It seemed that Tyler just turned one yesterday. I was sitting back with a sigh of relief, feeling accomplished for all that he has mastered and how far he has grown, when suddenly….. I see he is supposed to stop using a bottle at one year old!
Oh no, … the panic started to set in. I started reading reports about those cute baby teeth he worked 11 months to grow…rotting. And how I could set him up for obesity…all from that bottle.
It seemed we had just gotten into a routine. He was already transitioning himself out of his afternoon nap (Mommy was mourning this loss), the doctor said at his one year appointment he needed to switch to whole milk, and now another change!
I took a deep breath, did some quick reading, and geared up for “Battle of the Bottle.” Four months later, we are now bottle-free and able to report how we did it:
Switching from Formula to Whole Milk AND weaning the bottle AT THE SAME TIME
1. The first thing we did was to give up the nap time bottles. Tyler had already limited himself to one nap a day so he was losing out on this one bottle. What I read online said to work in another nap time routine.. a story, a song, …something else that would soothe him.
He uses a blankie (his pacifier) for soothing. So I replaced a bottle with a book before placing him in the crib.
Now I’m not going to lie… he wasn’t like, “cool mom…books over bottles.”
He cried… he fussed… but I knew he was fed, dry, and just …tired. The hardest part was on me. I found that the first week I just needed to go do something so I didn’t have to hear him cry. I mowed the lawn or took a shower. And in 15 minutes I would turn on the monitor. The first few days he was still chatting away to himself, but after a few days he was asleep by that point. I did find that I was keeping him up longer (his 9 am nap moved to 10:30 or 11) to make sure he was tired. But this was also because he was down to one nap.
2. Make the Switch to Cow’s Milk. Tyler didn’t take to the change in milk. He still preferred that sour, over-priced formula. We decided before getting rid of the night bottle, we needed to get him drinking the whole milk. What we did was transition him over a three week period to the new taste. The first week we did a 1/2 formula, 1/2 milk mixture. The hot water from the formula made the bottle still warm. Then over the next two weeks we gradually increased the milk while decreasing the formula. Finally, after three weeks he was drinking whole milk. Then came the final battle.
3. Getting rid of the Night Bottle: This was definitely the hardest part. It took us about three months to curb this bottle, four months to be bottle free. We started by weaning how much milk we were giving him at bedtime. We decreased his milk by two ounces each week, but would still heat it. Within a month we were down to 2 ounces.
The challenge for us was that Tyler didn’t like cold milk. Two surprising things helped us make the final switch:
- We switched Tyler from whole milk to 1%. He liked this milk cold and his Pediatrician said he was getting enough calories in other places.
- For some reason, switching the cup we put his milk in made all the difference. When we switched to this cup that had a similar texture to the bottle nipple, we were able to shift to no bottle in bed within a week. We let him take this cup to bed for a week. He was drinking more milk during the day, so one day I said, “‘let’s stop.” Again, he didn’t like it and fussed, but we prevailed and now at 16 months, WE ARE BOTTLE FREE!
Our New Toddler Routine:
We place skim milk in his cup and he drinks it before bed. Then we brush his teeth, say prayers, and he is off to bed…. bottle free!