Dropping the bedtime bottle at 2 years old

My original plan had been “no bottles after 1” but Monkey enjoyed that bedtime one so much I simply didn’t have the heart to take it away from him.

I tried on occasion but it was always a half hearted attempt and if there was any protest at all I’d buckle and give it straight back.

The older he got the more I regretted my lackadaisical attitude to the whole thing.  He was super attached to the routine and loved it so much he would almost always have a refill, drinking 500mls + in total each night. This was resulting in nappies wet all the way through and spelled trouble for when we would eventually commence toilet training.

The older he got the more he knew what he wanted. He could express himself clearly and let me know in uncertain terms that no way did he want his milk out of a cup.  So I needed to find a clever way to make the transition.

I didn’t really think the Santa thing would fly. Plus I needed something I could get him on board with. Too much resistance and I knew I’d fold.

A few months before Christmas we went on a little weekend away, just 2 nights, and I actually accidentally (as in yes, totally by accident, not accidentally on purpose) left the bottle behind. We had sippy cups with us and once I explained the situation to him he happily took the milk from the cup each night. It wasn’t ideal though as those cups had a fast flow and tended to leak a bit if he didn’t sit in the right position. It wasn’t exactly relaxing for him.

Despite this I decided to keep up with the transition the night we got home. He wasn’t having a bar of it.

It got me thinking though. What if I could get him to go without for longer? Would he happily make the transition then? I remembered my aunty telling me that they got her 3 year old grandson off the bedtime bottle when they also left it behind by mistake on an overseas holiday. So I knew it could work.

With Christmas coming up I knew we would be away for at least a week so decided to have a crack at it then. I read somewhere as well that some people cut the teats to remove temptation to give in so I decided to do that as well.

I had to something about the cups though so on a trip to the shops I saw a Santa straw cup and got that as our special milk cup and stashed it until we went away.

Initially I’d planned to cut all the teats the day we left so I couldn’t give in when we got home but I didn’t have the heart to do it in the end. I was so worried about traumatising the poor kid.

The first night on our holiday at my mum’s place I explained the situation to Monkey and showed him the Santa cup. He was very excited and took it happily. It was a dud cup though. It was only a cheapy so leaked and didn’t work well. I resolved to shop with him the following day and find something more suitable.

At the shops the next day I saw a great straw bottle that was mostly leak proof and much more substantial than what he had. It had monsters on it from the Monsters Inc. movie. He LOVES monsters. So when I suggested it for him he was very excited and said yes.

Monster bottle

Tada! The “MONSTER” bottle.

We switched to that bottle that night and it was a hit. I explained it was only for milk so he could have it any time of day but only ever with milk in it. At 2 years and almost 4 months he actually seemed to get this.

We were away for one week and on our return from holiday he never once asked for the bottle. As soon as we got back I immediately cut all the teats in case he asked but he has never once asked for the bottle again. When he wants milk he always asks for the “monster bottle”. It is his new comfort.

The big bonus is that he drinks much less at night now. I give him a maximum of about 250mls (one full baby sized bottle) per night and sometimes he drinks all of it but mostly he drinks less. So no more soaking through nappies. Hooray!

It has been such a smooth transition and I really couldn’t be happier so I wanted to post this to help anyone else out there that might be looking to do this with an older child. It has worked so well and I can actually say it is something that as a mum I am really proud of. I got something right!

Have you had any trouble transitioning from the bottle at your place? What has worked for you?

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12 thoughts on “Dropping the bedtime bottle at 2 years old

  1. Gosh this interesting. Do you mean your little one went to bed with a bottle but also had another one during the night, or that he just went to bed with one? My 14 month old has his to go to sleep, so he drinks it all in his cot and then goes to sleep. I am too starting to think about changing his bottle to his daytime cup that he has. But I know what you mean, he loves his bottle! I’m going to start giving it a go, as I think now is a good time as any and reading your post, it can get more difficult the older they are. But well done you for getting there! x

  2. Glad he took the cup without a fight! I had the same problem with the toddler too because she would still ask for milk in the middle of the night which was okay at first but frustrated me later on because you know, sleep. So I just threw away all her bottles one day. Not one left in the house and gave her milk in a mug (a real mug! LOL) that night. And guess what she was happy with it. The following nights she would still ask for milk so I dragged her to the kitchen each time for it and guess what? it frustrated her too because you know, sleep. She stopped asking for milk after a few nights. I can only wish I did it sooner!

  3. I’m glad that you found something that worked for you and Monkey! Mr. T never really did bottles, we almost went straight from breast to sippy cups because he had chronic ear infections. He could have a bottle of formula or breast milk at day care, but at home he only got sippy cups, because he had to sit up to drink it. As my other friends have had kids and have gone through bottle and other weaning issues, I feel really blessed that while the ear infections sucked, it sure kept me on my toes and we never had weaning issues! 🙂

  4. I had two late nighttime bottle droppers too, but it wasn’t them. It was totally selfish. They grow up so fast, and it felt like that nighttime bottle was the last tie to babyhood I had left. I guess they were both about two when they finally stopped with the bottle… Sigh.

  5. Nice work mama! Mine never took bottles or pacis but my son loves milk so much that I think he fills up on it too much at dinner and won’t eat enough food. I recently noticed that he drinks really well from a water bottle or regular cup so I have started letting him drink from a regular cup when at a table, I still use a straw cup for travels. I find he drinks less this way and eats a bit more. And I hope it will help with potty training too because he won’t be so full of milk all of the time. Not sure when that will happen though as he says “I don’t yike go peepee on potty” when he was all into it just a couple of months ago. Its all such a guessing game! if you have any potty training tips, I’d love to hear! 🙂

  6. Didn’t have the bottle saga. Just a pacifier which I nipped like you said some people do. All of them. No exceptions. When that was nipped, she sucked on it, pulled it out of her mouth, looked at it, said “Yucky.” Took it out. And that was it!

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