If I could choose two periods of time to skip over during the baby years, it would be potty training and weaning. They are just two of the most difficult things for me throughout my five years, and four children, of being a mom. Weaning your baby off of breastfeeding hurts like heck for the most part. Weaning your baby off the bottle is just a recipe for sleepless nights, unless you didn’t start them on it to begin with.
I did, obviously. No shame!
All of my little ones were breastfed, and all of them took the bottle at one point or another. Yes, I breastfed the twins too:) The twins have been on their bottle for the longest period of time, and the time has come to start weaning them off of that into the land of sippy cups.
It wouldn’t be so bad, if my husband and I didn’t cherish our sleep, and the fastest way to get them to go back down is with a bottle. Mamas, you know what I mean, right? Here are a few tricks of the trade that I have learned across all four of my kiddos, each one working differently on each child. Go figure;)
Weaning Your Baby Off The Bottle
- Start off during the day with taking the bottle away. Don’t go straight in and just take the bottle out completely, unless your little one refuses to wean. Start by taking a bottle away here and there during the day, and either letting them cry it out or replacing it with a sippy cup instead.
- Let them play with the cup in their high chair or somewhere that you don’t mind getting messy. You can start this at a young age (I started when mine were crawling) just to let them get used to the feel and grip of the cup.
- Give them milk or whatever you have been feeding them from the bottle at first. Gradually, I start to phase the milk out and only give water since we have all heard what milk out of a bottle can do to your baby’s teeth. When breastfeeding, I always just gave a tiny bit of breast milk to flavor the water. When it comes to formula, just give much less formula in the cup than normal. Honestly, I don’t give my kids juice really now, even though they are older. So I never used the juice in the cup trick for weaning either.
- Gradual is key. I have found that no matter which child it was, if I slowly took the bottles away one feeding at a time, rather than all at once, it had the best effect. They didn’t put up so much of a fight when it came time to take away their nighttime, treasured bottles.
- Throw those bad boys away. I have always kept my bottles in a drawer where the babies could play with them or whatever. But, when it is time to start weaning them, throw away or give away all of the bottles you won’t use and hide the rest until it’s time to give them to the baby. Out of sight, out of mind… hopefully:)
What other tips would you give for weaning your baby off the bottle?
*Here’s to easy transitions off the bottle, and hopefully easy nights for mom and dad*