How do you take a bottle away from a 3 year old?

Rosemary - posted on 05/17/2010 ( 172 moms have responded )

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hi,

My daughter Ariana still feeds from a baby bottle..How do I take it away? any suggestions?

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Susanne - posted on 05/19/2010

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Why do you want to take it away? Is it harmful? Bad for her health? Why does everyone feel it's necessary to remove a simple, harmless pleasure from your child? Are you embarrassed to say you don't mind she still drinks a bottle? I say you need to pick your battles - if she wants the bottle, and it's not hurting her or anyone else, then let the little thing enjoy it, and you enjoy holding and snuggling her while she is enjoying it. It's a wonderful and VERY short term experience for both of you. Your child will decide when she is ready to give it up, and trust me, she WILL be ready in her own time. Do you think she will be drinking a bottle when she is 6 years old? I doubt it. My advice is don't worry about it, enjoy your little girl and don't create unnecessary stress in either one of your lives - there is plenty enough as it is!

Jodi - posted on 05/17/2010

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It's a bit tough at that age because it has become such a habit to them. My daughter was the same age when we had to get rid of them. We did it at Christmas by decorating a bag, then she helped us collect all the bottles and teats and put them on the bag because the baby reindeer needed them. The deal was that Santa would leave a bike for her (because she really, really wanted one) if he could have her bottles for the reindeer. She never looked back :)



Obviously that isn't going to work for you, because it isn't Christmas for a while, but maybe you could make up a bottle fairy that collects bottles to give to the new little babies. If you don't want to turn it into a fantasy game, you could explain to her that she is too big for bottles now, and there are lots of poor children who need them and maybe bundle them up and take them to charity, and as a reward for being a big girl, she can choose something special at the shops for herself?

Jodi - posted on 05/18/2010

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I always find it interesting that people say babies should be off their bottles by 12-18 months, and yet we are still advised to breastfeed until the age of 2 (and many until the age of 3), yet no-one suggests that if you are still breastfeeding a 12 month old it should be from a sippy cup.......

Dianna - posted on 05/20/2010

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I hate the judgemental parents! My son had his bottle until he was 3. I was well aware that he was a big boy, but the bottle was his comfort.. some kids have a pacifier, some a blankie or stuffed animal, mine had his bottle. Shame on all of you for telling her how wrong it is. Trust me, we have a hard enough time without judgment. She came here to get ideas not criticism. I just told my 3 year old that it was time to be a big boy and got rid of all of the bottles. He had been using a cup during the day and only had the bottle at bed time. He still asks for it on occasion (it's been almost 4 months). He didn't cry though - which was good.

Good luck to you.

[deleted account]

That's a tough question! Only you know your child best, trust your instincts. Have you offered sippy cups/regular cups at all? How has that worked? In my limited experience (one child...he's 3) it took a transition period to go from one to another.

Remember, it's not just a method to get liquids into the body, it satisfies their need to suck. Babies are born with the sucking reflex not only for nourishment, but for soothing as well.

It might help to ease into sippies from some of the gentle methods posted here, while trying to find alternative methods of distraction/soothing/comforting. You didn't mention a pacifier? Some moms I know gradually remove the bottle and still keep the pacifier for a bit.

Either way you do it, be gentle to yourself. This too shall pass!

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[deleted account]

My daughter was almost three when we took the bottle away. I let her go as long as I did because she has a severe food aversion and the bottle with pediasure was the only thing I could get her to take. I decided to switch one day after being pushed by husband and pediatrician. I just "threw away" bottles and gave her a sippy cup. To my surprise she immediately took to it. I guess she was ready all along, I was the one assuming that she wasn't.

Katie - posted on 05/20/2010

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First you should not let a child go with a bottle until they are three years old. But if you do, you talk to them letting them know what you are about to do. Then you take all of the bottles and throw them away or hide them some where were they will not know where they are.Out of sight out of mind.

Diane - posted on 05/20/2010

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we started slowly at about 18 mos. we would eliminate a bottle during times we knew there were be distractions-at xmas visiting family, etc. at 2 yrs we 'left' the last one on the plane coming home from florida 'so some other baby could use it'. there was a little fussing, but they get over it, they have no choice but to.

Debbie - posted on 05/20/2010

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I am my grandsons babysitter. They both relinquished their bottle with only a few questions when we explained that a mama bear needed it for her baby bear, so she knew that he wouldn't mind sharing. He asked where the mama bear went with his bottle. We said that she took it back to her baby who was so hungry and thirsty. We took away his bink in the same way, and it worked like magic with his little brother, who had the whole process explained to him in advance. It was great not to have our little ones mad at us, crying and begging for the bottle that they knew we were withholding, because it was all in the paws of the mama bear! Hee-hee. Oh, and in a few weeks the mama bear is going to visit while they are gone from home and take away the diapers, replaced by pull ups and then big boy undies. Yeh!

Amy - posted on 05/20/2010

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I know it can be hard to take a bottle away from a child the older they get but I promise you she will give it up. I did not let my children hold there own bottle or carry it around so it was easy to give up. They gave them up by the time they were 15 months old since they never held there own bottle. I did work in day care though and have dealt with children with this problem. Go to the store and let her pick out what sippy cup she would like or cup that she would like to drink out of and make a big deal about how she can drink out of it and give her a sticker for useing a cup instead. Than buy her something special for useing the cup and tell her how proud you are for useing the cup. I hope all goes well and good luck .

Felicia - posted on 05/20/2010

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i would suggest getting rid of all of them... like potty training, just don't back! replace them with soft tip sippy cups. it has the same rubbery feel and maybe let her pick out her own at the store. that way she's attached to them as soon as you walk out of the store. good luck! :)

Anna - posted on 05/20/2010

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My 3 year old too! Grateful for any suggestions.... she will take juice from a cup or lidded beaker but it seems milk is only acceptable in a bottle..... HELP!

Shirley - posted on 05/20/2010

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just take it a way he to old give her a cup she to olg i take mine off when they was one

Jill - posted on 05/20/2010

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Ahhhh... Had to do this with my first 2 kids. I made a big deal about their 3rd birthday and that 3 year olds don't drink from bottles. The bottles disappeared on the 3rd birthday. That was enough for my first (a girl) she took it rather well. My 2nd ( a boy) I added that bottles were for babies and that a new baby needed his bottle. I am a mother/baby nurse so we went to my hospital and he literally gave his bottle to a new baby. Now he gave it willingly, but when we went to leave he wanted it back and it was awful! With him the first 48 hours were a struggle especially at bedtime! After that he was over it! Now I say with my 3rd who is now 5 mos I am NOT making that mistake again. I will be doing my best to wean him to a cup sippy cup ASAP! lol

Miriam - posted on 05/20/2010

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You have to just take it away. There are creative ways to do it as someone has posted, but once they see you throw them away or take them away You cannot bring them back. Believe it or not that is also a life lesson you are teaching as well....

There will be some whining for a couple of days...Then she will realize that she will no longer get the bottle and stop...

The Long run mistake of not taking the bottle away now is you will RUIN her Teeth and gums......So Take it away

In The Name Of Love

Laurie - posted on 05/20/2010

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When it was time for my children to give up the bottle, we accidently left it at Grandma's house, 3 hours away. Be prepared for a couple of days or nights to tantrums. The most persistant of my four only lasted 3 days. Usually it is the parent that feels the worst. Be strong and stready. Try to redirect and at night, set a new routine that does not include a bottle, but lots of cuddling. Good luck!

Kristy - posted on 05/20/2010

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The main thing is pick a day to take them away and just do it and stick to it! It will be difficult at first...maybe a little longer since she is older, but after a few days or so it WILL get easier.

When I was trying to get my son to stop breastfeeding, I let a friend keep him for two days during the day so that he wasn't around me and the place that he normally did that. We put him straight to a sippy cup and he took to it fairly quickly. We got a soft nipple one (NUK and Nuby are two that we have and he loves.) He didn't drink as much milk the first few days, but we kept him full of other foods, yogurt, etc., and after a while, he drank very well from it. Just stick to it!! You can do it!! :) :)

Megan - posted on 05/20/2010

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Together talk about how she is a big girl, and she doesn't need a baby bottle anymore. Place ALL bottles and accessories in a bag tie it in a knot and let her see you put it in the bin. Then you take her to the shops so she can pick out her very own big girl sipper cup/water bottle. She will so special because she is able to choose her own thing.
You could even purchase some special stamps and make your own reward chart. For every day she uses her big girl cup, and not cry for her bottle, she get a sticker or like!
It might be tough for the second and third day, especially now it is a habit. But be strong, you can both do it!

:-)

Karie - posted on 05/20/2010

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Hi Rosemary,

My suggestion would be to go buy some cute sippy cups and introduce those to her and tell her she's a big girl and big girls use sippy cups. Don't use any negative as far as big girls don't use bottles. Then tell her the bottles won't be needed and put them in a bag for the bottle fairy for a baby to use. Help her put it outside. Then buy something small that she would like to have and have it in a different bag but in the same place on the porch. Next morning go check.

Karie

Catherine - posted on 05/20/2010

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Hi,
I introduced a non spill training cup with juice for the first couple of days then gradually changed it to milk. It worked well because my daughter started to ask for the cup.

[deleted account]

I ha this same question anwered years ago, try diluting the contents with water, everytime you fill the bottle with the said contents add one ounce of water, so by the end of the day or the next day it should be 7 ounces of water 1 ounce whatever she was drinking, then offer her a big girl cup of what she had in the bottle and tell her either the yucky bottle or the yummy cup. she should want the cup. Good Luck

Elisabeth - posted on 05/20/2010

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My little girl turned 4 on the 1st May and that was when we finally got rid of her last bottle!

She was only ever having the one small sized bottle of milk at bed time over the last year or so ... and quiet honestly it just wasn't worth the dramas trying to stop it ... so I told her that once she turned 4 she was a big girl and big girls didn't' have bottles, lol!

I wish you lots of luck but really, don't stress ... if it takes until she is 4 then so be it :-) ... admittedly I would only let my daughter have the one bottle and would not refill it and some night she even began to forget to ask for it. I found the bigger the deal I made about it the more she clung to the idea of having to have her bottle.

L - posted on 05/20/2010

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thanks for bringing this up! my daughter will be 18 months soon and i have been trying to give her a sippy cup... and no matter how fancy it is, she refuses to drink from it and wants the bottle instead..hmmm...

Jacque - posted on 05/20/2010

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I got rid of bottles at 11 months when my daughter started throwing them out of the window. When she threw the last one out, she had to go cold turkey. She had a fit, but she got over it real quick.

Jo - posted on 05/20/2010

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Ok, my personal view and experience. First of all, having waited til your child was 3 was a mistake. Sorry for being blunt. Children thrive on discipline. If you allow your child to continue with something that should have been taken away sooner you end up with a child that gets programmed into, "why do now, what I can put off til tomorrow".

I have two children, 5 and 3. Both my children were off their bottle from 16 months. I put them onto sippy cups and then by the time they were 19 months they were able to drink from a proper cup. Now you are probably wondering what did you do? Well, I did not allow myself to be manipulated with crying and anger. I explained very nicely that the bottle is no longer an option and when my children cried I simply showed the available option with no emotion and stood my ground.

If a child gets to you and you give in, well I do not need to explain what happens then. (Hey if I cry loud enough and scream and throw a tantrum, I will get what I want...).
Your children will not starve and they will eventually understand, because they learn from you what is good for them. My children ask me for advice all the time, because I show them that listening to me helps them, and is not always cause Mom is nasty.... I hope I have helped you see it from a different point of view.

Kirsty - posted on 05/20/2010

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My personal opinion would be to throw all the bottles away one night when she's gone to sleep. when she wants one the next day there just wont be a bottle to give her U have to throw them all out (dont leave one for just in case scenarios) she wont be happy but she will get used to it not being there. i would suggest maybe getting her to choose her "big girl" cup and be helping maybe holding cup so she joins in. if she's into fairys or tinkerbell u may even say they came and took them and left her a new "big girl" cup if you want to be creative about it aswell :) either way at 3yrs cup would be best her teeth will love it aswell....Good Luck :)

Kendra - posted on 05/20/2010

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I had no problem getting rid of the bottles for my 2 daughters. I started them on sippy cups at like 10 or 11 months to get them use to it. By their 1st birthday they were completely off the bottle & onto sippy cups. They have sippy cups with nipples that feel like a bottle nipple & that's what I tried for my first daughter, but my second daughter hated them. Now my daughters are 2 1/2 & 19 months. Hope this helps any.

Cathy - posted on 05/20/2010

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I had the same problem with my daughter...She was almost four, though. I had a friend that had an infant and I played a little game. My friend had 3 little ones and we pretended like the infant needed some bottles because she was a baby. I told her she was such a big girl that we should help out the baby. We actually bagged all them up and took them to meet the girl and her kids. We gave them all the bottles and one to use in front her so she would see how the baby needed it. She ignored it after a while and went off and played instead. I actually kept 1 at home just in case. She was actually mad at me when we went to bed that night wanting it but that was the last time she cried for it. We talked about the baby each time she asked about it and she was happy that she helped the baby...It worked great!

Novada - posted on 05/20/2010

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I can't believe a 3 year old is still drinking a bottle. I have 4 girls and all but one was drinking exclusively from cups by 12 months. My oldest was over a year and that is only because she was underweight but off the charts for height, so I gave her the bottle a little longer. Just tell her she is too big and to throw the bottle in the trash herself. I hope this work, also advent makes spouts for bottles like sippy cups try that at first.

Hannelie - posted on 05/20/2010

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My daughter was aged 3 and she didn't want to loose the bottle. You know i believe that one must not force the toddler of his/her's bottle. Toddler's takes comfort in the bottles. My daughter ended with her bottle when she was almost 4. A toddler will loose the bottle when they are ready.

Fiona - posted on 05/20/2010

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Hi,
My son was having a bottle of a night time, I changed it for a story. He loved being read a story more and not having the bottle didn't worry him.

Donna - posted on 05/20/2010

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Take her to buy a special big girl cup to have her milk/juice in. Let her choose it and explain that she will use this instead of her bottle. As she's 3 she will understand.

Laura - posted on 05/20/2010

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Cut a hole in the top of the bottle and say it is broken do not have any other bottles around that are not broken. I did this for both the bottle and pacifier; it worked great!

Amanda - posted on 05/20/2010

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try making a sticker reward chart samantha. Everytime he drinks milk from his new cup give him a sticker and a treat. He will be so proud of his stickers that drinking the milk should not be a problem x

Samantha - posted on 05/20/2010

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I am in the same situation but my son is 3 and 8 months, he absolutely loves his bottles more as comfort than drink. I have read all of the replies and most people say get rid of bottles get them to throw them or give them to babies or fairy story. Bottles are for babies not big boys/ girls Then i am going to get a special present. He already has lots of nice sippy cups but won't drink milk out of them. So I think it has too be something different as a reward for giving them up. that is what i will now do. Going to be hard being tough and hearing the cries.

Jaimee - posted on 05/20/2010

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I got my 3 and a harf year old to wrapp up all her bottles from around the house into a big present....then we went outside together and put it under the tree in the garden for the fairys to take to build new homes with....later on when we came back to check it id replaced the bottles with an thank you letter from the fairys.....she was so excited with the note she carrys it around everywhere and hasnt asked for her bottle since.

Amanda - posted on 05/20/2010

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hi, it needs removing altogether. Go shopping together and buy a big girl cup. Let her choose it and maybe decorate it with stickers. Then bin the bottles all of them. That way if the going gets tough you won't resort to using it again. You may have a few tears or she may suprise you and loose it easily. Plenty of praise and it should be fine :0)

Tracie - posted on 05/20/2010

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I just said one day that the fairies took them away and gave her previously wrapped ones with straws in them for her to unwrap, from those same fairies that said she was a big girl now and her bottles are for the new little babies

Rosemarie - posted on 05/20/2010

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i put away the bottles, den i put pepper in the nipples of the bottles... i let her see that i put the pepper.. she was exactly 3 yrs old when she stops drinking in the bottle,,, she drinks in her glass now... hope this strategy helps you too...goodluck!! :)

Beverley - posted on 05/20/2010

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OK. So I was trying to find out how to take a bottle away from a 3 year-old and came up with a blank page. so that didn't work for me!

[deleted account]

Even though my boy was drinking from a cup during the day since he was not even 1 yet, he was still having his bedtime milk in a bottle until he was just over 2. One night we just said there is no more milk in the bottle, offered him a cup, he kept asking for in for the next few evenings just because it was a kind of bedtime routine for him. So now instead of having bottle of milk before going to bed we sing a couple of songs and cuddle a bit. I think the trick is to not to wait too long, the older they get the more difficult it becomes. But if we make the change sound really exciting, children go for it without looking back! Don't worry, there might be a bit of crying and whining but it won't last long! Good luck!

Carra - posted on 05/20/2010

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the fairy idea is a great one - a friend of mine even had her daughter make a big box and they went together to the post office and mailed them to a friend :) she knew they were gone and never asked again.

Ronni - posted on 05/20/2010

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My three year old still occassionally uses a bottle ( 1-3 times/week) and the pacifier. For him, the bottle is 'comfort' more often than not when he asks for one (I try to keep them out of his sight) he will take a few drinks and then mosly just hold it in his hands as he drifts off. Same thing with the pacifier..won't ask for it for a couple of days, then does. When he does, he likes to have one in his hand and one for his mouth. This is almost exclusively at sleep time. Its definitely security for him with the pacifier as they only non-sleep time is if he's out of his comfort zone...new people...large crowds. He doesn't get anything in his bottle but formula. Sometimes he asks for 'bottle in a cup' because he just wants formula. I let him have it to boost his immune system. I am not a fan of any solution that involves 'let him whine/cry and get over it.' While it is inevitable that all children will cry from time to time (like when they don't want to get off the playset to come inside because its raining) I find the idea of letting my child cry for 20 minutes absurd! He's never cried that long in his life. I just would like to know how to get past the occassional bottle. I hear from my husband that if I'm gone all day or overnight he doesn't even ask for one most of the time. When I come home (my job requires 18 hour days a few times a month), he will then ask me to make him one when he's sleepy. So, how do I go about helping him find an alternative comfort solution without the just let him cry and deal with it method?

Angela - posted on 05/20/2010

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The bottle fairy worked like a charm for us, like the dummy fairy did a couple months previous to that, for our 3 year old. If you know something she really wants that helps the loss. Write a letter for the fairy one night, about giving the bottles to the babies in hospital, then with a little fairy dust sprinkled around for good luck and a present left as the gift, hopefully you're left with a happy girl. Good luck!

Caroline - posted on 05/19/2010

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chuck em away give her a cup give her something to replace it say the bottle fairy wants them make her put them in a bag then say she will get something nice in replace of it from the bottle fairy i have got 6 kids and this has worked for me x

Tracey - posted on 05/19/2010

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hello rosemary i would start telling ariana that she is a real bigger bigger girl now and if she drinks from a cup in the day time she can have her bottle to take to bed , because big girls do not have bottles and teddy can look after it for her until she's ready for bed... hope it works hun tracey wilkins mum of 6 x

Bel - posted on 05/19/2010

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Cold turkey....my three kids....as soon as they turned a year old I threw their bottles away.....they cried for a bit and then they forgot about it.....three is too old to have a bottle or a binky!!!

Jodie - posted on 05/19/2010

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You need to be firm and not give in, tell her they are all gone...throw them ALL out so you can't give in, its the only way. That is the only thing that worked getting my daughter off the dummy. She stopped drinking out of a bottle as soon as she was able to drink out of a sippy cup but the approach should be the same. Be strong, don't give into the tears.
Good Luck!

Melissa - posted on 05/19/2010

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But you should do whatever suits you and your child... take all this advice everyone is giving and find which on works for you..I dont vote as i think it is stupid. What works for you may not work for others..:) Good Luck

Brenda - posted on 05/19/2010

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Gradually move her to a sippy cup, still the same concept of sucking, but should get her to begin to accept the different shape of a cup in her hand rather than a bottle, then move he to a small plastic cup she can drink from just at the table, but not carry around with her.

Michelle - posted on 05/19/2010

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am a dental nurse and i have a one yr old son. and i see the affects of a child having bottle caries, so i have been told a baby should be weaned off their bottle by 1. i know its hard cos its part of their routine..as long as u keep to just milk in the bottle of not juice or tea. i have seen a 3 yr old child having to have all of their teeth out cos of bottle caires the poor child just had black stumps as teeth.. but the dentist and HV will advise for u to wean the child off the bottle by one ..

Melissa - posted on 05/19/2010

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Did the same thing with the dummies for my first born (now 8) and about to do it with my youngest (3) who loves her blanket and sucking her thum...It;s a sad moment but they have to grow up just a little bit....:) second girly was a bottle girl who is 7 now and still remembers it!!

Melissa - posted on 05/19/2010

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Hi, When my daughter had to give up the baby bottle, we both tied some ribbion on it and hung it in the tree at night. Then explained to her that the faires would take it away to use and leave a present because she is such a big girl now. (present could be a big girl cup or whatever she is into). Make sure all other bottles are thrown away berfore the morning and the bottle in the tree is replaced by the present! It worked for us but you have to really make her believe it!!
Hope that helps!!
Mum of three girls...

Debbie - posted on 05/19/2010

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I had the same problem with aiden!!! He was HOOKED on his bottle. So at about 2y8m I hid all his bottles away - and in the cupboard where the bottles were kept I put an empty banana peel, and picture of monkeys drinking out of bottles. I showed him this and said the baby monkeys needed the bottles cos they were hungry...so they came and fetched the bottles. Made quite a story of it - he was more upset that the monkeys ate his banana :-). But he understood the baby's needed it more. He slept terribly that night - did not cry for his bottle, but cried cos he could not sleep. After that rough night we have never looked back!!!! He has slept through (first time in his life) ever since!!!! Good luck! I know how tough this is...I was convinced I would be handing over his bottles to his wife one day lol!

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