How to wean off the bottle at bedtime for a toddler –
Babies and parents do enjoy the bedtime milk bottle as part of a nice and cosy bedtime ritual especially during the first year of their baby’s life. It is a unique moment when mom/ dad can reconnect with the baby, before the magic land of sleep, while he drinks his calming dose of milk.
Although usually recommended until about 1 year of age, this habit can be shortly extended with no problematic consequences, but if you have a 2 year old toddler who still drinks his/her bedtime milk from the bottle, falls asleep with it or even wakes up at night for that, there are a few ways to wean it off.
Steps to wean off the bedtime bottle
- Slowly dilute the content of the milk bottle adding more water to it for a couple of weeks until it is just water.
- Have a bye-bye bottle party – throw the bottle into the garbage bin and watch together how the rubbish truck takes it away. Try to celebrate this moment with singing, dancing, cake and presents, telling your family & friends about it, praising your toddler what a big boy/girl he/she is for giving his bottle away. Have a second bottle at home, just in case your child won’t accept the new situation so quickly and makes a tantrum.
- Try to replace that part of the bedtime ritual with something else, nice and connecting
- Prepare to be needed more by your child a few days after this move and spend more time with him during the day and maybe organise an even longer bedtime ritual
- Make sure the solid food intake of your toddler during the day contains some dairy products, is healthy enough and covers his nutritional needs, according to his age.
Source: Dr. Sears “Baby sleep book”, ed. 2005
However, if your toddler still wakes up during the night to drink some milk, maybe it is time to consider child sleep coaching. Let me know if you want to connect and find out more about it.