Bottle & Bedtime issues!

Heather - posted on 12/13/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My 14 month old goes to bed with a bottle. She only gets a bottle at naptime and bedtime, so she doesn't walk around with it all day or anything like that, and she drinks out of a sippy cup just fine. But the problem is that I really want to wean her off the bedtime and naptime bottles. She does not take a pacifier, doesn't like being rocked, and is very independent. Does anyone have any advice on how I can put her to sleep without the bottle?

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Andrea - posted on 12/13/2009

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It will be hard at first but don't give her anything or just a sippy cup. She doesn't need something to drink to be able to get to bed. With my daughter, it was a hard few days but she got used to it.

Laurel - posted on 12/13/2009

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Hi Moms,

My name is Steve Lan and I am a pediatric dentist in Leesburg, VA. One of the biggest problems of sending your child to be with a bottle of milk is the increased possibility of getting cavities (by quite a bit, too, compared to kids without a bottle of milk at night). Milk or other liquids that contain carbohydrates can be broken down by bacteria and initiate the cavitiy process. The more a child goes to bed with anything that contains carbohydrates in the liquid the greater risk that child will have.

The second issue that you need to be concerned with is the negative effects the prolong usage of bottle or pacifiers will have on your child skeletal and dental growth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends to eliminate all pacifiers and/or bottle usage by the age of 4. Your child will undergo tremendous amount of skeletal and dental growth from age 4 and on, and whenever he/she goes to bed with a bottle or pacifier his/her skeletal/dental growth will be negatively altered, leading to constricted maxilla, crossbites, exaggerated overjets, or open bites. The earlier you can wean your child off of this habit, the less chance they have of having problems.

What I normally recommend my patients' parents is give their child the milk prior to bed and be sure to clean his/her teeth thoroughly before sending him/her to bed. If the child insists on having a bottle then place water in the bottle as an alternative. I know this may be hard for the child (and you, with several nights of rough sleep...), but the positive outcomes far outweigh the negative ones.

Hope this helps! I have 2 little boys myself and went through similar situation with my youngest one. What I shared with you above does work, but you need to have the determination :)

Abbie - posted on 12/13/2009

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We started adding more and more water to it. My son likes to be rocked, but his bottle was his thing. So we jsut started adding water, and at the end it was water with a drop of milk. And now he has been off the bottle for a week. It took time, but I was in no rush to get him off, he is 20 months old and i am ok with that. But that is one idea to gradually change the taste.

Or you can go cold turkey and let her cry! I never wanted to deal with that.

Onita - posted on 12/13/2009

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I would give her some water in a cup and that will decrease her need for the bottle.

Heather - posted on 12/13/2009

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Thank you everyone! She actually gets 2 ounces of milk and 3 ounces of water right now and does fine with that. But it's just the fact that I hate listening to her cry it breaks my heart. So I will have to stand strong and I know she will adjust quickly. Thanks again guys!

Yelena - posted on 12/13/2009

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Hi Heather,
I was in the same position with my older son. He was drinking out of the bottle usually at night before he went to sleep. It comforted him and made nap/sleep time an easier transition. But I knew as he got older, I needed to transition him to the sippy or regular cup. I started to use a sippy cup around 14/15 months before he went to sleep. The fact that your daughter drinks out of one on a regular basis makes it easier too. If she doesn't take at first, maybe read her favorite story or sing her favorite lullaby while she's drinking. Sometimes, when they are distracted, they wont even notice they're drinking out of something different. You can also switch from bottle to sippy back to bottle on different nights to get her used to it. I was eventually successful, but it just takes some time, dedication, and lots of patience! Just as a side note, I transitioned my younger son earlier because he didn't seem like he needed the bottle at that time and he was fine. Don't feel discouraged if it doesn't happen instantly.Every child goes by a different pace. Hope this helps. Good luck!

Marilyn - posted on 12/13/2009

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For your situation I would give her some milk in a sippy cup right before starting your bedtime rituals, but still give her the bottle with half water/half milk. Gradually increase the milk in sippy cup and decrease the milk in the half water/half milk bottle to where eventually in a few weeks you'll be giving her just water in her bottle. At that point she may just have a little bit of water and then fall asleep because she is full from the earlier milk in the sippy cup. At that point you could switch out the bottle for the sippy cup altogether. My 26 month old daughter never used bottles, but she has always loved drinking from the straw-type sippy cups and still does before nap and bed time. Hope this helps!

Kari - posted on 12/13/2009

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MY 18 moth old was still on bottles until she was 16 mths. We found that if we gave her a sippy cup that was spill proof with water in it at night instead of the bottle she lost all intrest in the bottle. She would get crabby at first when we started it but after about 2 weeks she didn't even want the sippy.

Farah - posted on 12/13/2009

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just hide it ,and make her gradually use to it, or make her so tired before bedtime , her stomach will be full before going to bed so that u dont have to give her a bottle

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