No, I am not trying to tell all of you that having twins led us to drink… I want to share with you how and why we weaned our twins from the bottle at 1 year old. It was probably one of the harder of the transitions that we had. I remember wishing for more guidance when it was happening. Hopefully, this can give you some concrete methods to help you help your little through it too.
Weaned from the bottle…why?
At our 9 month well baby visit our pediatrician (who I adore!) mentioned to us that the next time she saw us, the boys should be weaned from the bottle. Our next appointment was their 1 year physical. This meant that we had 3 months to figure out how to actually do this. It wasn’t exactly news for us. We are really fortunate to have moms who enlighten us with their mommy experience. This happened to be one recommendation that they both had firm opinions on. No more bottle after 1.
Lets take a step back, I posted about how my kids were exclusively breastfed through their first year , and that is true. However, after 4 months or so it was just easier for me to exclusively pump and bottle feed them. As you can imagine, they became quite attached to their bottles- having one up to six times a day. Even after introducing a cup around 5 months, they still needed milk in a bottle prior to naps and bedtime.
Back to our conversation with the pediatrician…
Me, being the PITA that I am, asked what the reasoning was. I will absolutely do my best to follow her requests, but it’s a lot easier when I know the “why” behind it. She shared a few facts with us that helped us to see the bigger picture. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children be weaned from the bottle by 1 year old, and absolutely no later than 18 months.
What’s the big deal?
She continued by explaining the risks to the the facial muscles and palate, as well as positioning of the baby and adult teeth. These changes will often lead to an overbite. Furthermore, in children who suck their milk through a bottle longer tend to have more tooth decay than those who don’t.
To continue, prolonged bottle use could affect the child’s weight in two different ways. In good eaters, a bottle isn’t necessary for caloric needs, but if the child has free access to a bottle, he/she may be getting more calories than what’s needed. This is why prolonged bottle use puts children at an increased risk for childhood and adult obesity. On the other hand, picky eaters may not feel the need to eat real foods, when they can fall back on the bottle. They may not grow like they should because they are not getting the array of nutrients that they could get from a better solid food diet.
Lastly, she stated that around 1 year old, a baby starts to form connections to objects (like a stuffed animal, a pacifier, or a bottle) more strongly than before. In her many years of practice she has seen that if children do not drop the bottle around 1 year old, they have a much harder time dropping it when they finally do. Knowing that we had two to transition, we knew that the sooner the better for us.
What did we do?
Well, after that appointment, we became pretty strict about getting them really comfortable with a sippy cup. We offered it with water at every meal, and started to attempt switching the out the bottle for a sippy cup one feeding at a time. Knowing that the bedtime bottle would be the hardest to change so we left that for last. We started with any midday/in between bottle and put the milk in a sippy cup instead.
Grady had no issue with this whatsoever. Greyson, however, would literally take a sip of milk from the cup, and spit it straight back out at us. You can probably imagine my heartbreak with each droplet of precious pumped milk that hit the floor. We just kept offering, without going backwards. Knowing that he was eating at his meals, and still taking his other bottles, I wasn’t worried about his nutrition. Soon enough though he caught on.
We continued to switch one bottle at a time out for a cup, with the last being the bedtime bottle. At this time it was right around their birthday. Once again, Grady had no issues with this. Greyson, of course, refused his bedtime milk. Although it darn near broke my heart, we stayed strong. He went a few nights completely refusing to drink much from the cup, but then decided the milk was more important that the source, and took the cup.
I think that the first night when they both took their milk from a cup, Matt and I did the happy dance and high fived on the way down the stairs. We then promptly washed, sanitized, and boxed those bottles right the hell up and put them down into storage. It was probably one of the most glorious feelings, not having to wash another bottle (until next time)!
If your little one is over 1 and still using a bottle, don’t panic. This isn’t in any way trying to point fingers or make you worry! It is probably a good ice breaker to open up the conversation with your child’s doctor and get their opinion on it. I am not a professional, but this is what worked for us. It’s also important to mention that if your child needs the nutrition, and refuses a cup or solid foods, you might not have another option. Health is always the most important thing. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician if you are questioning whether your child is ready or not.
If you are coming up on this transition, or were wondering how/when to do it, I hope that this helped. Hopefully you’re able to take a tip or two and use them for a smooth transition for your child. Please let me know any other tips that you have, or share your weaning story in the comment box below!
Your Millennial [weaned] Mama,