2010 13/01

Mommy Confessions: Bottle Weaning

Let’s just get this out there…Zoe is 20 months old and she still takes a bottle.

I’ll give you a minute or two to gasp, think ill thoughts, and throw around the questions of how on Earth I could let her still take a bottle.

Done?  Great. Let’s continue.

I’ll start with the fact that Abbi was a dream-baby.  She got herself on a sleep schedule and went down for naps and bed without a problem.  At a year old she weaned herself from the bottle and really dictated when she would move from baby cereal to baby food to table food.  And all within the ‘baby-book’ timeline.  Super easy!

As much as Zoe loves to mimic her big sister, she has no desire to follow in the “easy-baby” footsteps of her big sis.  But let’s just focus on the bottle weaning issues for now.

Zoe’s been on formula since birth (whole other story).  At a year of age I tried transitioning her off of formula and on to milk but it was a no-go.  I would spend the next few months trying again and again.  The problem?  At first she was appalled at the taste of the milk and then it just so happened that she would get some sort of cold or some illness about the same time I would try to wean her again.  Frustrating!

Finally, about two months ago, I was able to start weaning her again.  We started slowly, mixing some formula with some milk to get her used to the taste.  After a few weeks she was on straight up milk.  During those two months I was also able to get her to give up the ‘just out of bed in the morning’ bottle, the ‘morning snack’ bottle, and the ‘after nap’ bottle, {cringing as I type that} although she still occasionally asks for them.

So, here is where we are at now — Zoe drinks a bottle of milk before nap and another before bed. Could she go without these bottles? Probably.  I think they are more for comfort than actually being hungry.  But how do I take that comfort away from her?

My goal is to have her off a bottle completely by her second birthday, which is rapidly approaching.  And I have a plan.  I am just going to gradually decrease the amount she gets in each bottle until she can go without them.  Ok, so it’s not a stellar plan, but at least it’s a plan.  Remember, I never had to make plans with Abbi.  She just did it.  On her own.  I’m pretty sure Zoe would be content sucking on her bottle until she’s 16!

Here’s the question of the hour…Why do I feel such guilt about this?  I’m sure it is because we are not falling into that ‘baby-book’ timeline.  But I’m wondering if I would feel this guilt if I was talking about breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding.  If I were weaning her from nursing vs. weaning her from formula and a bottle.

What do you guys think?  How did weaning go for your little one (and you) and were you weaning from breastfeeding or bottle feeding?  What are your tips and tricks?

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  • Ok. So. Two different stories for me. Both kids were breast-fed but after Jessica quit on her own at 9 mo (she was the easy one) we gave her formula in a bottle because she was underweight. Long story there, but … she LOVED the bottle. I don’t remember how exactly we went about weaning her off it – but I remember she was about 18 months … and I think I just make it with more water every time until finally she was just drinking water. The hard part for her was giving up the actual bottle, not the formula. She wanted to suck on that thing FOREVER. So I let her. I didn’t much care, she didn’t have a binky anymore so I figured she could have her bottle with water.

    Oliver … was breastfed and not sleeping through the night until he was weaned, which was 9ish – almost 10 months old. And that all came about when we made a plan to go shopping for an entire day and I had no more pumped milk in the freezer. Aaron was on board to making it work however it needed to because he was good and ready to have the kid weaned so we could all sleep better. It was hard, but in one day he was weaned and I was hurting. He didn’t get a bottle or formula after that – straight to a sippy with water … and he drank SO much water. I was worried for a while but it’s tapered off.

    I read tips like it was my job when I was trying to wean Oliver, unsuccessfully, on my own. I had this fairy tale about how I wanted him to dictate when he stopped, since Jessica did. I wanted to nurse him atleast a year, hopefully longer if he wanted to. Bla bla bla, but the reality of our situation was that it was hurting the quality of OUR life, and weaning him would not hurt the quality of HIS life. Infact sleeping through the night improved his health at that age … so. I don’t know. I think weighing your options and making the best decision for you and your family is really the important thing here. Even if that means she still gets a bottle when she’s in preschool … I doubt she’ll still want one at 16 – but I think it’s perfectly ok to still get a comfort like that at an older age. My kids have blankets and I’ll never take those away. But it could have just as easily been a bottle instead.

  • Why do we beat ourselves up….she will not be taking the bottle in high school even though some days you probably think she will. Good luck..I am in the opposite boat I would love to continue nursing Korra, but I am going away for a weekend and I think it is probably time to be done, but I am all so sad about it…

  • Thanks for the thoughts ladies! I think I worry more about it because Tim worries about it.

  • As a parent of two lovely daughters myself I can understand the worry this may cause you but as a reader it doesn’t worry me. Our youngest daughter was very similar. What helped weaning her off the milk she loved so much was slowly giving her less in the bottle (so she doesn’t notice) and making the formula weaker and weaker again so she doesn’t notice. Coupling this with the baby led weaning technique and she was eating solids in no time !

    All the best x

  • Thanks for the encouragement Nick. Love your site! Great resource for recipes and info on weaning!

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