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weaning a toddler off the bottle for milk

(27 Posts)
dizabelle Mon 05-Jan-15 14:13:06

Our DD is still having a morning and pre-bedtime bottle of milk. She is 16 months old and we have just read that we should have weaned her off the bottle a long time ago and that a pre-bed bottle of milk is not healthy as the sugar in the milk will damage her teeth. This morning we tried to give her the milk form a sippy cup however she refused to drink it. Does anyone have any advice please as I am panicking about what to do this evening when she is expecting her usual bottle of warm milk? Many thanks in advance!

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Mon 05-Jan-15 14:18:21

My 19 mo still has morning and bedtime bottles. I might switch the bedtime one to pre-bath time if it's bad for his teeth though. He still seems too young to wean him off bottles completely!

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Mon 05-Jan-15 14:18:47

Where have you read this?

LittleBearPad Mon 05-Jan-15 14:21:12

You just need to make sure she brushes her teeth post-bottle at night.

She'll drop them when she's ready.

Dd had a bedtime bottle until 20 months when she swapped to a sippy cup. I think the morning one went at about 14 months but that took a few days.

Don't worry too much.

dementedpixie Mon 05-Jan-15 14:23:20

bottles are supposed to be phased out around 1 year old. If your dd is getting her teeth brushed after her milk then it wouldnt be so much of an issue.

My dd switched to cups for milk around 15 months and ds was about 11 months.

It is nhs advice:

Stubbed Mon 05-Jan-15 14:23:33

If she won't drink warmed milk from a sippy cup then she probably doesn't want it? Surely if she is thirsty / hungry she will?

Mine never had bottles but a sippy cup at 9 months onwards, sometimes she drinks it, other times she doesn't. But more likely to if I've warmed it.

Thurlow Mon 05-Jan-15 14:26:09

This is one of those things you need to decide how bothered you are by this. Current advice from HV etc is to get them off the bottle as soon as possible - however a lot of toddlers have a very different idea about this.

We tried DD at about that age with every other possible cup she could take milk from and she absolutely refused. Cups and beakers and the like were for water, but milk came in bottles. I didn't want her to not have the milk so didn't push it.

She's 3 in a few weeks time and we have only just got rid of the morning bottle! And that was a long hard slog. She refused to drink milk from anything else, but I realised (thanks to the wisdom of MN grin) that she didn't need the milk in the morning so we've swapped to what she thinks of as juice or smoothie - it's actually ridiculously watered down juice or smoothie in a cup with a straw.

She still has a bedtime bottle, then teeth cleaned straight afterwards. I might try and get rid of that in the summer, but we've got potty training and pre-school coming soon so I don't want to push too much too soon.

If you're not bothered, and she drinks the bottle quickly and you clean her teeth well straight afterwards, personally (obviously!) I don't think it's something worth stressing about.

Ragwort Mon 05-Jan-15 14:28:17

Agree with stubbed - perhaps she just doesn't want it, there is no Law that children need a morning/bed time drink of milk. If she has milk in her diet - with cereal/meals etc that is enough.

Just go cold turkey - offer a sippy cup, or normal cup. Or just offer breakfast/tea with water to drink.

Don't be like my friend who still gave her school age children chocolate milk in bottles every night grin.

dizabelle Mon 05-Jan-15 14:34:44

Thanks everyone. Yes it was the NHS guidelines and the info on babycentre

She is a very good sleeper and the milk is not what send her to sleep however it definitely is what she associates with bedtime, after her bath. It sounds like great and very obvious advice to give her the bottle before she brushes her teeth and we’ll definitely try that. She is not great at it and refuses to let us do it so I’m sure this will be a struggle but definitely something worth persevering with. Does anyone know what the recommended amount of milk is for a 16 month old? I can’t seem to find the info. Thanks again ladies for calming me down smile

dizabelle Mon 05-Jan-15 14:35:56

Thanks Ragwort - only just saw your post after posting mine!

dementedpixie Mon 05-Jan-15 14:37:34

around 300mls of milk is recommended from age 1

bonzo77 Mon 05-Jan-15 14:40:18

My 2 year old still has a bottle at bed time. Followed by tooth brushing. No plans to stop.

dementedpixie Mon 05-Jan-15 14:41:00

from another nhs page:

Children between the ages of one and three need to have around 350mg of calcium a day. About 300ml of milk (just over half a pint) would provide this.

rumbelina Mon 05-Jan-15 14:47:36

Really no problem for teeth as long as you brush before bed.

DS was using a bottle in the morning and at night most days until he was 3 and 3/4.

We tried to wean him onto beakers/cups from about 2 but he would get very upset and anxious if he wanted the bottle (not normally an anxious child) so we carried on after a word with the dentist who wasn't concerned as long as teeth were brushed and he wasn't sucking on the bottle for a long time - it only took DS a couple of minutes to drink the milk. We did keep using beakers on odd days and sometimes he'd go without.

He started to have milk on fewer days and stopped completely at about 3 years and 10 months. Loads of friends had said to me 'he'll just grow out of it' but I never really believed them. It's true though! smile

16 months is very young if she is still liking the bottle for comfort. Give her what she wants - half a pint-ish I think is what DS had so a pint over the day.

Thurlow Mon 05-Jan-15 15:11:40

I think a lot of the guidance around over 1's using bottles is assuming that they are having all their liquids from bottles, and keeping the teat in their mouth for a long time, or falling asleep with the bottle in bed without having their teeth cleaned.

No one says that breast fed babies have to give up at 1, so no reason why a bottle fed baby can't keep on having a bedtime drink - just make sure that you clean her teeth well afterwards.

We do bath time, milk with a cuddle, teeth cleaning, story, bed, and have done since DD was about 1.

Teeth cleaning is its whole own game of fun grin Have you seen the free Aquafresh app? The song etc might distract your DD and help you get her teeth cleaned.

dizabelle Mon 05-Jan-15 15:21:43

Yes, I totally agree Thurlow. She is also very quick, 5 minutes max and it is a nice relaxing time for us so I would hate to take it away when as you say Rumbelina, she is still very young. We have the app so will just alter her bedtime routine so that the brushing does take place after the milk. She is good at chewing on the brush and eating the toothpaste but not so good at giving her teeth a good brushing! I've also been advised by our dentist to run a muslin over them with my finger as that removes lots more plaque. You've all been a great help smile

Thurlow Mon 05-Jan-15 15:27:06

I'm only sharing as I've posted on this topic myself about a hundred times blush

SweepTheHalls Mon 05-Jan-15 15:30:11

We 'just' chucked the bottles away at 12 months and provided warm milk in a dippy cup at the same times as previously offering bottles. It was tricky for about 2days, then absolutely fine.

NickyEds Mon 05-Jan-15 16:08:09

I've read the advice and decided not to rush getting rid of bottles with my, just turned, one year old. The main issues with bottles seem to be;
1. Anaemia- When older babies are given loads and loads of milk they refuse food so lack iron in their diet.
2. Tooth decay/allignment- Milk is sweet so can decay teeth if left on for a long time. Sucking on bottles excessively can damage teeth.
3. Speech problems- Constantly available bottles mean babies use them as dummies and don't develop speech properly.

Apart from the tooth decay all of these are associated with really excessive bottle use ie just leaving them around the house and in the cot for babies to have whenever they feel like it, not a bedtime/morning bottle. I've started to brush his teeth after his milk so not too worried about decay either.

Andcake Mon 05-Jan-15 17:54:53

My ds 2 still has one bottle as part of bedtime routine- mentioned it to hv and she said not to fret as he wasn't having all his drinks from a bottle, did teeth after etc
I think as long as yours isn't one of those toddlers having squash from a bottle propped up in a pram it's fine.
Relax! It's currently not a battle worth fighting to change a routine that works. He gave up his morning bottle a few months ago I literally was making it smaller then replaced with half milk half water then one day he just said NO! Makes getting out the house to nursery so much quicker grin

ruth4321 Wed 07-Jan-15 21:07:11

I've ordered some special cups for my 17 month old to see if we can try to ditch the morning and bed time bottle but after reading this and seeing a 6 year old still breast feeding on tv the other day I don't think ill rush it! I enjoy giving my DS his bottle with a cuddle and he gets his teeth brushed after it so no big deal smile

Flingingmelon Wed 07-Jan-15 21:12:24

We are currently doing the same thing. The sippy cup is fine in the evening but the morning is an issue. He will throw the sippy cup at me and tantrum.

Going to have another go in the morning, good luck OP smile

Jhas Thu 08-Jan-15 21:36:44

Don't believe all you read, as next month the advice will probably change! We weaned our DS1 off the night time bottle at around 2 years old by reducing it bit by bit until there was only about an inch in the bottom, and then one night we just didn't offer it and didn't mention it, and he seemed to just not notice. The morning bottle however took another year, and I really don't think it has done him any harm. He was very attached to his morning bottle, and so i did it gently and warned him weeks in advance that after his third birthday he would have to give up his bottle. We arranged a day to go shopping for a new cup with a "curly-whirly" straw. I told him that he didn't have to give up his bottle until he was ready, but that he could have his new Thomas cup until he put them both in the bin. To my utter amazement he got his bottles and threw them away the same day! I think the trick was to let him decide. If I had said he had to do it, then we would have had a tantrum.

freshstart4us Sat 10-Jan-15 08:52:06

Like a previous poster, our 3yo DD still has a bottle before bed, and in the morning if she asks, which is dwindling. She drunks cold milk from a cup or straw throughout the day but still likes a warm bottle at bedtime. She is toilet trained (self-directed at 2.5) and is a very advanced communicator with an amazing vocabulary and excellent diction so I don't think it has harmed her speech development! When we stopped her nighttime nappies at around 2y8m we reduced the size of bedtime bottle to around 160-180ml, any more and I need to rouse her to put her on the potty about 10ish or she will wet her bed, not a huge drama of course but not ideal. She is an excellent sleeper, and I have always wondered why we are encouraged to cut back on milk for toddlers only to want them to drink more when they start school? Am very happy for her to drink milk rather than juice or anything else so will always choose that first as drink of choice, and don't really care how she consumes it!

freshstart4us Sat 10-Jan-15 08:54:35

Thurlow has an excellent point too - I bf til dd was 17 months so giving up milk before bedtime really wasn't on the agenda. smile

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