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Weaning Your Infant, Baby or Toddler from the Bottle.
Weaning, like other developmental stages, takes time, and
some parents put off weaning because they don't want to go
through the crying, sleepless nights and angry demands of
their new little family addition.
Check out these tips for weaning your child with little
But at some point, bottle feeding, like all good things,
must come to an end. You can start your child using a cup as
early as six months, with the idea of having him or her
fully weaned by one to one and a half years of age. Once
your child can sit up alone, eat from a spoon and eat at
regular times throughout the day, weaning is in sight.
Weaning is important because children's teeth can be
affected by drinking from a bottle; tooth decay becomes more
likely, teeth may not develop correctly, and the growing
child's nutritional needs may not be met if she's getting
her food from a bottle. Babies grow teeth because it's time
for them to start eating solid food!
- Give your baby a plastic cup to hold and play with
from an early ageó3 to 6 months. You're setting the stage
- By the time your child is 8 months old, give her a
sippy cup for use during one meal. Don't fill it up, but
let her drink some juice or milk from it every day. Start
with one meal each day, and after a week, add the cup to
another meal. Don't get rid of the bottle all at once;
gradually substitute the sippy cup over time.
- Teach your child how to handle the cup by showing her.
Hold the cup for her at first, so she only gets a little
liquid and can practice drinking without choking on it.
Cups are different from bottles, and your child needs to
learn cup-drinking skills with your help.
- Don't throw the bottle away completely. Sometimes,
children need to bottle for sleeping or quiet playtime.
Let an occasional bottle comfort your child. But once
you've substituted a sippy cup for any feeding or snack,
don't replace it with the bottle. Keep the bottle for
- Don't rush. You may get your child 85% weaned, and
worry about giving her a bottle at night. (Once your baby
has teeth, bottles for napping or sleeping should only
have water; milk or juice can cause tooth decay). Sucking
is a primal instinct; children sometimes need to suck to
feel soothed. Don't throw out something that can help your
child feel secure; some children may use bottles
occasionally for three years after weaning, and that's
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