How did you wean your toddler off the bedtime bottle?

(58 Posts)
Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 08:45:27

My DS is 20 months and he seems to love his milk at bedtime. But we just can't wean him off the bottle. From time to time he will take a beaker, but more times than not he pushes it away. Any tips on how to transfer him from bottle to beaker at bedtime? He drinks throughout the day from a beaker.
Second question is, how much daily milk does he need at this age? I'm just wondering if he really needs this last drink or if he is just taking it out of habit and because it's there.

georgimama Wed 07-Jan-09 08:49:30

I don't know if this will really help but I have just weaned DS (22 months) off the boob and he used to nurse to sleep. It has been a week now and what worked was completely changing his bedtime routine. Just in little ways - so now I undress him in his bedroom and put his dressing gown on to go into bathroom, instead of undressing in bathroom. He brushes his teeth after his bath now instead of before.

I moved his bedroom furniture around so we sit in a different corner of the room for stories. Somehow it has broken the association between bed time and boob. I don't know why. It might work for you.

My ds is 17 onths, a few weeks ago, I just gave him a trainer cup - the avent magic cup in place of the bottle and that was that. He doesn't always drink it, I had to take the control valve out to make it free flow but he ends up tipping most of it on the floor so goes to bed without much milk. My ds has never been overly fond of milk and this is the only one he has and has had since about 10 months. Personally, if he wants it, I'd continue to let him have it. It won't do any harm. A friend of mine followed her hv advise and dropped bedtime milk at about 24 months and now her ds won't touch a drop of the stuff

purpleflower Wed 07-Jan-09 08:52:19

I'm a nasty mummy and just took it away and ut them in the bin. He threw a tantrum and started throwing the bottle at me, I told him one more time and it would go in the bin so it did.

The first couple of nights he had milk from a mug but now he's not bothered. I give him a big cup of milk in the morning, a very milky hot chocolate when we get in from a walk and yoghurt and cheese through the day.

purpleflower Wed 07-Jan-09 08:54:49

I forgot to add that DS was 25 months when the bottle went and 2 months on he still loves his milk

Picante Wed 07-Jan-09 08:55:01

I wouldn't worry too much tbh. DS is 2.9 and it's a godsend. It calms him down ready for bed and if it wakes him early he'll go back to sleep after another bottle.

I'm not bothered in the slightest - have a vague idea that I'd like him to be off it by the time he's 3 but I think he'll have to come to that decision himself.

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 09:13:04

Thanks everyone.
Picante, you could be right. DS has been very unsettled these last ciuple of nights, sometimes not going to bed until 10.30 or even midnight. We have given him another bottle and it puts him to sleep.
I think it's more my Mum who is pressurising me to get him off it. I might try to eliminate the bedtime milk when he is two because I think if it wasn't there he wouldn't ask for it.
Am just wondering how much milk they should be having in a day, at this age. Does anyone know?

LilRedWG Wed 07-Jan-09 09:17:36

DD is 2.8 and still has her bottle morning and evening. She will not take her milk in any other way and she won't even give it herself - we have to feed her. TBH, I think that both she and us are hanging onto babyhood and I don't mind.

I don't know the official amount that is recommended, as I said ds has never really wanted milk, but remember there is calcium etc in lots of the foods he's probably having anyway so don't think you need to be overly concerned like you might if he was younger iyswim.

KazzaL Wed 07-Jan-09 09:20:29

My DS is also 20/21 mths now and he still has lots of milk overnight. He's used the avent beaker spout on the bottle base for almost a year now. he has various health probs - reflux, asthma which means he's on lots of meds and not the greatest sleeper because of this.

he has a bottle as he goes to bed and then a friend mentioned she was putting a bottle in her DS's cot and it woudl be gone in the morning, but it meant she wasn't getting up in the night to him. This seems to have been a success on the whole apart from when all the "muck" runs out, like it did last night at 2.30 and we were awoken to screaming and "mummy" and "daddy" and lots of "muck"s. But last night including the bedtime and morning bottle neither of which he will go without, he had in the region of 30oz in 12 hrs.

I'm not worried about giving him milk to get him to sleep, as No2 is due in a few weeks, getting a good sleep is our priority and I'm sure he will eventually grow out of it.

Sorry Gateau just realised I haven't really answered your question. After being terried by the HV about wonky teeth at the 9mth check up, we just took the teats away and replaced with the spouts - it took a while and we made sure he knew what to do by using them in the day too and then just went for it. DS loves "muck" so much that he will do whatever he has to for it. We haven't progressed onto freeflow spouts at home although he does use them at nursery or even a cup - too terrified of the mess blush good luck with whatever you decide to do.

juuule Wed 07-Jan-09 09:21:09

My eldest ds more or less gave it up himself some time after he had turned 3.
If it settles him I wouldn't worry too much about it if I was you.

Ds is 21 months, and still has milk at bedtime, but from a sippy cup rather than a bottle. I weaned him off the bottle at 12 months, so not sure how easy it would be to do at this age.

I don't think there's any harm in them having a bedtime drink of milk though, I used to when I was about 8 or 9. I wouldn't leave milk in the cot overnight though, because I'd want to clean ds's teeth before he went to bed, and milk has natural sugars.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Wed 07-Jan-09 09:36:09

DS1 had a bottle of milk at story time before bed until just before DS2 was born when he was 2years 6 months. we said that he could be the big boy and have a cup of warm milk with a story. whilst DS2 had boobie milk.

DS2 is now 2 years 3 months and he is having a bottle of milk at story time. DS1 still has his cup of milk and I don't have any thoughts of stopping the cup of milk.

DOn't know if that goes any way to answering your OP.

noonki Wed 07-Jan-09 09:42:26

I am going to wean my 20 month old (DS2) next week as I have just been given a scare by the HV about the problems bottles can cause with ears. We almost managed before xmas thenhe was really ill and it has escallated again.

DS1 had a bottle til he was 3, and he has re-current ear problems (including a burst eardrum - v painful sad0 also he has a lisp which is more likely with a bottle aparrently.

anyway, I think from previous experience that the best way is:

keep offering milk in tippee cups, play games with it with teddies, mummy drinking it etc

then stop milk upstairs; have a snuggly bottle downstairs before bed on sofa. then say repeatedly no milk in bed, when they cry for it, repeat and repeat, give lots of cuddles, and expect at least two nights with lots of waking - we just went in and head stroked (or if this made him more cross just sat with him)

then a couple of days later remove ALL bottles from house (a bit like giving up fags!)

I honestly think the biggest culprit to him still having one is me, as I always think but how else do I get him to sleep... but he will learn (noonki prays!)

goodluck (to us both!)

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 09:47:55

I may be particularly dim, but I really don't see what harm one bottle a day is going to do them. I could understand if they were sucking on a bottle on and off all day and night, but one bottle that's gone in 5 minutes?

Am I missing something?

lulurose Wed 07-Jan-09 09:49:25

With some trouble, my DD2 has only just given up her bottle of milk at bedtime and she is 3 next week! We were reluctant to stop it because she has Type One Diabetes and the milk tends to hold her bloods steady overnight meaning we avoid hypos.

Anyway....we went shopping together to choose a special milk cup just for her, she chose a pink, glittery, all singing, all dancing princess one...really tacky but it has done the trick! previously we'd tried normal cups with no success.

Good luck

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 09:49:48

Sorry - just read noonki's post. I have never heard of the link between bottles and ear problems - or of the lisp link. Surely if these are factors it has to be for real bottle addicts - not the one a night babies?

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 09:52:08

Thank you everyone; you've all been really helpful.
I probably didn't make myself clear in my initial post but I have no problem whatsoever with DS having milk whenever he wants it for how long he wants it.
It's the bottle I want to eliminate - and have trouble eliminating.

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 09:58:12

Agree lulurose. Finding the right cup could be key. I'm still searching. The Avent Magic cups just don't do the trick for my DS. Think I'll go shopping today for yet another.

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 09:59:02

Can you tell me why you want to eliminate the bottle?

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 10:02:20

I don't think it's good for his teeth and he's too old for it - IMO.
I view toddlers with bottles in the same way as I view toddlers with dummies. I think it looks awful.

LaDiDaDi Wed 07-Jan-09 10:02:46

I'm happy for dd to still have one bottle per night and she's 2.7 now. Some nights she barely touches it, others she'll have about half.

I don't see the problem with one bottle/day tbh.

Picante Wed 07-Jan-09 10:03:35

But nobody sees him with it apart from you. It does no damage whatsoever to their teeth - unless they're sucking for hours at a time.

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 10:05:20

I know that. But I just don't like it. It's aiding his development, IMO.

compo Wed 07-Jan-09 10:05:23

same as LilRedWG , dd is 2.5 and has a bottle morning and before ed.
I tried a cup instead one morning and she was so upset I thought I'd leave it
i was thinking this time next year maybe FatherC can take it away with him grin

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 10:07:26

But if he likes it and if it comforts him and no-one sees it but you - why not just let him have it? Is it a battle worth fighting? One won't hurt his teeth, by the way.

compo Wed 07-Jan-09 10:07:38

I think at about 3 I'll be able to reason with her - your a big girl now etc

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 10:08:29

I mean progressing onto a cup is aiding his development, IMO.
I feel quite bad/lazy that I haven;t yet helped him to progress. I know other people who cracked it when their LO was 12 months. But everyone's different, I know that.

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 10:08:32

Pick your battles, that's what I say!

mejon Wed 07-Jan-09 10:08:51

DD (29 months) still has a bottle of milk each morning but for a couple of months she's been having her bedtime milk from a beaker with a free-flow straw on it (got it in Tesco). I originally moved from the bottle as she was tending to be sick after being in bed for a while - I thought that the concentrated sucking on the bottle may have been causing it though I think she was just a little under the weather and the milk itself was the aggravating element. TBH I don't know why I haven't been giving the morning milk in it too - habit probably - I may try tomorrow and see how we go.

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 10:10:18

But why does he need to progress? Why is a bed time cup better than a bed time bottle? Presumably he drinks out of cups during the day? I imagine his bed time bottle is a bit like his teddy bear - a warm and cosy part of going to sleep.

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 10:11:32

I don't view it as a BATTLE, seeker.
I see it as HELPING him to progress.It's nothing toi do with what other people see; it's what I see.
And I don't know if it is a comfort or even if he needs it. It may just be a habit.

purpleflower Wed 07-Jan-09 10:12:10

The main reason I wanted rid was because he had started waking in the night for milk and wasn't eating well during the day. As soon as he realised that he couldn't fill himself up on milk at night he started eating well and sleeping through again.

Neeerly3 Wed 07-Jan-09 10:13:14

gateau, one bottle a day is really no issue and if he's having it in bed, who's to know and who's to comment on how 'awful' it looks?

My two were 2.6 when we 'gave' their bottles to their new cousin who was a baby and needed bottles, and since they were 'big' boys they didn't need a bottle - it took about 3 nights of sobbing at bedtime after having a cup of milk downstairs for them to realise the bottles were gone. Neither have bad teeth or a lisp, but one did have grommets due to glue ear, but that wasn't brought on by having a bottle at bedtime, more that he was 12 weeks prem.

Just make sure your DS brushes his teeth AFTER the bottle.

I think the recommended amount of milk is a pint a day isn't it?

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 10:14:02

I got a bottle with a free-slow straw in it, but didn;t like it as you couldn't wash the straw properly.

izzybiz Wed 07-Jan-09 10:15:16

I'm with seeker on this one.
If it is just one before bed and its not hanging out of his mouth all day, I really don't see a problem.
My Dd is 4 and at school, she still has her bedtime drink in a bottle.
She is not under developed in anyway, its her one comfort, some children have a favourite teddy or blanket to take to bed.

Its at home no one else sees her with it, doesn't harm her or anyone else, no problem in my eyes, she will stop when shes ready.

If I was still giving her a BF every night at 4 we would be applauded!smile

Neeerly3 Wed 07-Jan-09 10:19:20

gateau - I was made to feel like you, by various people commenting on my DT's 'still' having bottles at 2 and a half. What they didn't tell me was that their kids although having no bottles or dummies anymore would fuss and mess about at bedtime and it was a ongoing battle every night. Mine would have their bath, get into bed, have bottle, call me, I would go up, supervise teeth brushing and then settle them into bed....all done and dusted by 7.

I am being terribly general there, but my point is, if it WORKS for you as in DS is settled, happy, sleeping when he should sleep, why the need to change? He won't SUFFER from having a bottle for a few more months if thats what it takes.

Far too many "you SHOULD be doing this and SHOULD be doing that" by certain ages these days, just do whats best for you and DS.

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 10:19:21

With respect, I'm not looking for people's opinions on whether to wean him off or not.
I'm seeking advice on HOW people weaned their DC off the bottle because it's what I want to do.

GoodGrrrl Wed 07-Jan-09 10:20:21

i'd tend to agree with seeker- the DC in question is still young, and if they drink from a cup / beaker / whatever the rest of the day, don't worry.

Finding the right beaker is a problem- i tried 5 or 6 with DS1 before i got the right one. When he was comfortably drinking from it all day, i stopped the bottle as an experiment at about 18mths (i think, maybe slightly later) and he was fine.(I thought it would be much harder than it was) With DS2 i was a bit braver, and he also took to a beaker sooner than his brother, so he's stopped his bottle now and he's 14mths.

It is lovely not having to wash fiddly teats and things, but like someone said, it's a bit like a bedtime teddy, isn't it?

GoodGrrrl Wed 07-Jan-09 10:22:32

Gateau- for the 'how', i just waied until they could drink all day time drinks from a beaker, then just did it one night- took them to bed with a beaker instead. The thought of it was much worse than the reality in my case- they were both ok with it. I think at the worst DS1 looked a bit confused. DS2 didn't care - he loved his milk so much i don't think he cares where it comes from! They both drinks TONS of the stuff.

GoodGrrrl Wed 07-Jan-09 10:22:49

* waited *

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 10:24:12

Thanks GoodGrrrl.
I wish I had just gone for it like that, but I think I missed the opportunity.

GoodGrrrl Wed 07-Jan-09 10:27:22

you never know- be brave! i felt like i was slow getting DS1 to drink from a beaker, he was well over 14mths and still drinking everything from a bottle, but he's fine now. Maybe put the bottles away (but don't bin them) and give yourself say 3 nights of trying it. If after 3 nights there's no progress or alot of upset, let them have the bottle and try again in a few weeks?

With the milk amount thing, i think it's about a pint for a 1yr old, but no idea for older. Mine drink pints a day blush They love the stuff!

Neeerly3 Wed 07-Jan-09 10:27:38

ok, for the how, we just went cold turkey as both the DT's would throw a hissy fit if offered milk in a beaker. But it's good to have a 'reason' for your DS to think about - do you have any very young babies in your family or friends?

one weekend we were staying at my sisters, her baby was 3 weeks old, so we just ceremoniously gave him the boys bottles, or rather the boys gave him their bottles themselves - I then gave them a cup of milk exclaiming how big they were now to have milk in a cup and off we went up to bed....there was much confusion when they then didn't get bottles after the bath, but like I said before after 3 nights or so of me reinforcing what we had done, they were back to going to bed without a peep.

Umlellala Wed 07-Jan-09 10:29:03

Was going to choose a special cup with dd (when she could drink well from a cup) but she happily took a NUK first cup we had bought for baby ds when her friend stayed and used her bottle. No problem at al (shewas about2.5)

Dummies on the other hand hmm

Umlellala Wed 07-Jan-09 10:30:56

PS everyone I know was still doing bedtime/odd bottles at 2.

meandjoe Wed 07-Jan-09 11:58:22

my 17 month old still has a bottle at bedtime. i really love the quiet, cuddle time it gives us. i get to watch him get all sleepy and he holds my hand and i feel so privilleged that we have that time together at the end of the day, just to appreciate him and tell him how much i love him. i'll be devestated when he gives it up but he seems to love it too.

i hate seeing toddlers drinking juice from bottles all day, loads of kids seem to have them constantly when in the pushchair etc but my ds always has day time drinks in a cup. i am in no hurry to push him to give it up.

LilRedWG Wed 07-Jan-09 12:16:17

We tried DD picking a special cup - she still refused it so we've given up.

purpleflower Wed 07-Jan-09 12:27:35

We just went cold turkey. He used the bottle to fall asleep with. The first couple of days were rough. I just made sure I really wore him out during the day. He did cry a bit but only for 3 or 4 nights but DP took his dummy away on the second night which doesn't help and made it longer. We were so scared of what he would do but its been fine. He now gets cuddles to sleep and we sneak out of his room when he drifts off. It takes a little longer but it's nicer because he is using us for comfort not his bottle or dummy.

DaddyJ Wed 07-Jan-09 12:41:28

Well, we had to wean dd off her last bf before bed (at 2y 3 months)
and we went cold turkey but replaced the wind-down time of bf
with story telling (dw) followed by singing in bed (me).

First three nights she would still ask about the boob,
from then on it was all 'stories and singing, yay!'.

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 12:42:05

STILL don't understand why people are so determined to take away little people's bottles!

purpleflower Wed 07-Jan-09 12:45:43

I explained earlier seeker. He was waking in the night just for milk and wasn't eating during the day. He now eats better and sleeps through again.

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 12:47:47

I don't understand why it bothers you so much what other people want to do, seeker.

seeker Wed 07-Jan-09 12:51:21

It doesn't bother me - but there are a lot of myths about night time bottles, and I would hate to think that people (not you, of course) who are doing something that is making their bed times stressful and themselves and their little ones unhappy just because they "think they ought to" or because someone has alarmed them. It would be nice to make sure that people in this position can relax and carry on with something that's making everyone happy.

Gateau Wed 07-Jan-09 13:03:59

You're right..
IN FACT, I've done a complete turnaround.
So many people's opinions on here (and all very helpful too) have confused me, so I've just spoken to my health visitor.
She said it was absolutely fine to continue with the bottle as a source of comfort for my LO. Some people on here said that earlier.
My LO doesn;t have anything esle - not a teddy he loves or a dummy, or blanket so it made me think again.
So you'll be glad to hear, seeker, that I'm going to stick with the bottle and maybe adress the issue of weaning him off it as about two.

DaddyJ Wed 07-Jan-09 14:12:48

You can take away my bottle
but canna take ma FREEDOM!

Good for you and your ds, Gateau.
We only stopped as dw was pregnant
and found it increasingly tough.

Torkijo Mon 02-Feb-09 22:15:19

We did it with our son with the Heinz cup - its the one they use at the Baby room of hisnursery as they have found it the easiest transition from bottles. You can buy them at Boots and larger Tesco's

Torkijo Mon 02-Feb-09 22:18:27

Our son was weaned form a bottle at 15 months and we are looking to wean our daughter off at 12 months - its our choice and our Health Visitor agrees. When it comes down to it it is all about personal choice - there is a plus and a minus for both changing and not changing. They both continue to have Milk (Although our son stopped his bedtime milk at 3 as we moved it to with his Tea)

One thing i would say in favor of doing it earlier - they will complain less when they cant talk to you properly!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now