How to Break a Nighttime Bottle Habit

Sending your baby to bed with a bottle is a habit you should break by the time your baby begins teething to avoid tooth decay or “bottle rot.” The ideal bedtime routine involves snuggles while feeding and then having your baby fall asleep on her own in her crib. If your baby needs a bottle, fill it with water only. The process of weaning away from the bedtime bottle is a difficult one for many babies, requiring patience and persistence to learn a new sleeping routine.

Introduce your baby to a soft-spout sippy cup when she is around 6 months of age. While she may not think too highly of it in the beginning, over time she will get used to it. The soft spout is similar to a bottle nipple, making the transition easier.

Replace your child’s feedings one by one with a cup before eliminating the nighttime bottle. KidsHealth explains that the nighttime bottle is usually the last one to go, because it is very comforting to many babies.

Offer your child an evening snack between dinner and bedtime, with a cup of milk or the beverage of your choice. This provides a little substance for your child’s belly before bed and can quell hunger pains.

Provide your child with a replacement item for comfort, such as a stuffed animal or small blanket. These items are known as “loveys” and can help your child transition away from a bottle and self-soothe once attachment to the item is formed.

Tips

To help transition your child away from his nighttime bottle, try watering down the milk or formula gradually until the bottle is 100 percent water. If you feel it is absolutely necessary that your child have something to drink overnight, offering water is an acceptable replacement.

Warnings

Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions about her nutrition or development.

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