Bottle-Feeding: Weaning a Baby
Here are some tips for weaning your baby from the bottle:
- Don't allow the baby to carry the bottle around.
This can help prevent injuries if your baby falls. It also can help keep the bottle from being a comfort item for your baby.
- Help transfer the baby's attachment from the bottle to another comfort object.
When your baby asks for the bottle outside of meal or snack time, encourage the use of a comfort object, such as a stuffed animal, blanket, or doll. For example, tie an empty bottle securely around the neck of a favorite stuffed animal or other comfort object, then remove the bottle after your baby thinks of the new object as the source of comfort (after a few days or weeks). Make sure the bottle is tied securely and that the string has no slack or loose ends that could become wrapped around your baby's neck and cause choking.
- Make changes in the baby's routine, especially the rituals that are connected to bottle-feeding.
For example, after a fall, comfort your baby with hugs and attention rather than the bottle.
- Keep the baby busy with new activities.
This can be in the home or in a museum, at a zoo, or at a playground.
- Make a cup part of weaning.
Make using a cup part of your baby's solid-meal routine. Then, over time, stop their bottle-feedings.
- Take the bottle away, and make it an event.
Make a big announcement that "today is the day you'll eat like a big kid." Celebrate by having your baby throw out the old nipples and bottles and by taking them to the store to pick out a personal cup. The bottle may be a comfort object, so replace it with hugs and attention or another comfort object, such as a stuffed animal.
- Be ready for feeding time.
When feeding time approaches, offer your baby a snack. If this is filling, it may take the child's mind off the feeding.