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Old 07-10-2002, 12:08 PM
jennz's Avatar
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Question Toddlers and Bottles

At what point should you start weaning your child from the bottle? A co-worker of mine was shocked to hear that my 22 month old daughter still takes a bottle before going to sleep. She is my first child and giving her a bottle has been routine, so I didn't really even think about not giving her one. My co-worker warned me about tooth decay as a result of having a bottle before bed and now I am worried. I feel like a bad mother.

Anyway, does anyone have tips on when and how to do it?

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Old 07-10-2002, 12:19 PM
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Tips for weaning from either the breast or the bottle

Many ten- to 24-month-olds still cherish a milk or juice bottle from time to time, and there's no particular reason for them to give up the bottle entirely if they are strongly attached to it. What is important, however, is for the child to be familiar with a drinking cup so that she can gradually outgrow the bottle.
Some children use bottles as comfort objects, which has a definite downside, since it can lead to weight problems and tooth decay (if the bottle is filled with milk or juice). Later on, dependence on a bottle can get in the way of a smooth transition to preschool, where bottles usually are not permitted.

Encourage your baby to taper off her bottles by introducing the cup as a fascinating and wonderful object. Be patient about spills (even spouted cups can be made to pour), and let the baby explore the cup the way she explores all other objects. At the same time, make the bottle less interesting by filling it with plain water. It may not be possible to make this change abruptly; instead, start by sneaking one or two water-filled bottles every day. The before-bed bottle is usually the last to go. If your child still wants it, keep this bottle as part of your evening ritual for a few more months, but be sure to clean the baby's teeth between bottle and bedtime each night. Never leave the bottle in her mouth after it's empty.


Toddler Hooked on the Bottle

Q: Our 22-month-old doesn't eat much--she prefers to drink milk from a bottle. We can get her to eat a little at each meal, but after only a few mouthfuls she loses interest and asks for a bottle. We've tried giving her milk in a cup, but she's not interested. Any suggestions?

A: By gradually weaning your child off the bottle, she'll gain interest in eating more solid foods and will eventually drink milk from a cup. Start by giving her a bottle of milk at only two designated times each day. Just before her nap and bedtime are best--avoid offering it to her around mealtimes.

During meals, offer juice in a cup. She'll whine and cry for her bottle, but if you really want to help her kick the habit, don't provide it. With less milk, your child will be hungrier at mealtime and her interest in solid foods will increase.

You're probably fearful that she will be hungry when you deprive her of milk and the nutrients it provides. You undoubtedly worry that her growth rate will diminish, and that she'll be sick or less energetic. These things probably won't happen at all, but do keep a watchful eye--not over the next couple of days but over the next few weeks--as she moves through this period of transition.

Keep in mind that when she whines for her bottle it's not because she needs it for emotional stability. It's the change she's resisting. She loves her bottle--it's familiar and comforting. Through this period of transition, she'll need extra holding, comfort and understanding from you.

Make certain at the start that you're going to stick with your plan to gradually eliminate the bottle. If you're wishy-washy you only confuse her. If you fear you'll buckle under when her whining turns to demands and temper tantrums, let her keep it--she may eventually lose interest all on her own.

Finally, please discuss the issue with your child's doctor, as he has a better understanding of her nutritional needs.



Preventing bottle induced tooth decay

If you've gotten in the habit of putting your baby to bed with a bottle of juice or other sweetened liquid, you could be causing unnecessary harm to her health. The sugar in these liquids promotes what is known as nursing bottle decay, which essentially creates dental problems for your child soon after she has grown her first teeth! Decay first apears along the gumline behind the upper front teeth. From there, it usually spreads to affect some or even all of the front teeth.

Dangers to sleep-time feeding include:
•Human milk

•Cow's milk, formula

•Fruit juice

•Sweetened tea

•Soft drinks

•Soothers dipped in honey or other sweetened substances

Here are some basic ways you can prevent decay:

•Clean your child's teeth daily.

•At bed-time, you should only give your child a bottle filled with water.

•When your child is thirsty, try to give her water instead of sweet drinks.

•Give your child juice from a cup or a spoon as opposed to a bottle.

Nursing bottle decay is something that can be treated if you act early. If you see brown spots on your child's teeth, visit the dentist. Early treatment can prevent the permanent teeth from being affected. Keep in mind that teeth that have begun to decay this early on in your child's life are at a heightened risk for other kinds of decay in later life.

It's important that you establish healthy dental habits for your child early on--meaning that you need to clean your infant's mouth soon after birth. Regular mouth care will massage the gums and ease some of the discomfort that your child will experience during teething.

To clean your baby's mouth, you should brush or wipe all around the gums and teeth. Use a damp facecloth, and then switch to a soft baby toothbrush as teeth appear. Just remember that the toothpaste that you use should contain fluoride, and only a very small amount is necessary.

When your child is about two, you should encourage her to try to brush her own teeth. She'll attempt to mimic what you have been doing. It's important that you finish her job each time, though, to ensure that her teeth have been thoroughly cleaned.

Information provided by the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C

All info obtained from
Recipe Kitchen
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Old 07-10-2002, 12:26 PM
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Thanks Shawn, just what I was looking for!;-)
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Old 07-10-2002, 12:29 PM
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Probably a lot of the same information, but here's a few articles from

Helping Your Child Say Bye-bye to Ba-Ba

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Some coversation that took place eons ago

Getting rid of the bottle
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Old 07-18-2002, 08:51 AM
sugarspicenpuppytails's Avatar
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I just love these people who are so quick to judge! I've learned to ignore them. I myself have learned to try very hard not to judge parenting styles and instead of giving advice I try to share my personal experiences - everyone has problems with parenting, they just happen to be different kinds of problems. And I often wonder if what is considered a problem really a problem...

Well, my daughter will be three on October 31st and still has a bottle in the morning, when she goes for a nap and at bedtime. I only ever put milk in her bottle - she drinks from sippy cups the rest of the time. When I give her milk in the cup, she doesn't drink nearly as much so I rather her have the bottles than not get enough milk. I personally don't see the difference between getting milk from a bottle or a cup as long as long as the bottle is an instrument for drinking and not for sucking for long periods of time.

I think the tooth decay comes in when the bottle stays in the child's mouth for an extended period of time - like if they fall asleep sucking and it becomes a soother. My daughter always drinks quite quickly then puts her bottle aside so I do not worry.

By the way she only just gave up her soother for good about a month ago. I happen to think they do more damage to teeth than bottles because they're sucked on for so long - I was anxious to get rid of that.

My daughter is my second child - I was MUCH more worried with my son on these matters. He's almost four years older. He had bottles and soothers the same way my daughter has. He doesn't drink nearly as much milk now.

PLEASE don't think you're a bad Mom. It took me over a year after my son was born to realize I really was a good mom. I was always worried about not doing things right. I've decided that moms who love their kids and do the best they can and who's kids feel loved are GREAT moms. Doing things the best you can doesn't mean being perfect. We all have doubts and worries and sometimes lose patience or get frustrated - that's called being human, not being a bad mom.

I wish you lots of great parenting experiences - don't be too hard on yourself!
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