At 16 months old Toby is now almost bottle-free. I know technically he didn’t really need a bottle after he turned one but we decided to take a relaxed approach and see how things went. At 12 months he was still having three bottles a day (plus more if he woke up in the night) and our little routine was going so well we didn’t really want to rock the boat too much! The other reason I was a bit wary of getting rid of the bottle too soon was that Toby wasn’t very keen on drinking much from a cup and I wanted to make sure he was still getting enough to drink one way or another.
The first bottle to go was the one he had before his afternoon nap. When he started nursery in August he was being fed so much during the day (3 meals and 2 snacks) that he didn’t really need an afternoon bottle, although he still had one at home at the weekends for quite a while.
The next bottle we cut out was the morning one. A month or so ago there were quite few days when Toby had woken up sometime between 4 and 5am and had a bottle so there didn’t seem much point giving him another when we got up at 6:30am. This also coincided with him becoming more comfortable with drinking out of his cup (after trying every sippy cup on the planet we had more success with straw cups as for ages Toby wouldn’t tip a cup to drink) and us switching completely from formula to cow’s milk. So now when I get Toby up in the morning (or he gets us up!) we just give him some milk in his cup and he has that while I’m getting him dressed and ready to go out. He doesn’t always drink very much of it during the week when we don’t have very long to get up and out to nursery but I know he has more milk on his cereal and drinks plenty of water during the day anyway.
I was quite concerned though about stopping the bedtime bottle. A bottle before bed was such an integral part of Toby’s bedtime routine that I just couldn’t imagine how we would get him to bed without it. Especially since after starting nursery he had gone back to having 9oz bottles at bedtime rather than his previous 5 or 6 ounces. But, as usually happens, these things tend to sort themselves out if you let them. A few weeks ago Toby started completely refusing his bedtime bottle. He would maybe have a few mouthfuls but then push it away and get himself worked up if we tried to get him to have any more. And so, we decided to give him milk in his cup, along with some snacks (even after eating three meals and two snacks at nursery he still comes home hungry!) as soon as he gets in from nursery so he has time to drink plenty in the hour or so before bedtime.
This seemed to sort of work for a few weeks – he would go to sleep OK without his bottle but then wake up a few hours later and drain a full bottle. I was willing to persevere though and was hoping that he would eventually make it through the night without needing a bottle. However, last week Toby hurt his foot and was also teething, and I think having another growth spurt. His sleep was awful, he was waking up two or three (or more!) times a night and would only go back to sleep after having loads of milk and in an effort to get him to sleep a bit better the bedtime bottle has made a return.
To be honest I’m still not too worried about this at the moment. If Toby still wants a bottle a bedtime (and during the night) then for now I’m happy for him to have one. I’m confident that at some point he will decide he doesn’t want it any more and hopefully he might even start sleeping through the night again eventually too!
If your little one had bottles at what age did they stop? Did you do anything the wean them off the bottle or just leave it up to them to decide? I’d love to hear how you managed the transition.