Buh-Bye, Bottles

in Breastfeeding, Pumping


photo (66)

I wasn’t planning to post today, but I really need the mommas’ help.  You see, we are trying to eliminate Henry’s beloved babas.  At his one year check-up, his pediatrician told me that I should stop giving him bottles and transition him full-time to sippy cups.

Henry already uses sippy cups at meals to drink water, but he is heavily attached to the bottle.  Looking back, I dug my own grave.  He associates riding the car, sitting in the stroller, getting his diaper changes, and (sometimes) falling asleep with bottles.  In hindsight, I should’ve been more careful about making him reliant on the bottle, but the bottle ALWAYS soothed him so quickly.  Short-term sanity for long-term consequences, I guess.  You can add this to the extremely long list of “Things I Will Not Do With BabyHTP #2.”

Bottles and sleep is the biggest problem. When I first sleep trained Henry, I was very, very strict about not letting him fall asleep with bottles. But over the months, I got pretty loose about it, mostly because Henry is normally early riser with some days of extreme early rising (any suggestions? I’ve tried everything including cry methods… but maybe there is a miracle technique out there that I haven’t heard of…).  Every fourth day or so, he wakes up at 5 AM screaming his face off for milk, so I groggily march upstairs, change his diaper, give him a bottle, and everyone goes back to sleep.  Again – short-term sanity for long-term consequences.  If I didn’t give him a bottle in bed at 5 AM, we would be up, and the entire day would be ruined due to his inevitable crankiness. But the cost is that he learns to go back to sleep with a bottle in his mouth (which is also bad for his teeth).  I’m kicking myself BIG TIME for this and feel so ‘weak’ for establishing such poor sleep habits.  Too late now though.

To sum it up, breaking the bottle habit is going to be hard.  His doctor explained that while it seems difficult now, it will only get worse and worse as time passes and Henry becomes more willful and independent.  So despite the difficulties, I want to rip this bandaid off.

This was game plan:

  • No more bottles. We’re going cold turkey.
  • I bought some fun snack containers so he can eat yummy treats when he may otherwise be sitting with a bottle nipple in his mouth (like in the car).  I also purchased some shiny toys to provide extra distraction.
  • We have a new stock of a variety of sippy cup types so he can try new cups out.
  • We completed a Buh-Bye Bottle ceremony in which we packed up all the bottles.

Sounds simple, but so far – its been hellish.  He threw an epic temper tantrum before his nap.  I’ve never seen him so mad for so long.  And I felt really, really sad and guilty… but I didn’t crack because I knew it would all be wasted if I did.  I tried everything to distract him from the idea of the bottle – a sippy cup, a book, Elmo videos on the iPhone. But almost nothing worked except time for him to wear himself out.

All of my real life friends did extended breastfeeding or have younger babies who don’t need to be off the bottle yet.  I have no one in my life to ask for bottle weaning advice.  So I’m turning to you, mommas of the Internet. How did you take away the bottle?  Any tricks? Is cold turkey the way to go or should I let him have bottles at ‘high needs’ times for now (naps)?  How long will this hell last? 

I’m more than willing to change my game plan if the general consensus is that things will be better if we do it differently, so please – weigh in!



  • Holly June 20, 2013, 1:07 pm

    I feel your pain. As a momma to a now 21 month old, I let him keep his bottles WAYYYY too long, mostly because it was easier for me. We went cold turkey at 19 months. I packed them up and threw them away. No backup! The first week was ROUGH. Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself sane, but don’t give in. Tears and tantrums galore. Rocky sleep. He refused to drink even a sip of milk from a cup! However, we turned a corner in the second week, where we significantly upped the amount of food he was eating and he went right to bed and woke up happy. (He did ask for his ‘ba-ba’ multiple times a day for over a month and I just re-directed him or offered water)

    It has been 3 months and my son has refused ANY milk in any cup since the bottles were taken away. We’ve since increased his yogurt and cheese intake and have been told by the pediatrician that this is fine.

    My advice is to just stand strong. Reassure him. Maybe introduce fun new snacks – we bought some reusable pouches that I fill with yogurt smoothies and those are now a staple for car trips, whereas before he insisted on a bottle. Also, we had to readjust our bedtime routine. Whereas before we would read, he’d have a bottle, then into the crib, now we put PJs on, brush his teeth and sit on the ‘big’ bed (ours) and sing songs for about 5 mins then, read and he drinks water from his straw cup. It will get better!!!

  • Allison June 20, 2013, 1:10 pm

    We weaned off bottles at 12.5 months. We did allow bottles at naptime and bedtime for about a week to give our son a chance to start getting used to sippy cups of milk before taking away the pre-sleep bottles. He did pretty well and there were 3 pretty rough days and then things were back to normal. We never had any tantrums like you described. Since Henry got so upset I think if it was me I would continue pre sleep bottles for a week and then try again.

    • Caitlin June 20, 2013, 1:13 pm

      Good advice, thank you. He is REALLY REALLY willful. I like it about him but it make changes tough!

    • jen June 20, 2013, 1:56 pm

      i feel ya.

      with our oldest i don’t remember it being much of an issue and i did it right at a year. but, she was never given a bottle to go to sleep. our 2nd has been a different story. i feel like i’ve been more lax with all the “rules” the 2nd time around and started letting him fall asleep with his bottle and then let him keep longer. i think you are smart to do it now rather than wait-the older they are the harder it seems to be. for us, it’s been kind of like sleep training all over again. he doesn’t wake up at night, but he screams for awhile when we first put him in bed for both nights and naps. the first few days he would protest for about 20ish mins but now (after 2 weeks-he is stubborn!) it’s down to about 5 mins and then he is out. his naps have gotten shorter though since letting the bottle go 🙁 we tried sippy cups in bed with him but he doesn’t even drink it. i even bought the most “bottle like” cup i could find to help with the transition but he just didn’t want it. it will get easier-it just sucks for awhile-much like sleep training 🙂

  • Jaye June 20, 2013, 1:10 pm

    I’m a firm believer in cold turkey, for many things. We didn’t have as big of a deal with bottles since my daughter breastfed when I was with her. But we did start switching out her bottles with sippy cups of breastmilk when she was about 11 months. It was not a big deal since she was getting the same stuff, but we also did not have any bottle dependency during specific times like you are describing.

    Like sleep training, I can imagine this to go a similar way. The first day may be hellish, the second, awful, the third not so bad. I would give it a few days to see how it goes and then evaluate the situation.

    • Jill - A Little Baby Bean June 20, 2013, 7:04 pm

      No advice, just support from a fellow mama going through a battle of her own right now (crib transition)! You can do this 🙂

  • Olivia June 20, 2013, 1:20 pm

    I took my now 14 month son off bottled on his 1st birthday. Like Henry, he’d been exposed to the bottles at meal times but relied on them for soothing before naps (I still nurse before bed and first thing in the am). I worried and worried about the transition for MONTHS before it actually took place…and when it did it was a complete non-event. No tantrums, no crying. I acted very matter of fact about it, didn’t mention the bottles or apologize for their absence. Maybe he was just ready? I wish I could give you some miracle solution to try, but I’ve got nothing. I just wanted to let you know that I support your cold turkey approach. It sounds like Henry is much more attached then my little bug was and may have a couple of rough days. Hang in there!

  • Olivia June 20, 2013, 1:25 pm

    P.S. I second Holly’s recommendation of the squeeze packs. My guy gets more than enough fruit in the day so I buy the veggie packs since he’s more picky about eating greens. He loves to suck on them!

  • Kendra June 20, 2013, 1:33 pm

    We took a gradual approach. The nighttime bottle was the last to go and it was by far the hardest. But getting him down to that one bottle a day was so easy taking it step by step. I think for now giving him the bottle in high stress situations is a good start. Maybe you don’t need to even fill the bottle all the way and you will notice just having something to suck on for soothing purposes is all he needs.

    I also found that extra snuggles from mom or dad before nap and bedtime made a huge difference. The bottle obviously provides him with comfort and for a while he will need that comfort from something else. Rocking our little guy to sleep really helped him and we didn’t even create a whole new monster by doing it. It just helped in during the transition.

    I also would recommend a sippy cup that has the most “nipple-like” sipper. Meaning the feel of the sipper is very similar to the feel of the bottle’s nipple. And you will soon learn that not all sippy cup’s are created equal! I think having many different varieties likes you explained is a great idea!

    Lastly, you are NOT weak. You are a mom who does what she has to do with the circumstances she is given. In my book that is called being resourceful. Don’t beat yourself up, you will now do the best you can with these circumstances and will get through it.

    Hang in there!

  • Kerry June 20, 2013, 1:40 pm

    My advice would be to keep the rituals/routines exactly the same but subsitute the sippy cup for the bottle.

    We sit in a chair like we always did, with my daughter in our lap but just traded out the cup the bottle. It was a nonissue, but like another Mom said I didn’t think she had dependencies.

    Good luck – change is hard so try to do it in a way that still makes them feel safe and secure by keeping the rest of it the same or consistent.

    • April June 20, 2013, 3:43 pm

      I did this EXACTLY. My little guy would bat and throw the sippy cup…only lasted a few days and now he is loves milk in a sippy and breakfast and dinner.
      Stay strong girl, and as others have said, it is very similar to sleep training, takes a little bit but you will be so happy you stayed strong!
      And what helped me was trying not to let them see YOU stress over it, just calmly offer the sippy and if he refuses so be it, try again next time!

      • Brooke Cochran January 2, 2016, 8:13 pm


        My Lola is 22 months and drinks 25 oz of milk a day so it’s her main calorie source and only from a bottle. I’ve ordered about 25 sippy cups and she won’t touch them and fits for her bottle.

        How did you do it 🙁 brings me to tears; I’m so stressed.

  • Lisa in IL June 20, 2013, 1:41 pm

    As a mother of 3 grown children this is what I would tell you – follow your gut. you may really like your pediatrician but he is not the be all end all of answers. You are Henry’s mother, you know him best. Every child is unique, is all this trauma worth it to your psyche and his? Who says it’s going to get harder if you wait, let him have it when he needs it most, sooner or later he’ll be done with it too, I promise.

    • Hilary June 20, 2013, 2:43 pm

      Ditto this comment.

      I’ve never dealt with this issue since my two kids have never had bottles, but just because Henry turned 1 year doesn’t magically change him or his needs. Maybe help him change his associations – give him a bottle, but after 5 minutes take it away and say all done, time to go to sleep. Or sing songs and when you are done, bottle goes to bed too. I think Henry is showing you that he is not ready to give it up. To me it isn’t worth it to have my child so upset.

    • Grace June 20, 2013, 2:50 pm

      I’ll second this – why force all this drama and sadness unnecessarily? The World Health Organization recommends nursing until at least 2 years old at a minimum. The need to suck as a soothing technique is incredibly strong, natural and biological imperative and lasts way beyond a year. Henry has just turned one- that is still so, so young – still a baby! If it makes you feel bad, why do it? For what it’s worth, my daughter still drinks milk out of a bottle and still nurses at 18 months, and when I told my pediatrician about it at her 18 month appointment she said it was fine.

      Seriously – parenting doesn’t have to be so hard – major tears, tantrums and massive crying with a normal, healthy, happy kid (as Henry sounds like he is from your description) are purely optional, they aren’t necessary. He doesn’t sound “willful” – he sounds like a completely normal baby having a normal reaction to having his major, primary source of comfort and safety being taken away. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I believe pretty strongly that there are gentle alternates to “tough love” with young children.

      • Cailin June 20, 2013, 4:17 pm

        I agree with the above. My oldest had her bottle at bedtime until she was a little over 2 years old. The shame! haha. She is five now and extremely healthy and happy. My second oldest is 2.5 and still occasionally drinks from a bottle for comfort (I know! Gasp!)— she is healthy and happy. Sometimes a little comfort and sanity in the household is worth breaking a few rules! My youngest is exclusively breastfed and so far absolutely despises the bottle and refuses to drink from it. She will, however, at 8 months drink from a sippy cup. I am not sure I told my doctor about the older two because he never did bother asking after they turned one (he did strongly suggest being rid of the bottle at one). Some of the “rules” don’t always work and you have to weigh whats most important to you as a mom. This is kind of silly, but sometimes I ask myself, when making a decision that’s tough, “How will this affect my child as a young adult?” Hopefully they won’t still be walking around with a bottle. 🙂 .

        • Heather June 20, 2013, 11:19 pm

          Totally agree with the above sentiments. My baby (now 5 year old) breastfed for 18 months. I don’t really understand the ” kid is one let’s take the bottle away” sentiment because a) each child is different and b) doctors aren’t always right. I would go with my maternal instincts and ask myself is this the right thing? I knew in my heart that my baby needed to be breastfed for longer than a year- maybe Henry needs the bottle a bit longer too?

      • Amy June 20, 2013, 8:19 pm

        Another agree. My ped also told me to cut the bottle at 12 months, but I nursed until 13 months and let him have the milk that was frozen in the bottle after that. His last bottle (with whole milk by then) was at 15 months, so I was able to tell them at the 18 mos. appt. that he was done with the bottle.

        I wouldn’t worry this much about it. Take it easy on yourself and on him. This is a big deal, considering he’s had that bottle for so long!

        • Mela June 21, 2013, 9:53 am

          I agree with all of the above.

          • Leah June 22, 2013, 4:29 am

            Same here…wish comments had a like button! As i told you on twitter…when my daughter was 14 months she weaned HERSELF off bottles. Just one day she was done and refused to take them. It was the sippy cup from then on. There is no rush…Henry is a little guy still…lots of time 🙂

  • Steph June 20, 2013, 1:47 pm

    We introduced our sippy cups with some (heavily watered-down) juice in them at first. Our little guy never got juice otherwise but was excited by the slight sweetness in them. Then after a while we phased out the juice and went straight water. We rarely put milk in them, but put it in a non-breakable cup (in small quantities) at meal and snack times. He thought the cups were fun and ended up drinking a lot more out of small cups. Or maybe he just liked seeing us jump up for refills :-). Good luck!

    • Steph June 21, 2013, 1:20 pm

      Also, my son is also VERY strong willed. Very. A fantastic trait that I hope he keeps throughout his life for most situations, but tough tough tough for a mommy and daddy trying to do the “right thing” for him. However, as a word of caution, strong-willed at 12 months is a drop in the bucket compared to strong-willed at 2 1/2. Oh my.
      Totally your call about when to start dealing with things like the bottles (and there will be many things that feel that urgent and stressful), but for my kid, everything got more challenging the closer he got to that 2 1/2 mark. Absolutely normal, just something to keep in mind! You’re doing great!

  • Tanya June 20, 2013, 1:47 pm

    Like Olivia, I was dreading taking away the bottle. My daughter was pretty much only bottle fed since I exclusively pumped for the first 8 months. We started the transition around 11 months and we ended up being completely done with bottles by 13 months and we did the transition slowly, taking away first mealtime bottles, then nap time bottles and then eventually the bedtime bottle. I thought she would fight the transition and that it was going to be really hard but it kind of just worked itself out with hardly any protest. She was also a really early riser too (5AM) and I would give her a bottle and she would fall back to sleep. That one was really hard for me to give up but we eventually just gave her a sippy cup with milk instead of a bottle and then she finally just stopped waking up that early every morning (she still wakes up that early sometimes and she is 18 months). But now she just want water water. Good luck!

    • teri January 13, 2015, 3:32 pm

      I exclusively pumped for 11 months for my son! I love knowing that there are mommies or there that were in the same boat I was. Just now have him his sippy before nap for the first time. He’s had 2 bottles per day for almost 3 months. He’s 15 months now. He’s asleep after 10 minutes of playing in his crib… no difference from the bottle routine so far. I’m afraid he’s going to wake up earlier though. We’ll see.

  • Heather June 20, 2013, 1:48 pm

    I teach Autistic Support so do lots of behavior modification everyday and see occasions for cold turkey, but also occasions for slowly weaning. It really varies with each child and where he or she is at the time you are trying to change their behavior.
    With my daughter, I went back to work right after she turned a year and started to stop pumping a few weeks before. She drank NOTHING out of a sippy cup at that point, but I told myself when our stored milk was gone so were the bottles. I slowly weaned her off of bottles. She only ever got her “big girl” milk in a sippy cup. We started at breakfast when she was most thirsty, but also most happy and took away the bottle and replaced with a sippy cup, then lunch, then dinner, then nap. She only drank a few sips at each meal for a while, but I upped her cheese and yogurt intake and told myself she wasn’t going to be hurt by not having milk for a while and that she wouldn’t let herself go thirsty.

    We also had to work hard to find the right cup. Lollacups with their weighted straws and easy grab handles worked best for us.

    When we were down to just the bedtime bottle, she got a stomach virus and had to go to bed bottle-less for a few nights because she wasn’t really eating much at a time. We didn’t offer the bottles again after the sickness and she was fine! A very painless transition for us (minus the virus).

    Good luck to you and know that you will make the right decision for your family even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time!

  • Marci June 20, 2013, 1:51 pm

    I think 12 months is early if he is showing he still wants it. Maybe try again in a few months. He won’t be ruined forever. Also, snack containers in the car can be very messy. I learned this with Cheerios everywhere.

  • Peggi June 20, 2013, 1:54 pm

    I have a 7 year old so its been a while for me. However, maybe cold turkey was not the way to go. I think weaning him off of it would be better. Like some other moms said just let him have the bottle before naps and bedtime…..also do not let him go to sleep with it at all. I never did this with my son and was very glad that I did that. He will get used it I promise. It will get better even if it doesn’t seem that way right now. Before you know it he will be a 7 year old and you wonder where the years went. This too shall pass 🙂

  • Emily June 20, 2013, 2:01 pm

    We weaned all his bottles at 12.5 months. BUT it took at least a month of trying to get him to take anything at all from a sippy. One day he took it, and then I knew he could so I put away all his bottles. What we did do was still give him milk before bed but in a sippy (which we still call Baba– not sure if that helped?) and just brush his teeth afterwards. We usually plop down on the couch and he drinks his last sippy of milk then. Then we head upstairs to brush his teeth and read and then put him down. We did have to wean him off night time feedings because he definitely associated the bottle with going back to sleep so I bet you are going to have to do the same but with a more willful and strong child now that he’s older. 🙁 I would just stay strong. I really bet he will just one day take it when he realizes that it is the only way he’s going to get milk/water. I hate it when you have to learn the hard way as a mom! 🙁 I definitely have a list of those “weaknesses” that I need to fix for #2 but to be honest– I’m sure I’ll probably still cave sometimes– and that’s OKAY! Don’t beat yourself up. You’re human and you love your child more than anything– it’s hard to watch them be so upset! I’m now onto my mistake #50 as a mom– trying to get the paci ONLY in the bed (at 20 months) because he cries and I cave and just give it to him. Good luck!!! You will find what works best and what you feel the most comfortable with after a couple tries of things!

  • Mary C June 20, 2013, 2:03 pm

    I’d cold turkey it. We’ve tried so many different sippy cups (and the ones with a softer nipple are the favorites for now). Our guy hated them all!!! He drank less and less (we were at 3 bottles x 5oz each/day), and especially didn’t drink much with the evening bottle. He stopped finishing any bottle (cup).

    However….when you switch to milk, our ped says that lesser quantity was ok. If we’re feeding other dairy throughout the day (yogurt, cottage cheese, the cheese he seems to need to eat any vegetable), I shouldn’t stress out when he doesn’t finish the milk.

    I’ve been lucky that our guy prefers the milk to the formula, and is starting to finish his cups where he didn’t a few weeks ago. I also might start giving the milk at dinner, and switch the evening drink to some water….making the teeth brushing routine a little easier.

  • Debbie June 20, 2013, 2:09 pm

    We didn’t is the short answer. Longer answer is he stopped bottles shortly after his second birthday. Around 12 months he was still drinking multiple bottles a day, at 18 months he was down to one at night time and one at nap time, we didn’t do anything g he just naturally reduced the number himself. Shortly after his 2nd birthday he just stopped being as interested in bottles, he totally dropped the nap time one and would drink maybe an ounce of his bedtime one. On the third day of only drinking an ounce I replaced the bottle with a beaker of water. Done. He never looked back. We tend to be quite child led so so self weaning was the way forward for us.

  • Lauren F June 20, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I’m not trying to belittle what you’re going through at all. Every stage with a child brings its successes and challenges. But my pediatrician gave me some very sound advice very early on with our son and it has stuck through to create a very independent 2-year old.

    My pediatrician said, “In all things, if you make a big deal out of it, so will your child. You’re not hurting them by taking things away/incorporating things that you know are for their best interest in the long run. It hurts your more in the long run because creating bad habits to appease your needs will only create dependent children who cannot self-sooth.”

    So my advice, and you can totally throw it in the trash if you want to, is let it go. Sleep training was never an issue. I put him in bed, let him cry it out for a few nights, and now he sleeps 11-hour stretches no problem (he was sleeping 9-hour stretches at 6 weeks). Kids go through phases. I notice with my son if he’s going through a growth spurt he’ll sleep less soundly and less in duration (also when he’s sick). I never make it a big deal. Transitioning to sippy cups was a challenge, but when we found the cup that worked best for him, it was no big thing. And now HE is begging for regular cups with no lids because his friends use them when we have play dates. There was no transition needed.

    Sometimes just making it part of your regular routine, without too much emphasis is the way to go. The books and “experts” can only tell you so much. Their methods don’t always work on EVERY child. And the only people who know Henry well enough to know what to do with him are you and Kristien. Don’t feel guilty. You’re doing a fantastic job and should be celebrating making it through the first year. Not feeling horrible about making him cry over a sippy cup.

    • Caitlin June 20, 2013, 2:40 pm

      Thank you!!!!

    • Alicia June 21, 2013, 10:18 pm

      Am I reading this right? You let a 6-week old newborn cry it out?

      • Grace June 22, 2013, 11:32 am

        6 weeks old is way too young for any type of sleep training – every expert agrees on this one. The one book (BabyWise) that recommends “training” that young has been linked to failure to thrive and health problems (including the hospitalization of infants for dehydration) by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

        • Crystal June 22, 2013, 6:33 pm

          From reading your comment my kids should be screwed. We nursed until 15 months *gasp* including to sleep, I carried them everywhere and never did CIO. now I have kids who tell me they’re tired and toddle off to bed. They also tell me to go away b/c they want to play alone. “Bad habits” are not irreversible. Letting your child have comfort measures will not screw them up for life.

  • Michelle June 20, 2013, 2:11 pm

    I’m assuming that you are a pacifier free house? If not, I would assume that would give a similar soothing feeling… but then it carries the same issues for teeth and attachment I assume. (Non-mom here.) Id say the one week of sleepy time only weaning might have been a possibility, but you’ve already started with cold turkey – i’d stick to it. I’m betting that if you do one week of the nap time only, that the first day you nix that it will be just as hellish as what you just encountered, maybe for additional days if he thinks that one mega tantrum means the next day he got it back.

    Sometime in the future, it would be awesome if you turned “Things I Will Not Do With BabyHTP #2.” into a post of lessons learned from Henry.

    Good luck hun!

  • Amina @Furiously Writing June 20, 2013, 2:11 pm

    When we transitioned Babyface from bottles to sippy cups, I was verklempt and he did okay. I bought him some tilty cups and offered him milk in those at mealtime only. He could drink it or not. At first, he wasn’t into it. I would say he drank very little milk for the first week. But then he realized if he wanted milk it was cup or nothing, so he took the cup. Also he got two cups at every meal, one with milk, and one with water. I didn’t try to give him a cup of milk in the nursery like he used to get before bed. I did keep the rest of the routine the same.

  • Hannah June 20, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Just curious if you are going to use dairy milk or an alrernative? My son is 9 months old and I am on the fence about what to use when we quit breastfeeding as we as a family dont eat much dairy. I hear good things about hemp milk.

    • Caitlin June 20, 2013, 2:37 pm

      We going to use an alternative but I’m not sure which yet. Daily Garnish has good stuff on this.

  • Lisa June 20, 2013, 2:18 pm

    While I think you have a lot of good reasons for moving away from the bottle, I would cut myself a break if I were you. I remember feeling stressed about the same issue and asking a friend what I should do. She said “nothing, I highly doubt you will be holding his beer for him in college.” Pretty decent perspective. He was totally off the bottle by 14 or 15 months.

    What really cinched it was playing with kids who were using a cup. He watched that and seemed to want to be like them.

    Good luck!

  • Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) June 20, 2013, 2:18 pm

    Opposite problem- Hailey never took to a bottle very well, so no trouble there. Don’t get me started on when we try to take the paci away for sleeping though… I shudder to think of the day!

    Just a thought, but have you tried different sippy cups? I know some kids prefer straws, other more traditional sippies. Maybe if he could choose his own replacement he’d feel like he had some say in it?

    Good luck!

  • Heather June 20, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Since you started cold turkey, I would stick with it. If you go back now, he will learn that the tantrums work and then you will have that issue. We went cold turkey with pacifiers and it just took a few (maybe 3 at most) days to get past it. It might be difficult, but it will pass.
    For bottles, for both our girls we have phased them out. With my first she was super attached to the bottle. I dropped one bottle a day and the last to go was the bed time bottle. With our second (turns 1 today!! wahoo). We have swapped her first two bottles for sippy cups with meals (she loves food). However, we didn’t use bottles to help them go to sleep (although they have on occasion fallen asleep during the last bottle) or let them have one in their crib or car seat so you might have more trouble going the phase out route. I really think the cold turkey will work for you and rather than have to fight for weeks phasing them our, you are going to have a rough couple of days.
    Hang in there!

  • Michele June 20, 2013, 2:21 pm

    I’ll be another grandma having the “don’t sweat it” approach. I have 5 children now 23-29 and now my daughter and 18 month old grandson live with us. Isaac has never slept with his bottle but we do hold him and give him a 4 ounce bottle of milk before his naps and bedtime. Otherwise he has water, watered down juice or occasionally milk in his sippy cup. At bedtime, he curls up in our laps with his bottle and blankie, gets drowsy, and then goes in his crib (usually awake but drowsy) with his blankie at 8:30 and sleeps straight through until 9 am the next morning! The pediatritian mentioned getting rid of the bottle at 12 months and my daughter looked at me and asked what I thought. I told her I was ok with letting him be a baby as long as possible. My daughter laughed and said “Oh good! Me too!” (I watch him a lot of nights since she works so it was important we were on the same page). I just feel that as children get older and older they have so many things they have to struggle with; this just doesn’t have to be one of them.

  • Janelle June 20, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Does he suck on a pacifier or his thumb? If not, then I really don’t think he’s ready to give up the bottle. My first sucked his thumb and getting rid of the bottle was completely a non issue. We had no problems transitioning him. I had very high hopes with my second, but he couldn’t have been more opposite. The bottle became his comfort item; eventually he would just suck on it empty (he has been a difficult child ;)). One weekend we went away, and we forgot his bottle. It wasn’t a big deal, but he was 2 yrs old at this point.

    Mostly importantly, I echo what Lisa said above. Do what you think is best. That’s my best piece of advice. I tried to treat my youngest like my oldest as well as follow expectations of other people in my life, and it made for a VERY difficult first year with my youngest. *If* I have a third child, I would follow my gut more. As long as your child is happy and healthy you can’t really go wrong. We just have different ways to get the same end result.

  • Amanda June 20, 2013, 2:26 pm

    First of all, at least he has the “skill” of using a sippy! So it sounds like a habit, duh. When we transitioned, we just did sippies at bed time until it was a easy deal and then switched out the bottles (at that point prob 1 or 2 a day?) once we had bedtime down since that was our big problem/habit time with the bottle.

    I KNOW this sounds easier than it is, but I would keep trying your best (short of making poor Henry miserable!), but don’t stress about it too much because there are so many things that you have to just guide them and let go…….and they’ll do it when they are ready.

    He’s not a 3yr out sucking on a bottle, so I would NOT consider this something to stress over too much. Again easy for me to say, and after 2 kids……yeah I just let go a lot more than I used to.

    Good luck, he’ll figure it out! You’re a good and smart mama. It’s gonna fine!

  • Erica June 20, 2013, 2:27 pm

    My son is 15 months now, and we switched from a combo of nursing (am/pm) and bottles at day care to bottles within a few days. The first question – did you transition from bottles of formula to cups of milk, or have you transitioned him to milk already? That’s what we started with first – switching from formula to milk in his bottles so that he was comfortable with the change in taste. That took a few days of increasing the ratio of milk:formula until it was 100%. Then one weekend we just banished the bottles completely and only gave sippy cups of milk (he was already familiar with cups for water). It took about 2 days and on the first day he barely drank anything (water or milk) and on the second day he drank a little bit and by the third he was ready. Cold turkey was the way to go and I think that babies are really adaptable and do best with change if they aren’t reintroduced to something again (like if you were to give a bottle only at naps, he would still be reliant on it).

    • Caitlin June 20, 2013, 2:36 pm

      He’s still on mostly formula. I will prob keep him on formula for a few more months.

  • Erica June 20, 2013, 2:28 pm

    I realized there is a typo! We switched from nursing/bottles to CUPs within a few days.

  • Amanda June 20, 2013, 2:28 pm

    Oh and yeah and I totally agree with what someone else said earlier about keeping your routines exactly the same, just switch out the bottle for a sippy. We did that too and it was less traumatic than just making them grow up and be a big kid immediately!

  • Katie June 20, 2013, 2:32 pm

    OH MOMMA!! I want to give you such a big hug!!! I don’t have a babe yet, but I remember (kind of) when my little brother was born (I was 3) and I kind of got jealous of his bottles and stole them for a while…but I turned out totally fine!

  • Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health June 20, 2013, 2:40 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I don’t have kids but I do have younger siblings. Like Allison said above, my parents didn’t go cold turkey and instead gave them their bottles once or twice a day. For example, I remember they would get a bottle at night time before bed and they would be excited and look forward to it before they slept. I think this made them more willing to try sippy cups during the day because instead of it being the only option, it was something fun and new and they didnt feel deprived of their bottle. Eventually, they grew to enjoy the sippy cups and slowly weened off of the bottles at night too. Hope this helps, I’m sure its so hard to say no to that cutie!

  • Lauri June 20, 2013, 2:52 pm

    Keep in mind that every kid is different and what worked for us may not work for you but I would say try anything and everything!!!

    My son was only formula fed, but basically here is what we did – At 12 months we started dropping one bottle at a time over the course of a couple weeks (I think, he is 5 and it’s hard to recall that far back!) with the bedtime bottle being the last to go. we both work full time, and he was in daycare so i also waited for a time when we had more than just a weekend at home – A time when we had 4 straight days to deal with it, and that’s when we dropped the bedtime bottle (he was 13 months). We offered milk in the sippy cup many time throughout the day instead of just at established “feeding times” like we had with the bottle/formula. I remember the first time i gave him the sippy with milk, he took one small sip and then said “Alhhh daa!” (his words for “all done”) and handed it back. But we just kept trying and didn’t worry about how much he was getting in total milk b/c we knew a few days of low milk amounts wouldn’t cause any long term harm and we just hoped that over time he would drink more and more, which is basically what happened until eventually he was drinking full sippys of milk. I didn’t count ounces or worry, and just hung in there.

    Give it time and DON’T GO BACK to bottles once you eliminate them, or he will get confused. Stick to your guns!!! And just keep trying. Also try different types of sippy cups if he refuses and refuses.

  • Vanessa June 20, 2013, 2:59 pm

    A month before we quit bottles we introduced almond milk (we don’t drink dairy).

    There wasn’t a set routine to this, just that he got cups of almond milk with his food. His diet was still mostly breast milk. He was drinking from a cup (water only) around 7 months so around 11-12 months we alternated between using cups for both almond milk and water. His sippy cups were only filled with water.

    We quit bottles a few weeks after he turned one. Up until one, breast milk is the main diet of infants. But after 12 months, most can slowly start an all solids diet. Because of chronic ear infections and nursing strikes, we chose to move him to 100% solids. And stopped bottles cold turkey. I don’t think he even noticed because he still got almond milk and water from a cup.

    We used to give him snacks in the car but a roach problem quickly developed (gross, I know- but I live on an island and bugs are EVERYWHERE) so we scratched that quick.

    Yes, he may cry. But he’ll survive! It’s always tough to adjust to something new. Because he’s used to having a bottle as comfort (car rides, sleeping, etc..) he’ll need to learn how to comfort himself in other ways.

    I suggest giving him regular cups and alternating between sippy and regular cups, bottles only at meal times, slowly starting him on all solids (with cups of liquid), and replacing a feeding with a meal (not supplementing a bottle feeding with solids).

  • Cori June 20, 2013, 3:04 pm

    First of all – YOU ARE NOT WEAK! You did what worked for you and your family. I had to break twins of the bottle habit at age 1 and they weren’t even drinking water out of sippy cups at the time. It was a rough first few weeks, but it was all ok after that. The biggest thing for me, though, was to wrap my head around how much milk to give them. The took to drinking water from the cups really fast but I was constantly feeling like they weren’t getting enough milk. Finally I asked the nurse at the health unit and she said:

    “One year olds need 2 servings of dairy per day”


    So between cheese or yogourt at meals and the 5 cups of milk I was trying to force down their throats….let’s just say I decided to stop forcing the fight and made milk a mealtime thing. After that – they got used to always having a water cup on the go and then getting milk at meals. Worked great.

    Maybe try to just give him a sippy of water in the mornings and see if that helps.

  • Jackie June 20, 2013, 3:09 pm

    My son is 16 months and he still gets a bottle of cow’s milk in the morning. My doctor said to be completely done by 18 months, so we did a gradual approach (ie, cut out one at a time). I’m the one hesitant to give up the morning bottle because it’s such an easy way to get him to drink 6 ozs of milk!

    Do you guys do pacis? That’s always good for going to bed for us. Also, does he have a “lovie” to sleep with in his crib?

    As far as the early morning wake up – I have no idea if this would help you guys or not – but of late our son was waking up early (like 5:45) everyday and he would be super cranky (indicating to me he hadn’t had enough sleep). I realized that I was also waking up around that time everyday because I needed to put an extra blanket on. Then I thought….could he be waking because he’s cold?? So we started dressing him in fleece footie pajamas (vs. the cotton footie ones he had been wearing in Summer), and now he sleeps until at least 6:30, but sometimes 6:45 or SEVEN everyday. No clue if that could help you – but my yoga teacher always tells us to cover up with a blanket during shavasana because it’s hard for the body to relax when it’s cold.

  • Lauren June 20, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I have been a VERY long time reader of your blog but never comment … we had the hardest time weaning my oldest from bottles and finally found this bottle that she switched to without any battle – http://www.amazon.com/NUK-Disney-Winnie-Ounces-Silicone/dp/B005A3OGR0/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1371755923&sr=8-4&keywords=nuk+bottles.

    If he is not totally weaned for the next few months, it is really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, you know? Does he use a paci? If not, then I wouldn’t worry too much about the orthodontic reason for stopping bottles. He wont be bringing his bottle to kindergarten. That’s what I always try to tell myself about things to stay sane and keep a sense of reality :). Good luck!

  • Lauren June 20, 2013, 3:25 pm

    I forgot to add that we sort of cut the nipple on those bottles gradually until, after a few months, they were pretty much just a pour spout.

  • Halsy June 20, 2013, 3:29 pm

    I had to do cold turkey. At first she cried but
    It never lasted more than 10 minutes so it was manageable and she just got used to it with naps and nighttime. She still does a couple minutes crying but I think it’s her way of winding down. Just dont give in…I know it is easier said than done! The snack holders are great for the car. My daughter finds the munchkin 9 oz click lock sippy cups comforting. Sometimes I jazz up her milk by making a smoothie with 4-5 oz milk 1/2 banana and scoop of peanut butter or another nut/seed butter. That has helped the transition. Good luck! I will say my friend caved and she is about to have baby #2 and has a 19 month old still on a bottle and is having the most terrible time with tantrums etc. she said she wishes she would have listened to the ped at the 12 and 15 month check up. If you find some great sippy cups it would be so helpful for you to do a review.

  • Jennifer June 20, 2013, 3:33 pm

    I’m a mama of 4 kids 5 and under!!! 🙂 I absolutely 100% say stick to the cold turkey. The 1st day is horrible and each day gets better (usually about 3-4 days) If you give in he will see that all he has to do is scream and cry until he gets his way and like another commenter said you do not want to deal with a bratty child who throws tantrums everytime he wants something and doesn’t get it. At this point he doesn’t need milk to put him to sleep. It’s like using a pacifier. I usually give all my kids a little bit of water before bed but otherwise nothing.
    When you decide to have numero #2 I suggest getting them into a routine of eating, playing, then sleeping. I didn’t do it that way for my 1st and wished I had. It makes them less dependent on thinking they need to be nursed or bottle fed before sleeping and then if you decide to use/or have to use a bottle then you are giving it to them before they play instead of before they sleep. I know you had to bottle feed, but who knows your next one could be different and if thats the case, I’d say go straight into a sippy cup at meals.

    Good luck, stay strong. You totally got this!!! 🙂

    • Alicia June 21, 2013, 10:15 pm

      Bratty child who throws tantrums? This is a major change for the child and he’s bratty if he finds it disconcerting?

  • Stephanie @ The Good Stuff June 20, 2013, 3:36 pm

    I’m probably not going to be a ton of help, but wanted to weigh in in hope of being at least a little helpful 🙂

    We ditched bottles when my son was about 1 1/2-1 3/4. We didn’t do it before then for a few reasons, but just wanted to encourage you to make sure you’re getting rid of bottles completely because you feel that it’s the right time, not just because someone is telling you that the calendar says it’s time.

    At the time that we got rid of bottles he was only taking a bottle of milk before naptime and bedtime (so twice a day). We replaced that time with reading books instead of drinking a bottle. The first 2-3 days were a little challenging, but not terrible. Then he seemed to just understand that this was our new routine.

    I think if I were you and I was ready to get rid of bottles now I would probably start by cutting down the number of times a day he had a bottle before getting rid of them completely, but obviously there’s no one right way to go about this!

    Lots of luck!

  • Mary Ann June 20, 2013, 3:44 pm

    This is one of those ‘ask Grandma’ problems. When I was going to do this with my son, I had done exactly what you had…used it as a soothing method. Well my grandma asked me if I was going to give him a bottle when he was 16 to ‘soothe’ him. She said ‘stick to your guns now and it will be easy to do it when he’s 16’. She was soooooo right. And for all the mamas who have told you the first night is the hardest…they are right. It does get easier. Just ‘stick to your guns’.

  • Carolyn June 20, 2013, 4:01 pm

    My son has to be off the bottle at 12 months due to daycare rules. He transitions to the next room then and there are no bottles allowed. I now have 2 months to get my son who won’t even hold his own bottle to take a sippy cup, at least during the day.

    We made some progress this morning by me just letting him fuss for a few seconds until he got mad/hungry enough to hold it himself. I figure this will be the first step to transition to sippys. I’m most concerned about that bedtime bottle, though. Since he’s always slept well even if he fell asleep eating/being rocked I didn’t try to change anything. Now I know I’ll need to switch the routine around so he can brush his teeth AFTER eating and I’m not looking forward to it.

    • olivia June 20, 2013, 9:42 pm

      Carolyn, I just thought I’d mention that my son never held his own bottle but switched to sippy cups with no issue at 12 months. Good luck!!!

  • Robin June 20, 2013, 4:28 pm

    My youngest was very against going off her bottle but it is temporary!! Mom knows best so go with your gut and know that he will get over it very quickly.

  • Meghan June 20, 2013, 4:39 pm

    While I don’t have any children of my own, I worked at a learning center throughout high school and college and am now a kindergarten teacher. One technique we used to wean infants/toddlers off of pacifiers was to cut the nipple off. The first time just cut a little bit off, then after a couple of days cut more off. After a week or so there is no nipple left for the child to suck on and he/she doesn’t need the pacifier. I am not sure if it would work for a bottle or not, but if he isn’t using a pacifier or sucking his thumb/fingers, having a bottle before sleeping is similar.

    Keep in mind, when trying to change a behavior the start of the change is always the hardest. It is really hard, but stand your ground and be confident with your decision, it does get better.

  • Jaclyn June 20, 2013, 4:45 pm

    Well, I’m not in this situation yet so I can’t tell you what “worked” for me (my little one is bottle fed, but she’s younger than Henry and it’s not even close to time for her to wean yet). But since this was the ped’s idea, if it were me, I’d be on the phone with the nurse saying something along the lines of “the doctor suggested this but we’re struggling; do you have any tips?” We had a NICU experience, so I’m not shy about peppering the nurses with my questions, heh. I’d also check “What to Expect the First Year” or whatever your baby-raising Bible is – I’d be willing to bet there are suggestions in there. Good luck!

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) June 20, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Hey! I didn’t get to read through all the comments so sorry if any of this is a repeat.

    I have a friend, whose child is now 2 yrs, and had this same problem. It was bad! Well she found these Nuby cups that have transitional tops (start with the nipple top that resembles a bottle nipple , then once he gets used to the look/feel of this cup, then you switch off the nipple top and put on the sippy cup top.) Worked like a CHARM for my friend. She used the nipple top for like a few months and then one day just switched and her kid NEVER noticed.


    Also, my daughter is 13 months (and is developmentally delayed) and a few weeks ago I was MAJORLY stressing about switching to the sippy cup (she cannot even hold her bottle yet, much less hold or even coordinate making a sippy cup work) and her therapist told me that there are much worse things than a 12-15 month old using a bottle. She said some things, at certain moments in time, are not worth tackling if it only adds more stress to your plate as a mom. So for now we keep offering her a sippy of water with meals, and then she gets formula out of the bottle. 🙂

  • Rebecca June 20, 2013, 5:14 pm

    I would think that it’s nearly an addiction (er, habit is a better word, maybe??) or a security thing at this point, and as with anything that becomes a habit, it’s going to take time to break and get used to it not being there.
    My sister would NOT let anyone take away her pacifier. My parents would take it away, and she’d just find the one for a baby doll at daycare and use it instead. I think they tried that stuff that you can put on bottles or pacifiers or even fingernails that are supposed to be a “yuck” association so that she would think it was gross and give up on it (kind of like painting your nails to keep you from biting them). Not sure if it worked, but might be worth a try. (She’s now 19 and doesn’t need a pacifier, so something made her quit!) Or the cutting-off method as someone above described might work, too.
    I haven’t got any kids, and even though I have 18 cousins, I’ve never really asked them what they’ve done for these things, so that’s not a big help. But knowing what I know about breaking habits, it’s going to take time, and patience and attitude will be key. Hopefully the bottle-ditching hell won’t last *too long* for you! If he’s still having issues in like a month, maybe it’s not time yet. Sometimes it depends on the kid. Maybe he’ll start to lose interest in bottles after a while if you continue to use sippy cups? Who knows.

  • Melissa June 20, 2013, 5:15 pm

    He has made an emotional attachment to his bottle. Before you take it away, you need to get him attached to something else. He is self soothing w it. Get him a blanket or stuff animal that is cuddley, easy to sleep with and drag around. Start going him that along w the bottle so he starts associating comfort w it. You don’t need to distract him you need him to get emotionally attached to something else he assiciates with comfort. I would also suggest getting a few of the same thing and rotating them so you can wash them and they will still feel the same. Also give it a name. Good luck. You canst be just give the bottle no milk after a few days along w a lovie.

  • nancy June 20, 2013, 5:41 pm

    My oldest, and most strong willed child, was the only one who ever wanted a bottle and I remember feeling much like you when her dr said to take it away at her first birthday. I offered “big girl” cups instead (which she was used to at mealtimes anyway) and she was overall ok with it until I walked into her bedroom one morning with a cup instead of a bottle. She made it very clear she was not on board with that. Since that seemed so important to her, I told her I would go get her bottle instead. Maybe a week later I tried again and she was fine with the cup. I’m guessing the cold turkey approach was more than Henry was ready to do. Maybe consider letting him have it back at really important times ( to him anyway) and letting it go more gradually. Perhaps letting a bottle “visit” for a little while might make it easier on him and therefore you. When we had to wean my middle child off of his pacifier we did it gradually, only letting him have it when he was in his bed. If he wanted it he would have to go sit on his bed. He did that a couple of times but then it wasn’t worth it to him anymore. Henry might be too young for that approach but I thought it was worth mentioning. Good luck 🙂

  • Charity June 20, 2013, 6:12 pm

    oh boy do I feel your pain. Mine wasn’t the bottle it was the breast. He breast fed until he was 10 months however we started at 6 months to try and get him off the breast and take formula. I returned to work early and wanted him weaned. It was A LOT of work and tears and frustrations and different sippies. We tried about 20 different types of sippies. Expensive ones, cheap ones, dr promoted ones, specialized ones, ones with straws, a cup with no spout just 360 access to the liquid.. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!!!
    Finally I was at walmart and found a parents first sippy with a spout that was silicon, but a thick silicone so it wasn’t as soft and supple as a bottle nipple but it wasnt as hard as a typical sippy cup, that’s what did the trick.
    I really think its a matter of just trying different sippy’s and him being ready for it. I found when Alexander started paying more attention to me drinking my beverages out of a cup he became more willing to drink from a sippy.. But still never took a bloody bottle.
    BTW when they start sippys.. they are messy. Very messy. You have to just be thankful they are drinking from it and try not to mind how wet everything (including you) will get.

    • Charity June 20, 2013, 8:49 pm

      oh BTW, you can actually buy “helper” sippys with a straw if thats the way you want to go. The sides are more flexible for mom to be able to squeeze to get the liquid up so they understand where the liquid comes from to help get them started sucking.

  • Ginger June 20, 2013, 6:17 pm

    I agree with all the previous comments about staying strong and not giving in- it won’t last long, it will just seem like it 🙂

  • Christie June 20, 2013, 6:22 pm

    We had a lot of trouble with this too. I stressed about it so long and bought 20000 different types of cups.

    My kid is 16 months and we were done with the bottle sometime in the 13th month. I stopped nursing around 12 months and started dairy milk. Then she would only drink it in the bottle. We did a gradual approach. The hardest to get rid of for us was the 1st morning bottle. I’d give a bottle in the AM then for breakfast (about an hour later), I’d give a cup of milk. Then for lunch, a cup of milk. Same for dinner. Once she started drinking the milk from the cup, I quit doing the bottle and she didn’t melt down.

  • Veronica June 20, 2013, 6:25 pm

    For mine I felt like the transition to sippy cup was even harder due to exclusively breastfeeding. They go from getting body temp milk, cuddled up to my body, to getting cold milk out of a cup, with a spout that was NOTHING like a boob, and to top it off…they had to do it themselves!! Both of my boys really resisted the sippy cup idea. I can’t tell you how many I went through with my first boy! At least a dozen different styles of spouts!

    And then my MIL turned on a lightbulb for me.
    You have to give them something in the sippy cup that they never get otherwise. *ding!*
    See, I was trying boring old water, watered-down juice, or milk… not a great incentive. So the next day I tried straight juice. Boy, that got the interest level up! Then I tried some milk with a little chocolate syrup! That sealed the deal.

    Now, I’m just recommending this for the first week only. As soon as they get the hang of the cup and realize it’s really awesome, then you go back to the “boring” stuff. They really wont mind. At least mine didn’t. By then, their relationship with the sippy had been cemented and they never complained again.

    As far as the transition, do what you did when weaning. Cut down the LEAST important bottle first. Keep the important ones. A week later, cut another bottle, and then another. Make the most important bottle of his day the one you remove last.
    You’re come so far in a year. You’ve picked your battles wisely. You already know how to do this, you just have to trust yourself.

  • jen June 20, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Replace one bottle at a time with the sippy cup….saving the bedtimes ones for last….kids still need their self soothers at this age and its also important for your own sanity!!! Keep in mind that this could take a few months. Good luck!

  • La June 20, 2013, 7:11 pm

    At my daughter’s 12-month check-up our pediatrician told us that she should be off of bottles by 15 months. It was a nice three-month window to figure out how to do this as my baby, too, loved her bottles. I tried it here and there, and while she would drink water out of her sippy cups, she refused to drink milk out of them. She’d sip, taste the milk, and spit it right out. Of course I stressed myself out over this wondering how I was ever going to transition her.

    After talking to my mother, I decided not to push it too much since we were moving and I didn’t want to change everything up on her. Once we were settled (she’s 14 months at this point) I saw a four-pack of Nuby soft spout sippy cups (http://www.samsclub.com/sams/nuby-cup-set-4-pk-girls/prod9040331.ip) for a great price and decided to get them. The following morning I put her warmed up organic whole milk into the sippy instead of a bottle, took her out of the crib, and rocked her while she drank like I would any other morning. I don’t know if she was too tired to notice, or too hungry to care, but she drank all of her milk out of the sippy! I knew afterwards that I couldn’t go back to bottles, so I packed them up.

    I’m not sure what other mama’s do at this age, but I still rock my daughter and hold the sippy as if it’s a bottle in the morning, before her one nap a day, and before bedtime. She also drinks one sippy of milk in the afternoon while we’re out or at home (she loooves milk). Hope that helps! It always seems like we have something new to transition to or figure out, but I’m sure Henry will make the change when he’s ready. If he flat out refuses, I wouldn’t push it too hard.

  • Emily June 20, 2013, 7:58 pm

    I agree with the cold turkey method. It can be brutal, but with strong willed kids there often is no other way. I have a strong willed kid – one of his most admirable traits – but a challenge nonetheless. We never had a bottle problems, but did have a pacifier problem. Oh lord he loved the paci. At 1 when I took it away, I told my boss that I’d probably be off work for a week or two, because I didn’t want the babysitter to deal with the screaming. Well, there were some screams but we stayed strong. And it was NO BIG DEAL in the long run. But cold turkey takes a commitment to not give in – at all! Put those bottles somewhere far, far away. And just know that you’re not hurting him. He knows how to do a sippy. Tough love little ones!

    And just a warning not to replace the bottle sleep habit with another one you’ll eventually need to break. They are big kids now – they can learn to sleep on their own 😉

    • Tricia June 21, 2013, 10:39 am

      “…I told my boss that I’d probably be off work for a week or two, because I didn’t want the babysitter to deal with the screaming.” LOL!!! I have a strong-willed child too and know just what you mean. 🙂

  • Summer June 20, 2013, 9:10 pm

    From the perspective of a dentist, formula/milk/juice sitting on a babys teeth all night long can quickly lead to rampant and severe dental decay. I advise all my parents to brush teeth right before bed. If a bottle or sippy cup is necessary, only give water. Even though my 8 month old has no teeth yet, we are trying to go ahead and get into the habit of no bottle when going to sleep. Of course, easier said than done sometimes!

  • Bethany June 20, 2013, 9:35 pm

    We didn’t go cold turkey. We just cut back to the important bottles (morning and night) and then cut back on the amount we put in the bottle and gradually weaned him that way. 8oz to 6oz to 4 oz and gradually he expected less…then we switch the to nubby and then gradually offered water instead of milk for the soothing at morning/bedtime and just made the rule -never in bed. Always in a rocking chair in his room. If he wanted to get down etc…we set it aside. It was a slower process but never painful or with tears from any of us. I think bottles were out of our life buy 14/15/16/18 months or so.

    Hope this helps but every baby is different and do what works for Henry and your family.

  • Carrie June 21, 2013, 12:03 am

    I can relate! This is so where I’m headed in getting my 2 yr old “off” her paci. Definitely one of those sanity things…. But I regret letting her get so attached! If anyone has any tips for stopping, I’d love to hear them! 🙂

    We stopped bottles gradually leading up to 1 yr. I phased out a bottle at a time and it worked great! First the nap bottles were out and instead she did snacks and tv. Nice winding down time before. Then I did the morning bottle. Last and hardest was the night bottle. I think it was almost is forcing it on her more than anything. She started to want to walk around with it and that was that. Sounds like your Henry is more attached! 🙁
    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  • Kermit June 21, 2013, 12:18 am

    I’m just going to tell you what a ridiculous situation we got ourselves in with our baby boy (now 13 years old and he was 2nd child so I have no excuse) because I think you need to have a laugh . I thought I was so clever not allowing him to become dependant upon breast or bottle to fall asleep…but don’t worry he found something else 🙂
    He developed a love for his dummy ( what us Aussie’s call a pacifier) and in an obvious moment of sleep deprived madness we thought it would be smart to attach one to his teddy so he could find it easier in the dark cot at night. In addition we threw about 3 or 4 extra dummy’s in the cot. He then developed a bizarre habit of requiring that he held two dummy’s i.e one in each hand plus one in his mouth and teddy was under his arm and this was the only way he would fall asleep. This ritual was known as ” Teddy and two” and he would demand ” Teddy and Two” for every sleep and to comfort on car trips ,shopping etc.
    To be honest I don’t remember what prompted us to decide it was time to quit…I do have visions of about 19 dummy’s in the cot one day ( I am laughing at myself as I type this…how did a smart woman become so stupid! )
    Anyhow I know it’s not related to bottle weaning but it all comes back to self soothing techniques and after a few really tough cold turkey days we cracked it. We threw all 19 dummy’s in the rubbish and just kept teddy.
    P.s he still has Teddy in his room somewhere ( only its me that sneaks it for a cuddle every now and then reminiscing about my baby boy growing up )
    Good luck with whatever you decide, be kind to yourself, parenting is hard work!!

  • Amy June 21, 2013, 1:14 am

    We did a slow transition – I breastfed until my daughter was 14 months (though twice a day for the last few months) and we used the AVENT brand bottles because you could change the nipple out to a sippy cup top. That worked really well for us because she still got her bottle, so the feel in her hands, the sight, etc. was the same but for the interchangeable sippy top part.

    I don’t know if Medela makes a sippy top – but that might be a good solution for the transition, at least in the morning and a night.

  • Hilary June 21, 2013, 7:04 am

    Doctors can make you feel remarkably bad about things sometimes. I let my daughter keep her bottles til she was 2.5 because she just wasn’t magically ready at 12 months to quit them. I told her the Easter Bunny was giving them to the babies who needed them and it worked! She was ready then to understand and old enough to just drink out of a sippy cup. Like your Henry, she drank water or juice fine out of a sippy but over time I just cut down on the # of bottles she could have in a day with milk. I imagine your a.m. one will be the last one to drop. Making them cry does suck.

  • Jess June 21, 2013, 7:33 am

    My Henry (he is now 2.2 years old) was pretty bottle dependent for going to sleep. Our first transition step was giving him the same contents (under our pediatrician’s advisement we changed to cow’s milk at 10 months) in a sippy cup with a super soft sipper spout. It helped for the going to bed part and then made him more apt to not even want milk before bed. It took us probably two weeks to get rid of the bedtime bottle but it wasn’t so bad with this method.

    Also, I hear you on things not to do with baby number 2. I’m currently 12 weeks pregnant with the second and already making a list of things to do better this time around!

  • Kara Newman June 21, 2013, 7:40 am

    We also went “cold turkey” around 15/16 months. He wasn’t bothered by not having the bottle anymore thankfully. We really struggled to get him to drink milk from a sippy cup though. He is 25 months now and has only just started to drink it again! I feel your pain with the early rising…Alex was always up at 5/6 am. All of a sudden recently he has decided he “likes” to sleep and stays in bed until 7. He will also happily play in his room for half an hour when he wakes. Soooo nice! Only downside is…baby number 2 due any day! Typical hey?!: p

    Kara x

  • Heidi June 21, 2013, 8:00 am

    I second the comment about getting Henry attached to a lovey. (But get 2 of the same one and rotate them equally so they look the same. That way, in case you lose one, you’ll have an identical backup. Lesson learned the hard way on that one!) I kept my first baby on the bottle waaaay too long and had a similar problem. I ended up using the Nuby brand of sippy cups because they were the most “bottle-like” and made for an easier transition. We had to go cold turkey, which was tough, but the tantrums only lasted a couple of days. Once my second came along she was off the bottle at 11 months. I wasn’t doing that again! 😉

  • Sarah June 21, 2013, 9:14 am

    My son, now 18 months, was like Henry in that he’d drink he water just fine out of anything, but milk had to come from bottles. I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to switch him right at 1 year – like someone else said, it’s not like they’re magically ready the day they turn one (they’re still so little, when you think about it). As long as you’re not sending him off to kindergarten with a bottle…

    We slowly worked our way to no bottles. The daytime ones were the first to go, then the morning, and lastly, the bedtime one. We used the Born Free Training cups as transitional cups, after reading some recommendations online (even though the spout is firmer, it’s more nipple-like…at least in their little minds, I guess). He was totally off bottles by 16 months, and he’ll drink out of anything these days. No tears from him, no stress for me!

    As far as waking up early, we have a pretty good sleeper, though he does go through phases where he will wake up super early (though I don’t think he’s waking up for milk…I was never quick to give it to him because then I’d have to go all the way downstairs and I am lazy at 5am, haha) I don’t have a miracle remedy for you, because on those days, he does not go back to sleep, and we are up for the day. It stinks getting up early sometimes, but I figure I’ll be hollering at him to get his butt out of bed at noon when he’s a teenager 🙂

    Good luck! 🙂

  • Dawn June 21, 2013, 9:35 am

    I haven’t read through all of the replies but I imagine you have a wide variety of advice to take – or not take – because so many things are dependent upon each child and parents. You can take my opinion for the half a penny it’s worth but just know it’s my opinion. I’m not saying I’m right.

    Our pediatrician recommended our daughter be weaned from the bottle by 18 months. We started around a year old by taking away a bottle at a time but continued to give her a night time bottle until around 15 months. Her routine was bottle/bath/bed or bottle/read/bed so it wasn’t a huge deal when we eventually took that one away too.

    I think cold turkey can work in some cases, but only you know what will work for you and Henry. My other half a cent: if he used some of the bottles for comfort, going cold turkey may be a bit of a shock for him and it may be easier for him to be eased into the transition.

    Good luck!

  • Jessica June 21, 2013, 9:35 am

    Around 12 months, we started to decrease the number of bottles my son got throughout the day. He had one in the morning and one before bed. At 13 months, he only got a bottle before bed. And at 14 months, we stopped giving him the nighttime bottle. He wasn’t a good milk drinker in the beginning so we made sure he ate yogurt and cheese. But now, he LOOOOOVES his milk!

  • Emily June 21, 2013, 9:43 am

    I am childless so I am not going to give you any advice on this issue.

    Instead I’m going to remind you what an amazing and beautiful mother you are to both Henry and all the other young people who read your blogs. You shouldn’t feel any guilt about the way you’ve chosen to wean off bottles as everyone has their own way of being a mother. And frankly, his tears may be painful to hear now but he has no capacity to hold anything against you for it because he’s a baby and he sees you as a superhero whether you take away the bottle or not 🙂 <3


    • Caitlin June 21, 2013, 11:14 am


  • Michelle June 21, 2013, 9:45 am

    OHMYWORD, our 14 month old son HATED the sippy cup for a while. Like, it was weeping and gnashing of teeth everytime he saw the sippy cup come near him. Thankfully I started “training” him to use the sippy cup (interchangeably with the bottle) a couple of months before he turned one. We tried 5 different sippy cups. My husband and I never thought he would get the hang of it. I really was so discouraged! But Titus, our son, eventually did, by age 1! I hope this encourages you 🙂

    I haven’t read the other comments but I think going at it cold turkey will work, as long as you and your husband stick to your guns and not give in to Henry’s tantrums. He WILL get used to the sippy cup. It might take a couple of months but I believe that by consistently getting him to TRY to use the sippy cup (even if you use 10 different ones), he’ll get the hang of it. Good luck!

  • Mela June 21, 2013, 9:49 am

    My son’s pediatrician also recommended taking the bottle away at 12 months. We waited until 18 months though because that worked for us. We slowly took one bottle away at a time (starting at 12 months) until he was only on one bottle before bed (though he never used it to fall asleep). Then we tried to switch to a sippy with milk before bed and he didn’t want that, he just went to bed without milk.

    I don’t think that every baby needs to have the bottle taken away at 12 months. They shouldn’t be on it forever but what works for one does not work for all. Just trust your gut!

  • Marie June 21, 2013, 9:50 am

    We went down to just one bottle – at night before bed. I was dreading giving it up, but at 13-14 months, we knew we had to. So, I thought we were going cold turkey. I couldn’t do it. It made me too sad. So, I did some research and went with this approach. At first – just ice cold milk – before we were warming up the night time bottle. So we would make the bottle and put it in the fridge so the whole thing would be cold. She hated that – cried – but we rode it out – she would only drink about half. Then after about three days of that we switched to half water, half milk – again she didn’t really like it. Then I kept going down until it was almost all water. This took about a week – or ten days – finally she didn’t even want it at night time. She had no interest. And then the bottle was just gone. Good luck. You’re doing the best for him.

  • Eleanor June 21, 2013, 10:00 am

    We went cold turkey with my son at 10 months and transitioned him to 3 full meals plus one snack in the afternoon. He had a couple of days of being “off,” but overall it was not a difficult transition because he loves to eat (and at that time was so excited about all the new solids). I would suggest maybe making sure he’s getting quite substantial meals at mealtimes, and perhaps that will help him be distracted from the bottle? I think it’s also a good idea to separate mealtime from bedtime by about one hour. One last tip on the early am wakeups — does H have blackout curtains in his room? Last summer we had some early wakeups when the sun started rising so early… but that was instantly cured when we put blackout curtains in his room!

    • Mela June 21, 2013, 11:38 am

      I don’t mean to sound judgey but I feel like I need to mention that it is recommended that your child get the majority of his/her nutrition from breastmilk/formula until they are a year old.

      • Erika June 25, 2013, 5:05 am

        The American Academy of Pediatrics says 6 months.

  • Jill June 21, 2013, 10:24 am

    My son is one year old July 4th and we’ve dropped one of his beloved bottles in favor of a sippy cup. It is not easy. We are dropping one feeding at a time (first, the 11 a.m. next the 3 p.m., followed by the morning and finally the night). This has been the most difficult transition (and he freaks if he sees another kid with a bottle). I try and remember that when I gave him his first taste of formula at 8 months, he wouldn’t drink it. He got used to it and now all is fine. This will be too. EEK.

  • Karen June 21, 2013, 10:31 am

    My son turned a year old on the 1st. We were out of town that weekend, so I waited until we got back. I had started transitioning him to milk a few weeks earlier. So he got milk in his sippy cup and formula in the bottle. Once we were home, I went cold turkey on formula and bottles. The adjustment for us, was he started waking up in the middle of the night because it took a few days to adjust to losing 16 oz of formula but he hadn’t replaced that with milk or food yet, so he was literally hungry in the middle of the night. We started feeding him yogurt or oatmeal right before bed and that has helped. We had to establish a new routine, so instead of bath, lotion, bottle. It is now bath, lotion, yogurt, books.

  • Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls June 21, 2013, 11:30 am

    Let me preface with I am not a cold turkey person and I don’t have a cold turkey child, but I can see how this would be sudden and upsetting to Henry. He’s had something he loves taken away without warning or explanation. It might help to hold on to the bottles he’s most attached to for a little while longer and let him adjust. It also might help to offer a simple explanation, “You still get the same milk just in a different kind of bottle.” Maybe even give him a choice between two different sippies. Be firm once the bottle is gone for a particular feeding, but allowing him some say between two acceptable options allows him to feel like he has some control. He may not say much but at this age he understands most of what you say.

    Also don’t forget there is no magic to 12 months, it’s just a guideline based on when the average kid gets their teeth and it is not specific to your child. If you drop bottles at 10 months or 14 months, it all works out fine.

  • Kristen June 21, 2013, 11:46 am

    I wonder if going “cold turkey” might be better suited for transitions when Henry might be a bit older and better able to understand what’s going on. There’s no real way to explain to him why, all of a sudden, he cannot have a bottle anymore. Imagine how you’d feel if someone took away your fork and gave you chopsticks…and you had never seen them before. You’d probably be frustrated and have a tantrum or two yourself! 😉 I’m sure that different methods are more effective for different kids, but this just seems like causing a lot of stress for no real reason, when a gentler approach might be just as effective and more enjoyable. No matter what you decide, you are a fabulous mom and Henry is lucky to have you!

  • Stephanie Clement June 21, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I would be wary of the psychological effects of stopping cold turkey. It’s hard enough for adults quit a beloved habit, but a baby? He might think that things which comfort him may be ripped away at any moment (perhaps leading to attachment issues). It’d be one thing if it were a toy that he occasionally plays with or perhaps a particular kind of food (for allergy reasons, say) but a bottle is an extremely comforting item for a youngin.

    Truthfully, and as a matter of opinion, I think that stopping cold turkey is only a benefit to you (in the immediate) and, like before, lead to longer term consequences.

    Of course, he could be totally fine in the end. Each case is different.

  • Courtney June 21, 2013, 2:19 pm

    I think you have more time than you’re giving yourself and Henry. I have two kiddos, 5 and 6, who we only bottle fed before naps and bed. Start the cold turkey by no stroller or other times during the day. Give him milk or water in a sippy cup. Only do bottles before nap and bed. In the end you don’t want to screw up the work you did to get him in a sleep
    Schedule. After a bit of time to get used to bottles only during that time, transition to bottle but not in the crib. Then sippy cup only. Just don’t over think it. Remember Henry is one and you are a hard working mama. Do what works for you guys—not what 1,000,000 different people are saying, “this will work for sure. It worked for us.” you and your family are your own. Delight in the fact this is true! This is just another step in the very long parenting ladder:)

  • Karen June 21, 2013, 2:27 pm

    Phase them out slowly. My oldest was very attached to his naptime and bedtime bottle when he was a year old, though he had voluntarily given up his “after meals” bottles which told me he was eating enough that the nighttime and bedtime bottles were for comfort only. So we slowly reduced the AMOUNT he got in each bottle, doing the naptime bottle first. Eventually when he was only getting an ounce or so, I replaced the milk in that bottle with water.

    Just because your doctor says to do something doesn’t mean you lose your nut and go cold turkey, because that often doesn’t work and is kind of mean if the child is using the bottle for comfort. You are not going to get arrested if your child is using a bottle after his first year. Do they tell breastfeeding moms to stop breastfeeding before sleep when their babies are a year old? I don’t think so.

  • Sara June 21, 2013, 3:53 pm

    My niece had a terrible time giving up her bottle. My brother and sister in law kept giving it back to her when it got rough, even though she wasn’t allowed a bottle at daycare or at grandmas and did just fine. Finally, at 22 months, when I was pregnant, they told her my baby needed the bottles and they were gone. Besides one or two hiccups the following mornings when she woke up and had to be reminded, she has not turned back! I “remember” (I was told) that I gave my paci to the bank lady… And didn’t care once it was gone. Maybe giving him a reason to give it up would help? Just throwing it out there! Maybe Maggie needs a bottle 😉

  • Noelle June 21, 2013, 5:35 pm

    We let our daughter use bottles for longer than a year, I figure, there aren’t a lot of adults using bottles so eventually this is just gonna work itself out. It eventually did around 17ish months. Don’t freak out, if he doesn’t switch right away, it’ll happen eventually. Try different sippies and try watering down his milk to the point where it is eventually just water. I know nuk makes a transition bottle that might be helpful? Link below!


  • Melissa June 21, 2013, 10:35 pm

    We transitioned at around 12 months, but it was a gradual process. My son loved his baba too. We did daytime sip pies and I rocked him to sleep with a bottle until HE started not to want to be rocked at around 18 months, by that time, he was ready to sit with me on the couch and accepted a sippy with no problems. It was pretty painless. I don’t understand the big deal about docs wanting everyone to cold-turkey switch. Breast feeling is encouraged after a year, and bonding is cited as a reason. I think my son experienced the same bonding with rocking and a bottle and I needed it too! I was much sadder than he was when he stopped wanting to be rocked! Hang in there!

  • Sheyla June 21, 2013, 11:28 pm

    I have two sons, 5 and 2. With my first burn as soon as he turned we packed up the bottles and that was that; he had been drinking water from a sippy cup since he was 6 months so the transition was very easy. With my 2 year old I got the “talk” from our doctor about the bottle at his 1 year check-up. One thing I learned quickly was that my boys are both unique and individual and what worked for one was not going to necessarily work for the other. With my 2 year old we weaned him off the bottle by decreasing his bottles to only first thing in the morning and before bed; stopped giving him a bottle in his crib but did sit him in our lap so he could have his bottle before bed; eventually he only had his before bed bottle and at 15 months all the bottles were gone. Going cold turkey would not work for our 2 year old; and we decided weaning off the bottle was best for him.

  • Laurie June 21, 2013, 11:54 pm

    I used a bottle until my son was 1. Then I switched to the NUK, which is AWESOME, until he was two. We practiced drinking from a cup throughout that year, and then he transitioned seamlessly to cups when he was 2. No tears, no stress!!!! Here is the link to show the photo…he only wanted this brand.


  • K June 22, 2013, 4:36 am

    Your wee guy is only throwing “tantrums” because he has no other way of communicating his frustration with you – he’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time!

    Personally I’d start with eliminating his stroller / carseat / diaper bottles so that he’s only getting those that are nutritionally necessary and then work on transitioning to a sippy cup for his “meals”.

  • Sarah T June 22, 2013, 9:25 am

    I feel your pain on this one. I have two children and remember the day when our pediatrician told me to wean off the bottle (also at our 12 month check up). It was totally nerve wrecking. I think the pedi mentions it at that appointment because they know it takes TIME. We went cold turkey with our daughter (first born, head strong and very stubborn) it was a nightmare!!! I cried, she cried, my husband cried. Basically it was a terrible two weeks and I regretted it. I felt so much guilt for putting her through that I swore with baby #2 we would find another way. Fast forward, baby #2 was our son, mello, laid back and easy going but a thumb sucker/bottle lover. This time we gradually removed one bottle time slot at a time. It took about a month but he barely noticed. We used a lot of distraction and snacks to ease the moments when he really wanted a bottle. We also focused on our activities, specifically making sure we watched for sleep que’s and didn’t let him get overtired.When he was overtired that’s when the really bad temper tantrums hit. I didn’t let him cry it out but opted to rock and snuggle extra amounts. Anyway, what I really want to say is, you don’t have to complete this right of passage as fast as you can. It’s ok to slow the process and make it less brutal. Henry will have no memory of how he got rid of his bottle, but you will so ask yourself, how do YOU want this process to go? Good luck! One small step on the path of parenthood…

  • Julie D. June 22, 2013, 10:00 am

    I went through this with my son. My mom kept saying, “he’s too old for a bottle,” etc. and he shouldn’t have one to help him fall asleep. At a year he would take a sippy cup during the day, but still wanted a bottle to help him fall asleep. However, trying to get rid of that bottle created huge melt downs and sleep issues. I finally just decided that he would give it up when he was ready.. and he did. He one day around 15 months? 18 months? just stopped drinking the milk in the bottle and we’d find the whole thing full. He gave it up on his own and we haven’t looked back.

  • Michele June 22, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Sooo…. How is it going? : )

  • claire June 22, 2013, 1:07 pm

    I think every pediatrician tells parents to wean their kids from the bottle at one year, but I don’t know of one parent who actually managed to do that!

    We started by suing a sippy cup at nap instead of a bottle and made sure to have her drink from it before reading a book, so somewhere around 20 months or so, it wasn’t too much of a battle when we said no more milk at naptime, but here’s a sippy of water.

    For bedtime, we started by putting the milk into the sippy cup too and feeding her before books. We never actually had to take the plunge because right before she turned two, she had the norovirus so she couldn’t drink anyways, so we capitalized on that and when she was back to normal, she asked for it, but it was a lot easier to not have a bottle or even a sippy with milk, because she’d already gone a month without it. That was the silver-lining of the stomach virus from hell 🙂

  • Morgan June 22, 2013, 1:27 pm

    My daughter has never been “by the book” on anything. For example, sleep training didn’t work for her until she was ready to do it, which was 13 months. The same goes for the bottle. Our doc also said to take away the bottle at 12 months. HELL NO! That did not work at all. She wouldn’t drink even a sip of milk out of a different contraption.

    She’s almost 19 months, and still won’t drink milk out of anything else. She only gets milk 3 times a day (wake-up, before nap, before bed) and I’m sure she’ll let me know when she’s ready to move on, like she does with everything else. I asked another pediatrican’s advice and he said “I’m less concerned about the device the kid is drinking out of and more concerned about how much he/she is drinking.”

    My advice would be to give it time and don’t stress that he’s 12 months old and still drinking from a bottle. Henry will probably let you know when he’s done with the baba. 🙂

  • Amanda June 22, 2013, 2:01 pm

    I second the gentle method of weaning from bottles, just like I believe in gentle sleep training methods versus ripping off the bandaid. No advice here on the early wakes ups! We have them too! It’s so very painful to see 445a or 515a nearly everyday! I’ve tried everything too. What worked the most is letting him grumble until 6 and then flip the light on before I feed him so he didn’t associate milk with darkness. Yeah, he’s tired but better after the am nap. We just got back from vacation so everything is off. I have crawled into his crib the last two mornings and we both slept an extra hour! He’s not typically a cosleep baby, but it’s working for early wakeups right now.

    Definitely increase food intake during the day and try to give milk at meal times. I would get disciplined with a feed schedule. Breakfast and milk, morning snack, lunch and milk, snack, dinner and milk, and before bed milk. Just keep trying the sippy! Have you tried water in his bottles that are at non meal times? What about watering down his bottles until weaned from them? He may find that it’s not as comforting if it’s mostly water and want to drink his sippy milk at meals instead.

    Gradual. Gradual changes are best for this mama and baby. Hope you find something gentle that works for you and little Henry.

    Definitely try to work in the milk at his meals also. That way, maybe he won’t want them for everything. Also, have you tried water in the bottles? He will need more food at mealtime too, if he’s giving up having milk all day long…

  • Amanda June 22, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Whoops! My iPhone is wacky. Typed same things twice. Sorry about that.

  • Amanda June 22, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Also Safe Sippy is similar to a bottle. Only one my son could use at first for milk. It was a straw cup but like a bottle in that he has to put whole mouth to slurp the milk. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002DND57M

  • Elizabeth June 23, 2013, 2:13 am

    I’m not a parent, but I’m an au pair right now for a family with almost 2 1/2-year-old twins, who still heavily rely on bottles at night as well as have a huge dependency on pacifiers. They are the youngest of 5 kids, so it makes things a lot easier to let them get a way with being babies for longer, but I definitely do not want to be around when they are taken off their bottles and pacifiers. It will be hell.
    But I think it can be done slowly as well, with sippy cups replacing bottles except at night, and then eventually taking those away too. The twins were using them less and less until things got stressful and they’re going through a stage where they’re sleeping terrible, and they also don’t always have the same people putting them to bed.

  • megan June 23, 2013, 5:23 pm

    I don’t listen to everything my pediatrician tells me. We followed our instincts when it came to swaddling and weaned when we were ready…and did the same when it came to bottles. The way I look at it is they will eventually move on to the next step when they are ready. No need to rush it just because there is a general age that babies drop a bottle. Our son was still drinking bottles at 12 months and I remember my husband’s parents telling me that I needed to get him off bottles… lol..I wasnt worried about my son having a bottle with him going to high school so it wasnt a big deal. I just offered him the sippy cup during the day and if he didn’t take it – no big deal – I gave him a bottle. Eventually he took it. No harm done that he had a couple extra months with a bottle. I dont see the big deal on hitting these ‘milestones’… same thing with using a fork or spoon. I know he’s going to eventually catch on to it and I’m not going to stress us all out forcing something on him he isn’t ready for…

  • Sara June 24, 2013, 6:27 am

    I weaned my daughter off bottles early as I’d heard these stories, but what worked for us was dropping most of the bottles, except for the one first thing in the morning and at night. I always held her and gave her the bottle it was one of my favorite times of the day with her. I think the last bottle that I dropped was the morning one, but I still kept with my routine of going up and rocking her with the straw cup so she could have her morning milk.

    You have to do what works for you though, and don’t beat yourself up, you are doing the best that you can. Also kids seem to have different motivators, perhaps bribery will work, everytime he takes a sippy cup instead of a bottle he gets to play with one of the new toys, but if he uses the bottle, that toy is for big boys that use big boy cups. You have to experiment and find what works for the three of you.

  • Jenn June 24, 2013, 12:32 pm

    I love advice posts like this, especially when they come at a time when I could use the advice. My pediatrician also told me to start weaning at a year (my nugget is now almost 18 months). It was traumatic and did not work at all. I gave up. I tried again this weekend and replaced all but her night time bottle with a sippy cup and it worked without an issue. I think most of your reader comments are right and just go with your instincts and what works best for your family!

  • Katie June 24, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I was terrified of taking away Roman’s bottle! The first night I tried it, he cried for an hour at bedtime, so I gave him a bottle and he went right to sleep. That week, I gave him a straw sippy cup with all meals, and for his normal daytime bottles, I gave him milk in the sippy cup. After two days, he got his morning bottle in the sippy cup too, but still having his bottle at night. Then I started putting 2 oz milk in a bottle and 2 oz in a sippy cup, and after 2 days moved it to ALL sippy cup – and no night time fussies! It took a week, but it really wasn’t much work at all. Roman was SUPER attached to the bottle, so it went smoother than I thought!

  • Lacie June 24, 2013, 1:36 pm

    Try a Lollacup. They’re the SHIT.

  • Kristen @ The Concrete Runner June 24, 2013, 10:58 pm

    We did a bottle until 15 months. We decided not to go cold turkey because we knew there would be tantrums. We slowly transitioned to 1 bottle at night, and then would replace part of the milk with water. This worked much better for us and right before her 15 month birthday we explained she was a big girl and didn’t need a bottle. She handled it much better than we expected. We also made sure we hid the bottles so she couldn’t ask for them. Good luck!

  • Eli's Mom June 25, 2013, 12:22 pm

    I have about a week and a half to go before my LO turns one and I don’t have a concrete plan. GAAHH! This post and the comments are very helpful as I don’t really know what will be the best approach. However, I did start reducing his bottles to 3 X a day and is planning to drop the middle one… I am not sure what to do next after that as he seems to need milk before bed time and waking up, too…

    I hope you will find what works for Henry. I wish us both luck. 🙂

  • Amy June 25, 2013, 9:58 pm

    I know I am late to this thread but as both a mom to special needs kids and non special needs kids and a nurse practitioner I want to caution all moms from “going with the pediatrician”. Medical professionals are not the end all and be all. they are forced by the academy of pediatrics or family medicine to use certain guidlines. They are genreal guidlines for ALL kids. Not for your kid. You are the mom and nothing in chidhood is written in stone. Causing your child to scream for any reason is not good advice, they scream more than enough for their own reasons. No child goes to kindergarten in a diaper with a bottle and a pacifier. Relax, enjoy their childhood. My youngest kids are 5.5 months and while they are breast fed, they get bottles at daycare. They are also exploring regular cups because they see us use them. My “rule” is that drinking is somehting we do while drinking not while doing other things. My kids don’t use sippy cups. I’d rather see a 16 month old with a bottle than a 4 year old with a sippy cup. drinking fro a cup is the skill, not drinking from a sippy cup. They will use cups when they can. Just me two cents. You are a good mom! Oh, and I regularly “argue” with my pediatrician because I read the same research he does and we STILL don’t agree on everything!

  • Amy @ Healthy and Fit for Real June 26, 2013, 10:25 am

    I’m not a parent but I would say you need to do what’s right for both you and Henry. If you go completely nutso with this and so does he, is it really worth it? I’m definitely a play-by-the-rules type person so I understand the need to do what the doctor thinks is “right” but I also know that not everyone is the same as adults so why would we expect them to be the same at age 1? Keep strong and do what you feel is right for your family! 🙂

  • Shannon June 26, 2013, 4:25 pm

    It will get easier, the first week or 2 is tough, but he will no longer want or need it. Good Luck! Cold turkey is the best way, I had all my kids off the bottle at 9 months old, BUT they had their pacifier until they were almost 3. The pacifier was the hardest to get rid of. Even though my kids are adults, I remember how difficult it was.

  • Ellie July 2, 2013, 12:27 am

    Very late to this discussion, but I just wanted to chime in regarding the sippy cups. My oldest child got addicted to those! And, since he was our first, we didn’t realize we were supposed to encourage him to be drinking from open cups. When he started preschool at age 3, he was so worried about spilling his drink that he never drank anything. So, MY moral of the story is that you might as well start offering him open cups with just a bit to drink … even if he “plays” with that for a year, he’ll be getting the hang of it. My other moral of the story is that we ALL do things we might later regret, but there are many, many paths toward having happy, healthy kids.

  • Amy May 29, 2014, 7:16 am

    Hi Caitlin,
    I know this post was written almost a year ago. We are going cold turkey with bottles today. We are in the same position as you were with using the bottle during sleep times, etc. I am preparing for a hellish few days, but am hoping to know how going cold turkey worked for you. Was it a success? How long did it take to get through? Any tips? Going to try and stay as calm as possible! Thank you for any insight you may have!

    • Caitlin May 29, 2014, 7:37 am

      We ended up not doing it for a few more months because cold turkey was so bad at 12 months – I tried again around 14 months and it was a LOT easier.

  • Jennifer May 27, 2015, 4:51 am

    Your story is a duplicate of my life right now . I’m on night 4 and it’s almost 2 am my 19 month old took a 45 min nap today and it’s been a exhausting stay cation for me. I’ve never had her throw so many fits and tantrum. But I too cut her off cold turkey and don’t want to give in because it would seem all that work for nothing . I thing she doesn’t know how to self soothe her self or relax herself she is tired and cranky. Did anything work??? I need ideas?? I have 6 kids. Every child is different . She is my last baby, with a 13 yr old gap.

    • Caitlin May 27, 2015, 6:36 am

      I ended up giving Henry pacifiers… That worked but now we have a pacifier problem 🙂

  • Alicia June 13, 2015, 10:43 am

    My baby is 12.5 and he drinks water out of a cup with no problem at all. He will drink milk out of a cup every now and then. The thing is he only drinks bottles before naps. How can I get him to stop with the bottles before nap and drink the milk out of the cup?

  • Tineke November 7, 2015, 11:47 pm

    What ended up working for you, Caitlin? We’re going thro the same situation and maybe a little more attached than Henry.

    • Caitlin November 9, 2015, 6:59 am

      I just waited a few more months and then tried again – that time it was easy!

  • Baby Bottle December 17, 2015, 4:08 am

    You can use bottle less and less gradually

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