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Pregnancy & Parenting
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Taking the bottle away

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Hi I have a 20 month old foster daughter who is still using a bottle.  I personally don't have any concerns with this she drinks from a regular cup, sip cup and the bottle.  Recently her social worker said she was concerned and wanted to see her being weened.....  I was a bit put out.  So I'm looking for some Technical information regarding when is a good time to ween.  Personally my goal was between 2-2 1/2.  She doesn't have a soother a doesn't sleep with the bottle.  She only takes milk in the bottle all other liquids are by cup/sip cup.  She just doesn't drink as much milk if I only give her the cups she when a whole morning not drinking milk when she normally would have had about two bottles by then.  Any info would be great


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Hi Tena,

We weaned our daughter at 1 year, and this is what her pediatrician said.  We did this all at once.  My daughter was a bit annoyed, but she was fine after a week.  It sounds like your foster daughter is already used to a cup/sip cup.  I would just give her milk in the sip cup. 
Not that it is necessarily the gospil, but my son is 9.5 months old and I intend to start weening him from the bottle at 1 year when I make the switch from formula to milk.  I have been giving him juice in a sippy.  The problem with extended bottle use is it can ruin their teeth as they come in and cause them to have to have braces when they are older.  Hope that helps.
My daughter will turn one next week, I started giving her a sippy cup around 10 months. She usually has one bottle during the day and the rest is out of her sippy cup.
I know someone will come back and write something but Im a retired  Preventative Dental Assistant and bottles do not cause malformation of the teeth and hard palate.  There is not enough pressure from the nipple of the bottle to cause this.  The biggest culprit for malformation of the mouth is by thumb sucking.  Also her sucking reflex still gives her comfort.  The biggest worry is baby bottle syndrome.  Where the front teeth rot due to liquids pooling in the mouth.  Best way to avoid this is by only give milk/juice at specific times and cleanse the primary teeth with a wet cloth afterward. Never allow your child to wander around with a sippy cup full of juice.

All this being said I gave all my kids bottles until around 2 1/2 years.  But I worked on toilet teaching first before I took the bottle away.  I see nothing wrong with it.  Many mothers who nurse do it well into toddler years(3yrs) and most kids at that age do it for comfort
AWESOME TIP: We used this for our son when weaning from the breast, which is just as much as an attachment as a bottle: we got the sippy STRAW cups, which he LOVED and somehow was a great transition from breast to cup, but that was at 13 months. I hope this works for you...
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This one is right up my alley,  I am an early childhood development consultant.  The advice I give parents is to make the transition as gradual as possible to minimize the disruption in the child's life.  I don't know your situation but I am assuming the child still has contact with her birth parents as you stated she is your foster child and a foster child already has a considerable amount of stress.  She may also have  attachment issues from being separated from her birth mother. Likely, the bottle gives her great comfort and if she is reluctant to give it up right now, I say give her time. 

You can't really put an "age" to this, as all children develop at differing speeds, both emotionally and physically, only you and the child will know when she is ready to wean.  As children get older they naturally discover other things to occupy their attention. Storytime or bedtime songs can be a great incentive to give up "baby things".  Sometimes a new bed or bedding will help transition a child from "baby" to "big kid". (These same strategies can be applied to toilet training as well!)

Just like in the previous post, the dental decay caused by pooling fluids behind the front teeth can be a real problem, so I suggest that when you and the child decide "the time has come", you restrict the bottle to water only. Give juice and other fluids by cup, sippy cup, take-out cup with a straw... whatever she likes best.  Children love those silly straws and I am sure she will drink enough milk if she has a real fun twisty straw.  And don't forget chocolate milk, while it does have more sugar, it is still very nutritious and may be enough of an incentive to move her from bottle to cup. 

Hope all goes well! 

Thanks so much for all you insights.  I have relaxed a bit seeing so many of you were weening at one.  I had always though of two kind of being the magical age to start thinking about it.  Oh just for info I have had her from birth and her and her brother are no longer having visits with mom.  They do see maternial grandma about once a month supervised.  They have gone into full time care and my family and I are looking to adopt them.  So she is a very well ajusted happy girl.

Thanks again

I know I am late on this but I am knew :)
Around one is for sure the good number. I took my first off from the bottle to nuby sippys from walmart. That was the only thing that worked. The sipper is like a bottle nipple. I tried to switch and give him milk in those and do away with the bottles. Likely she will still be just as content and the social worker will leave it be. :)
Some mothers breatfeed until their infants are toddlers. Some mothers continue to use bottles, until their infants are toddlers too.It's completely up to you. The comment that you can't really put an "age" on weening is true. But, doctors will give you a range between 10-12 months with reasons such as tooth decay, overbites, ect.

My advice is to take her bottle away on a Friday. Get her a new cup that's special. Then only use the cup throughout the whole weekend, it might make for a miserable weekend. But, by Monday all was good from my experience. However, our baby was about 10 months when we transitioned. So it might take twice the time for you. But, I doubt it would take any longer than a week. The reason for which being that babies have a limited memory span the younger they are in comparison when they're older. Seriously, out of sight out of mind. Stash that bottle in a place even you won't be able to fish it out.Regardless of whether or not she pitches a fit.Only allowing her access to view/use her new cup.

Also, it's not a wise thing to switch your baby/toddler to chocolate milk instead of regular milk. The reason for which is because after they get a taste for sugary drinks or foods.They aren't as eager to have regular old milk/ veggies ect. Be careful there because it could create a whole new thing to ween her off of in the future. It's good that babies like regular milk and healthy snacks because it's better for their teeth/growth. I'm not saying that the occasion' sugary treat ' is a sin, but still yet. Get her stablized into the new cup without the ' sugar ' high and when you take the sugar away it won't be such a tragedy.

Also give yourself a break! Don't think of it in the terms that you're ' Taking her bottle away from her " You're just transitioning through a stage that's perfectly natural in growth.
Our pediatrician said 1 as well.  My daughter was completely on sippy cups by then and my son was off the bottle before he was 1, partly because he wanted big sisters cup.  But whenever you decide to do it take it away and be done with it, preferably when you have the time to ride it through, like a weekend.  Once she realizes that the bottle is not coming back then she will get over it.  Making it special also helps like giving her a cool new sippy cup that she picks out, if you make a big enough deal out of it she might be so excited that she won't notice her bottle is not coming out at the normal times

IMO it should have been done a LONG TIME AGO. No offense, but I have two step kids who had to have their front baby teeth removed  and 6 or 8 others capped due to being on the bottle and pacifier forEVER!!  One was on a pacifier until she was 6 the other had a bottle well after he turned 2.  They slept with their milk/juice in their bottles and it rotted their teeth.  Now we are footing the bill for braces because the spaces from teeth being pulled could not maintain themselves and their adult teeth etc. moved in wrong. 

Before I knew about this even, I weened my son at the age of 1.  He had no problems whatsoever.  He didn't even notice. 

Good luck though. It may be rough, but whatever you do don't give in to temptation "because it makes them happy."  Not everything that makes kids happy is good for them.


I agree 100% with the EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT GAL on here!  Hope my post didn't sound too mean.  Just a bit of a vent since the "bio mom to my step kids" didn't seem to care that it was bad for them.

Tracy, the same thing happened to my cousin's two oldest kids.  They let them go to bed with juice in their bottles.  Their daughter had to have her teeth capped, and their son had 4 or 6 of his top teeth removed because they were rotten and painful.  He's still too young for his adult teeth to come in, and I'm always wondering how not having teeth since age 2 is going to effect them when they do come in. 

As for my son, he was easy to ween.  He never attempted to hold his own bottle, so at age 1 I just switched him to a sippy cup.  I'd been giving him one since about 8 months, and he would hold that but not a bottle.  The transition went very smoothly.     

I took my girls off the bottle at 12 months and no later. I was told that by 14 months would be ok, but I wasnt going to wait that long. I had absolutely NO problems with either of my kids because they were both using sippys, so i just started putting everything in the sippys and put the bottles out of sight and then into the trash. The sooner you take her off, the easier it will be, but if you keep waiting, you will probably have more of a battle. Good luck!

I think we started to wean all 3 of our children by at least a year and a half.  At that age there isn't as strong of an attachment to the routine.  Are there any babies or pregnant woman in that she knows?  If so, tell her that the baby needs her bottles and she can wrap them up and give them as a gift to the baby from the big girl!  If there are no bottles in the house she has no choice but to use a sippy cup.

Good luck!!

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