Subject: weaning from the bottle
Question: My 14 month old daughter is attached to her bottle. We have gotten her to the point of drinking water or juice out of a sippy cup during the day. But, at naptime and bedtime she will scream for her bottle. She refuses to drink milk out of the sippy cup, no matter what time of day.
We have tried putting water in the bottle at bedtime, thinking she would lose interest because it is not milk. However, she drinks all the water and then wants more and wakes up more often during the night than when she was drinking milk. The doctors recommend that children her age drink 16 oz of milk per day to meet nutrition standards. The only way we can do that is with the bottle at bedtime. I know this is bad for her teeth, but don't know what to do. Any advice would be appreciated.
Answer: Dear Brandy:
Giving a child a bottle at night is not only dangerous for their teeth it can also be a way for them to choke in their sleep. Not a good idea. The rules for drinking milk are not hard fast.
I would suggest starting healthy bedtime routines. Check out my previous answers on bedtime suggestions. Routines and schedules are not the same thing. Routines are about the process and what comes next. You need to determine what your routing is and stick to it.
I suggest starting 30 minutes or more before bedtime. Turn off the noisemakers, (TV, radios, computer, etc) and turn down the lights. Make the environment conducive to relaxing. Then decide if you will have a bath or story first (stick to the routine) next comes the baby massage. Who doesn't sleep well after a full body massage. (She may not let you do her entire body at first just go with the flow until she gets use to it.) Put on some soothing sounds, my daughter puts on some nature tunes with a heartbeat pounding in the background and even I fall asleep quickly!
If you pick a routine and she gets use to it she will begin to relax and fall asleep quicker and deeper.
M Kay Keller