Rosebud loves her food and loves her routines so when it comes to the bottle, she’s been very attached to it. When Rosebud was born, we started having feeding troubles right off the bat so I had to introduce formula in the first few days of her life. She preferred the bottles since she would get more milk at a faster rate. This obviously made nursing a struggle and I pushed through for several months before we finally found a rhythm. Rosebud got bottles when I was working and nursing when I was at home. Maybe I will do another post later specifically about the feeding problems and how we got past them, but this post is about how we said Bye Bye to the Bottle for good.
I wanted to stop nursing when she turned a year old because by then I was tired of it, but Rosebud had other plans. I slowly started to cut out feedings and eventually it had stopped by 18 months. One of the ways I cut out feedings was by replacing them with bottles of milk which Rosebud liked. She got very attached to the bottles again and it simply became a substitute for nursing. This is why she was still having two bottles a day even after she turned two.
I started reducing the amount of milk in the bottles which she was totally fine with. I tried putting milk in different cups, but she would never drink it. She has been drinking water from a cup since she was six months old and more recently I’ve given her juice in a cup, but she’ll take one sip of milk and put it back on the counter telling me she doesn’t like it. I’ve tried role modeling by drinking milk with my meals, sharing my milk with her etc. I tried not allowing her to have bottles at all and only offering cups of milk, but she refuses and will go days without milk. I’ve started introducing foods with more calcium because I was worried about her not drinking her milk.
Last week, I told her that we were all done with bottles because she is a big girl and big girls drink milk out of a cup. This makes her sad and occasionally she will ask for a bottle. She was tearful when asking for one this morning, but I reminded her that she’s a big girl and doesn’t need a bottle anymore. I told her it was okay to miss her bottles, but that we could snuggle while she drinks her milk from a cup the same way we would snuggle when she drinks bottles. That seemed to help.
This past weekend I caved and bought some chocolate and strawberry sirup to flavor her milk. My mom had suggested this, but I didn’t want to do this because I thought if she wouldn’t drink plain milk, then I didn’t want her to start getting sugary replacements. I did some searching online and this strategy has seemed to work for many parents so I’m giving it a try. So far, it has worked. She has been drinking her milk and seems to like both flavors. My plan is to decrease the amount of sirup little by little until she is back to drinking plain milk again. Distraction has worked as well. If she’s busy playing, she is less likely to think of asking for a bottle.
Since we have gone a week without them, I packed them away in a box. The next thing to go is the pacifier, but I don’t want to take all her comforts away at once. My baby girl is growing up and it’s happening way too fast! It seems like yesterday when I brought her home and now she’s talking in full sentences, climbing up the huge slides on the playground and we are the beginning stages of potty training. She has a mind of her own and she knows what she is ready to do. I encourage her to take the next steps, but I also remember to let her go at her own pace. Sometimes that has meant taking a step back and trying again later. It is a learning process for both of us. What helped your toddler give up the bottle? Tell me in the comments.