries and advice from our community, go to the eumom Facebook page. And if you'd like to submit your own query, private message eumom on facebook.
N.B All opinions are of the writer, and not necessarily indicative of eumom as a whole. Some comments may have been trimmed for editorial reasons.