Giving up the bottle

Tips for weaning your toddler off a bottle.

Q: My two-year-old still wants a bottle when he wakes in the morning, when he goes down for a nap and before bed. I took his soother away at 19 months so I wouldn’t have to battle over it, but now it seems I have a fight on my hands anyway.

A: Although your son didn’t put up a fight when you took his soother away, it sounds as if he may not have been ready to let it go. The bottle has likely replaced the soother to address his need for sucking, which is often still an important form of comfort for a child his age.

As there is no magic age when a child should give up soothers and bottles, my advice is to let your son make this transition when he is ready. Trust that he will let you know when it’s time to stop his bottle.

In the meantime, there are several gentle ways you can help. First, have a consistent and soothing nap and bedtime routine (you might include reading together and talking about his day). You may also want to consider providing a replacement comfort object, such as a special blanket or stuffed animal, that he can hold while falling asleep. You may also want to wait until he asks for his bottle before giving it to him.

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