It’s been almost two months sense my 20-month old has been exclusively bottle free. I know ‘technically’ your child should be fully weaned by 12 months off their bottle…now that I know I’m not the only one who missed that boat. After listening to the wisdom of an amazing mother of 4, she said simply “It’s a lot easier than you think it is.” Here’s the thing- my big boy has had an emotional attachment to his baba. Forget having a teddy bear or a blanket he carried around, the bottle was the jam. So I felt guilty, like I taking part of him away.
When I began the process of weening him off the bottle, there were a few things I had to do:
- cut his milk supply
- feed him more
- distract him from his brothers bottles
- make the switch-and don’t go back
Cutting his milk supply
Once we switched Ike to whole milk- he drank it a lot. Like A LOT. Like 2 gallons nearly every 10 days. It was bad, I know. So first thing I started to do was easy-cutting his milk with water. Truth is- he didn’t even notice. But I noticed I was not having to run and buy a gallon of milk every few days. Plus, after 12 months old they need a lot less milk, about 8 ounces a day.
Now that we were cutting his milk supply, I also introduced more water and (very) watered down juice as well- more specifically in the afternoons.
Not soon after did I notice something right after we began cutting his milk, he ate a LOT MORE. Like as much as an adult. A tiny adult, but an adult none the less. Part of his eating more had to do with growth spurts, beginning to walk and his lightning speed crawling ability.
Make sure you have enough snacks to keep your little one occupied, this will keep him full and less likely to reach for his bottle. You can purchase a ton of differet snack products at Target or your local grocery, just recently have I started making him his own stacks I call Ike bites, which I will post about soon.
Once we started getting a rhythm down I started to introduce the sippy more often. Here’s the thing, I started trying different sippy cups on his for MONTHS and he just hated them. He was especially offended when I tried to put milk in one of these accursed cups as well. But after trying about 5 (not kidding) different types of cups- we landed on a winner. The miracle 360, or a 360 style cups he took to with no issues. Honestly, I’m not even sure how to use it-but he does and that’s all that matters. His current favorite is a bright green with handles.
Make the switch
We started using the cup more and slowly having a bottle just in the morning and the evenings-but by Christmas-it was time. He spent the ret of his day nursing his new cup. A merry Christmas indeed!
The first day was a little difficult because he literally was crawling in every corner of his room looking for a bottle. I just kept telling myself ‘don’t be an enabler’ over and over while he cried and got upset. Then he realized he was thirsty and got over it. I’m joking, but really. The rest of the day it was no problem. Not only does he like his sippy, he LOVES it. That was it, so now we are over a month in and he’s still doing well,
What if you have smaller kids who still use bottles?
First off-you are a SAINT. Having an infant and a toddler is no small feat and requires patience, love and boatloads of grace and forgiveness-and that’s just for yourself. Any time I give my baby boy a bottle and my older son is there he gets testy, the key I realized is not to make a big deal out of it, just give him a stack or sippy and he was fine. Also, it helps for me to not make a bottle in front of him or he felt hurt. Its kind of like the equivalent of someone making your favorite café drink in front of you all just to wave it in your face and leave the room. I will say the occurances of him trying to steal a bottle are less and less. So things are looking up!
This entire process from cutting milk to switching completely took about 3 weeks. If your patient with your little one and yourself, it could be a seamless transition.
Best of luck mommas!