It is common for toddlers to be attached to their bottles, as they provide food, security, and comfort. You should also know, however, that babies should stop using them around the end of their 12 months. If you wait to start the transition, it will become harder to break the habit. The sad part is, longer bottle use may result in cavities, as this may cause them to drink more milk than the usual.
It is also never advisable to let children fall asleep with a bottle. Pediatric dentists in Murray note that this only increases their attachment to the bottle, with a greater risk of cavities. When stopping the habit, it is best to time the transition or start introducing a cup when they are six months old. Here are a few other tips to try:
Don’t cut out bottles all at once
Do it gradually by eliminating the morning bottle or by bringing the baby to the table and giving them milk from a cup. You can also avoid giving them a bottle in the afternoon and evening for one week. The following week, stop the bottle feeding at nighttime. Let them get used to a cup of milk or water during dinner.
Ease the transition
Use sippy cups or those with spouts made for babies. Doctors and dentists recommend using a cup with a straw or hard spout, instead of those with soft spouts. Be sure, however, not to allow kids to sip on the cup throughout the day unless the content is water. Sippy cups with fruit juice and milk can cause the sugar to linger on their teeth longer.
Find out what they want
If they keep asking for a bottle, find out what they really want. If your kid is hungry or thirsty, provide a nutritious snack on a plate or offer refreshment in a cup. If it is boredom, sit or play with them, or offer to read a story. You should also praise and acknowledge your child’s effort for using the cup, by noting that they are such a big girl/boy in front of other family members.
If you are experiencing problems in stopping the bottle habit, talk to your doctor or dentist. Your kid should start seeing the dentist to accustom them with checkups and other dental procedures.