My daughter has always loved her bottles, and I was starting to think she would never give them up! Before her second birthday, I was determined to get rid of the bottle. When she was younger, her obsession with bottles was great. Even when she could hold her own bottle, she would still snuggle up with us and enjoy her milk. I absolutely loved the extra cuddles and was worried I would miss her bottles too! Bottles also became very convenient because a bottle always kept her happy and occupied when we were out and about or on a long road trip.
When she turned one, I attempted to slowly phase out the bottle. Well, we tried a million different sippy cups and she refused every single one. She would cry for her bottle and push away the cup. It was gut-wrenching, and I always caved in and gave her a bottle. I knew by 18 months, we really needed to start getting rid of the bottle, but I wasn’t ready to go cold turkey yet. So, we started limiting her bottles to 3 a day. This worked pretty well, but sometimes she was having 4 or 5 a day, and I was starting to worry she was choosing milk over the nutritious meals we were trying to feed her. It had also become a comfort object for her, and she was constantly holding onto her bottle or it was hanging from her mouth, which was driving me crazy!
At 23 months, I knew she was ready. We had a couple of weeks at home with no visitors and no big plans, so I knew we could kick the bottle habit for good.
Here’s what finally worked for us:
- The night before, I calmly explained how big girls drink from sippy cups and not bottles. At 23 months, she understood this concept, while at 18 months she did not. This made a huge difference, so don’t rush into it!
- We literally kissed a bottle goodbye and said bye-bye before I put it away.
- After she went to bed, I hid every bottle and bottle accessory in a cabinet she cannot reach or see into.
- The next morning, she chose the sippy cup she wanted to drink her milk from. She loved the choice, and she still likes to choose her cup in the morning. She’s finally interested in drinking from the many cups I bought her months ago!
- When she first started drinking from her cup, we would clap and give hugs and high-fives. She loved the extra attention and slowly started forgetting about her bottles. When she did ask for a bottle, I would remind her she was a big girl and thankfully she was happy with that response!
Since completely saying goodbye to the bottle, I’ve noticed she’s been drinking far less milk, but is eating better and drinking more water. Sometimes she will still ask for her bottle, but immediately corrects herself and says cup! I definitely miss those cuddles during bottle time and can’t believe how fast my baby is growing up, but I am proud of our accomplishment!
What has worked for you on this sometimes tricky transition?